Day 8 (October 2, 2004) - Sandy Creek to Fair Haven
Despite being our shortest tour day, this was the least enjoyable and most difficult. I expect that Barry would agree, though he didn't seem to suffer nearly as much as I did. We knew that rain was forecast for afternoon, but some stations were saying it could start by late morning, so we got up at 6 am and were on the road by 7 to try to beat the rain. We also knew with the forecast wind direction, we were going to be battling a headwind most of the way, and a fairly strong one at that. There were also numerous climbs requiring the granny gear, heavier traffic, and smaller road shoulders than usual. The only good thing I can say about this day is that we had reservations at the Whispering Pines Inn again, so we knew we wouldn't have to hunt for lodging.
My legs just didn't have it today. I had very little reserve left for the climbs and for battling the headwind. Barry pulled away from me on every climb, which was frustrating for both of us. This would have been a good day to take the entire day off as a rest day, but because of our reservations at Whispering Pines, and it being a Saturday, we didn't feel that we had the flexibility alter our route prior to this day, and we would have had a killer last day if we had combined days 8 and 9, if Rainbow Shores had even had a vacancy for a second day. So, we pressed on. The weather and our aggressive schedule made for no picture-taking until we were through riding for the day.
The gray skies did nothing to improve my mood. We had thought that this would be a 50-mile day, but Barry suggested that we take the main road back, rather than the more scenic back roads, to cut off 8 to 9 miles. Since we were trying to beat the rain and since I was so spent, I was in favor of this change in plans. The alternate route had us riding right through the heart of Oswego's downtown with much traffic and many stoplights, but we fared pretty well since a lot of it was downhill. A woman in a mini-van going the other direction beeped and gave us a "thumbs up", which was welcome encouragement on such a trying day.
The rain started earlier than we'd hoped (of course). We still had about 8 miles to go. It wasn't a heavy downpour, but coupled with the gusty wind, made for a very unpleasant end to the ride. Finally, we arrived in Fair Haven at 11:15 am. I worried about arriving at the inn way before the normal check-in time, so we stopped under a shelter at a park area across the street and called Colleen, the innkeeper. She said "no problem" and that we could bring our wet bikes up on her back porch, so we did. She was very welcoming and helpful, which we so appreciated. It was a real blessing to have warm shelter from the rain!
After showers and getting into warm, dry clothes, we walked the few blocks into town for lunch in between rain bands (we'd been watching the Weather Channel at the inn). We also walked back over to the Fly By Night Cookie Co. for more cookies! We then walked back to the inn, where we spent the rest of the afternoon watching TV (mostly the Weather Channel), talking to Colleen, playing with her dogs, and reading. An extremely heavy rain band came through at one point with drenching rain and up to 38 mph wind gusts. We were glad to be off our bikes!
For dinner we walked up to the very nice Pleasant Beach restaurant on the bay. Barry said it was much more upscale than when he and his dad had eaten here 15 years prior.
This is the former "porch" where they left their bikes when they stayed here fifteen years ago. It's a lot nicer now!
We had a beautifully presented and delicious "splurge" dinner - mmmm! The butternut squash soup was about the best soup I've ever tasted, and I had a delicious crab cake appetizer, pictured here.
From our table we were privileged to see a pretty sunset over the water to top off the evening. The rain had all passed through and tomorrow is to be cooler but pretty.
Day 8 Stats
Distance: 41.6 miles On-bike time: 3 hours, 35 minutes Avg. speed: 11.5 (E), 12.0 (B) Weather: 60s, clouds to rain, 10-20 mph winds with gusts to 25