Saturday, September 11, 2004

Reston, VA to Elmira, NY


Over the past couple of years Kerie and I have traveled West for a summer or fall tour. Now that we mostly ride recumbents, transporting the bikes presents a challenge. Kerie's long wheelbase recumbent will not fit into the Hardcase that she has used for her upright bike. My short wheelbase bike might fit into her case, but I would probably use my folding Bike Friday for the week, as I do not have to pay shipping charges.

After much hand wringing, we decided to ride a nearby tour, on to which we could drive. We started to look for tours in attractive areas where we haven't spent much time. I came across a tour of the finger lakes offered by Gear-To-Go Tandem Tours that looked promising. It was close enough that we could drive there, and we've never done a tour just for tandems. We could ride our Barcroft Columbia tandem with other like-minded cyclists. A few weeks before the tour I contacted Rich Shapiro of Gear-To-Go. The tour had not yet sold out so we signed up.

On Saturday the 11th we drove from Reston to Elmira, leaving at around 11 A.M. We used Mapquest directions that were right on and saved us some time. Without the directions, getting around Harrisburg, PA can be a challenge. It was an easy, 6 hour drive. We had time to check in to the Holiday Inn River View, rest for a few minutes, then head out to dinner. We ate at one of Rich's recommended places, Charlie's Cafe. Our meals were OK. It's been a while since I've had those crunchy “Chinese noodles”, the ones that usually come in a can. I was not pleased, expecting lo mein-like noodles in my Asian entre salad.

After dinner we stopped by Rich's for a wine and cheese get together and to check out his tandem shop located in the house. It's a beautiful, what I could describe as a Tudor house with oak floors and some unique interior details. The wallpaper in the dining room is in a solid green color with white, hand-painted flowers. Lindy has been tempted to strip the white paint from the walnut trim, but knows how much work is involved.

High-end tandems filled the living room. The accessories are located in the back room, and I picked up a replacement pair of Burley rain booties, hoping they would fend off any rain during the trip. The gathering was a good way to got to spend a few minutes with most of the people on the tour. Then it was back to the motel to try to finish packing and separating what we would carry for the week from what we would leave in the car for the final 2 days of the trip.