106.1 miles

Argh…this was the day that almost did us in. In a car, campgrounds always seem so plentiful and nearby. On a bike, they’re not. Particularly in eastern New York. We had a campground in mind this day (actually made reservations for once) and knew it’d be a long ride. The payoff would be the pool at the end — ya, we’d gone high end in campground land.

The morning started like most on the Erie Canal route. Get up, pack up our tents, and not think an ounce about our route — there’s only one. Oh, and get an in-depth tour of the lock mechanics and motors by the lock master. Talk about a glimpse into the past. Here was a guy whose full-time job is to operate equipment that’s barely changed in 100 years. The backup generators look like they’re out of a museum — but they’re still the main backups. Meticulously cared for — brass shining. More people should see this stuff.

Later, our route pulled us out of the Mohawk River valley for the first time in a long time (saving us quite a few miles over the Erie Canal route) and south into Schenectady. This gave us a straight shot to Albany, but…a lesson we kept learning…it put us into the suburbs — a nightmare for bikers. Multiple lanes, no shoulders, no sidewalks, and lots of traffic. Lots of drivers looking at you like you’re crazy, like you don’t belong. Alas, we made it and headed into the heart of Albany and the capital (the older parts of town are always more bike friendly).

We took a break at the capital and met some friendly guards who watched our bikes while we took the tour. One of the more interesting capital buildings I’ve ever seen. We also got to witness a bit of politics — an assemblywoman showed up to gavel the session in and out to circumvent something the governor wanted to do.

After Albany, our ride turned into one of the few “slogs” that we had on the trip. We were already tired had another 45-50 miles to reach our campground and pool. The roads, still scenic along the Hudson, continually went up and down hills in a systematic strength zapper. To top it off, James got a flat with just a mile to go. We pulled into the campground in the dark with our tent site number pinned to the bulletin board outside the campground office. All was quite and closed…

…including our pool.

We set up our tents, zombied through a shower, and crawled into our bags. Tired, but we slept knowing that Manhattan was definitely within reach.

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