My Route

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Day 18: Thursday, 19th July. Destination: Lighthouse Inn, Irving, New York

From the moment I woke up, a sense of transition was in the air. Packing panniers as usual – except this time I was doing it on my own. Mixed feelings as I pedalled away from the motel: half panic (will I survive on my own?) and half liberation (I’m now free to eliminate those post-breakfast pre-brunch coffee breaks!). Couldn’t help feeling a bit vulnerable, and certainly alone: there’s comradeship in the face of things going wrong (punctures, getting lost etc) that could be tough – even scary - to do without.

And so I headed off alone into Canada across the beautiful Rainbow Bridge. A brief visit along the Niagara Parkway then back into the US over the Peace Bridge into Buffalo. Not the prettiest of towns. Overcast weather, a brisk headwind and my second puncture of the trip didn't lighten my mood. However, just as things were looking down what do I see but a small sign by the roadside directing me towards the Frank Lloyd Wright estate of Graycliff, on the coast of Lake Erie. I stopped by just in time for the 2o'clock tour. Not, perhaps, the greatest of FLLW's house designs but full of interesting details as you'd expect. Nice metal-framed corner windows opening up to give uninterrupted views of the lake.

After all the pretty New England scenery, the road following Lake Erie seemed a little bleak. My first night's solo accommodation was equally unpromising - a two-storey prefabricated box of a building divided from the main road by a car lot. No town to speak of; just a gas station and a road junction further back down the road and a diner further up. The whole thing pretty much devoid of anything you could loosely call scenery. It just sat there, a place without context. The forlorn whistle of trains heading west (or east) a little way behind my window provided just the right tone to compliment the kind of room that felt like it had never seen better days. My neighbour had been living there for a couple of weeks, doing some local work. It was hard to imagine there was any work around here for him to do.