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Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Overview and preliminary travel, Sunday, Monday June 2, 3

The North end of Skaneateles Lake, one of the lakes we visited
A few weeks ago I went with friends to the Finger Lakes area in upstate New York to camp and bike. It was an important opportunity and exploration for me, and wanting to write about the experience tipped me into starting a blog for these posts and others.

I'm including a table of contents of the trip postings towards the top of each one:
  1. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Overview + preliminary travel, June 2, 3  ⇐ You are here
  2. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Tuesday, June 4
  3. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Wednesday, June 5 - small incident, no biking
  4. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Thursday, June 6
  5. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Friday, June 7 - campsite transition, no biking
  6. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Saturday, June 8
  7. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Sunday, June 9
  8. Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Trip Wrap-Up
I love to travel by bike and to camp, and did some substantial outings summers during high school and college. During and after college I also redeveloped digestive problems that I had as an infant, and that together with starting my work career got increasingly in the way of continuing to bike and camp. Recently my friends Ash and Ingrid, who also like biking and camping, were looking for someone to join them for an exploration of the northern New York Finger Lakes area. Knowing about both my eagerness for such opportunities, and also the restrictions that my digestive regime imposes, they were offering a rare opportunity to me - support for me to investigate the limits that my dietary regime imposes, and how I could expand those limits. Ash would do provisioning and provide car drop-off and pick up ("sag wagon" duty) when we needed it, and Ingrid would be touring on her elecitric-assisted byike.  I cautiously took up the offer, aiming to travel with them leaving with them on Sunday, June 2, and returning on my own on Monday, June 10, a few days before they were scheduled to return.

"Cautiously" because I knew it would be a stretch for me. I haven't done much long-distance riding for many years, am a year shy of 60. It would also be challenging to accompany someone using an electric-assist bike. While she's not aggressive about it, it can still be challenging for pure pedal-power to keep up with electric assist through a long day. In addition, over the last 30 years I've been eating only one meal per day, because I have not found that I do not digest well if I eat at all in addition to having that one meal. Mostly this is no problem – my body seems to have gotten entirely used to it, and I don't particularly get hungry, except when I have very active days. This was an opportunity to see what I could do to investigate and possibly extend those limits. Plus, I could not resist the opportunity to more fully use my wonderful bike and camping equipment, which I love but which feels a bit like an empty promise without some intensive use... So, I was in.

We arranged some adaptations of "pure" camping and biking ventures in order to accommodate my (and our) needs. It was "car camping", where we drove to the campsites to set up our tents and cooking gear. We got sites with electric hookups. This meant that we, in our spiffy little tents, were in the RV sections of the campgrounds. In one of the campgrounds, Watkins Glen State Park, this proved to be pretty nice, with decently spacious and somewhat wooded campsites, plus unoccupied woods on the back side. In the other - Cayuga Lake State Park - the sites were much less woodsy - smaller and generally surrounded on all sides by other small sites.

For navigation I primarily used Google Maps. It worked surprisingly well, and had the side benefit that my location tracking left me with maps of the routes I biked. I've extracted those maps from my timeline and will include them in the respective posts, along with some commentary about the daily highlights. I'll be posting separate entries for the biking and interim days and a posting for the wrap-up – see the table of contents at the top of each posting to navigate between them.

Our first night was Sunday June 2, 2019. It was an intermediate stay at the home of Ash's old friend, Steve, and his family with Susan, in Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful place with a lovely detached meditation house where Ash, Ingrid, their daughter (who was traveling with us to return to college in Ithaca for the summer), and I had our dinner and stayed overnight. The place has a huge back yard, including the meditation house, some marshland, a small changing shed and a dock on a "creek" that's the size of a river.

It so happened that Steve, Susan, and two of their sons were already in the Finger Lakes region, staying in the lake house of another friend on Keuka Lake. They invited us to join them in the lake house for the second night of our trip, so we wound up stopping at the campsite we reserved at Watkins Glen State Park, getting processed and setting up a tent, the proceeding to the lake house on Keuka Lake with Steve, Susan, and family.

That family wound up being a delightful and beneficial part of our trip. I was just a friend of friends, but they took me in along with Ash and Ingrid and made me feel very welcome - like a long-time friend. Steve grew up in the Finger Lakes area and really knew his way around. He offered some great suggestions, including some that played into highlights which I'll mention later. One of their sons is taken by questions about understanding and reality that intrigue me, also. We had a bunch of nice chats, including one during one of my after dinner walks. Susan happens to be a professor - chair of the sociology department - at a Pennsylvania college (you might recall that their home, where we stopped on our first night, is in Pennsylvania). That school is a central prospect that a friend, Ana's son is considering. On hearing that, Susan offered to speak with him and do what she could to help inform him about the school, and, since then, a visit has been arranged. Altogether, the family was just very welcoming and gracious, one of the highlights of my trip. Getting to stay in the Pennsylvania rural house and join them in the Keuka Lake house was also terrific.

After arriving at Keuka lake, late that afternoon Monday June 3, and settling in, Ingrid and I did a small ride, around 10 miles, which included a ride through Keuka Lake State Park - quite nice! When our route took us back to the house I stayed, to prepare my dinner, and Ingrid kept biking for another hour or two, exploring the cleft of the fork in the lake. It was the next day that our biking begins in earnest...

Next: Finger Lakes 2019-06 Biking: Tuesday, June 4


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