Day 5: Zero Day in Ithaca
So my last update was during my rest day of the trip hanging out in Ithaca. Fun little town to hang out in. It was the week before graduation so there was much activity and craziness about.
The evening before (so, still Day 4, really), we had stopped in to the Alehouse for dinner. Quite the selection of burgers. I ended up trying something called the “Big Sexy” Burger; the burger is rubbed in garlic and onion, then dipped in crushed red pepper. It comes with American and cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. It was quite sizeable and quite delicious.
On Thursday (back to Day 5 now), after poking about most of the morning, I went over to The Commons to meet up with JP and his buddy George (JP is my friend in Rochester — I was crashing with him at the beginning of the trip), who were motorcycling around the region for a couple of days. We chilled and enjoyed the sunshine for a while before heading on over to the Moosewood for dinner (tasty chipotle catfish). As the evening got on, we headed up the hill to check out a few pubs there. Most notable was a stop in Stella’s for some delicious bourbon and beer.
With that, I wrapped up a lazy day in Ithaca. It was nice to get some rest, especially as I knew I had a long, hard day ahead of me.
Day 6: Ithaca to Dundee
This day was by far the hardest day of the trip, as I was covering quite a distance (over 45 miles), and the terrain was quite hilly. No climbs as impressive as the climb up to the national forest, but many long hills that still wear quite a bit. I wanted to stop in at Watkins Glen State Park, so I spent the morning crossing the very hilly stretch from the south end of Cayuga Lake to the south end of Seneca Lake. The downhill into Watkins Glen was pretty impressive, but I knew I would have to pay for it later with the climb out of Watkins Glen on the other side.
The gorge at Watkins Glen was phenomenally beautiful. So naturally, I took many pictures.
It’s been a few days, and we have some catching up to do.
Day 2: Geneva to the Finger Lakes National Forest
Before departing Geneva on bike, JH, my wonderful host in Geneva, drove me around to a couple of the wineries in his area. We stopped in for a late morning tasting at Fox Run Vineyards and Anthony Road Vineyards. This is the part of the trip where I regret not having the hauling capacity for some bottles of wine (can you imagine how shaken up and sun-scorched they’d get strapped to the back of my bike for a week?), but at least I’m able to try these tasty beverages.
Fox Run had some delicious rieslings and gewurztraminers of both the dry and off-dry varieties. Their whites were nicely balanced on the whole. The complexity of their cabernet franc really wowed me, but the winner of the tasting in my opinion was the reserve cabernet franc. The reserve CF had a pleasant spice both on the nose and on the palate. It’s smokey, finely structured finish with just the right amount of oak and tannin is what sold me the most on it. Definitely one to remember.
We also sampled the Fox Run tawny port, which I’m told is made primarily in an Australian port style as opposed to a traditional one (but the host at the winery was unable to elaborate on the meaning of that, so I’m still at a bit of a loss myself). It had the right amount of sweetness and a pleasant nutty note to it, but for whatever reason, there was a fairly intense alcohol/medicinal burn to it that kind of put me off.
Moseying on a bit further down route 14, we stopped in at Anthony Road. There we were able to sample the 2005 Tierce dry riesling (a joint effort between Fox Run, Anthony Road, and one other winery that eludes my memory at the moment). I enjoyed this quite a bit. It had a strong mineral/flinty component to it that was balanced out with some good passion fruit notes and a crisp acidity. The Anthony Road Devonian Red (blend of cab franc, pinot noir, and lemberger) also quite surprised me with it’s almost bourbon-esque vanilla nose and clove spice flavor, especially given it’s $10 price point.
So, with the first two wineries of the tour under my belt, I set off on my bike from Geneva around to the east side of Seneca Lake and on down I went. I passed a few wineries along the way that I thought about stopping in at (the picture above is near Ventosa Vineyards, I believe), but with my late start on the day and the many miles I had yet to go, I limited myself to one stop in at Lamoreaux Landing.
At Lamoreaux I mostly sampled their whites, pairing the reserve riesling against the red oak riesling and the dry gewurztraminer against the semi-dry. The reserve riesling had a nice pomaceous crispness and a pleasant minerality. It seemed much more dignified than the red oak riesling, which comes from younger vines. The red oak riesling had a more intense floral nose, and more of a tropical fruit thing going on. Both of the gewurztraminers had a good nose of lychee and rose petal, as well as some good baking spice on the finish. The semi-dry had a fuller body to it, owing to the extra sugar, while the dry felt a little more balanced with its fruit notes on the palate.
I also sampled the reserve cabernet franc, which was a beefy, full, rich, red wine that I could see going really well with game meats and barbecue. Dark chocolate and dark fruit on the nose paved the way for some nice dark cherry and baking spice notes on the palate. It finished off with subtle oak and tannins that rounded the whole thing out nicely.
The afternoon was getting on, so it was time to figure out where to sleep. I figured I’d head up to the national forest and set up a tent for the night (I love national forests). It was a beast of a climb getting up there, though. I rode up Ball Diamond Rd from route 414 into the forest and it was an intense climb. It was a three mile long stretch that gained probably 1,500 feet of elevation from the lake’s shore to the forest. I was ready for some rest after that haul. I walked the bike about a mile down the trail and found a nice patch of land for the tent. I was out by nightfall.