Sunday, July 17, 2005

East Aurora to Waterbury

Saturday, July 16, 2005 1:30 p.m.

Up just before 9:00. Cousin Priscilla’s birthday, which she’d rather ignore. She’s off to a baby shower, then a Pfohl Family Reunion in Canada. She encouraged me to come to the reunion, but it doesn’t feel right. I'm not a part of the Pfohl Clan. I’ll head to Vermont instead, but assured her I'd soon return with my brother.

Left her house about 11:00 and drove a few blocks to "Taste" to check e-mail. Accidentally erased my blog entry from Cleveland, so I had to re-create it. My "brief" stop dragged out. Of course, I had to eat...cappuccino and a bagel, then coffee and a brownie!

Two young fellows set up with guitars. They led off with a barely audible "The Times They are a Changin'."

Rode east. A hazy, heavy day. Oppressive heat and humidity. Started out on highway 20A, but by Geneseo, decided to cut over to the New York State Thruway, leaving the sometimes-scenic Finger Lakes region. Passing an old Erie Canal lock, a song I hadn't heard in 40 or more years pops up: Tennessee Ernie Ford's (I think) "The Erie Canal."

A pretzel and soda at a Thruway Service Area (controlled access and contracted concessions.) Avoided storms all afternoon; encountered wet streets, but no rain. Took several wrong turns along the way. Maybe I should reconsider that GPS...

Looked forward to the Adirondack Mountains for some relief from the heat. It's a beautiful area (even more so if the weather were better.) That my brother Jeff expected my arrival in Vermont later today created some negativity; I didn't want to be bound by expectations. This prevented my stopping at places that looked intriguing, forcing me instead to just focus on time and distance.

Driving through the mountains in fading light, deer were a big concern. I've heard stories of collisions up this way.

Reached the picturesque Hudson River Valley, but the "mucky" weather made it uninteresting. Crossed into Vermont from Crown Point and almost immediately the air was filled with the heavy smell of dairies.

The ride became more frustrating the closer I got. Slow drivers(!), reduced speed limits, frequent towns, construction for miles leading into Burlington. Had planned to meet Jeff at the "Longhorn Steakhouse" in Burlington, but I couldn't find it. (I was to call him once I arrived there.) Instead, I drove all the way to Waterbury (watching out for moose along the way.)

He seemed relieved that I had arrived safely. Rolled the bike into his garage, alongside the other bikes, including the (slower) yellow version of mine.

Went around the block to "The Alchemist" brew pub, and took a table in their bar. The last time I visited, I had suggested we come here, but couldn't interest him. Great bleu cheese burgers and fresh french fries! It's exciting to have a good restaurant right here. We "stuffed" ourselves. Coffee with Bushmill's Irish Cream topped it all off.

Back at his house, watched the weather channel, hoping for some sign of a break in the weather (Jeff does not tolerate heat well.) Called the relatives to report my safe arrival. Watched a movie, Million Dollar Baby. Up past 3:00 a.m.

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