The Closer You Get The Longer It Takes To Get There

Hank – I slept well until about four in the morning or so. There was a lot of moisture in the air and it was condensing on the inside of the rain fly. By early morning it was dripping onto the tent. And then onto me. That didn’t bother me until it started dripping on my head. At first I tried ducking my head inside my sleeping bag. That turned into a losing proposition since I was trapped inside with my farts. So back to fresh air came my head. I felt the foot of my bag and it was dry so I spun around. Thirty minutes later I had dripping on my head again.

It warmed up quickly when the sun came up and the tent dried while we had breakfast and talked over our plans. We needed to do laundry. We had to check in at the hotel. We needed to visit with my Aunt Pat. And we only had 33 miles to cover. Piece of cake, right? Not so much.

We broke camp and hit the road. Around 10 miles in we found a laundromat and stopped to wash our clothes. Later on we stopped for lunch and traffic had noticeably picked up. I estimated we’d be arriving at our hotel around 3:00. I called Aunt Pat and told her we’d get together around 6:00-6:30. She was cool with that. Our route switched from a busy arterial to quiet residential streets. It was so nice. And there were other people out on bicycles enjoying the day, too. We were stymied for a few minutes when our Google-mapped route was telling us to go to the other side of the train tracks. We stopped to ask some people at a huge soccer field about how to proceed. It turns out there’s a hard-to-see tunnel that takes you under the tracks. (Side note: They saw us ride up on loaded bikes wearing hi-viz yellow vests and initially thought we were medics coming to attend to a possible injured player. Too funny.) Well, the tunnel took some work because they had these pipes at the bottom that you have to get through. Later on we had another interesting change in route. We were supposed to take a shortcut through a cemetery. We had to go around after someone working there told us the far gate was locked.

Congestion picked even more as we got closer to the city. We had a three-mile section where there was a traffic light on nearly every block. Rare was the time when we could make it though two lights in one shot. The constant stop and go was tiring. We finally ended up on bike lanes and the last three miles to the hotel was smooth sailing. We got there at 4:30, only 90 minutes later than planned. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to clean up and get to Pat’s house.

We took an Uber to Pat’s house and met Oumar. Oumar was amazed to hear our story. He said that when we end up in TV we need to give him a shout out so he prove to his friends he really did meet us. So we did the next best thing and took his photo and we’re shouting him out here. It was a great pleasure to meet you, Oumar!

Pat was sitting on her stoop waiting for us. We walked to a nearby pizza place where she treated us. Three hours of catching up went by way too quickly. She has a lot of great stories. I especially loved the one of how she and her late husband Russell got together. Sadly, we had to call it a night. We hugged goodbye and wished each other well.

Tomorrow’s plans are still up in the air.

Kathy – Clear blue skies and crisp temps in the 60’s (perfect for riding) made for a beautiful day.  Our 33 miles had minimal elevation, however it did have tons of traffic…and traffic lights.  Roundabouts are known to move traffic faster than stop lights and they also help the environment by reducing the times cars idle in traffic.  So, maybe New York should consider removing some stoplights and installing roundabouts like many other cities are now doing.  We have been extremely pleased with the roads in New York, however today (once we got into the city) it was an obstacle course trying to avoid potholes. My pannier bags shifted off my bike racks multiple times from all the bouncing and jarring. So the city roads are not the best.  However to give New York the credit it deserves, you have millions of people here and tons of car and trucks on these roads so it must be hard to keep them in tip-top shape.  The roads are made for cars and they work well for all the cars here.

The New York people have been great.  We met some very friendly and helpful people today as we needed directions and information. Everyone went out of their way to help us for which we are thankful.  We are on bicycles and this is a big city with so many people that is can feel a bit intimidating, so we appreciated everyone’s help.

It was absolutely wonderful to see Aunt Pat again.  I first met her (and last saw her) 35 years ago as we left the U.S. to live in England for four years.  She may be a little older, but she is still the firecracker that I remember.  I love her thick New York accent and how she is so matter of fact about everything.  She is a wise woman with lots of great insight on life.  Loved listening to a small portion of her life stories during our short but sweet visit.  Aunt Pat treated us to some great ‘pie’ (pizza) at a local place just around the corner from her place.  We chose to go with a ‘piece of pie’ rather than a ‘whole pie’ since the slices are so big.  Thank you Aunt Pat!!  We went back to her place and had a good cup of tea while we continued our conversations.  Eventually it was getting pretty late so we had to call it a night.  We really enjoyed our time with Aunt Pat.  Hopefully it won’t be so long before we get to see here again.  Maybe she will come visit us in Spokane next year when we finish our adventures.  I hope so.




Where To Today?

Hank – I have to say that was the noisiest campground I’ve  ever camped in. Kids screaming, music playing, and crowds of people talking. It was louder than when we were camping on the 4th of July.  We were feeling wimpy so we decided to sleep in and get a late start as we try to find a place to stay the night. Stealth camping was even on the menu. As luck would have it, I finally got a real person on the phone instead if the answering machine at Battle Row Campground. They had tent sites available and so we were set. Off we went with about 45 miles to go and about 2,000 feet of climbing.

Traffic was even more intense but most of the roadways we followed had plenty of shoulder. Still, hours of traffic noise is very unpleasant. I’m really disliking riding through the northeast part of the country. So much congestion.

When we stopped for a late lunch three people from the big city rolled up on their touring bikes. They’re headed for the state park we left this morning. They were doing 70+ miles today. Pretty awesome.

We maneuvered our way to the campground and got there in time to set up camp and shower just before it got dark. 

We moved the picnic table closer to where we put the tent while unloading our bikes we put our panniers on the table. It didn’t take us long to find out the table was covered in ants. Despite my best efforts to clear them all out I still found a few outluers in the tent after we put everything inside. Such is life on road road, eh?

I have an aunt on Brooklyn whom I haven’t seen in maybe 40 years. I tried calling her but the number I had was disconnected. I called my mom who called my aunt in Florida who gave her the right number. I called Aunt Pat and we’ll be connecting with her tomorrow along with one or more cousins whom I’ve never met. That’ll be fun.

Kathy – Our 46 mile ride today was sunny in the high 60’s and low 70’s. It seemed like we climbed the entire day. The beautiful blue skies helped to distract my attention from the constant stream of cars and trucks that passed us during our ride today. Hank and I are both ready for the massive amounts of traffic on the roads to subside. Unfortunately we have a while to go before that happens. Tomorrow we ride into the heart of New York City. Long Island is really looong…it is taking us three days to ride from where the ferry dropped us off in Orient Point, N.Y. to Brooklyn, N.Y. We are hoping to see Hank’s Aunt Pat while in Brooklyn. Hank’s dad is from Brooklyn, N.Y. Overall It was a beautiful day to ride, but unfortunately monitoring the crazy traffic and all the climbing made it only a C+ day.