55 Miles - The Round About Way - Mount Hope - 7/9/2006

I don't know why but it sure took us a while to get out of Cold Spring.  We must like it so much that we wanted to go out of our way to get back to Cold Spring to go out of our way to get back to Cold Spring again!  First of all, while trying to pump up our tires, my damn Topeak Road Morph pump gave out.  The thing is brand new.  You can pump it all you want, but there's no resistence/air going into the tire.  Dammit!  Luckily, we were still at Christy and Jody's house so they had real foot pump we could use.  After packing up our stuff and cleaning up the place, we left to get some breakfast at the local supermarket.  After that errand, we left the way we came into Cold Spring thinking that made the most sense to get back on 9W.  Wrong.  After a few climbs, I knew in my gut that this was just wrong so we flagged down a cyclist who told us how to get back on 9W going north.  Following what we thought were the directions, we veered off the real route and headed the wrong direction again.  Dammit!  Good thing the side of the road has these mile marker type things that actually say the route you're on.  I caught on to this quickly and realized again that we were not on 9W.  So, probably 5 miles later and an hour since we left the grocery store, we finally get on the right track.  Phew.

Eventually, we got onto the Beacon Newburgh Bridge.  This is one of the nicest bridges I've been on for cyclists and pedestrians.  It's very wide.  The GW Bridge just sucks because it's so narrow - too narrow for cyclists and pedestrians to co-exist.  The Golden Gate Bridge is nice in that one side of the bridge is for pedestrians and one side is for cyclists.  However, I think the cyclist side is still too narrow, especially when an oncoming cyclist is headed right towards you.  Anyhow, on the Beacon Newburgh Bridge, we took a this picture.

So funny, once we crossed the bridge, the off ramp did a u-turn of sorts so I was completely turned around.  Trying to figure things out with my compass, I saw a jogger who was obviously waiting for me to ask him for directions.  He pointed out State Bike Route 17 for me (in the direction I wanted).  Now on the west side of the Hudson River, we rode a little in search of a place for breakfast.  We found a strip of stores where there was this bakery.  A hoppin' bakery, if you ask me.  They had a Sunday 15¢ roll special.  Everybody was going in for these well-priced rolls.  We, too, had to take advantage of the sale for our lunch.

We opted to take 17K West instead of staying on State Bike Route 17 because Dave rode SBR-17 last week and lots of it was flooded.  Plugging along on Route 17K, my front derailleur fell off the chain when I was trying to get into granny gear to climb a hill.  Ugh.  Unfortunately, I didn't clip out in time and fell!  I'm fine, my butt just hurts.  We put the chain back in and rode a bit.  I'm just not happy with my front derailleur!  We finally found a nice place (a golf/country club) to pull aside to really try to play with the derailleur some more.  We just pulled aside on a less used golf cart path under a tree for shade.  After a while, "Grounds Keeper Willy" came by to see if we needed help.  I'm not sure if he was just making sure we weren't loittering or genuinely trying to help.  Dave would keep on making adjustments to my bike and I would take it into the parking lot and try to change the front gears.  This went on for hours!  On one of my test runs, one of the golfers asked me if I had beers in my panniers.  Sheeit, there's so much stuff in there.  When I was content with the adjustments, we sat under another tree, a little farther away from the main part of the golf course and had lunch on some nice rocks.  Remember the 15¢ rolls we bought?  They came in handy.  We had that with some shredded chicken my mother had made for me a while back (that I never ate at home because I actually make dinner every night and don't need quick easy food).  Carrots, bananas, Luna Bar and Gatorade made up the rest of my fine dining experience.

We talked to a country club employee and he told us that we should get back to SBR-17 because the Route 17 that we were about to embark on was part of the Catskills Mountains.  He told us that all the flooding situation had cleared up and all the roads are pretty much good again.  This is what I mean by "the round about way".  We did a lot of backtracking today.  It's all good, though.  I love climbing and re-climbing hills.

We eventually got to Middletown, NY where we hoped to find a place to stay.  The town is very poor and we could just tell from people's faces that they weren't interested in hearing stories from 2 freaks on a recumbent and a loaded touring bike.

Meanwhile, my friend, Minh, called to see where we were.  I thought he was just following up on being our Internet geek helping us find a place to stay.  Turns out, as we were talking to a local to try to figure out a place to stay, Minh pulls up in his car.  What a surprise.  He had originally intended on driving to Port Jervis (our original end of the day destination) and riding eastbound until he found us.  That didn't work out because the valve on his tire broke and I guess he didn't have a spare.

After looking on everybody's cell phone and Blackberry devices, we found a campsite 5-10 miles down the road.  Dave and I started riding.  While riding, we were still trying to look for alternative housing because we just wanted to end our day.  We stopped into a roadside bar that looked very friendly (flowers and nice lawn furniture on the side).  We went in and just point blank asked them if we could camp on their property.  This of course after you tell them that you're riding cross country and looking for inexpensive housing alternatives.  The husband/wife bar-keeps thought about it for 1/2 second and before they could say yes or no, one of the men at the bar asked if staying on his farm would be okay by us.  Of course it is!  Hanging out at the bar for a little and chatting with them about our adventures, the male bar-keep offered us some fresh off the fryer chicken wings.  He came up with a new recipe and wanted our real opinion on it.  Free food - thank you!

5 miles later, we arrive at Orin's farm.  I was relieved to see that he had kids playing outside.  Unfortunately, the original invite of camping on his farm did not escalate to staying in his house (warm shower!).  He showed us in a distance where we could camp out.  We rode out there as Minh followed us by car.  Had I known I was going to have car support earlier, I could have off-loaded my panniers to him!  He said he didn't want to interfere with the mission and wanted us to carry all our own gear as originally intended.  Um, my mission is getting to California.  One day of not riding with my panniers isn't going to make it any less of a trip.  Anyhow, out on the huge open field, we found a place to set up camp where we were hidden from the road.

After setting up the tent and heating up some food Minh had brought for us, Dave and I ate like we hadn't eaten in days.  Meanwhile, Minh took apart my bike pump and saw that it was sandy inside which explains why the O-ring was unable to move.  We cleaned it up a bit, and put a little lube on it and all is good again!  Topeak and REI are lucky that I didn't have to do a return.  We also put on handlebar lights on the ends of my handlebar, should I have to ride in the dark, I want to be seen.  Don't worry, I don't really ever plan on riding in the dark, but if I get caught, I am very visible by all - handlebar lights, headlight, taillight, and reflectors all over my panniers and tires.  I glow in the dark!

After dinner, Minh took us to Walmart because I wanted to clean up.  In total ghetto style, I took a "shower" in the bathroom sink.  I didn't care.  This was Walmart, not Barney's.  I just splashed myself with water and soaped up and rinsed off as best as possible.  Brushed teeth, took out contacts, changed my clothes, I was a new woman!  I also did my laundry in the sink.  Where's there's fresh running water, I am there to take advantage of it!

Back at camp, Minh decided to take a nap before driving back.  Great, I opted to get some rest in the passenger seat as opposed to the tent.  Listening to James Blunt's Back to Bedlem, I uploaded the pictures I had on the camera to his laptop and wrote up my 1st day's ride blog in the car.  Finally around 1am, I went to sleep...

Here's a picture of our campsite in the morning.