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A day in the life

This morning I woke up after 07:00, which is a little later than I’d have liked. I followed my normal morning routine: rolled up & compressed my sleeping bag, tossed the unneeded bags out of my tent onto the grass, ate a pop-tart while walking to the restroom + change into my jersey & chamois (liberally applying chamois butt’r). I put my handlebar bag on my bike, took off the plastic bag protecting my leather saddle from the morning dew’s water damage, dissembled my tent, rolled the dry tent pieces into its compression sack, and laid my wet groundcloth in the morning sun to dry as I finished getting ready. I pulled out my backpacking stove, connected the fuel (pumping 20x), boiled water, poured an ample quantity of instant oatmeal from a gallon ziplog bag, and added a banana. While my breakfast was cooling off, I finished packing away my house, unplugged & packed away my electrical gear charging on the power strip plugged into the RV hookup, and put away the unneeded items into the BUSMS trailer. After gobbling down the rest of my ~800 calorie breakfast, I rinsed my cookware, stashed it away in my cubby, brushed my teeth, took a B-12 vitamin, and threw the rest of my unneaded gear into my cubby.

I was able to finish getting ready before 08:30 (the scheduled departure time for the BUSMS trailer from the campsite), but I was the last one to hit the road–which typically yields a long, slow day. Fortunately, I wasn’t too far behind everyone; in the first few miles on the road, I passed Kevin (quite the trooper) and Brian K. 21 miles later I came to the first van stop and happily discovered that the early crew (Scott, Skylar, Savannah, Matt, Liz) were still filling up their water bottles & Carbondale still hadn’t been seen. I unpacked my cookware and filled my pot until it was full of pasta (~1 lb). Pump. Ignight. Wait for Blue Flame. Boil. Drain. I added vegan bouluen for seasoning, threw half of it down my throat, strapped the half-empty pot of pasta onto my bike’s rear rack for later, threw my unneaded gear back in my cubby, and headed off back down the road.

While I was cooking, everyone (the early crew, Cassie/Liz D, Carbondale, Kevin, Brain K, and everyone else) except Brian W had passed me (cooking myself always sets me back), but I re-passed Kevin & Brain K within ~5 miles. Another 5 miles (and a few turns) later, we took a right onto Canalway Trail. We spent the rest of our ~64 mile day riding on this path–which ended up being about half gravel/dirt & half paved. Thankfully, my wide touring tires had no complaints. It was less efficient, but realtively smooth.

Riding down to get onto the trail, my pot with pasta bungeed onto my rear rack popped off. As I was figuring a better way to strap it down in anticipation for the rough road ahead, Brian K caught up to me. We took each other’s photo in front of the “Canalway Trail” sign and rode together down the trail. In the next few miles we somehow joined up with the early crew & Carbondale, got a little lost, re-found our way, and re-splitup heading west down the trail.

I rode alone for quite a while until I came across several BUSMS cyclists surrounding a snapping turtle in the middle of the trail under a bridge. While some of the other cyclists were poking it with a stick–amused by both the turtle’s & my snapping reaction–I tried to push it towards the canal’s water out of the path. The other cyclists lost interest & continued west. Afterwards, the turtle finally started walking towards the water & dove in on his own accord.

While I was tweeting my successful rescue of the turtle, Brian K caught up. We rode together for the next several miles, passed a few BUSMS cyclists eating lunch, and tried (albeit failed) to refill our water bottles at (what turned out to be) a non-operational water fountain. Brain wanted to eat at “Aladdan’s Natural Eatery,” and–since he owed me 3 dinners–he offered to buy me a meal. The trail took us south, west, then north but the next town was directly west, so we rode by iPhone off the trail for the next few miles to shorten our ride. When we arrived, we immediately noticed a bike shop. Brian paid $15 to true his rear wheel (broken spoke probably due to a inwardly-angled rear derailer). While we waited for the service to be done, we ate delicious $10 meals a Alaaddan’s (Brian opted 2 glasses of freshly squeezed OJ [$4 each]). After eating our meals (mine was a decently sized plate of couscous, sauce, and veggies), I proceeded to devour the other 1/2 lb of pasta I made earlier. Brian discovered their raw brown sugar packets contained large energy-boosting grains co1mparable to rock candy, so we each grabbed a handful & left a tip.

