Right up front … I know Leah has the big story today. Excuse me, she has the big stories today. Go ahead, take it.
Wow, do I have a story to tell today!
Before we started this trip, we planned for a lot of things – rain, dogs, muggers, sunburn, blisters – but I never thought anyone would steal a kiss.
We had walked a couple of hours into our trip today and waited at a crosswalk with two joggers, men about our age. One of them queried, “How long until you get to Albany?” And he laughed until I said we’re about halfway there. He said, “Oh, you really are walking all the way!!?”
They wished us luck and were on their way. (We were impressed they were running; we don’t do that anymore.) About 20 minutes later, they had obviously run their route and were now headed toward us. They asked, “Do you mind if we ask how old you are?”
Steve answered that the trip was my 60th birthday present and one of the men said, “Oh, my!” and congratulated me. Then, he reached out and gave me a little hug and a big kiss on my cheek! I gave him one of our cards — so if you’re reading this, thank you for the birthday kiss! You made my day. (My birthday is in December, but I’m not walking this trail in the snow!)
But wait, there’s more! We had a long, hot (New York hot, not Texas hot) walk today.
Although we are walking the official Erie Canal Trailway, we often have to get off to find our lodging. Thank goodness, or we might never have landed in Oz!
Chittenango is the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz” books. They do it up right here. Businesses are named with words from the story – Emerald City, Yellow Brick Road, etc. The city sidewalk includes a yellow brick road.
We stopped at The Medicine Shoppe as we entered town because it proclaimed “welcome Oz fans” and was full of gifts and souvenirs about Oz. Then we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for a coolotta and they had pictures from the movie and of Munchkins actors who used to come to Chittenango to visit for the big Oz-Stravaganza. It’s right around the corner, June 3-5. We’ll miss it. But the poppies are blooming and the posters are up.
And last for today, some traveler’s notes. From Dewitt, there is a long section of state park, about 36 miles. Bicycles can do the whole thing but you can’t really walk that far so you will have to get off to find places to stay. There were benches occasionally on the trail and on the section we walked there was at least a portable toilet (one mile in from the start of the trail), but you must cross a bridge to the little park on the other side to get to it.
Going into a town, though, can be a wonderful change of scenery, not to mention food and fun. Walking along the highway is not fun, but sometimes you just have to.
Find three more pictures on the photos page.