We returned to Lock 32 in Pittsford and started Sunday’s ride at 11am. Jim, Tania, and I had two companions for the day: Joe Avery and Jack Starke, friends from the Western Lakes. The trail from Pittsford to Fairport runs through some of the most affluent pats of Rochester, and on this Sunday morning we wove between well-coiffed women on their powerwalks, families out for a stroll, and men in cycling get-ups much more elaborate than ours. But Jim and I knew what to do. Back on the Root River trail in Minnesota we had found our identity as bike path pirates. While we were always polite, we cut through the ambling citizenry like a pair of bluefin tuna through a school of cod. Soon we were in the working-class canal cabins of Macedon, the crowds thinned out, and it was a midday of brilliant fall sunshine on leaves of red ochre and bright yellow.
The path from Macedon to Newark is probably the most scenic section of the canal. It cuts through large wetlands, cultivated fields, and mature woods. The canal itself gets wider, with more birds and fish, and you can usually see something stirring or jumping in the water. Joe turned around in Palmyra and rode back ot his car; Our friend Henry McCartney met Tania in Newark to drive her back to her car, and on the way he showed us his simple, comfy fishing camp. He said you can catch bass there by casting right off your porch.
The towpath ended after Newark. We were back in the world of cars, but thanks to the directional markers spray-painted on the pavement, we found a nice alternative to Highway 31 all the way to Lyons. These markers, by the way, are probably a side benefit of the annual ride across New York that is supported by the group Parks and Trails New York. It happens every July, and it’s a great way to do the route if you don’t have someone like Sara Kersting ho help you out.
I was back in familiar territory, moving along roads I had ridden while I was training for the cross-country ride, and less then 15 miles from a gathering of our friends at the Audubon Center in Savannah. It felt like the ride was over and in a sense it was, because I was back home.
About 30 Land Trust members and friends met us at the Center with cold beer, pizza, and lots of questions. Jim and I gave Andy Zepp the $14.62 in change we had found on the side of the road over the last nine weeks, and now we are even closer to our fund-raising goal! Just kidding. It was a great party We exceeded the fund-raising goal easily and ended up raising $39,000 for the Land Trust, thanks to almost 200 people who contributed. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were rest days.