Day 19

Last night George, Sheri and I poured over the map and used google to figure out what a next best stage would be. I need to go through Canandaigua so in principle I should proceed northwest from their house. But it’s too far for a single day’s walk and there are no viable lodging options on the way so we decided that going straight north to 5&20 and then turning west would be the better option. There are many motel options on 5&20. So by Pythagorus this will cost me at most about four miles.

We found Clark’s Motel on 5&20, just after the westward turn. Since it was only about 13 miles I decided to join George at church. We left a little early and he showed me around Penn Yan a bit, including these views of the northern end of the east branch of Keuka Lake:



Here’s the old First Baptist Church we attended:


During the service George introduced me to the congregation. Afterwards there was a time of fellowship at which I met a number of congregants. One of them, Jack, thought my story might make an interesting piece in the local newspaper so he took down some details.

Back at the ranch George and Sheri fed me a light lunch (a grilled cheese sandwich, just we had for Sunday lunch all through my youth and all through the time my children were growing up!). I was sad to say good-bye to my new friends and I promised that we would meet again when Fiona and I drive my whole walking route sometime in the future. This is looking back at their house as I walked away:


George and Sheri live on Pre Emption Road, part of the old Preemption Line. My path for the day was virtually all northbound on this road. The only exception was the last two tenths of a mile when I turned west on 5&20. The scenery was fairly constant — well kept farms like this:



It’s really hard to photograph scenery in flat terrain:


It would be nice to be about 30 feet higher. This is the sort of land that looks like a checkerboard of rectangles from an airplane. I believe a number of these farms were owned by Mennonites; sometimes the clues were obvious:


The sky was doing interesting things:





I continued to see little glimpses of Lake Seneca as I neared it’s northern end:


Tree, ivy, corn:


At times the road was very straight. On this piece I could see two miles ahead — this actually makes the walking more tedious:


I passed Bejo Seeds. I could only see a little at the front but it seems like an interesting place:


Nearing the end of my walk, I ran across a series of fireplugs:


What could this be for? Surely not to put out a fire in the field! There were no houses around and it was the only place I saw this.

The town of Geneva is at the head of Lake Seneca so I knew I was close when I saw this:


Lo and behold, right at the intersection with 5&20 was this Tractor Supply Company!


I popped in and Jeff helped me find a Class 2 vest. I shall model it tomorrow. As I was checking out he sidled up to the counter and added a bright green toque for free!! TSC you rock! I am going to be SO visible.

The Clark Motel was just a few buildings down the highway. After checking in I grabbed a quick bite at the nearby Ponderosa and got their permission to come back later to use their wifi (the Clark Motel situation was the same as the Redwood Inn in Alpine, unfortunately). So I’m in the Ponderosa now, trying to beat the closing time of 21:00 in just 20 minutes from now.

I think the next six days or so are going to be very different from what I’ve experienced so far. It will be largely on 5&20 or 5 or 20, it will be dead flat, it will be busy and it will be rural. We shall see.

36 thoughts on “Day 19

  1. Brian Allen

    Alan, get in touch with me. My wife and I live just outside of Rochester. Your route goes right through bloomfield, on 5 and 20 to the east of Canandaigua. We live not too far from that route, and as the weather is getting very cold, we have a nice warm guest room where you could stay, so long as you are not allergic to dogs or guinea pigs, as we have both a pets. I don’t know which day you will be going through, but my guess from your projected map is you will be around here in roughly 3 days.


  2. Kimberley Cadeau

    Hi Allan,
    I’m friends with your son Matt and am really enjoying your blog. I know you are looking for places to stay on the rest of your walk. My parents live in Hamilton (between Stoney Creek and Burlington) and are willing to pick you up and have you stay with them for the night, also my Dad is interested in walking part way with you if you are interested. Their e-mail address is

  3. Gus Wolf

    I wonder if the fireplugs are housing developments in the larval stage?
    Eons ago my family spent a week or two camping in the Finger Lakes region. If it were not for slides that my dad took, I would have forgotten it all. Slides were all the rage, instead of pictures, because everyone could enjoy them. Provided you had them oriented correctly in the projector.
    I am not amazed that you have made it this far – I was fully confident that you would do it. I am amazed that, by walking only a moderate distance each day you have made so much progress. I find it so encouraging that, simply by walking you have reached the upper Finger Lakes.
    Oh. that we all would be mindful of regular, small growth in our lives instead of always looking for the giant step that would “get us to our destination” immediately. Your trip is an inspiration to not give up!

