New York, New York! Woo Hoo!

Posted September 28, 2010 By Kathy


Kathy with ST/Dystonia Executive Director, Howard Thiel.


September 23, 2010

This is the last day of my Cycle for Dystonia ride. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. For the last time I head out onto US 9 south. It is a warm day as I cycle through Ossinger, New York. I ride into the village of Sleepy Hollow and am greeted with a yawn. Sleepy Hollow is steeped in folklore and immortalized by Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. I ride through the village and am on the lookout for the infamous Headless Horseman.

I enter Tarrytown, New York and ride by the gates of Lyndhurst Mansion. Tall stone walls surround the country home and a 67-acre park. I ride up and down hills into Irvington, named after the author Washington Irving. Many of the towns have Metro-North Railroad stations via the Hudson Line. Within minutes, people can arrive in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

When I arrive in Dobbs Ferry, I turn onto Ashford Avenue. The busy city street leads me to the village of Ardsley. Four miles later, I arrive at The Bronx River Pathway. I jump on the four-mile segment that runs from the train station in Scarsdale to Palmer Road in Bronxville.

The path starts by a beautiful flowing waterfall. It crosses the Bronx River several times on rustic wooden bridges. At one point, it passes under a bridge and I have to duck to ride under it. The heavily wooded path shadows the Bronx River Parkway and eventually leads me to Bronxville where I meet Rodge and Bailey. We end Cycle for Dystonia with “high fives” and hugs. It is time to celebrate.  
A shout out to Kevin and Corrie. Thanks for coming to New York to help us celebrate!
September 24, 2010

Cycle for Dystonia officially ended at the ST/Dystonia annual symposium in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I rode Destiny into the conference room and arrived at the podium where Howard Thiel thanked me and presented me with an award. The rest of the symposium was very educational with fantastic speakers and topics. It was also wonderful meeting many of the people who supported me.

Cycle for Dystonia has been an amazing experience. The people I’ve met and the places I’ve cycled will always be with me. There are so many to thank. First and foremost, I thank God for giving me the vision and seeing me through this journey. I thank my amazing and supportive husband Rodge for being there with me every mile of the way, my dog Bailey for his unconditional love and kisses, Elaine my cycling partner for her friendship and support, and my sons Dan and Kevin. I thank Howard Thiel and ST/Dystonia for supporting me throughout the whole trip. I thank Denise and Kathy for meeting me along the route and I thank my family and friends around the country.

Throughout my travels, I only met three people who had heard of dystonia. There is still more work to be done. We can all be involved in awareness with the gifts we’ve been given. Whether it’s speaking, writing, sports, teaching, entertaining etc. we can all spread the word about Dystonia in our own unique way. One person with a passion for a cause can make a difference in this world.

I am thankful for the opportunity to cycle for dystonia awareness. Every brochure I handed out made a difference. The sign on the van made a difference. The blog made a difference. To all of you with dystonia, be positive and never give up. There is hope!

God Bless,


Philippians 1:6 

Kathy with Bonnie Hawkins, ST/Dystonia President.

Kathy with Bonnie Hawkins, ST/Dystonia President.


Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Posted September 25, 2010 By Kathy

A view of the Hudson River from the Vanderbilt Mansion.

September 22, 2010

We started our morning in Pete’s Famous Restaurant in Rhinebeck, New York. The pancakes were so large they were crawling off the plate. Full of carbs, I started out on US 9 and cycled into a sunny sixty-degree morning. Several horse farms lined the road. A side wind pushed me off the chewed up shoulder.  

I rode by the town of Staatsburg, New York. The tree-lined road led me to the Vanderbilt Mansion where I stopped briefly to take pictures of the Hudson River. Soon, I was in the town of Hyde Park where Main Street was lined with banners of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt. I cycled by Springwood, FDR’s estate which is now a National Historic Site.  

The city of Poughkeepsie was next on my route, then Fishkill, New York. I cycled up and down rolling hills never knowing what surprise I would find at the top. I finally started on a downhill that led me all the way into the crowded Peekskill area. Eight miles later, I found myself in the small quaint village of Croton-On-Hudson.   

God Bless,


Isaiah 6:8

Banner of FDR along Main Street in Hyde Park, New York.

A sign in Hyde Park, New York.


South to Rhinebeck

Posted September 24, 2010 By Kathy


The distant Catskill Mountains.

