As I biked through one neatly manicured village after another this morning, a random thought crossed my mind: This is Yankee country. Not that it matters to me but my mother would be worried. Being a good Texas girl, she thought Yankees were persnickety. Or maybe she thought all persnickety people were Yankees. At any rate, she didn’t care much for Yankees. Her last instructions before I left for college were, “Now don’t bring home a Yankee girl.” It’s a good thing Suellen’s from Indiana.
Actually this is Leatherstocking country. I thought that sounded slightly kinky so I looked it up and was transported back to high school when we studied James Fenimore Cooper. As you may recall, the Leatherstocking Tales included The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, The Pioneers, and The Prairie. They all featured Natty Bumppo, a white kid who was raised by Indians and personified the best of both worlds. The Leatherstocking Tales all took place in this part of central New York and Natty is a bit of a hero here. You can even get t-shirts that say, What would Natty Bumppo do? Maybe I’ll get one in tonight’s t-shirt swap.
It was a pretty ride today through Natty Bumppo country. You can almost imagine Mohicans, Oneidas, or Mohawks living among the forests and rivers we rode by. Maybe Daniel Day-Lewis lives nearby. We’re also back into climbing country. Though today’s climb was only a modest 2,100 feet, we’re definitely headed back into hill country. On the penultimate day of our ride — this Sunday — we’ll climb some 6,000 feet. That’s 500 feet more than the day we climbed Teton Pass. It ain’t over yet — we’ve still got some work to do.
Day’s distance: 79.4 miles (127.8 km)
Average speed: 16.2 mph (26.1 kph)
Day’s climb: 2,100 feet (640.1 meters)
Total distance: 3,429.2 miles (5,518.8km)