Day 6: Utica to Amsterdam NY

This was a great day of riding, nearly all on paved trails and we covered 66 miles in record time (at least for us) . We started the day in the Rosewood Bed and Breakfast and chatted with the other guests over coffee as we waited for warm bread pudding with blueberries, then loaded up and headed down Genesee Street toward the canal. People said hello to us as we passed by their storefronts as they opened up for the day, and we heard a woman call “safe travels!” from a car and realized it was Venus, one of the managers from the B&B.

One of the things I realize about this blog is that we don’t take photos when we are moving through busy streets, so the trash filled boulevards and beautiful, decaying, vacant 19th century buildings that populate cities like Utica aren’t really reflected here. This part of New York is beautiful and historic and also experiencing high rates of poverty. And getting to and from the Erie Canalway trail when we are stopping for the night or looking for something to eat is when we get to experience contemporary life in the region. Much of the time that we are on the trail it is surrounded by marshes or woods or farms as we travel along or near the canal.

A mother and daughter duo from Vermont who are also traveling the canalway by bike reported that they encountered four bear cubs on the trail near this church before we traveled past…followed by their concerned mama bear.

This turned out to be the day that we finally saw a lockmaster in action as two boats – one from Michigan and the other from Florida – made their way through lock 18, with the boaters navigating in and grabbing on to the ropes there. The change in water depth is 20 feet and it took about fifteen minutes to close the gates and fill it up so they could continue on their travels toward the Great Lakes.

The landscape is starting to change as we are starting to get closer to the Catskills, with more hills. The trail was also paved for much of the way today so we traveled faster than previous days.

Lunch was a stop by the lovely small town of Canajoharie for tacos in a park, followed by a visit to the Arkell museum, which houses art from the Mohawk River valley and the art collected by the founders of Beech Nut. Impressed by the number of Winslow Homer paintings in this small museum just a few blocks off of the trail.

The day ended in Amsterdam, where there is an impressive “castle” that is a hotel and where we did not stay (hello, Microtel on the highway). We had a great evening eating outside at Lorenzo’s Southside, an Italian restaurant, and are preparing for rain on our way to Albany for the last leg of the Erie Canalway.

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