Aug 09

Bicentennial Daze

by in Week 8

  • Oswego to Watertown, NY
  • 69 miles
  • cool, overcast day
  • More history!

Here’s a travel tip for you. When camping at high schools in the summer, arrange it so you aren’t camping during band camp. Imagine 60 odd high schoolers banging on drums, xylophones, cymbals and any other kind of musical instrument you can imagine until 9 pm. Then, of course, they have to carouse in the parking lot rather than just noticing the 35 tents filled with sleepy people. They are teens first, after all. It really wasn’t so bad, but it WAS memorable.

Today was a ride it slow and take it easy kind of day. There was no reason to hurry to do such a short ride. The vans weren’t even going to be at the school to unload until well after 2. It’s closer to 1 and we’re already blogging at the public library. So we didn’t hurry. We chatted at breakfast. We got pictures of other coast-to-coast riders who we have missed before. The route, while not difficult, was not flat. It was more like a blanket you’ve wadded up and thrown on the bed. Constantly up or down. Nothing long, nothing too hard, but steady.

We rolled northeast along the edges of Lake Ontario today. We stopped at a bike store in the middle of nowhere because he’d opened early for our group. We couldn’t see the lake except for 3 short excursions. The first took us into the hamlet of Henderson Harbor and right down to the water. There was a house shaped like a castle and another that had a brook flowing under it. It was very nifty. The second excursion was at picnic at a state park. Lots of sandy beach filled with lots of kids in day camps. The squealing was music to my ears. And one of the folks we pace-lined with on Monday, George, wanted to try out the tandem in the parking lot. Fun.

The third trip to the lake was to see a battlefield from the War of 1812. Seems the British wanted to destroy an American naval shipyard and landed troops to do that. The Americans had 2 forts protecting the shipyard. The battle was hard fought, much hand-to-hand. The British withdrew eventually and that was it. In case you missed the reference, that happened 200 years ago – thus the bicentennial celebration.

After that it was about 10 easy miles to Watertown and this lovely library. We have little idea what tomorrow might bring. Amazingly, neither of us are looking ahead to the end of the trip yet. We aren’t making plans of what to do when we get home or even dreaming of sleeping in our own bed again. I’m pretty impressed with our ability to stay with this moment, which for me is kind of sticky, sweaty and thirsty. I think I’ll close and let Sheila finish with this post.

One last thing: We’ve seen lots of houses here in New York with these gigantic stars on the side. Are they decorative? Are they meaningful? Are they an Amway scam? Are they guides for the ET invasion? Let us know if you know or have an idea.


7 Responses to “Bicentennial Daze”

  1. From Roxanne Bartlett:

    You two are absolutely amazing!!! We’re loving all your wonderful posts.

    Posted on Aug 9, 2012 at 11:58 am #
  2. From Joe:

    I see those stars a lot in texas, always by themselves. I doubt the New York houses are expressing an affection for the Lone Star state though.

    Posted on Aug 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm #
  3. From Wendy Townsend:

    One of your greatest threads during this journey is your ability to stay in the present! Thanks, love your practice of that!!!!

    Posted on Aug 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm #
  4. From Dave:

    Looks like those are called “barn stars”. Wiki says they started as good luck charms and maker’s signatures among German-American farming communities and evolved to just decorations.

    Posted on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm #
    • From S2Cycle:

      Dave you win a gold star! Thanks for looking it up and providing the link. We stopped and asked a soldier who had one on his house today. He said, “no significance…the wife just thought it looked nice”!

      Posted on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm #
  5. From Anne Thomas:

    The “decorative”, usually wooden stars on the sides of buildings in the North East–as far as I know–denote Colonial era farm or home-steads. They can be seen up and down the East Coast (especially in northern sections). People are very “into” the history of their farms/homes and restoration of them. These stars are not official, but if you put up a star, your place better date to the Colonial era. We have one on our barn and ice house (pre-1750).

    Posted on Aug 22, 2012 at 6:35 am #
  6. From Spencer:

    August 2013 – I this was the day the TV crew came out to interview us. The school we stayed in had rooms that ranged from hot to super-airconditioned. One was way too cold. We stayed in the band room with a dozen others.

    Posted on Aug 10, 2013 at 7:59 am #