Ithaca Intermezzo - Back to Beginnings - CycleBlaze

June 18, 2021 to June 19, 2021

Ithaca Intermezzo

Two days in Ithaca


I was spending two days in Ithaca reconnecting with friends and colleagues. This morning I biked seven miles into town – starting with a quick ride down Rt 89 and ending with conquering some of the infamous Ithaca hills. Jane and Michael are long-time (>50 yr) friends from my college days in Granville, Ohio. I met Jane my freshman year and we were roommates my junior and senior year. Michael showed up the summer between Jr and Sr year and he and Jane were instant soul mates. The three of us rode bikes all around the back roads of Licking county, sometimes at night – always without lights and never with helmets. Mid-way thru our senior year, Jane dropped out and she and Michael moved to the Ozarks where they hand built a one-room house down on the Big Piney River.

We each moved around a lot in the process of “finding yourself” during the waning idealism of the 70’s – Michael and Jane spent several years in Salem, OR where he was a librarian at Willamette College before moving to Cornell and Ithaca in the late 1980s. I ended up doing my academic thing and in 1999 spent eight months in Ithaca on sabbatical at Cornell. By then, we were almost fully functioning adults and spent many wonderful days hiking around Ithaca and sharing meals. And that’s what we did today, a nice walk along Six-Mile Creek and a wonderful meal of fish tacos.

I spent the afternoon visiting colleagues from my sabbatical days, discussing SARS-CoV-2 evolution, getting older, and retired life. Clare picked me up at Cornell just as it was starting to rain and we went back to the shack for a simple meal and early bedtime. It was racing day tomorrow!

Jane, Michael and Clare
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Scott AndersonI’m trying to roll forty years off these faces to determine whether I recognized them from Salem. I well might - I was living there at the same time.
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2 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonScott - I knew from your bio on the "other site" that you had lived in Salem and always wondered if you might have known Michael as he's always been an avid biker. I think they lived in Salem in mid to late 80s.
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2 months ago
Jane's fish taco - made and served with love
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Five boats in Ithaca Yacht Club racing fleet (plus one visiting boat) were racing 12 miles up Cayuga Lake, followed by lunch and a nice sail home. Clare told me it was a fun race, so I agreed to crew provided nothing too technical was expected of me. Our race start time was 9:05, so we and the two other crew members (Liz and Lou) were at the boat a little after 8 am, setting the rigging and hoisting her into the water. All seemed great – except the absence of wind. Literally, no wind. It was so bad that none of the six boats made it to the race starting line at their race time start – in fact, it took us 45 minutes from our start time to reach the actual race starting line. I swear there were times we were going backwards!

All the boats were stalled like us, each trying various sail configurations to catch what little breeze wafted by. It was a very relaxing time – very little heave-ho – but as the sun rose in the sky it became increasingly hot. After 2.5 hours, we bailed on the race and headed back to shore. The sails were furled and stowed, the boat hoisted back on the trailer, and we ate take-out on the lake.

Lou looking for signs of wind, Clare remains skeptical
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Me, I'm just chillin'
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Inching our way up the lake with a sagging spinnaker
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Back to shore
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Safely on the trailer - and in need of a boat wash!
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The whole crew enjoying a post "race" lunch
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An iconic bumper sticker states “Ithaca is Gorges” and it is true, with more than 150 waterfalls plunging and/or cascading down deep gorges formed millions of years ago. Visiting the falls and hiking up gorge and rim trails  was a favorite activity during my 1999 sabbatical. With a 215 ft plunge, Taughannock Falls is the tallest in the area. Located near Trumansburg, I was oh so close to the falls yesterday, and regret not taking another visit.

 With an afternoon freed up by no wind, Clare and I decided to visit nearby Buttermilk Falls, a 165 ft cascading falls with multiple tiers and pools. We did a fairly short hike along the Gorge Trail before crossing over Buttermilk Creek and returning along the Rim Trail. While the Falls were less voluminous than I remembered (no doubt due to limited amounts of recent rainfall), I delighted in the cascading pools and the varied rock formations. 

Buttermilk Falls
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My time in Ithaca was focused on friends rather than an exploration of the city and its wonderful surroundings. From past and current visits, I find Ithaca to be a rich and vibrant city, full of interesting people, stimulating culture, and good restaurants – including the famed Moosewood Restaurant whose cookbook introduced many to healthy vegetarian cooking in the 1970s. The surrounding area offers abundant chances to recreate on land and water, and the Cornell Ornithology Lab and grounds are a haven for birders. I highly recommend a visit, but beware - you cannot get around Ithaca without some climbing.

Today's ride: 8 miles (13 km)
Total: 433 miles (697 km)

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