7/28 Day 6: Lakeville, CT to Lloyd, NY
Bad news this morning: Dustin and Beth are calling it quits for the ride. They stalled out by the Barkhamsted Reservoir in CT and couldn't make their beat-up legs go any further. I feel badly that their trip and all of our big plans to get to the west coast together will not end as planned. We all wish they could ride on with us, as their company and positive energy will be missed. Good luck guys!
After hearing from Dustin, we set out and were shortly greeted by the border of New York state, our fourth (counting Mass.) so far. It was a pretty quick-paced ride for the four of us, and before we knew it we had shot up another big climb of about 800 feet. Our reward at the top was a great view of the Hudson River Valley with rolling corn fields dotted by farm houses. One thing that has really amazed me is how quickly the urban sprawl gives way to some very pretty rural scenes. It sounds obvious, but nothing drills the point home like bike touring; the whole world isn't city. We spend a lot of our time day to day shuttling from point to point, building to building. This tour, even though we're not so far in, has forced us to notice the spaces between cities, shops, friends' houses, etc. The non-urban expanses where a surprisingly large amount of people still make their living raising livestock, growing crops, and shooting the breeze at the local shop. I can't count the number of instances I've noticed patrons walking into whatever small store we've stumbled into for lunch or supplies address the shop owner or clerk by name and blithely comment on the weather or whatever over their transaction. It's just a refreshing change of pace, even if it is a bit cliche and citified of an observation. My point is, there is still world out there and I've been feeling very lucky to see the places between Point A and Point B.
We ended the day in Lloyd, NY at Tony Williams Park (Ted's long lost brother, doubtless.) We had intended to ride on to New Paltz, or further, but found ourselves feeling the fatigue of our past couple days of mountain crossings. My knee was feeling strained, Ben's leg was hurting, Erin's backside was a little worse for the wear, and Mandi... well Mandi insisted stridently that she felt fine, but would be ready to rest if we had to. We made camp under a gazebo by the softball field, ate some pizza from the best place in town: Godfather's Pizza, located in the gas station on Rt. 299. We relaxed, stretched, drank some $1 Coors tallboys and watched the softball game. We were also lucky enough to chat with two bikers, Pat, a local Poughkeepsie police officer, and Ed, a government worker at a home for the mentally disabled, on our way to the park. They were both really nice folks who just wanted to point us in the right direction and Ed even rode with us across the Hudson River down to Lloyd. We pitched tents at night fall after the game was over (blue team won, red couldn't pace their 7 run 8th inning) after the game's umpire suggested we could probably stay by the field unmolested. We bedded down for the night around 9PM to the quiet of the park and the occasional sound of a passing car.
7/29 Day 7 Lloyd to Mohonk Preserve 13 miles:
We had decided the day before that given all our ailments, we should take a bit of a short day. So we made up a list of errands to run from baby powder and snacks to knee braces and bigger chainrings. Ben and Mandi discovered the day before that Erin and I had better gear ratios than them and that Ben actually had something closer to race gearing than tour gearing on the bike he had. I got a new, taller stem to let me sit up straighter in my saddle and ease up on my upper back and hands. We had some lunch at P&G's which I hear is iconic in this old hippie town as a good place to get a burger and a beer. We had some $1 sliders and some not $1 other food to complement. We tooled around town, took a shower at SUNY New Paltz's gym where we meet Friendly Front Desk Guy (see the comments on the post below) and then high tailed it to the free campground outside of town where I now sit as I write this. We, as seems to be our luck, got poured on by some serious rain and thunderstorms as soon as we arrived in camp. Since then, we've dried out and cooked some pasta paired with some beers from up the road. It's been a nice day off and a needed one after the mountainous crossings we've been engaged in the last two days. Hopefully we're all tip top tomorrow and can chew up some miles tomorrow. (Note: Posting this the 30th, we are all feeling good and just about to tuck in on some mountain top breakfast sandwiches. Gonna check out the map and see where we land tonight.)