Congratulate four new end-to-enders!
We wrapped up our 360-mile-plus-a-detour journey along the Erie Canal with almost 50 miles to Albany and the train station where we’d left our cars more than a week earlier. The journey left us with a deep appreciation for how the Erie Canal transformed the America of the early 1800s, acting as the interstate highway of the day and creating wealthy towns along the way, evidenced by stunning brick homes and commercial buildings.
Here’s an interesting fact: even now, 80% of upstate New York’s population still lives within 25 miles of the Erie Canal. I hope the Erie Canal trail will give another economic jolt to some of these smaller towns as they capitalize on the many cyclists pedaling through. (Hint: add signs pointing to restaurants, ice-cream shops and more that are not obvious from the trail.)
As much as we saw, I know there was more to enjoy.
But on our final day, we pretty much powered through with an eye on the weather forecast for thunderstorms that fortunately kept being pushed later and later.
The good: the route was all paved, including what looked like some new sections. Once again, so many people of all ages enjoying it, whether locals or cyclists who looked like they were headed to Buffalo.
The bad: those climbs near the GE facility in Niskayuna. Don’t worry, you’ll make it!
We started with a hold-the-brakes-tight descent from our hotel back to the trail, then along the Mohawk River with sweeping views of the river in Niskayuna, past a yoga class that was about to begin at a riverfront park in Schenectedy and then through the downtown (more Canalway/Empire State Trail signs, please, or did I miss a key one before downtown?) and along the Mohawk-Hudson trail until the detour sign in Cohoes. I’m sure the trail improvements will be fantastic, but the detour signage going south was not.
Finally we hit the bike trail under I-787 in Albany … the home stretch! The Amtrak train headed for Buffalo that we took 8 days earlier is crossing the Hudson as we approach the railroad bridge. And then one more steep climb to get to the bridge that would take us over the Hudson and to the train station. (Albany, add a sign for the train station to this list!)
The Schenectedy farmers market, which is just behind the train station, is held on Sundays and opens at 10 a.m.
I guess they haven’t gotten around to raising parking rates in Albany after all; we spent $43.