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Cycling the Erie Canal – July 2007

locks 21 & 22

On Saturday, July 7 Michael Sharkey and Howie left Winterset Farm to begin an 8 day cycling trip from Buffalo to Albany along the Erie Canal. This was the trip that had been planned for 2002 prior to Michael’s devastating illness and miraculous recovery.

The cycling began on Sunday from Nichols school in Buffalo and proceeded east along the Niagara River. Before mid-day we reached Lockport where boats that arrived were raised or lowered some 60+ feet between the Niagara River and the barge canal. We camped that night at the Medina Middle school.

On Monday the tow path passed through willow arches and beside numerous lift bridges. The morning rest-stop at Holley was typical of the welcome our group received every morning and afternoon during the week.

That afternoon we were treated to a side trip into downtown Rochester along the Genesee River Trail.We tented that evening at the end of 64 miles at Nazareth College in Pittsford.

Tuesday’s ride took us to Seneca Falls and included a stop at Clyde Village Park where a typical offer of fresh fruits was available. Following our arrival in Seneca Falls we managed a swim in Cayuga Lake after pitching our tent and hanging the laundry.

Wednesday we biked to Syracuse with a Pizza stop along the way. It rained that evening but not until our tent was comfortably in place.

Thursday’s ride included several hours at the Chittenango Landing Boat Museum where a full size canal boat is under construction. We caught up with math professor Bruce and his amplified i-pod which added real flavor to the entire voyage. The route took us over locks 21 & 22 on the way to Fort Stanwix in Rome.

On Friday Michael & Howie had lunch with Theresa and Tom Carrig at their home in Little Falls. The night was spent along side the Canajoharie High School. We picked a spot with an excellent view from our tent.

Saturday was a short (43 mile) day so we spent several hours at a festival at Mabee Farm Historic Site. Here’s Michael enroute and some of the entertainment that awaited us. With the end of the ride just one day away we began collecting photos of folks with whom we had been sharing stories. These included Brian and Kate, a family of four (Pete, Nicole, Kate and June), Rita and son Garrison, a collection of mostly Latinos from NYC and Doug & Kinda from Northfield,MA.

After a night at Scotia we pedalled our last 37 miles to the finish line at the Corning Preserve in Albany. Here is Michael crossing the finish line and both of us posed with cyclists Antonia and Marta.

• More Winterset adventures •

Andalucia Spain – November 2006
Bicycling Boston – September 2007