Monday, July 14, 2014

Cycling the Erie Canal

Yes, week 3 of our vacation has officially begun!! Peter started his Cycling the Erie Canal bike ride and I started my Shopping the Erie Canal program!  We arrived in Buffalo on Saturday for registration, a kick-off dinner and orientation program.  The actual bike ride began Sunday morning at 8 AM.  It's an 8-day ride from Buffalo to Albany, along the Erie Canal Bike Trail - scenic and historic!  I thought I would share a couple of interesting stats from that orientation program:
     - 485 riders (55% male, 45% female)
     - youngest rider - 9 years old
     - oldest rider - 90 years old - if I remember correctly, I think they said this is his 5th ride
     - average age - 53 years

The majority of the riders stay in a "tent city" that is set up each night at a new location, usually at a school of some sort. I'm not much of a camper, so we're staying in hotels along the way.  This gives me a chance to do some sewing too. 
Peter at the Registration site in Buffalo
Just a few of the tents in "Tent City"

Day 1 began in Buffalo and ended in Medina.  It was Sunday, so no open quilt shops for me.  Instead when Peter stopped for lunch in Lockport, we did a one and a half hour tour on the Canal itself and actually went through two of the locks (# 34 and #35).  Historical note:  the first Erie Canal was built in 1825 and modified 2 additional times.  It was built to connect Lake Erie in Buffalo and the Hudson River in Albany and to provide a means of moving goods across the state.  It was built by hand and the original one was called "Clinton's Big Ditch".  The change in land elevation along the Canal is still handled with the locks.  I have to say it was pretty neat to actually be in the lock and watch how it works.  Now all the door opening and closing, the water flowing in and out is all accomplished by motors, but back in the 1800's it was all done by manpower and animal power.
Inside the lock as it gets ready to fill with water.

I  ended the day with some quality time with my sewing machine.  I'm working on a RCQ quilt that needs to be done pretty quickly, so I'm grabbing any chance I get on this trip to "bond" with the machine!!  I also want to get this quilt finished because Paula is getting ready to send me another packet of baggies!  She has the sample fabric for her new collection, Landon Creek, and she has already designed the quilt, so it is calling my name!  Going to be a busy few weeks, but I really wouldn't have it any other way!

Day 2 - today - was the first day of my Shopping the Erie Canal program and I had a great time.  Peter and I are trying to meet for lunch each day, so I'm planning my shopping time around that.  Today I visited 2 great quilt stores.  I'm sure there are more in the area, but these two met my criteria - along or near the bike ride.  First shop on my list - Heartland Quilt Shop in Lockport. Tara, the owner, was out today, but I met Jamie and some ladies that were there for a class using their Featherweights.  What a great shop and Jamie was wonderful.  I had a great time there and found some fat quarters to use in our Lucy Boston blocks.  Yes, I made sure I bought 2 of each, so I can share with Paula!

Peter and I met for lunch at McColley's, an Irish pub in Spencerport.  After lunch I back tracked to Brockport and visited Country Treasures.  Marie, the owner, specializes in primitives, wools and reproduction fabrics.  Another great shop and fabulous owner.  I  had a great time there and added to our Lucy Boston fat quarter collection.  I guess I'm also spreading the word about Lucy Boston and the Patchwork of the Crosses blocks! 

All in all a fabulous day!!!  The ride ended in Pittsford today and tomorrow it's on to Seneca Falls.  I've got a couple of shops planned for the trip, but I'll share them in my next post.  We're also going to have dinner out with family.  Should be a wonderful day too.  Maybe in my next post I'll share my thoughts on Spandex and are some of these bike riders asking too much of the fabric!!

Now a whiney moment - I  have discovered why I love cruising.  You get on a ship with your suitcases, you unpack once and everyday you end up in a new location, but you never had to repack or drag your luggage to a new location.  On this trip, every day I repack, load my luggage in the car, drive to a new place, unload the luggage, take out what I need and then repack it again and start the cycle for another day! UGH!!!  Maybe I should be cruising on the Erie Canal, not driving along near it!!  I'll suggest that if Peter decides he wants to do this again.

And now for a commercial moment:  have you checked out the information on the Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along?  You are really going to want to be part of this!  Great designers, fabulous fabric and a beautiful quilt.  Did I tell you that there are also going to be prizes.  Each week, the sponsoring designer will be giving away a prize and at the end there is a grand prize that all the designers and Marcus Fabrics is contributing too.  We should have pictures of the prizes in another week or so.  Remember it starts August 1st and continues for the next 10 Fridays.  Kits are still available:  Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along kits.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

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