Rain, cows, flats, oh my

Posted 06/22 by Ruthie BenDor

The forecast for today: Rain. Rain rain rain. Oh well, had to happen eventually!

Jace dropped me off in Fonda around 8am at a Stewart’s gas station/convenience store, where I waited out a thunderstorm and got some work done. The rain stopped and I’d finished my work by 10am, so I hopped on Peg and set off along the canal bike path.

Erie Canal

Though the path was scenic, it was also unpaved: the surface was crushed gravel. So I hopped onto the road next to it and made great time to Canajoharie, where I stopped for lunch. The diner was busy but not too friendly, so I didn’t linger.

10 miles later, after huffing and puffing my way up some steep hills, I reached down to grab my smaller water bottle and discovered it wasn’t there. I’d left it back at the diner, and I’d come too far to turn around for it. Crap. Not that I was in desperate need of water at that point, as it’d begun raining steadily again.

A few wet miles later, toward the bottom of a long perilous descent on slick roads, I felt Peg shimmy. I looked down, and sure enough, my rear tire had gone flat. Great.

The nearest cover was a few hundred feet down the road, under the awning on the side of a dairy barn. Nobody was around, so I stripped the bike down and dug out my toolkit. Then a pickup pulled up, and dairy farmer John and two other kind fellas stepped out and came over to chat. I got the impression that I was the most exciting thing to happen to their day.

Dairy farmers

After I’d repaired my flat, they gave me a tour of the barn. Did you know that all the cows have names?

Cows

As I pulled my helmet back on and glanced at the road, I watched in horror as a car hydroplaned across the road, spun around a few times, crashed through a wire fence, and finally came to rest in a garden. I ran over to the car, which fortunately hadn’t flipped over. The driver got out and seemed shaken but otherwise okay.

Accident scene

I stuck around a few minutes until a state trooper showed up, gave him my contact information since other than the driver, I was the only eyewitness, then hit the road again.

Accident scene

Though I’d intended to bike sixty-five miles to Waterville today, at this point I had forty miles under my wheels and had had enough. So I called my host for the night and apologized, saying I wouldn’t be able to make Waterville that day and would be staying in Mohawk. Mary replied, “You know what? You’ve probably had a shitty day. Let me come and pick you up.”

Mary

Which is how I ended up in Waterville, eating a “simple” dinner prepared by Yves, a bona-fide French chef (Yves and Mary run La Petit Maison, a truly excellent French restaurant.)

Yves

A 'simple' dinner

I stuffed my shoes with newspaper and called it a night. Here’s hoping for less rain tomorrow!

Drying out

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