Journey to the East: 24 July 2012


Now I'm really in the NE

At the last turn in the path
                –bending, bowing,
              (moss and a bit of
-Gary Snyder

Back East
It was a miserable night last night as it never really cooled down and hot nights are my nemesis. The second of these bad nights in a row. The days ride however was much better, though the tiredness sometimes had me casting a jaundiced eye on things. Anyway the route was again mostly along Lake Erie and at first it was fairly urban as I rode through the city of Erie and its suburbs but then I was more out into the country and the traffic dropped off and the amount of vineyards dramatically increased. There was a good long stretch without any towns right on the route and during this portion of the ride I saw a fully loaded touring bicycle leaning against a railing. I stopped to check it out and up from the river where he’d been brushing his teeth emerged M__ from Montreal. He was riding Montreal to Chicago in a rather seat of the pants style – no set route, wild camping and so on. Not really a big deal except he had a limited timeframe: 8 days. Well I definitely wish him the best of luck. I also saw a group of four or five touring bicycles parked in front of the KOA. There is a popular circle route of Lake Erie so I’ve been expecting to see more tourons, but I gotta question anyone camping, excuse me, Kamping at the KOA unless they have no other choice.


Sunset over Lake Erie

Just a few miles later I crossed into New York State; the Northeast at last. Ohio had felt transitory from the Midwest to the East and the little bit of Pennsylvania even moreso, but NY, now that’s the east. There had been just a fantastic tailwind all day and I definitely feel for the westbound riders in the area, but it definitely helped on what was a moderately decent amount of miles. But more vitally while it got pretty warm, it is summer after all, the higher heat of the last couple of days has broken. Anyway around five pm I arrived at Evangola State park where I got an absolutely stunning campsite on a bluff over the lake. The wind off the lake was nuts, which I admit made cooking more difficult, but as this is my last night on Lake Erie, totally worth it. The sunset, as pictured above, was glorious and as it set a thin crescent moon came out from behind the trees. This is what it is all about.

blown across the sand,
by the summer wind,
a solitary leaf

the fiery sun
falls behind the blue line —
the crescent moon emerges

6 thoughts on “Journey to the East: 24 July 2012”

  1. To be all pedantic and such (because I can), but there are some who would argue with you “being in the Northeast”. Technically Pennsylvania is part of the NE, but culturally far-west PA along with far-west NY State has more in common with the Midwest than the NE. That whole Appalachian Mountain divide, I suppose. Just say you are in the Mid-Atlantic States and call it good. 😉

    And yeah to New York! While you ain’t gonna see the ocean until Maine, you at least are now in a state on the Atlantic Ocean. Your tour is coming to a close…

    And congrats on biking in the heat and humidity. Humidity is not something I miss from my days living in “squarely in the Northeast, and also part of New England” Connecticut.

    1. Yeah I hear ya, but if New York City is the NE then so is the rest of the state. It’s like saying Eastern Washington/Oregon aren’t part of the Pacific NW – they are. And the people in Buffalo reminded me NY-ers and not of mid westerners at all. People in cars dont wave at me when I make eye contact anymore…

      I gotta admit I pine for the ocean but at least Lake Erie with its extending to the horizon has given me the right vibe.

      The humidity does indeed blow, but I guess I adapted to it, though can’t say I like it much.

      1. I’d probably argue with you that eastern Oregon/Washington aren’t part of the Pacific NW, at least not the “Pacific NW” most people that aren’t from the Pacific NW think of. Heck, before I moved to Oregon it was hard for me to believe the eastern half of the state is desert.

        1. Sure, but “what most people think of” isn’t how these regions are defined. The PNW is defined by the airflow from the Pacific Ocean which ends at Glacier (as I learned this tour).

          1. And I think that’s what I’m stabbing at. State lines are arbitrary lines on the map, and aren’t always best at defining what a “region” is. New York is part of the NE because as a state it borders the Atlantic and has New York City, but culturally the area you are going through is more “Great Lakes” or “Rust Belt” than “Northeast Megalopolis”.

            And if we want to look to the NW, Northern California has a lot more in common with Southern Oregon than much of the rest of California (esp. SoCal.) That’s why we almost had a state of Jefferson.

            I think that’s why I like Cascadia as a region, because it doesn’t acknowledge state or international boundaries.

  2. Well that I’m right with you on – that states and countries et al are meaningless. I’d definitely use more geographic features for this region – clearly dominated by the lakes. However if one is judging by the people they definitely do seem more liked NY-ers then Midwesterners and that shift began at Cleveland I felt.

    I’ve long been a fan of Cascadia – BC to NoCal west of the Cascades. Ecotopia!

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