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Submitted by:  Robert Stopper, Lyons

Victor Jaroslaw from Brooklyn, NY is following the Erie Canalway as he bikes to Ellensburg in the state of Washington. Victor, aged 61 and an Elementary science teacher, stopped in Lyons Saturday afternoon, June 30, 2012.
Jaroslaw at old aqueduct

Victor planned to stop at the Old Lyons Hardware Store and “downweight” from a heavy lock to a “lite weight” lock for his bike, and then be on his way; however, three hours later, he was still inhaling the beauty and taste of the Hotchkiss Peppermint Building. Ironically, the docent, Pat Gorthy, is originally from the Ellensburg, Washington area, Victor’s final destination!

After leaving the Hotchkiss, Victor biked the tow path, photographed the Enlarged Erie Canal bed, rested at the Ganargua Aqueduct remains, and visited the Lyons Drydock. Victor was amazed to learn that the Dipper Dredge is listed on the National Historic Register.

Victor says that one of the most unexpected happenings so far on the journey was being
harassed by a red winged black bird. “The darn thing kept darting at my helmet and kept diving at me. Finally I stopped, and the darn thing perched on a fence and really squaked and chirped at me. It was really upset– guess it was a turf issue”!

Victor’s previous major bike trip found him biking from New York City to Ashville, NC.
According to Victor, “There is quite a bit of difference between the level Erie Canalway trail and the hilly trail through the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Victor frequently sleeps in a tent. He hopes to meet his wife and son in Washington State sometime in August.

As Victor was about to head west on his bike tour, he shared the following reflection: “I am in absolute awe of what the Erie Canalway really is…. When you bike this trail, you follow the steps of our fathers. There is a special type of ‘presence’ here…. There is so much history to be inhaled…. So much life to be observed…. I have stopped a few places and seen snakes, turtles, and fish life not normally seen. The canal itself is a flowing food chain for so much life….The natural flowers, plants, and mosses are a testament that someone is doing the right thing in preserving the past. The canal of today, and the canal paths, ditches, and locks from yesterday are a rich Aquatic habitat…. You are so lucky…. You can experience all of this everyday!”


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