August 3rd, Day 46: Syracuse, NY to Little Falls, NY: 80 miles, 1334 ft. ascent

As we progress East through upstate New York, the terrain is changing quite rapidly in line with our progress towards New England. James described Little Falls as somewhat reminiscent of a small northern industrial town (in a good sort of way). We have hills again and the roadkill has changed from predominantly deer and raccoons to turtles and beavers (there’s a lot of water around here).

James sneaks a quick selfie from the tandem.
James and Chris roll into Little Falls 'three-legged', tailed closely by Dirk

We continued to take it easy today in the hope that James' thigh will miraculously recover before Saturday’s climbing if we treat it nicely until then. We averaged 14.2 mph for the ride and got a chance to talk with a different subset of the group as we rode along.

It’s surprising how good I have now got at recognising the voices of the 35 or so remaining riders over the past 7 weeks, despite all bar a couple having North American accents. In contrast, back in Oregon I found myself starting almost every interaction by asking for a name check, which somewhat put me in mind of an event I attended at Buckingham Palace a couple of years ago. It was a excellent event for meeting The Great and The Good of the British technology sector. But the acoustics were terrible and combined with my lack of sight and deteriorating hearing I found myself constantly asking people to repeat their names. At one point as I was rambling away to a colleague he interrupted me to say ‘And this is Chris Mairs’. Somewhat frustrated at missing someone’s name yet again, I leant forward and asked, slightly brusquely, ”And your name is…?”. After an awkward pause she replied “Er, I believe they call me The Queen”.

Unbeknownst to me I had ended up in a receiving line, but fortunately I was carrying a white stick, Her Majesty does have a sense of humour, and failure to recognise The Queen of the Realm is no longer a hanging offence in the UK.

The canal is bordered by vivid green grass and a packed tow path. The canal is wide enough for a large ship to pass.
Greg and Bev cruise along the Erie canal yesterday. Photo courtesy of Martin Stabler.