continued Route 5 was a good road to make time on and the shoulders, where bike riders spend most of their time on heavily trafficked roads, were not bad. After waiting out a thunderstorm for about 20 minutes under the overhang of a closed restaurant east of Vernon, I detoured south around Utica and made it to a beautiful park in downtown Clinton for lunch. My wet running shoes and socks came off as I sat in the now emerging sunshine warming myself and eating the sandwich my Karen had packed.
It felt good to rest but I had many miles to go. Through Washington Mills and on to Frankfort I met my first challenging hills. I do not like hills! The drudgery of hill climbing is somewhat placated by the exhilaration of the rapid descent on the other side, but there is nothing like a nice level stretch of smooth pavement.
After I flew down the hill west of Frankfort I made the first of many Route changes and picked up Route 5 South instead of Route 5, which looked to be a nice flat road and would eventually lead me back to Route 5 and perhaps be a bit shorter.
As I descended off the 1,200-foot plateau west of Fort Plain, I realized it may have been a better choice to follow Route 5 along the Mohawk River. It had been by far my toughest climb so far and had taxed my strength and endurance. The elevation change of about 900 feet gave me an inspiring view of the Mohawk River Valley to the north and higher hills to the south surrounded by pristine farm country. I guess it was worth the pain.
After a hot turkey sandwich at a diner in Fort Plain I continued on to Canajoharie to rejoin Route 5 and find a place for a nap. I had included a one man tent, sleeping pad and fleece in my 30 pounds of traveling gear, but tonight I would treat myself to a room in the local Rodeway Inn. I had cycled 111 miles (12.4 mph average) and was simply too tired to set up the tent.