We weren't up until 8 AM this morning.  This was late for us, but the benefits we derive from sleeping in comfortable beds, especially after yesterday's push to Niagara, made this necessary.  Niagara Falls, ON is a tourist trap, similar to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco or Las Vegas, NV. The night before, when planning our route, we located a place that was an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet so when we woke up, we headed right for it.

In this blog, we've not had the occasion to be critical of any place we've stayed or have eaten but today will be different. The all-you-can-eat buffet place around the corner from the hotel is the exception.

After being seated, they asked for out drink order, 3 waters. The waiter said they only had bottled and it would be $3 each!  We declined and ended up drinking out of the bathroom faucet.  Look at the "fresh" fruit below. Yes, right out of a can.

We knew we would get going late after yesterday's ride, but it was even later than we thought after a quick sightseeing stop followed by customs. As we approached customs, we were sent left with the automobiles, not right with the pedestrians.

Our first stop was a Tim Hortons which was delightfully cool inside as the temps got into the 90s.

We went in for a drink, but after my cousin Marie commented on the blog about their donuts, we each got one, and they were excellent. 

We had lunch in LeRoy NY, typical fare - yogurt, fruit, and turkey/cheese lettuce wraps which we ate in the store.

Because of our late start we didn't  know how far we would get today. We were going to be following Route 20 through the small towns along the Finger Lakes and ambitiously thought Geneva might be a good destination, but after a tire blow out just west of Lima (pronounced like the bean), we knew we could only make Canandaigua.  

We didn't have a place to stay, and the two campgrounds there would pull us far of our route, so we contacted Command Central. I'm not sure exactly how my sister Gail did it, but she sent a message to her friends and found us a place where we could pitch our tent. This is the connection - my sister Gail Hvidsten has a friend in Needham, Jennie Moore whose husband Mike has fraternity brother from Clarkson, Terry Fischer who lives in Canadaigua. Terry was in Denver on business, but he had us contact his wife, Gretchen who was home with two of their three sons. We called from LIma about 18 miles away and were there in under an hour (we averaged close to 19 mph today). 

When we got there, Gretchen opened her home to us.  It was wonderful.  We put our bikes in the garage, and cooled off with a dip in the pool.

We each took showers and when we were done, she put our bike clothes in the laundry. We had a beer while we waited for the others to shower and then headed off to a local restaurant that Gretchen recommended.  She also recommended what to order, which was perfect.

When we got back to the house, Gretchen had set up a bed downstairs for Justin as well as a queen upstairs where Dave and I slept. This incredible hospitality was not anticipated - we were just looking for a spot for our tent - but much appreciated.  Here are the four of us. 

I'm off to sleep now, the recipient of incredible hospitality, excited for a second night in a bed and feeling very grateful to be in such a warm and inviting home.


  1. Jennie Moore is the real magician! She had a reply to my text within minutes...with an unbelievable connection. But it didn't surprise me, because that's who she is. :)

  2. What amazing (last minute) hospitality!! So glad you got another bed and got to use the laundry.

  3. Ryan Smith7/23/2014

    Nice to see your streak of great hospitality extends right into the mean old Eastern Time Zone.

  4. Thank you Gretchen for hosting (out of the blue) my son Donald and his friends! Thank you!

  5. Melanie L Daglian7/23/2014

    We love Gretchen!

    A little south of your route, but if you need it I have friends who own a large home in king's ferry.

  6. Hi, may we call this the Home Stretch? All downhill from upstate N.Y. Of course. Haha Soon be in the Hub. Ciao Mark & Mary. Ps thank u Gretchen

  7. A Yelp review of the Country Chalet all-you-can-eat breakfast echoed your experience:
    "Run away! Yuck! I would like to put a "0" here, but it won't allow me. My family and I tried this place for breakfast. I don't care how cheap it is, but if it were $1.00, that would be too much. I know sausage isn't too healthy to begin with, but biting into it, I felt unhealthy, even my 5 year old, who'll eat anything, spit out the sausage and told me it tasted "yucky". I'm not comparing this to any "high-priced" restaurant, as we left there, and went to eat at Tim Horton's, which seemed so good after this experience~!"

    1. Peter, you need to be the food/restaurant guide division of command central!

  8. Niagra Falls pictures are gorgeous...Steve and I visited there after Donald's Med School Graduation back in 1990 (that's right, isn't it?) and it was spectacular. We also flew over the Falls on one of our small plane trips and the overhead view is just as amazing.

    THANK YOU for eating at least one donut from Tim Horton's! I've been worried about you guys not eating enough...but it appears from the pool pic that no one on your team is losing any muscle mass.

    I love the 5 degrees of separation that got you the night at Gretchen's house! Thanks Gretchen!

  9. Gretchen is AWESOME!! Love when people help people! Good luck! almost here!! eeek! :)

  10. It was my pleasure to host Don, Dave and Justin! They were perfect guests. Their adventure is incredible and I loved hearing about it. I could have hosted them for days. Please come back to the Finger Lakes again and tour the lakes. Enjoy the rest of your ride!

  11. Thank you so much for your hospitality Gretchen. You rock!
    -Diane (Donald's sister)