September 21, 2010

It is another gorgeous day as I start out on US 9/20 south. I’m riding on a busy four-lane highway in heavy traffic. After seven miles of the rat race, US 20 veers off and heads east. I continue on US 9 by houses and businesses. The road is hilly and wanders out into the boonies every few miles.

Produce stands full of fruits and vegetables are plentiful along the road. The fields and woods are painted in hues of yellow, red and orange. A big red apple shaped balloon floats high above a produce stand selling apples. I discover the town of Kinderhook and cycle around a rotary onto highway 9H. 

The Martin Van Buren National Historic Site looks out of place along the crowded stretch of road. A country club and an apple orchard add to the hodgepodge of businesses. In the distance, I see the Catskill Mountains stretching to the sky. Horses standing in a nearby field look-up as I pass by.

North of the town of Livingston, the road once again joins US 9. Bales of hay fill the fields nearby. I enter the village of Red Hook and see a sign for their “Hardscrabble Days” festival. I arrive in Rhinebeck and we drive to the Interlake RV Park. When we check in, we meet Linda who inquires about our trip and offers her congratulations. Thanks Linda!

God Bless,


John 3:16  

A decorative barn in Rhinebeck, New York.

A decorative barn in Rhinebeck, New York


Farewell Erie Canal

Posted September 23, 2010 By Kathy

Colorful leaves decorate a path along the Erie Canalway Trail.

September 20, 2010    

Today is my last day cycling along the Erie Canalway Trail. It has been an amazing, enlightening experience. I leave Canajoharie on a trail across from a large Beechnut packing plant. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Whoo-hoo! Up ahead I see Peter Cottontail hop across the narrow path. I hear a train whistle as I head into the little town of Sprakers.  

The path widens as I continue east. I have several layers of transportation shadowing me along the path. On my far left I have train tracks, the Erie Barge Canal and New York State Thruway and on my right SR 5S. Houses along the path lead me to the small town of Randal. Toward the end of the trail I meet two black cats and their calico friend. They all welcome me to the neighborhood with rollovers and meows.

I arrive in Amsterdam then jump on SR 5S and ride eleven miles to the Scotia bike path. Along the way, I pass by an industrial area and dusty stone quarries. Some sections of the path take me by the Erie Barge Canal. I start to see more people cycling, running and walking. When I come across two men with their four dogs, I cautiously pass them. Signs scattered along the trail point out the different kinds of flora present. An elderly cyclist passes me and rings his bicycle bell.

Soon I enter the city of Schenectady and start riding on the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail. The path is newly paved and a joy to ride on. Riding through a park, I see a magnificent maple tree decorated with orange-red leaves. I cycle through a canopy of trees and climb up a wicked hill. When I arrive at the top, I am on a bluff overlooking the Erie Barge Canal.

It is lunchtime and crowds of people are walking along the path. Many are from the nearby G.E. Global Research Plant. When I enter the town of Niskayuna, I pass a man on rollerblades pushing himself along with poles. He looks like an asphalt cross-country skier. The path winds through woods and by the town of Colonie, New York. It then turns south and enters the town of Cohoes.

I am once again riding on the road and paralleling the Hudson River. After the town of Watervliet, I jump back on the path one final time. The final stretch runs along the Hudson River and ends in the Empire State Plaza. Farewell Erie Canal.  

God Bless,


James 1:5

The Erie Barge Canal near Schenectady, new York.

The Erie Barge Canal near Schenectady, New York.

A bluff view of the Erie Barge Canal.

A bluff view of the Erie Barge Canal.



On to Canajoharie

Posted September 22, 2010 By Kathy

Erie Barge Canal Lock 17.

September 19, 2010

I’m on the way to Canajoharie, New York. The Erie Canalway Trail in southeast Rome is where I begin my day. It is overcast, spitting and humid out. I ride by a church sign that reads, “Are You Lost? Try GPS. God’s Plan for Salvation.” Destiny and I enter the trail and ride under a canopy of trees. A cold, damp mist hits my face as I ride by the Enlarged Erie Canal. Colorful leaves and wildflowers brighten up the morning.  

The trail ends in Oriskany. I turn onto SR 69 then head north to River Street. Black-eyed Susan’s line the road and lead me to a trail along the Erie Barge Canal. I’m amazed at how grand the canal looks in the morning light. Trees tinted with red and yellow reflect in its waters. A catamaran motors by and I wave to the people on board.