    1. Allan Post author

      I agree Gus. Another way to look at it ia a principle I like to use: “make some progress, however little, each day” — I need this because I procrastinate a lot. There is a huge difference (eventually) between doing nothing on a project and doing a little.

  4. Gus Wolf

    I looked up Bejo Seeds and found out that is is a subsidiary of Bejo Saden. That sounded Dutch to me and, indeed, the parent company is in Holland. That makes them special to me! And they are a major suppier of organic seeds. What could be better?

  5. Joe Abdy

    Continue to enjoy the route and pictures. When Nathan and I left Iroquoina this morning we took Route 7 North (Conklin Forks Road) to get to 81 just so we could say we traveled on part of your route. We even saw one of you pictures from Day 12. The one with the yellow house and the creepy black creature inviting you through the black doorway. All that was missing was an “Allan Wilks slept here” marker. Continued journey’s mercies.

    1. Allan Post author

      Very cool, Joe. But it gives me the creeps to think of sleeping at that place! Fiona and I are planning to drive the whole route sometime soon so that she can meet some of the people I have met. Of course, we won’t make the mistake I made on Day 3 near Lake Hopatcong.

  6. Julie

    For a shorter day, you’re making some solid mileage! I appreciated Gus (earlier commenter) making the analogy from your walk to our lives, to faithfully keep progressing rather than waiting for the spectacular.

    I think his guess about the fire-plug relating to a future housing development is a good one, alternately it may be there so that Fire Department “water tenders” (the fire trucks that carry water) can refill? Just a guess.

    And I have a question about crossing the border. How? Out here in the west, border crossings are definitely set up for vehicle traffic, and fairly complicated to approach walking. The only time I crossed the border on foot (and that was looooong before 9-11) they were VERY suspicious of me.

    Julie G

      1. Julie

        I figured you’d thought it through, and I’m not surprised there are crossings with more pedestrians. You can always send them to your blog! It’s an amazing story.

  7. Tomi

    All the very best as you go on! Do you have a pedometer with you? I’m curious as to how many steps you walk?

    1. Allan Post author

      I don’t have a pedometer, Tomi, but it’s not hard to calculate what the count would be if I did. For example, yesterday I did 12.8 miles. At 5280 feet per mile this is 67584 feet. If my pace is 3 feet that would be about 22500 steps and if my pace is 2.5 feet it would be 27000 steps. It’s likely somewhere between those two estimates.

  8. Erna Tremper

    Very much enjoying your perseverance and the many applications to our lives in general. How many things do we miss on a regular basis because we are always in such a hurry to get to the next thing! How often do we slow down and appreciate all that God has given us. Thank you for the reminder that we all can do that each and every day. Keep safe and keep on keeping on!

    1. Allan Post author

      Great to hear from you Erna. Even though I’m seeing life at a slower pace, I’m surprised at how busy I am. I really had thought before I left that I would have a lot of time to relax and read during this outing. But first, it takes longer to walk 15 miles that I thought, partially because it’t hard to keep up a fast pace that long and partially because I stop frequently to take pictures. Second, doing the blog is a longish process, with a number of steps. As a consequence, I find myself doing little else than walking, blogging and sleeping. That’s one reason that when I’m staying in someone’s home, the interactions with them are so enjoyable.

