July 11 - Hiroyaki and Lake Erie: Lake Erie State Park, New York

Today we got a late start, buying a new tire, and getting groceries and laundry done that we should have accomplished the night before.

But we made up for it by riding along Lake Erie, and camping on a bluff 500 (from cody: more like 75 feet:) feet above the water, getting a gorgeous sunset in the bargain. The countryside varied from palatial estates along the lake near Buffalo, to grape vine filled fields farther south. Welch's apparently had its start near Westfield, just five miles from here.

We must be on a main bike route, as we passed many day riders, and several long-distance, fully-loaded tourers going East. We only saw one going our way, our friend from several days earlier who was still weaving around the shoulder. We caught up to him at the entrance to the park, and introduced ourselves. His name was Hiroyaki, from Osaka. Using our sign language, and our son's rudimentary Japanese, along with Hiro's 8 years of English training, we learned where we each were going, where we were from, and exchanged addresses. Hiroyaki is a student, who came to New York City, and is now biking across the USA and Canada to see a friend in Vancouver, BC. From there, he will fly back home. We think he is very brave and lucky. He says Americans are very kind to him, but it is still hard communicating. He will be going on along the lake into Ohio tomorrow, while we will head south, so this is the last we will see of him on this trip.

Annie and Shaine got a chance to swim in the lake before dinner. Annie perfected her rock-skipping technique, with a little help from dad. We discovered that holding the flat rock parallel to the water surface, resting on a crooked middle finger, between thumb and forefinger, had the best results. Shaine dunked herself a few times and tried to induce Annie to do the same, but Ann has had too many tricks pulled on her by big sister, and so declined.

The northern latitude produced a prolonged sunset over the lake between 8:30 and 10:30 PM - reminded us all a bit of camping near Del Mar outside of San Diego last Christmas. The sparkle of fireflies in the growth near the cliff's edge was mingled with the twinkling of moonlight reflected off the water below. This was a special campsite, and we have some reluctance to leave, but we all decided to keep on with the journey, and not dawdle here.

Miles: Will, 43; Al (Tandem), 43; Shaine (Tandem), 22; Cheryl (Tandem), 21.

Total Miles: 587

**Next Day's Journal**

-Al Bikrutz