Start: Erie, PA
Finish: Fredonia, NY
Weather: 90 degrees, sunny
Distance to date: 2,462
Another gorgeous day along the shore of Lake Erie. Traveling north and east from Erie, the lake shore develops bluffs. In North East, PA (which is actually in northwestern PA; go figure) the higher ground is full of vineyards. To the left they march to the lake, to the east, they are the foreground for a landscape of distant hills and church steeples. One could easily pass off a postcard of the scene as a setting in Europe. Over the NY line the terrain gets hilly. The brooks in the hollows are stepped with ledge that creates cascading waterfalls. Niagara is not too far away. In the village of Barcelona I took an extended break, the waves crashing into the rocks at the base of the cliffs are dramatic
I arrived at Dunkirk, my planned stop for the day, to find that the town was run down to the point of creepy and the two independent motels shabby and remote form any services. Begrudgingly I pedaled
out to the I-90 / US 20 interchange in Fredonia, which has the usual array of franchises. The Days Inn seemed to be the most modest hotel along the strip, so I went to McDonald’s, logged onto their Wi-Fi, and used Priceline to get a sweet deal on the Days Inn. I felt a twinge of compromised principle, but even though I love vintage motels, there are times when they are too sketchy for comfort.
Actually, I have gotten used to a cluster of franchise amenities on my trip. I had been to Wal-Mart only once prior to this adventure, now I have been to so many I know how the stores are organized. In small towns Wal-Mart is the only game in town for bicycle tubes and power bars. I have also become very fond of the free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s. I will get a soft drink or an ice cream cone and use it for hours. I don’t eat their food, but I love their Internet access. The other franchise I frequent is Subway. Subways are everywhere, much more common than McDonald’s. Since they don’t require specific buildings as other franchises do, they fit everywhere. Every crossroads seems to have a Subway, and if the food is unremarkable, at least it is healthy. Subway is my default when no good local food is available. Now I have discovered Priceline. The undertow of the franchise culture is tugging at my being.
Not to worry too much. There is a terrific old fashioned burger stand next to the McDonald’s in Fredonia. That is where I am eating dinner.
Lighthouse Barcelona, NY