Day 5: Zero Day in Ithaca
So my last update was during my rest day of the trip hanging out in Ithaca. Fun little town to hang out in. It was the week before graduation so there was much activity and craziness about.
The evening before (so, still Day 4, really), we had stopped in to the Alehouse for dinner. Quite the selection of burgers. I ended up trying something called the “Big Sexy” Burger; the burger is rubbed in garlic and onion, then dipped in crushed red pepper. It comes with American and cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. It was quite sizeable and quite delicious.
On Thursday (back to Day 5 now), after poking about most of the morning, I went over to The Commons to meet up with JP and his buddy George (JP is my friend in Rochester — I was crashing with him at the beginning of the trip), who were motorcycling around the region for a couple of days. We chilled and enjoyed the sunshine for a while before heading on over to the Moosewood for dinner (tasty chipotle catfish). As the evening got on, we headed up the hill to check out a few pubs there. Most notable was a stop in Stella’s for some delicious bourbon and beer.
With that, I wrapped up a lazy day in Ithaca. It was nice to get some rest, especially as I knew I had a long, hard day ahead of me.
Day 6: Ithaca to Dundee
This day was by far the hardest day of the trip, as I was covering quite a distance (over 45 miles), and the terrain was quite hilly. No climbs as impressive as the climb up to the national forest, but many long hills that still wear quite a bit. I wanted to stop in at Watkins Glen State Park, so I spent the morning crossing the very hilly stretch from the south end of Cayuga Lake to the south end of Seneca Lake. The downhill into Watkins Glen was pretty impressive, but I knew I would have to pay for it later with the climb out of Watkins Glen on the other side.
The gorge at Watkins Glen was phenomenally beautiful. So naturally, I took many pictures.
So I relaxed for some lunch in Watkins Glen after hiking around for a bit. I knew I needed to get on my way before too much longer, but I was in no rush to face the climb out of Watkins Glen.
The hill out of Watkins Glen going up routes 14 and 14A was quite a climb. Steep, yes, but also very long. The north wind also decided to be my enemy today, and I was faced with a strong oncoming breeze in addition to the climb. I had some beautiful lake views coming up route 14, and so I would at least stop for a break every now and then to check it out (see picture above).
It was early evening when I finally arrived at the home of my hosts for the evening near Dundee, and I was definitely worn from the long day of cycling. Bill and Terry were fantastic hosts and, after giving me an opportunity to grab a nice shower, treated me to a dinner of wild duck enchiladas. It was quite the flavorful combination. I do so love wild game meats.
After a lovely evening of conversation on assorted subjects, I was able to unwind and catch a nice night’s sleep in the excellent guest cabin you see here, which is hidden back in the woods on Bill and Terry’s property. Very cool.
Day 7: Dundee to Canandaigua
With an equally generous and delicious breakfast, I was off from Dundee to wind my way up the west side of Keuka Lake, through Penn Yan, and back to Canandaigua.
On my way up by Keuka Lake, I stopped in at two more vineyards to round out the wine tour portion of the trip. The first stop was at Rooster Hill Vineyards on route 54. They had some tasty whites and reds of the usual varities seen in the Finger Lakes region (riesling, gewurztraminer, cab franc, lemberger), but what struck me the most of this particular visit was how friendly the staff was. Rooster Hill has, by far, the friendliest staff of any of the wineries I visited over the past week.
The next stop was at Keuka Springs Vineyards, just a dash up route 54. I was very happy to see a seyval blanc on their tasting list. This was my first encounter with seyval on this trip (which kinda surprised me, I figured more people would be into it, since I imagine it grows quite happily in the Finger Lakes). I’m definitely a fan of seyval blanc, and this one did not disappoint me. Good melon and honey notes with a lightly floral nose and an excellent acidic crispness. There was a nice perceived sweetness without much in the way of residual sugar actually in the wine. Quite nice indeed.
From Penn Yan, it was just a couple of hours of riding to Canandaigua, where JP picked me up and drove my exhausted self back to Rochester, closing out this week-long bike tour. Whew…