I arrive at Lock 20 and see a boat being locked through. When I stop to take a picture, I’m immediately attacked by a flock of mosquitoes the size of small birds. I swat the vicious little suckers then jump on my bike and flee. The trail takes me away from the canal and escorts me into the city of Utica.

I cycle to Herkimer and then Little Falls where I see Erie Barge Canal Lock 17. The sun finally shows its radiant face and brightens up the afternoon. I divert from the path and take an alternate route on SR 5S through picturesque farmland. Dairy farms with massive barns dot the landscape. Farmers harvest field corn and store it for the winter. I climb up a hill and have an expansive view of the Mohawk Valley far below. When I arrive in the town of Fort Plain I jump on the bike path and ride to Canajoharie.

God Bless,


Zephaniah 3:17

Farmland overlooking the Mohawk Valley.

Farmland overlooking the Mohawk Valley.


Old Erie Canal State Historic Park

Posted September 21, 2010 By Kathy

The stone remnants of an aqueduct spanning a river.

September 18, 2010  

Surprise! It is a beautiful sunny, crisp morning as I head out on the 36-mile long path through the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park. Workers began construction of the original canal in 1817 on the flat Oneida Lake Plain between Syracuse and Rome. This section of the canal was known as the “Long Level” and didn’t require the construction of locks. Years later, to improve on the original canal an Enlarged Canal was built. In some places, it was built directly on top of the original canal. When the new Erie (Barge) Canal was built in 1918, the Enlarged Canal was abandoned. I will be cycling along this abandoned stretch of canal.

I am heading east into the sun riding under a canopy of trees. It is Saturday and the path is full of cyclist, walkers and runners. I pass by the stone remnants of an aqueduct spanning a river. Dew covered grass lines the path covered in colorful fall leaves. The waters of the canal are so calm that it looks like a reflection pool.

I arrive at a wider portion of the canal lined with marshes filled with reeds. Ducks swim by and like miniature boats leave a tiny wake behind them. I see two men fishing in a small boat. Their reflections color the water with yellow, red and blue hues. The sun sparkles off their nylon lines as they cast them in the water.

The path goes through the town of Canastota. It is celebrating its bicentennial. I am back on the bike trail where construction is going on. It looks like it is getting a makeover. Men are installing wooden fences and the trail has been widened and graded for a new layer of crushed limestone. It is bumpy and jars me to the core.  

I arrive in Durhamville, and follow Canal Street to the next segment of the path. It is newly refurbished and a joy to ride on. I cycle by farms and derelict barns. Fresh hoof marks from clomping horses mar the path’s surface. I ride through a sea of apples that cover the trail.

I turn off the path onto Lock Road, which leads me to Erie Barge Canal Lock 21. As I cycle by, a woman is playing catch with her two standard poodles. The trail runs by the canal for a mile then veers off into the woods. Soon I find myself in Rome, New York, my destination.

God Bless,


Ephesians 4:32

a canal bed planted with grass and flowers.

An old canal bed planted with grass and flowers.

Erie Barge Canal Lock 21.

Erie Barge Canal Lock 21.

A bridge over the Erie Barge Canal.

A bridge over the Erie Barge Canal.

Trees reflect off the Erie Barge Canal.

Trees reflect off the waters of the Erie Barge Canal.


Paths to Syracuse

Posted September 21, 2010 By Kathy

Franklin Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms".

September 17, 2010

Good morning world! It’s an overcast, spittin’ wet Friday morning. The only thing that’s dry is my sense of humor. I jump on Gravel Road, which eventually leads me to Armitage Road. Corn and soybean fields flood the land around huge farms with formidable barns. The narrow two-lane road climbs and descends to SR 31. Soon I arrive in the town of Montezuma where produce stands are plentiful. On my way to Port Byron, I spot a dog sitting on top of his doghouse.

Outside Centerport, I enter a short bike path portion of the Erie Canalway Trail. I cycle by wetlands and come to the Centerport Aqueduct. The purpose of an aqueduct is to carry the canal and its towpath over a river, a ravine, a railroad, or a road. Typically, the towpath is carried across an aqueduct on stone arches, while the canal itself is carried across in an adjacent heavily braced wooden trough resting on stone piles. There were 18 of these amazing structures along the canal.  

Most of the remains of old locks, bridges and aqueducts I see along the path are from the Old Erie Canal and the Enlarged Erie Canal. Much of the Erie Canalway Trail runs by the defunct Enlarged Erie Canal. The modern Erie Canal (Barge) is located to the north of the old canals.   

