Net Elevation gain: 203 ft.
Average Speed: 8.4 mph
Top Speed: 38.6 mph
Time spent biking: about 6 ½ hours
Total time for the day's travels: about 11 hours
Miles biked today: 54.6
Total for trip: 275 miles
For breakfast this morning, we ate local flavored yogurt (raspberry, strawberry, and orange) with granola. While packing up our gear and getting ready to ride, a fellow camper, a boy of maybe eight years came over and asked Jenny, “Is that a motorcycle or a bike?” Satisfied with the answer, he ran back to tell the rest of his family (“It's a BIKE!”), who we later gave a card with our blog on it, so they could follow along on our trip. What fun! We get all kinds of questions and comments about our bike each day. It's fun that people feel comfortable coming up to ask questions and talk with us. We love it!
Once again, it rained today. For the 5th day out of 6 so far, it has rained for at least part of the day. Since in rained only in the morning this time, much of our gear actually dried up in the afternoon while strapped to the top of the bags on the rear rack. Anything that is really damp or wet, we like to strap on rather than pack into the bags because the wet can be spread inside the bags to other things that were dry.
We stopped for brunch at a little country store. We get to see so many different versions of “country store” while passing through the smaller towns, and we enjoy that very much. This instance offered a tasty Chicken Parmesan sub! We also ate a delicious brownie and drank some mango juice from Snapple. (Side note: It is really hard to find good juice in the small towns and it usually isn't an option. Snapple is okay, but if you want something besides that or orange juice or apple juice from the soda companies, good luck!)
Today we saw another great blue heron. It flew off before we could snap a picture, but it was standing in the shallows of a river we crossed in the morning. We also saw a couple trains today! We like seeing trains; there's just something about them that is intriguing or exciting.
The terrain today was wonderful. We were riding in the river valleys most of the day, and it makes a huge difference, especially for this bike. We may be super slow up the big hills, but we can make decent progress in the valleys, even when we're gaining elevation.
Another wonderful thing we discovered today was that singing makes the miles (and small hills) speed by! We don't always know all the words to songs, but we try and see how many of the words we can remember. We've been singing songs by Bill Staines, Billy Joel, Kate Wolf, and any other songs we can think of, like The Star Spangled Banner. This is why we wanted the tandem, so we can talk and sing together without difficulty. Of course, when we're huffing and puffing from the more significant hills, singing is more difficult no matter what you do!
As we neared Binghamton, our road turned into a large interstate highway. We decided to give it a try, and continued riding on it the few more miles into the city, instead of trying to find an alternate road that would take us the way we wanted to go. We were a little nervous at first, but the few miles biking on the highway were actually quite pleasant. We had a big shoulder to ourselves and followed a large river on our right, so the grade of the road was mostly flat. People seemed to be aware that we were there and tried to move over to give us more room.
Binghamton was not the most attractive city. Most of what we traveled through was run down and a lot of places were for sale or vacant. We were looking for a cafe to stop and rest, and hopefully be able to go on line to look up directions. We found one after coming into the city from the north and turning west on Route 17C. They claimed to have the best sweet potato fries in the city, so we got some, along with two cups of fresh squeezed lemonade. The Internet connection was slow and therefore frustrating to use, but it did eventually prove to be useful in helping us determine our end destination...and the sweet potato fries were really good.
When we left the cafe, it was after 5 P.M. and we were both feeling cranky and tired. We made one more stop before we left Binghamton, this time for some groceries. Jenny went into the store and picked out yummy food: cucumber, blueberries, granola, soy milk, avocado, and nectarine.
The road to get to the campground went straight up. It looked like a hill that you would expect to find in Seattle, WA, or San Fransisco, CA. We went slowly, but we made it to the top. We took a few stops on the way up to talk with people out in their yards about our bike and our trip, and also just to take breaks. When we got to the top we had climbed up 400 ft in just 1 1/8 miles! Eesh.
We made it to the campground and set up our tent, took a shower, made a meal, and went to bed. We had gotten a bit of sun, which might have sped up our exhaustion.
Note: We are planning to write another “Questions Answered” post to answer a bunch of questions that have been asked in the comments. We love the questions, and all the comments. They are the first thing we look at when we stop someplace with Internet! Thank you so much for all your support!