Whenever I take a road trip, Dr. Diarist always suggests that I take Basil with me, however unlikely the opportunities for cycling may seem.
This practice always pays off. There’s no down side: After all, if no chance presents itself, we’ve lost nothing. On the other hand, if there’s any chance of a bit of a ride, Basil and I are ready to go.
So when we found ourselves in upstate New York, just after our own last snow, but before New York was quite finished with winter, we were able to do a little exploring.
We rode in the opposite direction to the one we usually take on the Erie Canal towpath. Snowy banks in spots along the canal looked like the last remnants of winter; certain geese were gearing up for spring nesting defense work. Not persistently, though; we passed without incident.
It was a fine day to be out, and both Basil and I were overjoyed to be moving once again.
Parts of the towpath were looking more spring-like than others. That russet blush was a treat to see, even if the hues are more usually associated with autumn.
I’d never seen these stone bridges before; they’re not a typical feature of the towpath in the opposite direction where we usually cycle. This view looks like a CAPTCHA; in a month the bridge will be completely obscured.
Not-winter, not-spring is such a good time of year, if only because of what trees look like, just before blooming, against blue skies.
A massive amount of work was being done along the canal, including some housing construction, trail improvements, and various repairs. New docks were going in, too. Basil liked the view over the desiccated (and perhaps still frozen) mud flats.
Later in the summer, the canal will be completely full, and those banks will be entirely submerged. Further down, we saw an entirely different view: The canal looked like over-salted asphalt.
That was no saline deposit of course, but ice, and plenty of it, in spite of the sunny day, and in spite of so much of the canal being clear elsewhere.
We rode alongside part of the Genesee Riverway for the first time, and even explored a short spur that led to . . . Costco?
Yep, directly to a Costo retail warehouse, currently under construction. Could I transport a giant bale of paper towels on Basil? Hmmmm . . .
That kind of experimentation is for another day, perhaps. In the more forbidding seasons, especially, it’s easy to forget how close urban amenities are when cruising beside a nearlly-empty canal. On this day, that was a good thing: Costco can wait for another time and another day.