Monday, August 24, 2015

Stop to Smell the Cheese in Cuba

The locks along the Erie Canal have free camping.  This was at Lock 30 in Macedon.
Yesterday I went off script and turned south at Rochester.  It looked like there was a longish canal trail, and I've been spoiled by the shade you get on the narrow trails.  The NY state routes usually have wide shoulders, but the sun and semi-trucks get stressful.  The Genesee Valley Greenway runs along the remains of the oddest transportation project I could imagine.  A canal that climbs 980 feet and at one point hugs a sheer cliff.  At the time, a canal was that much better than rutted roads and horse wagons for moving cargo.

Let's build a canal that goes up 980 feet and through a gorge.
The greenway was relaxing, but physically more strenuous due to the trail surface, sometimes just a grassy path.  The going was slow for my ~75 miles of riding and it was evening before I reached Letchworth State Park.  It was worth the trip.  The Grand Canyon of the East, belied by the tall layered cliffs.   I came into the park via a rough and rocky gravel road, and found water, bathrooms (with showers!), and cabins.  The park office and tent camping was nowhere to be seen, so I cleaned up with a shower and followed the Greenway to it's terminus overlooking a massive waterfall.  One of the best camp spots yet.

I'm a sucker for stencils.

Bridge out.  Scramble!

Cliffs.  This is the canal route.

Small waterfall - View from Camp

Massive waterfall - View from Camp

Cuba, NY is known for cheese.  That’s what the sign at the edge of town said.  I stopped here for lunch and will of course be stopping in at the cheese museum and store on the way out.  No photos or cheese reviews yet, but soon.

And a couple more thoughts about BiCi Co.   These thoughts are about how transportation choices and patterns are set young.  If a youth is bombarded with car commercials and social messaging that the only way to show you’ve made it is to buy a shiny car, and there aren’t any other messages, what do you think the outcome is?  When that young adult follows the “consumer American Dream” and buys a cookie cutter home in the suburbs 20 miles from work, they’ve effectively killed off any alternative, sustainable transportation options.

The program we ran this summer spent time investigating the economics of transportation.  For a low income city, the economics really matter.  We talked about extractive, versus local, industries and economies.  Walking, biking, and transit result in more local shopping, more disposable income, and less money thrown out of state via gasoline and automotive costs.  CT Transit and CT Rides came in for an afternoon session on public transit and transportation options.   BiCi Co. won’t have polished multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, but it will provide the hands on exercises and discussions that question the otherwise assumed transportation answers.  These activities will make a difference, both for these young adults and for our city.

1 comment:

OpusOne said...

Ah, now you're in my neck of the woods. You got within 20 miles of my hometown, Hornell, which is to the SE from Letchworth.

Letchworth's office & tent camping areas are on the West side of the gorge; you would have had to cross at the Mt. Morris dam just as you entered the park, otherwise the next crossings were at the end of the trail where you camped, and it's very nice there anyway.

And yes, there's a lot of dairy farms and cheese producers in them thar hills. You're just now entering the main stretch of Amish country in NY as well.

Enjoy the Southern Tier!