Day 135 Schenectady, New York to (somewhere West!): All Aboard! - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

September 12, 2011

Day 135 Schenectady, New York to (somewhere West!): All Aboard!

We left the TV on and fell asleep in our huge motel room last night.

After a hard day of packing I selected one of many sleeping spots in our great room to collapse in.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Our sleep was troubled though, first by an endless infomercial for some kind of hair cream that will work for thick and thin, dry and oily hair. This was followed by a man selling quarters. I'm not sure how many you got, but I think the price was two easy payments of $99. He said it was a good deal. I sure hope there were at least 800 quarters in there!

We headed out early to the Walmart to buy another day pack.

9/11 merchandise for sale at Walmart. Isn't capitalism wonderful?
Heart 0 Comment 0

We now have two of these, and they should hold our computer, spare food, and clothes for the train trip. As soon as we pack them up, we will go out and have a look at the town.
Unlike Saratoga Springs, Schenectady lacks many (or any) pleasant cafes, walking areas, boutiques, and the like. In fact, despite claims by the downtown business association of a "resurgence", the town gives a slightly seedy impression.

After stashing our backpacks at the motel desk, we set off to see the city. Here is a shot along State St.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Another view of downtown. Despite claims of a "resurgence" by the business improvement association, the downtown lacks any critical mass of restaurants, boutiques, walking, or sitting areas.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Not exactly the Chemin du Roy
Heart 0 Comment 0
Kind of run down buildings colour the downtown experience
Heart 0 Comment 0

The Stockade District is one of the most interesting areas here. There are several dozen streets of houses that are up to 300 years old. Again, thougfh some are super and all are interesting, the area lacks the drop dead WoW of something like Quebec City. Strangely, perhaps it's the otherwise admirable fact that the houses are occupied by real people rather than tourist stuff that makes for the rather run down impression.

Anyway, take a tour of some of what we saw as we cruised around on our B0B free bikes:

The Stockade District features several dozen streets of up to 300 year old houses
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stockade District
Heart 0 Comment 0
We found a short bike path by the river. Moist mud recalled the recent flooding.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We learned the river had been really really high during Irene, flooding even such high looking sites as the train station and Mikes Hots. Here we were just looking at the pumping out of basements.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This house needs work beyond any remedial flood stuff
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stockade District
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stockade District
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stockade District - also seems more seedy than spectacular, despite some really great buildings and streetscapes
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stockade District
Heart 0 Comment 0
Not many were for sale. We noted here the reference to the flood.
Heart 0 Comment 0
In the centre of the district is this statue of an Iroquois. We struggles to find a central focus to make sense of the street layout for us.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This building is from the 1720s
Heart 0 Comment 0
Lots of properties need work.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Stockade District
Heart 0 Comment 0
Old, old graves at the First Presbyterian Church
Heart 0 Comment 0
The church
Heart 0 Comment 0
The former city hall and court house is now derelict. I am sure the city has plans and is working on it, but what a shame to let a thing like this fall to ruins in the first place.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A random political statement in an alley.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A beautiful door!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Mike's Hots near the train station
Heart 0 Comment 0
Three landmarks at Mikes
Heart 0 Comment 0
We think Mike's is a true New York style diner.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Prices look good.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Hand cut fries
Heart 0 Comment 0

While at Mike's we looked at the map to identify other areas that would be good to visit. Our first choice was the Stewart's across the parking lot. Stewart's is a convenience store that has very good quality ice cream. Best of all, with sundaes and banana splits you dress your own from a self serve collection of syrups and sprinkles!

We scanned the map to see where to roam to next.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We chose Stewart's, where the ice cream is good quality and you get to make your own sundae or banana split from a selection of free choice syrups and sprinkles
Heart 0 Comment 0

Our next choice was the Mohawk-Hudson bike trail, which we had read about on Crazyguy.

Next stop was the Mohawk-Hudson bike path, that we had seen referenced on Crazyguy
Heart 0 Comment 0
It's a wonderful and beautiful route. We only went down it about 15 km before deciding we better not get carried away!
Heart 0 Comment 0

We only went about 15 km down the trail, though it would have been easy to get carried away. The surface was perfect, the day warm, and there was grass and trees all around. Still, we did know we have to leave sometime and there was the little matter of packing our bikes to attend to.

On the way back to the station we passed Union College. It has a large open campus in the middle of town, and some very nice buildings.

Union College is prominent in town. This is the monument to its founder.
Heart 0 Comment 0
It's a sixteen sided building with tile floors
Heart 0 Comment 0
Inside is impressive
Heart 0 Comment 0
The campus has an ivy league feel, with lots of grass. This is the library across the way
Heart 0 Comment 0
There are also other impressive buildings standing around
Heart 0 Comment 0
The city hall is pretty impressive as well
Heart 0 Comment 0

Back at the station, we discovered that the bike boxes on hand were weakened from having become damp in the recent flooding. One was in good enough shape, so we started with that. Meanwhile the staff arranged for another to be sent up on the next train from some other (presumably drier) station.

On our first trial fit of Dodie's bike, the skewer extension for the BoB poked through the box with no effort at all. We unscrewed that, and in fact had to break the bike down quite a lot to get it to fit. That included removing the front wheel because of the tall handlebars, folding the brake levers safely away, moving the mirror, and lowering the seat as well as the standard removal of the pedals and twisting of the bar sideways. Still, in it went, and with one whole roll of Walmart packing tape, seemed secure in there.

On our first shot at loading a bike into a box, the BoB skewer extension poked through
Heart 0 Comment 0
We ended up disassembling a lot
Heart 0 Comment 0
These fork guards, that we had collected by walking to several bike shops in Montreal turned out to be critical
Heart 0 Comment 0
We spent enough time boxing that other passengers got into the act. This man had timeto kill anyway, because the train to NYC was late, late, late.
Heart 0 Comment 0

When the new bike box came we found it to have a damage. This was no problem to fix, and the Amtrak staff did not care how we arranged this or what we put inside. This seems quite different from what Art ran in to in Chicago.

The "good" box they shipped up to us needed work
Heart 0 Comment 0

So it was that we were at last packed and ready to go. It had taken quite a few hours, and we were glad that our estimate of the time to get here from Montreal had in the end left us room for all the preparations.

We ducked next door and had a "last supper" of Irish Stew
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Train!
Heart 0 Comment 0
All Aboard!
Heart 0 Comment 0
An official looking conductor
Heart 0 Comment 0
There is lots of room at the seats, and power plugs too. So far we have been able to connect to the web with 2G or 3G
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 7,423 km (4,610 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0