June 27, 2013
Poughkeepsie, NY to Port Jervis, NY
Today was our first day of iffy weather we've had all trip. The day started out overcast and really foggy, which made for an erie ride. After going through some crazy back roads around Poughkeepsie, we hit a milestone--crossing the Hudson River! Thankfully they have a walking/biking path so we didn't have to be with all the speedy traffic. Going up the bridge was freaking awesome. It was still pretty foggy and the metal walkway made it feel like we were going up the creepiest roller coaster ever.
Once on the other side, the skies started to clear a bit and we started cruising past farm fields and pastures with cows in them. It's funny to think about how when most people think of New York they think of the city, when in reality most of New York is actually very rural and farmlandy. We stopped for lunch at what looked like a public park with picnic tables, but part way through lunch a car came down and asked to talk to whoever was in charge. Turns out we were in a park that only town residents were allowed to use and therefore needed permission to use. Luckily they let us stay and finish our lunch, but it was an interesting interaction. After lunch, we were supposed to get on a bike trail for a bit, something we all have started to look forward to because it means nice pathways and no cars to worry about. However, this pathway was A) impossible to find, and B) the worst kind of gravel that my hands and butt basically want numb. Once off the trail though, it was a relatively easy bike to the host site, with the exception of one of the longest hills we've climbed so far. It took everything in me to just keep pedaling and make it all the way to the top. About a half mile away from the top, we started seeing signs for trucks saying that for the next 4 miles they needed to be in their lowest gear...aka there was a 4 MILE DOWNHILL!! Words can't describe how incredible it felt. We took pictures with this statue at the bottom of it though if that gives any indication of what it was like.
The showers we were going to use were a mile away at the Port Jervis High School. Considering we had just biked about 60 miles, walking 1 more didn't seem that bad. The best part of the whole walk though was stopping at the Port Jervis diner and getting wings and milkshakes! It's the simple things that make us happy on this trip. When dinner was ready at the host site, we had the pleasure of listening to a combination adult-student band that was practicing for a concert soon. Let's just say it was a concert only a parent could really love. Afterwards I gave my bike a thorough cleaning, getting my hands super greasy!
Going to bed, it really hit me that this is what my life is going to be like everyday for the next two months. Just wake up, eat some food, bike all day--up hill, down hill, rain, sun, EVERYTHING--eat more food, update friends and family on what I'm doing, and good to bed. It's pretty awesome.