Day 83: (67 miles) We got to enjoy a buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant before heading out this morning. Within a few miles we were back on route and passing through Erie PA. While Erie is a sizeable town, primarily what we saw was its coastline because our route put us on an awesome bike path that had us within sight of water for almost the entirety of our way through the city. At the outskirts of the city we zig zagged our way to Rt. 5, a scenic byway that also runs along the lake. Not far out of town we stopped at a Dollar General to ensure our supplies were stocked to make it to Dansville. While stopped we met some fellow cyclists in a group of six or so. They too were cycling across the country. From NYC to San Francisco. They were on day nine of 70 of a supported trip. We wished each other well. After making our purchase and packing up, we were back on the road. Beyond some small suburbs and little communities, a good portion of the rest of Pennsylvania was vineyards. We had entered “Great lakes Wine Country” and as one would do when in wine country, we visited a couple of tasting rooms. The first of which was Penn Shore Winery where we shared seven samples, or favorite being the dry concord. It tasted like fermented Welch’s Grape Juice. Our next stop, a few miles down the road, was Mazza Vineyards. Here, we enjoyed six more samples, the most interesting of which was a wine made entirely from raspberries. As we were preparing to pay the employee noticed Chris’ NAVY shorts and refused to take payment, instead wishing us a happy Memorial Day. These two wineries and the persistent tail wind that pushed us along the beautiful shoreline made for a wonderful day of cycling. Not even the nearly 300 ft. of climbing we had to do to get from Route 5 to our campground could dampin a day like today. Once we arrived at Arkwright Hills Campground we followed a .5-mile dirt road back into the woods where we found site b28 and waited for the campground owners to return from town. Once they arrived they offered us some cold water while we chatted with them on their porch. They enjoyed hearing about our journey, offered some route advice for tomorrow, and then we headed to our site to fill our bellies, wash our bodies, and get some rest.
Day 84: (101 miles) We were woken up by a rumbling and flashing storm last night. Chris checked the radar on his phone and saw we were right in the heart of it. Being in a tent with metal poles, we decided not to take any chances, so we got out and sought refuge in the bath house. It was 3:00 in the morning. As we sat watching the night sky light up, we started to doubt our chances of completing our lofty goal to get to Dansville, surprise Chris’ family and see Brom. Fortunately, the storm passed by and we were back in our sleeping bags by 3:30 am. Getting back to sleep was a bit of a struggle and the alarm going off at 6:00 am to start our 100-mile day came way too soon. We managed to eat our Pop Tarts and fumble around enough to pack up. We were on the road by 7:00 am. We stopped at the first gas station we found for a cup of coffee and a muffin. The local fellas at the table asked about our trip and gave us some advice on the upcoming roads. We knew we had some hills to look forward to. The first 30 miles seemed to be a nice combination, because they flew by. The next 30 weren’t as easy, or the 30 after that. We picked a few places to stop along the way. One of which was Dunkin Donuts to use a gift card. Lunch was devoured and we were back on the dippy roads of NY. The miles slowly ticked by and we had made it to the pizza shop in Pike where we ordered a sub to split and saw that we had just over 30 miles to go, but with a killer hill (900 ft climb in 4 miles!) After coming this far and being so close to home, we pushed on. Climbing the hill out of Nunda was beyond strenuous. After already having 80+ miles behind us, our bodies struggled to make it up the extraordinarily steep incline, but we had the motivation we needed to dig deep for the strength. Soon we could see for miles and it included the rolling hills and farm lands of Dansville. Coming down was almost equally as tiring (almost!). We coasted into town and stopped to purchase an anniversary drink for the parents. This is where we met Jen, the liquor store associate. When we told her about our trip, her reaction was easily the most enthusiastic we’d ever experienced. She told us, after we make it to Maine we HAVE TO come see her at the new Old Madrid restaurant where she will be working by them. We assured her we would pay her a visit and then made our way across town and up to Highland Ave, the last climb of our day. Soon, we pulled into the driveway and Bromley let out a howl. Mom went to see what all the commotion was about and screamed when she realized we were there. Dad soon followed and the reunion was complete. Brom didn’t recognize us at first. Between the stench we were likely producing and the darkness, he wasn’t sure what to think, especially of Chris with a beard! But once we took our helmets off and he made the connection, his tail went crazy and he was a happy pup- as were we to be HOME!!
Days 85-93: (0 miles) We took the longest break we have taken all trip when we stopped in Dansville. Initially we planned to be off only for the first weekend in June to go to Brew & Chew. Then we found out Mom and Dad had an annual golf/shopping trip with friends the following week and we figured the least we could do would be to watch our dog while they adventured.
Brew & Chew was everything we thought it would be. Great friends, food, and tasty brews. We were able to spend two nights up in the north country and were constantly reminded how amazing our friends are.
We headed back and stayed in Walton, Shayna’s hometown, for a night before returning to Dansville Monday for an interview with the Genesee County Express newspaper. Chris’ mom had called and they were interested in our trip. We chatted with Jasmine for a good hour at the Sugar Bowl, and she said the article would be out by Thursday.
The next few days were spent doing the epitome of relaxing. We binge watched Shameless on Netflix, usually only getting up for food. Mom and Dad returned late Thursday evening and we spent our last night hanging out with them, reading our front page story.