“Rest Day” #1
As you may have gathered, while touring I tend to fall a few days behind in updating this blog. I’ve come to refer to the cause of this less-than-perfect situation as “The Unlikely Trinity Of Bikepacker Blogging.”
Basically, in order to update blog, 3 requirements must all be met:
1) Time – blogging is a time consuming process (about an hour is spent tapping words on a mobile phone screen, selecting and uploading photos individually, for each “day” blogged);
2) Internet Access – Quite simply, if I can’t access the internet (either through host/petrol-station’s wifi or phone signal – I had virtually zero T-Mobile phone signal the entire way through New York State), then I can’t access blog-site, less upload and save ramblings to;
3) Battery Power – Similar to internet access, when I don’t have any/sufficient charge in my phone, I cannot write the blog. Despite having a nifty dynamo-hub on my front wheel which creates an electric charge when I cycle – which powers bike-lights and through a mounted USB-adapter allows me to charge a battery – this hasn’t always proved most reliable. Also, the time taken to write blogs quickly drains phone battery – which I prioritise for Strava: No battery power means Strava isn’t recording, and anyone who’s ever used Strava knows – if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen!
Also, it’s so much quicker to just follow my Strava statistics and watch my Relive My Ride videos (as below) to see how fast, how steep and where I’m riding…
However, 9 days into my ride came my first “rest day” of sorts. Plan had been to rest up with just a short leisurely cycle over to the next town in the afternoon.
I enjoyed a rested morning getting blog properly up to date, then in the glorious sunshine headed out for Geneva. And about halfway there, it started raining.
Luckily, as the first specks fell, I passed by a roadside burger joint so thought apt to stop and seek both shelter and breakfast.
Started chatting with a couple who were sitting next to me, both incredulous at the scale of my challenge, and who offered to put me up for the night. However, having only cycled 6 miles, I was reluctant, so provisioned that if it was still raining when we’d finished eating, then I’d accept. It stopped.
Back on the road with a small but juicy and over-priced burger in my belly, I peddled on to Geneva where I had no accommodation booked but was aiming for a vineyard just south of town where I convinced myself that in exchange for buying a bottle of their wine they may allow me to pitch tent.
It started raining before I could find out. Torrential rain. Thunder and lightning. Utterly drenched. Huge disappointment!
Not wanting to be sitting atop a steel-framed bicycle in the middle of a lightning storm, I got off, rested my bike against a tree and sought shelter under entrance canopy of the closest hotel. I looked a little out of place. After 20 minutes without let-up, I checked online for hotel prices in the area, and realising the price of the hotel I was outside of, realised just how out of place I really looked!
Eventually though it stopped raining, though the wind didn’t ease and I could set off again – knowing that I was fast running out of the exceedingly few options I’d set out with, and rueing my decision not to accept that couple’s offer.
I passed a couple of vineyard operations, though they had fancy/pricey hotels attached, so camping not an option there. I stopped at the Gael Brewery and asked advice. Initially, there seemed nothing to be had and my worst fear was coming to fruition – being stuck with nowhere to stay and nowhere to pitch tent; the dread of just not knowing what to do next, with zero options available. So I did the only thing possible at the time. I had a pint.
Amazingly, unbeknown to me, while I was sitting there, dripping wet and shivering cold, nursing my pint of pale ale, one of the other customers was outside making a few calls trying to fix me up a place to camp.
And just as I was finishing my pint, call came though that I could pitch up by the West Lake Fire Department, about 6 miles south.
In all, my “rest day” turned out to be the most stressful day of the trip thus far, yet also reinforces my belief in the kindness of strangers and the good nature of (most) people.
Many thanks to Ashley, my couchsurfing host in Seneca Falls; and Fire Chief Nate Martin for allowing a desperate traveller a place to rest (and pizza).