Imagine how the engineer in charge of the Hubble Telescope felt when it was determined that the mirror was ground too flat by a couple of measly millimeters. He probably said “I don’t know how that happened”. Pete Best, the first drummer for the Beatles; the coach that cut Michael Jordan from his high school basketball team; the Japanese Ambassador that was 30 minutes late getting the Ultimatum of War to the President. They all probably scrunched up their eyebrows, squinted, cocked their heads to the side, and said “I don’t know how that happened.”

It’s the same thing that I said at 2:45 this afternoon when I was slowly coming to realize that I could still be 60 miles from the Brockport hotel that I had reserved that morning. At 4:00 I stopped for more fluids in Lockport (I would consume eight large water bottles today in addition to a few cold sodas). I studied my maps and my heart rose into my throat as it became apparent that I was still 40 miles out. If my cell phone had a signal I would have cancelled my reservation right then and there.

I had a few things going for me. The wind, while not directly behind me, was a quarter off my back. The terrain was generally flat with gentle rolling climbs. I had chosen not to use the gravel of the Erie Canal bicycle trail, opting instead for the huge, smooth shoulder on Route 31A. I arrived at my hotel at 7:45, over seven hours in the saddle, 93 miles on the day!

How did that happen? I got a late start this morning and I underestimated the length of the route north alongside the Niagara River. It is a great route, on a beautiful recreation trail from Fort Erie to the falls, with spectacular views of the river and New York. The headwind was strong and I tucked in behind some recreational riders.

I knew I was getting close when I saw the mist rising high, pushed up by the north-west breeze.

The viewing area was packed with tourists, a multitude of languages wafting through the air. I had to walk my bike and eventually I chose the road to get away from the insanity. I knew I had to get moving but I kept stopping at every interpretive sign and self-guided tour. I finally made it to the bridge and I rode past all the vehicles. My Adventure Cycling map stated to go to the central office and I knocked on the door that said “no admittance, authorized personnel only”. The guy inside turned and looked at me as if I had two heads. Another uniformed customs agent appeared behind me and asked me what I was doing. I thought to myself “this is not going as I planned.” They told me to get in line, I cut in front of the cars, and they let me back into the USA anyway.
Bonus photos;
The Flower Clock at the Botanical Gardens.


Being the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, there are lots of Canadian flags everywhere, re-enactments of battles, and brand new interpretive signs. Here’s three flags, of three democracies at the site of the Chippawa battlefield;