Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Empire State Tour 2021 - Day 3 - Whitehall to Troy

 There were no real hills today. However, it was still a very tough day, but for entirely different reasons.

It was 90 degrees out, almost all day, and humid. The heat index was upper 90s. There was no shade. And there was a 15-20 mph headwind the whole time. It was just brutal. We took many stops to cool off in convenience stores. It took 9 1/2 hours clock time to go 67 miles. But we adapted, adjusted, persevered, and finished no problem.

One thing we realized today is New York State Bike Route 9 and the Empire State Trail are actually two different things. They often overlap. They did most of the first two days.

But today, we followed the Empire State Trail, thinking it would be the easiest and most efficient route. This is not true. The Empire State Trail is one of these Greenway type projects where they are happy to have you meander around and go up and down hills and on unpaved gravel roads for an hour so you can get to a mile of very special and expensive paved trail through scenic woods that is part of the Greenway project. This was not good for touring, and Max really hates unpaved roads. We no longer trust the Empire State Trail.

So for most of the day, we stuck to Bike Route 9, which was mostly the very rideable shoulder of Route 4. We did ride about 10 miles along "Towpath Road", which is neither the Empire State Trail nor Bike Route 9, because it was flat and along the historical Champlain Canal. It was also unpaved, which irritated Max a lot, but not so bad. Max has less objection to hills, and I have less objection to unpaved roads.

Our stopping point for the day, is Troy, NY, where I went to college at Rennselaer. Troy is much nicer now than when I was in college. 

RPI is up on the hill. That stone structure in the middle is "The Approach" which is a grand stairway connecting campus with downtown. When I was a student it was a ruin.

I play euchre online many nights with friends from RPI (just like we did in school 40 years ago). A couple guys from our euchre game still live in the Troy area, so we got together for dinner. We sent this picture out to our Euchre Facebook chat with the caption "Need one for euchre."

Not much was open on Monday, so Dale (on left) picked a place randomly that was walking distance from our motel downtown. It was "Rucks", and it features many craft beers and burgers. I never heard of it, it's way after my time.

However, when Max and I walk in, I immediately recognize that "Rucks" is Sutters, the college dive beer bar that I want to many, many times when I was at RPI. I haven't been to Sutters in 35 years, and I have been annoyed that I could no longer remember exactly where it was. There pretty much has been no interior remodeling since it was Sutters except to update all the beer signs on the walls with current craft brews. 

So my friends and I are sitting at the exact same table in the back of the bar where we used to sit. And, of course, I had to get wings for dinner, same as ever.

Here is the Strava track for today.

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