The path ends and I’m cycling along SR 31. Just before the town of Weedsport, I discover a mural painted on an old canal remnant. It depicts The “Four Freedoms” as described by Franklin Roosevelt, in August 1941 in the State of the Union Address. A train with four cars represents the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom of fear. It is quite an impressive site.

I turn onto Towpath Road and start riding on a 20-mile bike path that will take me to Syracuse, New York. It is still overcast and nasty out. My nose and hands are cold as I cycle by woods on a grassy path. I arrive in the town of Jordan where people are busy setting up for a weekend celebration. Tents and carnival rides line the park road waiting for the hustle  and bustle of people. 

In the town of Van Buren, I find my long lost friend, the sun. It’s warm rays are good for whatever ails me. I arrive in Camillus Park and the trail ends in the city of Syracuse. It’s time to call it a day. Destiny is tire..d and I’m ravenous. See you tomorrow along the Erie Canal.

God Bless,


Psalm 119:105

Where I've been and where I'm goin' to.

Where I've been and where I'm goin' to.


Rainy Days and Thursdays

Posted September 20, 2010 By Kathy

A slanted lift bridge in Fairport, New York.

September 16, 2010

I’m on my way to Seneca Falls today. It is an overcast, cold, damp morning, the kind that calls for another cup of hot “Joe”. I start in the town of Fairport, New York. Fairport is known for its slanted lift bridge. The bridge is an irregular, ten-sided structure and crosses the canal at a 32-degree angle. No two angles in the bridge are the same, and no corners on the bridge are square.

I ride along singing the “Erie Canal Song” by Thomas S. Allen.                                                                          

I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She’s a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal

We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And every inch of the way we know
From Albany to Buffalo


Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we’re coming to a town
And you’ll always know your neighbor
And you’ll always know your pal
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal

I’m cycling in the boonies so my screeching doesn’t disturb anyone around me. When I enter Macedon, New York I ride by Lock 30. Along with locks, canals have stop gates. A stop gate divides long stretches of canal into smaller lengths in the event of a break in the canal.

If a break occurs in a section where there are many miles between locks, water will drain away before the break is repaired. Stop gates are closed in emergencies, to isolate the area where a break occurs, thereby preventing the water in the entire section from flowing out. The gate can pivot from the bottom of the canal or the sides or can be a guillotine overhead structure.

When I arrive in Palmyra, the Erie Canalway Trail diverts to Aqueduct Park. Here I find the reconstructed Aldrich Change Bridge No. 35, which allows horses or mules to cross the canal when the towpath switches from one side to the other without being unhitched and re-hitched. These were used during the Enlarged Erie Canal era (1840-1905). The trail finally leads me back to the waters of the canal.

As I cycle east toward Newark, it starts spitting out. The sky ahead looks dark and threatening. I pedal faster hoping to get to Newark without being rained on. When I arrive in Newark, the clouds open up and dump buckets of rain. Rodge is there to rescue Destiny and me. As a storm front coats the radar screen with green, yellow and red, the rest of my cycling day is rained out.

From Newark, New York on, the Erie Canalway Trail leaves the waters of the Erie (Barge) Canal and continues along the road or along bike paths. We pass through the towns of Lyons and Clyde on SR 31, then drop down to Seneca Falls on SR 414. I hope tomorrow is a dryer day.

God Bless,


Romans 8:38-39 

A stop gate along the Erie Canal.


Lock 30 in Macedon, New York.


The Erie Canal

Posted September 18, 2010 By Kathy

I start my journey along the Erie Canal.

September 14, 2010

Today I start my 360-mile trek along the Erie Canalway Trail from Lockport, New York to Albany, New York. I begin my journey at Exchange Street in Lockport, New York where I view a double canal lock. Two boats heading east pass through Locks 34 & 35 and are lowered to a new level. They continue their journey along the canal. If they travel the entire length of the canal, they will pass through fifty-seven locks. 

I start cycling along the canal on a packed, crushed limestone trail. The muddy brown waters of the canal flow by me on the right. Houses sit along the road on my left. I pick up my pace and soon find myself on the outskirts of Lockport. I pass by an expansive apple orchard on my left. When I look across the canal, I spot soybeans in the distance.

I think back to 1825 when mules walked along the towpaths and pulled boats along the canal. At the time, the canal was the engineering marvel of its day. The canal was built to open the country west of the Appalachian Mountains to settlers and to offer a cheap and safe way to carry produce to market. On July 4, 1817, Governor Dewitt Clinton broke ground for the construction of the canal, known as “Clinton’s Ditch”.