I realized that I was expecting a package in Spencerport (our final destination for the day), which was 30km west following the Canalway Trail–south past Rochester, NY. Brian & I wanted to go checkout the city, but it was 14:45 and I had to make it to the Spencerport USPS before they closed @ 17:00 to pickup my Amazon shipment. It wouldn’t have been an issue, but the trail was half gravel/dirt and we had *nasty* headwinds. So to make good time I started crushing it (as best as one does on a 30lb touring beast of a Raleigh Sojourn into obnoxious headwinds). 30km later, I happily read the green welcoming sign: SPENCERPORT. Read the town map display. Ride across the bridge. Up. Up. Up Hill. Big smile as I read: POST OFFICE. 16:24. Success @ ~18 kmph = ~11 mph.

I picked up 2 boxes of amazon goodies, bunged them down to my rear rack, followed the BUSMS signs to the church, and unpacked my amazon packages (the order I placed last week) like it was Christmas evening. I got myself: an insulated water bottle, an 8-oz jar of “eurostyle” *menthol* chamois butt’r, headphones, an $18 cateye cyclocomputer, and a box of Clif energy shots @ ~$1/shot). Today our ride was in the 90s and–going west–this heat/humidity is only beginning, so that insulated water bottle is an $8 golden gem.

I followed the signs to a local church (our indoor campsite). A church meeting was taking place, so we had to wait until ~20:00 to move our gear inside. The church didn’t have a shower, but Skyler & Savannah discovered a hose around back that was refreshingly freezing (compared to the >90 deg F heat). We stripped down to our chamois, whipped out the biodegradable soap, lathered up, and passed the hose around community style–shuddering every time we drenched each other with the ice-cold water. Best. Shower. Ever.

After my shower, the rest of the BUSMS group dissipated; most went into town in search of food. Brian K rolled up shortly thereafter. After some quick smart phone magic, Brian discovered there was a laundromat immediately next to a grocery store within 2 miles. Score.

After starting a load of laundry, we locked up our bikes and Brian bought us $40 worth of beans, rice, condiments, and other vegan calorie-packed goodness (4lb of 3min elbow macaroni for $4 FTW. Also, 5 boxes of instant brown rice). I bought several munchies on the side. We checked out, unlocked our bikes, moved the laundry to the dryer, and waited.

While idle waiting for our clothes to finish, I sat out on the curb outside the laundromat and ate 7 servings of sunflower seeds, 3/4 of a box of animal crackers, and half a box of pringles. Our clothes finally finished at ~22:00. Realizing that it was probably too late to go back to the church and cook dinner, we decided to hit up the Chinese takeout adjacent to the laundromat. They closed for the day, but the cook happily waved us in. We each ate a quart of vegetable fried rice, and it was an amazing final meal.

We struggled packing all our food & clothes for transport via bicycles, but somehow managed to haul the rest back to the church (my 1 rear pannier was jam-packed with ~20lb of beans and we had another 2 plastic bags full of food).

When we got to the church, everyone was asleep except Liz G (birthday girl) & Kathrine, who were chilling in the parking lot by the trailer. We organized all our food, marked it with our names, and loaded it into the trailer. Brian scoped out the inside of the church and decided that we were least likely to disturb our fellow sleeping BUSMS cyclists by taking the side door to sleep upstairs. It was terribly hot inside, but we were able to open the sliding glass door (screen equipped) to let in some cool night air. To our satisfaction, we discovered there was a bathroom on the second floor. Use restroom. Brush teeth.

We both decided we wanted to wake up early the next morning to get an early start and checkout Buffalo, NY. So, we set our alarms to 05:00, made our sleeping bag beds, popped benadryl, and passed out at around midnight.

Tomorrow we’ll wake up to another adventurous day on the road to Seattle!

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