Beginning of new traditions.
Another piece of advice I took from Paul at the Spoke in Williamstown, regarded fuelling a bikepacking adventure. The routine he advocated is:
Get up and pack up quick (I don’t manage the quick part here!), cycle to the first diner you come to (I give at least 10miles first), stack up on a big cooked meal, then get cycling for the day.
So when I arrived in Schenectady after having packed up my tent and reloaded panniers etc, and when I had to stop because one of my cleats (shoe>pedal connectors) wouldn’t disengage; I got chatting with a young local lad who was interested in my bike.
I needed somewhere to affix new cleats and I also needed food. He recommended the Scotia Diner located just across the river. I reckon if I’m going to ask for recommendations, I may as well follow them, so I did and I was not disappointed!
After a big breakfast I sat outside in the glorious sunshine, fixed my repairs and got chatting with a group of fellow cyclists who’d just come out of the diner also – their weekly traditional: Big ride followed by big breakfast.
Thereafter, my day was spent between riding the NY Bike Route #5 which shares highways, and trying to find the Erie Canal Bikeway – advertised as being a continuous bike path between Albany and Buffalo. It’s not!
Vast stretches do not exist and my abiding memory is of fresh paving when the path may be seen by non-users, dirt-track and/or gravel when they can get away with it. And for a canalway trail, most of the trail does not follow alongside the canal. After my pleasure riding the Mowhawk-Hudson Bikeway, I was disappointed with the ECB.
Anyway, I eventually ran out of time that could be wasted between this road and that path and needed to find somewhere to stop.
I got lucky with the St Johnsville Marina & Campsite. Perfect location – I could have cycled on a bit further, got my century ride for the day, but really couldn’t pass up this view.
And because the campsite wasn’t yet open for the season, a local guy said I could just camp for free = perfect!