Early morning leaving Niagara Falls...
The other bikers still sleep.
I can't believe in one week this will all be over.
We'll have dipped tires in the Atlantic ocean and I'll be on my way home.
We've been in 41 hotel rooms in 44 days.
Half the time I don't know which room is mine.
I can't remember which way to go for the bathroom in the middle of the night.
It will be so nice to be home.
I thought it would be easier to bike after a day of rest.
But my legs are still asleep.
The gentle hills of Western New York don't feel so gentle.
The roadside attractions give me pause...
When man goes away the flowers will take over.
Purple loosestrife may inherit our world.
The New York cows cheer me on.
So nice to see cows out in fields in open air.
They chew their cuds thoughtfully as I spin by.
The legs are waking up.
They yawn and stretch.
They take a hill without complaint.
Maybe this rest day did help.
Morning apples call me to stop.
Their sunrise colors want my attention.
Mike says I get so tired because I stop to take so many photos.
I'm on the road longer than anyone else.
My body has no time to recover in the evening.
But how can I ignore these lovely apples?
I pass a river -
No, this is no river.
Rivers are like me.
They like to meander...
weaving from side to side...
...not in a hurry to get anywhere.
This may be the Erie Canal.
This is a cheery countryside.
People do funny things like paint faces on hay bales.
Their yard art includes Tuggy the Tugboat...
...and flower filled toilets.
Farmers leave out their produce...
Just drop your money in the can and you get fresh green peppers...
I'd never seen garlic at a roadside stand before.
First SAG stop at a wildlife refuge...
I've beat the truck to the SAG.
The only other biker out is Little Margo.
She couldn't sleep so she started out early too.
Love her Rolling Stone jersey from London Ontario.
I can slow down and read the signs at the Wildlife Refuge.
Lots of wetlands.
Hawks fly overhead - two more for the Red-tail Conservancy count!
|Photo by Tom Williams|
Great Blue Herons wake up and fly their lazy, slow wing strokes over the ponds.
Farmers till the rich soil...
Wait a minute! I thought we had learned not to till.
It takes hundreds of years to replace one inch of that topsoil blowing into my eyes.
Of all the resources we need to sustain for our kids' futures, the topsoil may be the most important.
The other bikers start to catch up.
The Swiss team and Katie moving fast...
Andrew a little slower on "The Tank".
We pass hedgerows full of tiny pink flowers...
Oh no! It's crown vetch!
A highly invasive plant that chokes out our natives and is toxic to horses.
Is this the same flower I saw in the Sioux Falls prairie?
I hope not.
And look, entwined with the evil crown vetch is deadly nightshade!
I think I'll avoid this dastardly hedgerow.
There's the reddest barn I've ever seen...
And one of the saddest...
How can we let these treasures of our history just crumble before our eyes?
I love to hear about the people who rescue old barn wood and give it new life.
Or Barn Again who saves the wonderful old barns.
More scary plants in New York state.
This vine seems to smother everything that doesn't move fast enough.
I'd better pedal faster.
This grape vine is everywhere
The birds love it.
And we've found a way to make wine with the grapes.
It looks like the Niagara of the plant kingdom!
We're nearing town now.
Seeing houses with beautiful gardens.
A feast for the eyes and butterflies...
Speaking of feasts...
What's on the menu tonight?
I don't think so.
So I stay in the hotel and order out spaghetti and meatballs.
Ken sits out on the picnic bench calling home.
I think we are all of us ready for home.
All of us but Alex.
I haven't seen her all day.
And as I crawl into bed she is staying up playing cards with her two Jeffs.
Young hands hold the cards.
Old hands know the tricks.
...and I sleep.