Faster than the Rain…

So here’s what Matt and I had chasing us as we rode the 86 miles from Erie, PA to Hamburg, NY:

Of course Matt has taken to saying we bring blue skies and sunshine, so it looked like that was about to end today.  We left Erie, PA a little before 8a and the entire morning we had this big dark sky behind us.  As we rode we started to feel a few rain drops so we pulled over and put on the yellow covers for our bags.  Brenda has taken to calling these our Yellow Submarines.  Now so far, the 4-5 times we’ve converted to the Yellow Submarine mode we’ve never ended up having harder rain.  It seemed certain that streak was going to end today.

As we were racing the weather this of course is the mental image Matt and I had of ourselves:

While this is what we looked like with our Yellow Submarines:

This morning as we rode trying to stay ahead of the rain, we rode through the Lake Erie Grape Belt which had mile after mile of vineyards.  It was a beautiful ride with the rolling hills of vineyards all around us and Lake Erie off to our left.  Here’s a little history on the grape region the second largest (to California of course) in North America:

The Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt is the largest viticultural area in North America outside of California, encompassing a 30,000-acre swath of grapes that runs the length of eastern Lake Erie. It is where the Welch family launched America’s first commercial nonalcoholic fruit beverage industry. Today it is home to several dozen juice processing plants and wineries and 800 vineyards that together generate over $700 million each year in total regional economic impact (within Chautauqua County, NY, and Erie County Penn.).

About 25 miles into our ride we came to the New York border (our 12th state).  There was a golf course right next to the sign and I saw 4 retired men loading up their golf carts for their round.  I went over and told them I was riding across America and could they take our picture.  They asked me where I was from and when I told them California they didn’t say wow that’s along ways or anything of the sort.  Instead in true retired old men fashion, they proceeded to ask me how much gas was per gallon in California and was it over $4 a gallon.  They then began to have a disagreement between them on where the cheapest gas was in the area and could you find it for less than $3.50 a gallon.  Now while this is all going on Matt is standing 20 yards away at the Welcome to New York sign with the camera wondering what the heck I’m talking to them about.  I finally got them off the topic of gas prices by asking when their tee time was and could they take our picture before they teed off.  For the final part of our New York sign picture story, Matt gave the camera to one of the guys to take the picture.  He kept backing up and up and up and was finally about 30 yards away all the way back to standing in Pennsylvania.  I looked at Matt and said I’ll bet he zoomed it in and doesn’t know it.  Sure enough that’s what happened.  But we got the picture and a fun story to go along with it:

After our New York sign episode we rode through Barcelona, NY and had plans to stop for a coffee and pastry.  But one, we couldn’t find any and second we thought it best to keep moving to try to stay ahead of the rain.  We had plans to meet Brenda and Amy in Dunkirk, NY for lunch about 52 miles into our ride.  When we arrived in Dunkirk, it was really getting dark so we thought better of a long stop.  Matt and I grabbed a quick slice of pizza from Campi’s Pizza which was VERY good.  We then got back on the bikes and felt a few more rain drops.  I asked Brenda and Amy to stay closer to us in case there was lightning so we planned to meet in Irving another 12 miles up the road.

Brenda and Amy had done their research and found a GREAT place for homemade desserts called Aunt Millie’s Kitchen in Irving, NY.  We had also planned to stop there and eat but now the sky was really dark and the road was beginning to get a little wet.  We went inside and picked a few good-looking treats that the girls got to go for us to have later.  Matt and I then looked at each other ready to face the reality that within the next few minutes our streak of good weather and no rain was going to end.

As we started to ride the final 20 miles to Hamburg, NY we went a different route than we had planned.  It took two miles off our ride and we thought that was agood idea with he impending rain.  About 2 miles into the new route we came across a Road Closed Ahead sign.  So far on our trip, two other time we’ve ridden through these signs and have been able to get through and not reroute.  Matt and I decided to take the gamble again and sure enough it worked.  We found a local who should us a local short way around the road construction and we were back on our new route in no time.

Now, I don’t know if it was Matt’s “Blue Skies and Sunshine follow us” or the magic of the Yellow Submarines, but the storm that had been chasing us all morning and almost overtook us stalled and then turned to the left.  So guess what, as we rode into Hamburg, NY we had… Blue Skies and Sunshine!

With our limited stops we arrived at the hotel at 1:30p which is a nice change.  Matt and I then decide to hang out at the hotel and recover from our 180+ miles the past two days while Brenda and Amy went to the Erie County Fair (the 3rd largest in the country) to check it out and compare to the Alameda County Fair they’ve gone to so many times.

Here’s the photos from today:

Leaving Erie, PA

We rode past some beautiful creeks and streams today.

Matt checking out the quality of the grapes…FYI, if I would have turned the camera to look behind us it was dark clouds.

Where Concord Grape Jelly comes from.

Matt finally gets to ride in Barcelona!

Barcelona, NY lighthouse

What to pick?  Aunt Millie’s Kitchen in Irving, NY

This afternoon Brenda and Amy went to the Erie County fair.

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One thought on “Faster than the Rain…

  1. Hey Matt!

    Adrian Tighe just told me about this amazing adventure and I’m so happy for you guys. It looks like you’re having an absolute blast.

    Lauren and I are back in the states now and living in Asheville, NC with our 2 year old daughter and 2 month old son. Let me know if you ever make it out to North Carolina, and pre-congratulations… the big finish in Boston is getting close!

    Take care,

    Jeff Quinlan

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