Saturday, August 7

Back in the US, Back in the US…

Well, that’s it. We’re back in the US. Back in the land of rude and dangerous drivers. Welcome home!

It was chilly in Port Colborn this morning. The temp was only in the 60s as we left our suite and rode up to the main drag through town, Rt 3, where we had breakfast at Sambo’s. Sambo’s had been recommended to us as THE place in town for breakfast. After breakfast we rode back down to the lift bridge, where we had to wait a good 20 minutes or so as another lake freighter went through, then we crossed the canal and got on the Friendship Trail, which is a paved rail trail that goes all the way from Port Colborn to Fort Erie.

We took our time cycling lazily along the rail trail, enjoying the cool, dry weather, the sunshine, the other people out on the trail on a Saturday morning, and the farmers’ market we passed along the way. We didn’t finish the 20 or so miles to Fort Erie until after 11:00. When we arrived at Historic Fort Erie, there was a reenacters weekend event going on. We stopped to watch and wander around for as while, and got to see the reenactment of the British surrender.

We crossed the Niagara River into Buffalo, NY on the Peace Bridge. On the Canadian side the approach to the bridge is well signed directing pedestrians and cyclists onto the sidewalk, the entrance to which otherwise would not be obvious. When we reached the US side of the bridge we checked in with customs, whcih was a quick and painless process. Then we had no idea where to go. We exited out into a parking lot, which looked like it’s entrance was off a highway. No signs directing us which way to go. We followed a sidewalk around the side of the building and down a narrowing alley between the building and a fence. We barely squeezed through and found ourselves just past the area where motor vehicles went through customs, so exited out onto the street.

We made our way along the shore in Buffalo, using a totally unmarked bike path part of the way, then navigating city streets for the most part. The waterfront of Buffalo is made up mostly of abandoned industrial buildings, but you can see where new development is starting to spruce up the town.

Getting out of Buffalo entailed dealing with some aggressive drivers, a sad letdown after cycling in Canada, where not one driver ever crowded us on the road. We finally turned off Rt 5 onto Old Lake Shore Drive, which eased the traffic a lot and after stopping to buy something for dinner, we made it to Evangola State Park about 4:30. There was a sign on the office door saying there were no sites available, but I went in and talked to the young guy manning the desk. I asked if they had a spot somewhere where a couple of tired cyclists could pitch a tent. He said no, even their bad sites were full. I told him all we needed was a piece of grass somewhere to pitch our tent. He stared at the campground map and thought a bit. Then he said there was a spot under some trees we could camp. We walked outside together and he pointed across a field to a spot of nicely mown grass with a few big shade trees hanging over. Perfect!

After paying we cycled down here and it was a perfect spot. We are next to a regular campsite, and they had two picnic tables, so they let us use one of them. So, even though we are not at an official campsite, we have a flat, grassy area for our tent, and a picnic table to eat and type blog entries at. And we have way more room than the crowded campsites. Perfect!

We are 70 miles from Erie, PA, so we might finish our trip tomorrow. We don’t really want it to end, though, so we might putter along and make it last one more day.

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