  9. jim lamsaon

    Good morning Allan,
    I love Gus’s analogy to your walk.. Its a great way to look at life. As you know Phil 3 has come to be an inspirational portion to me each day. Recently I have begun meditating on that chapter, trying to commit it to memory,.. And it has helped.
    Two quick questions… As you walk, Do you listen to music, meditate on Gods Word, do statistical equations? In essence what do you do to concentrate?
    The other how is your overall health? You sound like you are doing well? I know your feet are good, but otherwise? No problems? Which to me btw, is an answer to prayer… Press on into another day… ! JIM

    1. Allan Post author

      Usually I don’t think about too much Jim. I am concentrating on the road and my cart, as well as trying to enjoy the scenery, remembering to look backwards from time to time. I’m always looking for good, representative pictures and after taking them I spend a little time mentally composing a sentence or two for the blog (I doubt I actually use most of those sentences!). I do find myself doing calculations regarding how far I’ve come, how far to go, times involved in these, and so on. I do this when driving as well and I wish I could stop myself. I don’t listen to music because I want my hearing to be as good as possible, unimpeded by ear buds. My health is excellent; feeling great. I hope I don’t come down with a cold as that would make walking miserable. So far so good. Thanks for your continued prayers.

  10. Russell Sutherland


    Great progress bro!!! I am delighted by how little inclement weather you have had thus far. And like you, looking at the map and having some sense of the terrain close to the NY State throughway (I-90), things are quite flat and agrarian. So be it!

    Please let me know your plans or ETA at Niagara. I’d like to head down for an overnight and top up some of your resources!

    I LOVE your new connections in terms of getting some R&R along the way. Do try to hook up with Kim’s dad… He’s the bomb and loves cross country stuff.

    Much love,

    1. Allan Post author

      I look forward to meeting you after crossing into Canada, Russ. My current estimate is one week from today. I may get some rain later in the week, but the first part of the week looks great.

  11. Cheryl Biswurm

    Hey Allan. I posted your link on my Facebook page to see if any friends lived up in the area along your route and might be able to offer a place to stay. I see Brian Allan already contacted you! But he may have already known you were doing this – not necessarily from my post. We’ll see if anyone else responds! Sounds like people are chiming in to help so that’s awesome! Much better than a hotel by yourself I guess.

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, I’m staying with Brian and Mandi tonight — delightful! Thanks for posting the link!

  12. Chris

    I also loved Gus’s analogy of your walk and in perspective related to our walk in life. We’re always so much in a rush to get places that we miss the small details around us so easily.I see it in kids as well as in adults.I likes Julies, Jims and Ernas response which pretty much summed it up for me also. Now I need to apply this life lesson that you visually gave to us on your map to real life.
    We’re so happy that you have your health and your doing well on your awesome adventure !

  13. rachel furnari

    Keep on barging uncle barge!!! I LOVE reading your entries every day. The pictures are awesome. We love you! 🙂

    1. Allan Post author

      I really felt like I was barging during the last hour or so today — I kept hoping I wasn’t doing any damage.

  14. George Bristow

    Allan I wonder if the fireplug is marked for deep snow from the lake effect. So it can be found??

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, I’m pretty sure the rod sticking up from it is to make it visible in snow. I’m still not sure why it’s there in the first place, though there have been reasonable suggestions from other commenters.

  15. Lisa Beth W.

    What you have been seeing are Amish buggies, not Mennonites. 🙂 It’s so fun to see your pics and read about your adventures! You’re doing great and I pray that the Lord keeps blessing you with traveling mercies and good health.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for the correction, Lisa Beth. I believe there were also Mennonites in that area as well, not quite as strict about not using electricity. Thanks for those specific prayers.

      1. Dick Johnson

        Hi Allan – I saw you at the Penn Yan church, but didn’t get to meet you – that’s my loss. George is a good friend, and was a college classmate.

        I’d like to clear up some Amish / Mennonite confusion. The Penn Yan area has both “Old Order Mennonites” which use horse and buggies, and more modern Mennonites who drive cars, use electricity, etc.

        Actually, the Amish are a subgroup of the Mennonite community, so all Amish are Mennonites, but only some Mennonites are Amish. Our area has mainly Old Order Mennonites, not Amish, although their lifestyles are very similar.

        On Sunday afternoons, the Penn Yan First Baptist building is used for services by another congregation which largely consists of “modern” Mennonites.

        1. Allan Post author

          I’m sorry we didn’t meet, Dick. Thanks for clearing up those distinctions in the Mennonite community. I guess lots of people are muddled in their understanding of this.

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