Monday, July 7, 2014

Days 13 - 14 NYC to Niagara Falls

July 6 - 7, 2014

My favorite part of these bike trips with my kids is meeting cool people, and we met a bunch over the past two days.  Here we are with Sam Deb, who owns the Solvay Super Saver with his dad.  It's on the corner of Milton Avenue and West End Drive in Solvay, NY, just west of Syracuse.  We bought a tasty lunch there, and Sam treated us to free Gatorade out of respect for our long trip.  Cool dude running a good store -- go there.  

We also met Steve Myrto, who lives near the Erie Canal Trail.  He and his son hung out with us for a while, telling us about the surrounding area and showing off the remains of an impressive snapping turtle Steve found by the canal.  He covered the turtle with rocks until it was dried out and ready to take home.  Steve gave Saya two of its claws as souvenirs.

And here is Cord Schoemann from Bremen, Germany, who is cycling solo from NYC to Chicago.  From there, he plans to drive out west with a friend and cycle in Wyoming and beyond.  It's an excellent way to explore the U.S.

Since the TV news segment aired two nights ago, many strangers have approached us, usually saying something like, "Hey, you're that family we saw on TV!"  Several told me how much they wanted to spend more time with their kids, but struggle to balance this desire with the need to make money.  There's no easy solution to this age-old problem.  Although one farmer told me, "It's simple.  Just have 'em work with you on the farm."  I expected a few naysayers to question my judgment, but to my relief, everyone we spoke with praised our trip and the roadkill project we're working on.

Speaking of which, we've documented dozens of dead animals so far.  Saya felt sorry for a rabbit we came across this morning that had been killed by a car.  She laid flowers around the animal and gave it an impromptu eulogy.  

I know some people may find it strange that we are documenting roadkill, but I think it's a worthwhile project.  People really can reduce the number of animals killed, not to mention a lot of car accidents, with some simple re-designs of roads.  Also, I think it's valuable for my kids to pay attention to and care about the animals that die as we humans rush around.  For me, this project has served as a reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty that lies all around.

And we've been enjoying a lot of beauty along the Erie Canal, often stopping to appreciate the birds that sing to us as we ride.

We also play "I spy" to pass the time.  Here's an "I spy" game for you: in this picture, can you spot the soccer ball that Sho just kicked?  Hint: it's headed straight for you, and its shadow is even visible.  

"I spy" game #2: try to find the Great Blue Heron in this photo.  Hint: it's near the water and far away.  This was as much of a close-up as I could get with an iPhone...

We slept last night in our tent in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.  When I mentioned our plans to a local, he said, "The mosquitos down there are the size of a small dog."  That was an exaggeration, but there were many, they were persistent, and they sure did get our attention.

We took refuge in our tent.

We got rained on this morning, but took it in stride.

And, after days of persistent requests, Saya finally got her wish: a stylin' fishing rod.  Life is good.

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