Tue Jul 1 17:35:06 2003
The Hills Are Alive -- Honesdale, PA
So, to catch up: After leaving Sheffield (Tuesday Jun 24), we biked on through a brief section in CT and stopped for the night in Millerton, NY. After stopping at the library (librarians have been an incredible resource to us! We also asked a librarian to help find a bikeshop in Westfield when Emily broke a spoke), we found out there was a small state park called Rudd Pond, North of the town center. We biked up there, and had to pay for camping, but they had a nice swimming area and tent platforms, as well as bathrooms with showers.
While we were having dinner by the pond, another distance cyclist pulled into the park. He came over to talk to us and told us about his trip; he was going from Boston to Washington, DC. But he had started on Sunday! He was making incredible time. But he had to, as he had only a week of vacation time to complete his trip. We chatted for a while before he headed off to his campsite. He was a little irritating actually.
We did, however, meet a very nice family on the platform next to ours. We talked with them for a while in the evening about our trip, told them our route and so on. In the morning we chatted some more, and the husband told us that he didn't think taking Route 22 all the way into NYC was a great idea. Evidently it's very hilly. Instead he suggested a rail trail that went right through Millerton and would take us 10 miles to Amenia. After that we would be back on Route 22 and could take that south to Brewster, where we would find another bike path taking us all the way into Yonkers.
Emily broke a chain riding to our campsite that night, unfortunately. Her chain had enough slack in it to fix without a spare though.
The next day, Wednesday the 25th, we took the bike paths as suggested and had a beautiful idyllic day. As I mentioned before we did our biggest mileage yet, clocking in at just over 75 miles. Unfortunately, as our second rail trail got closer to the city, it started following the Taconic State Parkway, a very busy highway. This made it hard to find camping. Eventually we found a little stealth spot amongst some trees in a residential neighborhood. There was a bit of a swamp nearby though, and very mosquitoey, but still to hot to be comfortable in the tent.
Thursday the 26th brought us to NYC, a day earlier than expected. First off, Emily broke two more spokes on our way to the campsite. It ends happily, though: she hasn't broken any more since.
We rode first to Tarrytown, where we expected to take the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson to Nyack, where we would meet my friend Sheeja. But first we stopped at the local bike shop to get Emily's spokes fixed, and had some lunch at the local supermarket while we waited. When we came back, we talked about our plans with the bike shop guys, and they told us we couldn't ride our bikes across the Tappan Zee Bridge, and we would have to either go up to Bear Mountain (up, up, up!) or go all the way down to the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan and back up. I called Sheeja and told her we would either take a bus up to meet her or see her in Manhattan.
We biked all the way into Manhattan, where we met Sarah at her apartment on 100th and Broadway. It was a crazy experience riding through New York City traffic, but it was not as bad as I had expected. The roads were mostly quite wide, and the drivers were generally respectful. One man in a big, fancy SUV with a nice sound system leaned out of his car window to shout "Hey, I'll switch with you right now!" The biggest trouble I encountered was getting stuck behind stopped delivery trucks. We got to Sarah's safe and sound, with a minimum of confusion. There we stashed our bikes and showered and did laundry. I called my friend Veronica, and she took the subway up and met me. From there we all parted ways for the evening: Emily went to stay with her friend Becca, Sarah went with her friend Kate to a Greek restaurant, and Veronica and I went to a wonderful diner called Nick's, with an astounding array of food. I had a grilled portobello sandwich. It was heavenly. Veronica gave me a tour of the city, and took me across the Brooklyn Bridge to see all the lights.
On Friday morning, I went with Veronica and her mother and grandmother to Fire Island to go swimming. It was a wonderful day, exactly hot enough to make swimming fun. There were jellyfish in the water, but they didn't sting; I picked one up. Later Veronica and I walked down to the nude beach about half a mile down. It was fun; I'd never been to a nude beach before. Everyone was very casual about their nudity.
We got back to the city, and Veronica had to go to a pottery class with her mother. I went to Sarah's apartment and brought her a bottle of wine for Shabbat, and we hung out and chatted the night away.
Saturday the 28th found me at the library, frantically trying to check email and type a journal entry and research rail trails. You see the result in my previous entry. Then I spent some hours in Battery Park, reading my book. From there I tried to find the Village without instruction, and got a little bit lost. Then Veronica called and we met up to take a walk in Central Park together. From there we got picked up by Sheeja and her new boyfriend Russell to go to dinner in Little Italy.
And now I am once more out of time at a library; Will I ever catch up? Only time will tell!