Day 3 (September 27, 2004) - Sackets Harbor to Gouverneur, via Cape Vincent and Chippewa Bay
I'm starting to get into the swing of touring. As Barry told me I would be, I am so exhausted in the evenings that 10 pm is the latest I can make it (and I normally stay up until 11 or 11:30 at home, even on work nights). And going to bed so early, I wake up before 7 am, which is something I normally never do; I am not a morning person normally. But this morning I woke up at 6:30 and felt plenty rested. We couldn't find a restaurant serving a full breakfast in town, so walked to a nearby coffee shop for a huge bran muffin and coffee (E) and juice (B). We got on the road at 8:25. There was a bit of nip in the air at the start, but we'd brought the proper bike clothing for it. Layering is definitely the ticket on bike tours, and we peeled off clothing throughout the day.
In the afternoon a significant warm-up had us down to shorts and short-sleeve jerseys once again. We started out with a tailwind and flat to lightly rolling terrain, which was a great combination! As we continued north, the tailwind continued, and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous, with the St. Lawrence River sometimes visible to our left. This was bike touring at its best, with light traffic, wide shoulders, and a beautiful blue sky, warm breeze....ahhh!
All was right with the world at this point, but things were to change by the end of the day. This was to be our longest day, and when we finally turned to the south with 23 miles to go, we immediately realized that these were going to be some incredibly challenging miles, since we were already tired, and the terrain became very hilly. The winds also became less favorable, and we hit some very rough, narrow back roads (fortunately with almost no traffic). Some of the hills were so tough we had to "tack" back and forth in our easiest gear.
We finally hit a newly paved state route with 10 miles to go, but there hadn't been a store for a long time, so we were both out of liquid, and the road turned out to be extremely rolling. I had to walk parts of the two toughest climbs as I didn't even have the energy to tack, and the traffic had picked up enough that doing so was risky. It seemed like we'd never get to town, and I was getting very discouraged. At long last, we rolled into Gouverneur, a larger town than we'd realized. We immediately stopped at a pharmacy for much-needed water and Gatoraid. This picture was taken in the pharmacy parking lot, and as you can see, this town actually had a stoplight (a few of them, actually!)
Fortunately, once we were in town, the town itself was flat. We had to ride a few blocks down the bustling main street to the inn/motel I'd found online and liked, the Lawrence Manor. We had called for reservations when we made the turn on our route 23 miles before. It was just as charming as I expected, and we were assigned a beautiful cottage-style room in the single-story motel portion of the inn, all lavender and white. It was a very small room, so getting the fully-loaded bikes in proved a challenge but well worth it!
After showers, we walked downtown and and looked around for a dinner spot. The selection was extremely limited, which surprised us for a town of this size. At this point anything would do, however, so we ended up eating turkey subs in a pizzaria, then walked to McDonalds (our first fast-food restaurant sighting of the tour) for strawberry pies and milkshakes for dessert. Our last stop was a convenience store for snacks for the next day and ice for Barry's legs.
Day 3 Stats
Distance: 87.5 miles On-bike time: 6 hr, 30 min Avg. speed: 13.4 (E), 13.5 (B) Weather: low 50s to mid-70s, sunny, 5-15 mph winds