When finally completed on October 26, 1825, it included 18 aqueducts to carry the canal over ravines and rivers, and 83 locks, with a rise of 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It was 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, and floated boats carrying 30 tons of freight. A ten- foot wide towpath was built along the bank of the canal for horses, mules, and oxen. In order to keep pace with the growing demands of traffic, the Erie Canal was enlarged between 1836 and 1862. The new canal was 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep, and could handle boats carrying 240 tons. The number of locks was reduced to 72.

In 1903, the state again decided to enlarge the canal by the construction of what was called the “Barge Canal”. The resulting canal was completed in 1918, and was 12 feet deep, 120 to 200 feet wide, and 363 miles long, from Albany to Buffalo. With 57 locks, it was built to handle barges carrying up to 3,000 tons of cargo. Today the Erie Canal is utilized largely by recreational boats rather than cargo-carrying barges.

In six miles, I arrive in Gasport named after a spring emitting coal gas. The town has two lift bridges, which span the canal. Between 1905 and 1918, lift bridges became a common site along the western portion of the Erie Canal. When a canal boat approached, it alerted the bridge operator with three horn blasts. The operator stopped the traffic on the roadway by lowering a gate. Then using underground machinery, he lifted the deck of the bridge ten feet in the air so that boats and barges could pass through.

Two miles east of the town of Medina, I cycle by the Medina Culvert. This is where the Erie Canal flows over Culvert Road. It is the only place along the New York canal system where a road crosses under the canal. The culvert built in 1823 leaks. There’s constant water dripping in the middle section directly under the canal. In the town of Knowlesville, I meet a woman walking her beagle named Sara. The pathway is a popular place to take Fido for a walk. Big dogs, little dogs, puppies, seniors, dogs wearing bandanas, dogs with decorative collars, and dogs carrying sticks all walk along the water.   

The trail elevates me above the canal. From my vantage point, I see apple orchards, rows of red tomatoes and fields of green cabbage. Up ahead I see a gaggle of white geese carousing in the middle of the path. As I cycle closer they honk in protest then waddle into the canal.

Outside the town of Brockport, the path narrows and I start cycling through woods. A canopy of trees hovers over the pathway and blocks the sun. I arrive in the town of Greece and ride quietly through Henpeck Park. Near Genesee Valley Park, one can see where the Erie Canal crosses the Genesee River. At one time, the Erie Canal flowed over the Genesee River in an aqueduct.

I arrive in Fairport, New York where my route ends and our layover begins. We spent an awesome layover day with my Mother, my sister Karen and her family, and my brother Bill and his wife Diane. I had a special visit from my college friend Kathy who I hadn’t seen in twenty-four years. Thanks all for a wonderful relaxing time.      

God Bless,


Philippians 4:6-7    

Locks along the Erie Canal.


Locks 34 and 35 in Lockport, New York.

A boat passing under a canal lift bridge.

A lift bridge in Spencerport, New York.

A view along the Erie Canalway Trail.

Crushed rock lines the sides of the canal.

A soybean field along the canal.

Where the Erie Canal crosses the Genesee River in Rochester, New York.


On to Lockport, New York

Posted September 16, 2010 By Kathy

A boat sitting along the Niagara River.

September 13, 2010

I leave Buffalo, New York and head out into an overcast fifty-degree morning. I’m in North Tonawanda and riding on a bike path along a branch of the Niagara River. Boats tied to docks sit along the water in front of businesses and houses. When I enter the city of Tonawanda the bike path ends and I’m forced to cycle along Creekside Drive. The neighborhood I ride through is still waking up to a new day. I spot a woman in her bathrobe walking out to her mailbox for the morning paper.

A gaggle of geese stops traffic as they waddle across the road. While I wait for them, I experience a wide smile moment. A bit up the road, I pass by a garden full of sunflowers. They remind me of the smiling sunflowers I saw in South Dakota. I cycle by houses decorated with hardy mums, pumpkins and corn husks.

My route takes me along Tonawanda Creek Road and into the small town of Pendleton. I pass by houses, churches and a farm selling colorful fruits and vegetables. I turn east onto Bear Ridge Road and start riding by the Erie Canal. Trees readying for their fall exhibition display leaves of red, yellow and orange. I finally arrive in Lockport, New York our destination for the day. Join me tomorrow when I start cycling along the Erie Canal.

God Bless,


Luke 1:37