I realised last night that the reason that the bike route 5 signs had stopped was because bike route 5 had actually changed roads without me noticing. Instead of following state route 5, bike route 5 now followed state route 5s, got it? After realising this, I made plans to get onto state route 5s and therefore back onto bike route 5. The plan didn’t take too long as all that was required was to follow the 169 out of down, across the river and onto route 5s. The morning was cold cold cold again. Unlike when it was hot, where the winds created by cycling would cool me down, cycling makes the cold feel even colder due to the same winds. I know it sounds like I have gone soft having spent too long in the heat, but it really was cold. The picture below shows that there was frost on the ground. Fortunately, the route out of town was mostly uphill which certainly got the blood going.
Soon I was onto route 5s and sure enough, there returned the bike route 5 signs.The nest section of riding took me inland a bit, away from the canal. In previous experience, any time the route detoured from the canal meant hills. I did have the option of following the path along the canal, but on close inspection, it was not good quality and would have probably slowed me down more than any hills, so I stayed on the route and faced the inevitable hills. In all honesty, I didn’t really mind the hills, they were not difficult, there was no wind, it wasn’t 90 degrees and climbing was a good way to warm up. What did worry me was the painfully cold descents. I was slowly climbing up a large hill when I car came passed really close and then swerved away from me. It was the closest anyone had come to hitting me the whole trip and I certainly made myself known as they drove off. Still cursing away, a few minutes later the driver came back down the hill, stopped beside me and apologised.
The road wound back to run parallel with the canal again which once again gave me the option of taking the canal path. This time I decided to take the path, by now it was mostly paved with some sections of light gravel that was still fine to cycle on. I was making good progress, so I decided to aim for Albany, which would make it an 80 mile day. Its longer than I needed to go, but with bad weather expected tomorrow, I thought it best to push on today.
I left the path briefly in search of food in the town of Amsterdam. Despite being quite a big place, Amsterdam was really short of places to eat. The only suitable place within distance was a crappy looking Chinese restaurant. I went in and ordered, the woman said something, I asked for a repetition, she repeated, I agreed. No idea what she said, but looking back I can only assume that she asked “do you want the horrible, cheap version of what you’ve just asked for”. I haven ‘t had great experience with Chineses so far, but this was definitely the worst.
Despite lunch, I continued to make good progress and confirmed that I would be able to reach Albany today. I phoned Carrie, a warmshowers host, to ask if I could stay for the night, she agreed to let me stay. I followed the canal down to Scotia where I parted ways with the canal for the last time. Then it was the tricky task of manoeuvring Schenectady whilst trying to remain on the bike route. surprisingly successful, I was now on my way to Albany, the capital of New York State. Carrie lives on the west side of Albany which meant that I didn’t have to go through much of it to reach her place, therefore Albany was much easier to navigate than its size might suggest. Carrie and her partner Sean work at a local bike rescue centre, where they restore old bikes. They had a friend Alyssa staying with them, and they were all immediately very accommodating. After an excellent vegie meal, we gathered round to watch skins, which I recommended, forgetting how inappropriate it is.
This was my last full day in New York State, right foot, followed by my left foot I suddenly find myself running out of country. Tomorrow I will enter my last state, Massachusetts!