The Erie Canalway is a 365 mile trail from Buffalo to Albany. Some of it is paved and some is stone dust. We decide to ride the 100 mile section from Herkimer to Albany which is at least 50% paved, what we didn’t know was that this area had been devastated by late spring flooding which destroyed several sections of the trail along the way.
We drive up on Friday afternoon and settle into the Herkimer Motel, walk a half mile to the local diner for supper and then head back for the night. Free early breakfast on Saturday and we are ready to ride. Jody, Marie, Bernie, Karl and I all ride off toward the trail entrance. Ellen and Rosie will drive the cars to Amsterdam where we will spend Saturday night.
The trail in Herkimer looks really nice, paved, smooth and a great view of the historic Canalway. Everything looks perfect except for a beat up construction sign tossed next to the trail that says “Trail Closed”. We ignore this warning and head down the trail anyway. It isn’t long before the pavement runs out and we have to ride on stone dust, then we start to see the washed out areas from the flooding. We are not deterred. The trail winds through several towns along the riverbank before we find the mud. The mud was thin so we tried to ride through it. It was the stickiest mud ever, it built up on the tires until they would not turn. We walked and carried the bikes through the mud until we came to a stream and could wash them off. We got on a paved road then came upon a homemade storm drain that was pouring water out of the mountain. Karl used it to hose off all of the bicycles and we were on the road again. We met up with Ellen and Rosie in Fort Plain for lunch at a local restaurant, then again in the afternoon at an ice cream stand. It started raining, and we got soaked travelling the last 2 miles to the motel.
Sunday’s ride was much better, mostly paved, more scenic, and fabulous views of the river and countryside. This segment does include a steep hill climb in Schenectady but it is well worth the effort. We eventually make our way into Albany where the trail ends in a beautiful City Park. We have lunch on the Riverboat before driving back to Massachusetts.