Cycling Central New York...
Central New York certainly has a lot of variety - canals, lakes, wineries, pretty towns and lots of hills! I've been surprised by how hilly it is. Yesterday, I road 65 miles from Ithaca to Norwich and did more climbing than any other day of the whole trip! I was beat by the end of the day and am looking forward to shorter routes in the next few days.
But a bigger surprise than any of that was my opportunity to be a good Samaritan yesterday. I was riding through a rural area and saw a woman mowing her yard on a riding mower. As I got closer to her, she made a turn next to a steep ditch and got too close to the edge. The mower started to slide and then rolled into the ditch. She landed underneath it with her leg pinned under the mower and yelling in pain. I was able to pull the mower off her and then went to the house to get help. The woman's mother answered the door and after I told her what had happened she ran to the ditch. The woman's first words to her were (I am not making this up) 'I think I broke my leg. Call an ambulance... and bring me a cigarette!' While she went to back to the house to call 911, I helped the lady sit up. By this time, she decided her leg wasn't broken and wanted to get up. So, I helped her stand and then helped her walk back to the house. As I was leaving, I could hear the ambulance coming... I don't know if she ever got her cigarette.
Compared to that excitement, the rest of my week seems tame. I enjoyed a relaxing couple of days with the Hartmans. Their 120 year old home is beautiful and they have a huge yard filled with big maple trees, flowers and a garden with fresh tomatoes ready to be picked. They have their own circus with daughters Rebecca and Marissa and a few neighborhood extras spending their last summer days bouncing on the trampoline, making crafts, dancing in the living room and putting in a good 15 seconds of practice each time they pass the piano. There's also Luci the dog, who had to go to the vet for surgery to have a growth in her mouth removed. She came home at the end of the day with two less teeth than she started with and reeling from the anesthetic like a drunken sailor just returning from a 3 day leave. She kept bumping into walls, tripping over door sills and falling down stairs which would have been funny if you didn't feel so sorry for her.
On the road, I rejoined the Erie Canal for a day passing through the pretty towns of Fairport and Pittsford. The worst part of the week was fixing a flat in the rain. Inspecting the tires, I found a lot of cracks and cuts and decided it was time to get some maintenance done if I didn't want to be doing this often. The next day, I found a great bike shop in Geneva NY and got new tires, brake pads and a chain. Now, I'm good to go for the rest of the trip!
I also passed through Palmyra. Asking directions from a pair of moms in the park, I was told to turn at the Four Church Corner. Apparently, this is the only intersection in America that has a church on each of the four corners. Surprisingly, none of the churches were Mormon, as the other thing Palmyra is famous for is being the home of Joseph Smith. He had his revelation to start the Mormon church near here. I passed Cumorah Hill where this is supposed to have happened.
Passing through the Finger Lakes was beautiful. This area is filled with vineyards and I took the opportunity to stop for a tasting and lunch at one on Cayuga Lake. Some of the area's white wines are pretty good. I can't say much for the reds, but lunch was outstanding. (Anything that includes a cheese plate is sure to get high marks from me.)
I'm now in Cooperstown, NY. I'm taking a day off tomorrow to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame!