I will admit that it feels nice to be back in the States. It was a lovely and quite navigationally challenging ride from the farms of Canada to the forests of upstate New York. I woke up extra early today to get the 30 miles to the border out of the way. I didn’t see a single wind turbine as I watched the sunrise. I thought that was odd, but it turned out to be a little bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the day. Crossing back into the US was pretty easy. I had a great chat with a motorcyclist from Canada heading my way. He was super interested in my ride and thought I was doing a great thing with my time. He gave his pro environmental views, which were fascinating. I was having a great time until I left the customs gate. I struggled for at least an hour to find the correct roads in heavy traffic. Once I got on the right road, I met another nice person at a convenience store. He asked me all about my ride and wished me the best of luck. Then, about 5 miles down the road, I made another wrong turn and went all the way down a small mountain. That took me a while to fix and I was very happy to be back in the forest. As I rode through the almost opposite landscape, I saw a lot of anti solar signs. Entire towns seemed to be against this form of renewable energy. That really struck me. I also noticed there were huge factories for companies like GM right next to these towns. I then got lost again in the town of Lockport. It was quite an adventure finding an unmarked bike trail in the middle of a public park. Once on the trail, I met two more cross country cyclists! They started in Lander, Wyoming and work for the wildernesses medicine school connected to NOLS. As a NOLS grad, it was super cool to meet folks who worked there in the middle of New York! We had a wonderful chat about their time on the road and I learned so many great lessons from them. They taught me of the power of love and believing in oneself. Later, I explored the historic town of Medina. It was a world capital for sandstone and shipping was made even easier when the canal was built. The downtown is quite impressive and each building is from the late 19th century. Everyone I met in town was so kind. I went to the local pub and sat at the bar and met some wonderful people while listening to great Irish music. Steve told me about growing up nearby and wished me the best of luck with my trip. Betsy told me the local history and explained the sandstone related signs all over town. Medina is a town build of sandstone and of Irish and German immigrants. In my opinion, it is as American as it gets. Lastly, the bartender told me about the town’s recent renaissance. These were some of the most warm and friendly people I have ever met. They all wished me safe travels as I went out the door with a full belly and happy soul. I look forward to exploring more of New York along the Erie Canal!