Williamsport-2021 – Day 11: Williamsport, PA

At my final destination!
  • Miles Today: 38.3 @ 9.2 mph
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Execution: 4.5 out of 5
  • Fun/Interesting: 6 out of 5
  • Total: 15.5 out of 15

This was a great day, a great way to end the trip! I went for a swim in the Susquehanna River on a blazing hot day and arrived at Marvin and Debbie’s house in good shape and on schedule!

The day started inauspiciously with breakfast at McDonald’s across the road. I had expected to eat breakfast at Friendly’s, but they are no longer open for breakfast. There is a Perkins 2 miles back, but that did not seem worth it, even if I rode there and back with no luggage. So two egg McMuffins and two hash browns and a Diet Coke it was. It was disgustingly good.

After going back to the room and packing up, I was pedaling by 8:20am, a very good time for me. I immediately proceeded to climb up Route 54, reaching the top 36 minutes and 2.0 miles later, at an average speed of 5.1 mph. I sailed down the other side at well over 30 miles per hour for about 2 and 1/2 miles. It was worth the climb.

That was the last big climb of the day until the final approach to Marvin’s house. Most of the day was rolling up and down. I didn’t have to walk after that first climb, although I did have to stop and catch my breath on quite a few occasions. I was off the Adventure Cycling route from the get-go today, so Google Maps and my memories from having lived in the area was all I had to go on. Fortunately it was sufficient.

My brother lives in a neighborhood near the top of Maybe Hill, and when I say near the top, I mean near the top on the other side. In all the years he’s lived here and I have been a cyclist, I have ridden a bike up to his house maybe a dozen times. Prior to today, none of those dozen times was on a loaded touring bike. (When I rode through Williamsport on my cross country ride 2 years ago, I took a ride from Marvin in his pickup truck from down in the valley up to his house.) Out of those dozen times, I was able to ride up without walking maybe half. So today, there was no doubt I was walking up the final hill.

It was a beautiful day today for Central Pennsylvania riding: hot (mid-90s), sunny, verdant, scenic. The numbered highways were not my favorite choice of riding roads but they weren’t bad, and traffic was definitely not bad. As has been the case this entire trip, I had no problems with the drivers, although many stretches were scary nonetheless.

When I passed through the town of Muncy, I was looking for a place to eat lunch. According to Google Maps, Pop’s Place was up ahead, but I had little confidence that it was open or actually existed. Fortunately a local guy was pulled up next to me at a stoplight, so I asked his opinion. He said they made really good cheese steak sandwiches. That certainly turned out to be correct!

Later, I was riding along the Susquehanna River between Montoursville and Williamsport when I passed a boat landing. It looked too enticing, so I went for a swim. At first I was worried that I might get chafing with wet shorts, but I figured my shorts are soaked through many times from sweat or rain and it’s never really been an issue.

So I parked the bike and sat at a picnic table, got out my Crocs, took off my shoes and socks and jersey and sun shirt, walked down to the boat landing and walked in the water. It was incredibly awesome! The water felt really clean and just the perfect temperature.

Afterwards, I sat at the picnic table and chatted with a local guy, when two people, a man and a woman in their 50s, pulled up in their car with a spiffy looking boat on top. It turns out the boat was a single racing kayak, but they were two people. So I walked over to chat and ask them about their boat because I have never seen one like that. It turned out that she was going to paddle, and he was going to sit and read a book.

So we were talking for a few minutes when the guy looks at me and says “Is your name Dan?” I answered yes, how did you know? I thought he was going to say “I know your brother”, but instead he said that they were good friends with my good friend Greg, who lives here in town. Greg had mentioned me to them, because they were both active cyclists, and in fact Greg had mentioned them to me, because they are both active cyclists. What a small world we live in!

That is it for now. I’ll be working on the ride report and have that done as soon as possible. Realistically it will take me a week or two. In the meantime, I’m going to bed.

Good night.

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Williamsport-2021 – Day 10: Danville, PA

I may have broken the speed limit on this descent.
  • Miles Today: 43.8 @ 10.7mph
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Execution: 4.7
  • Fun/Interesting: 4.8
  • Total: 14.5 out of 15

Today was a really good, easy, pleasant day riding through rural PA. I finally got rained on a significant amount for the first time this trip, and I have to say it felt good – the temperature dropped to 82°. Tomorrow, I arrive at my destination in Williamsport.

Yesterday was a long day, ending at the Red Carpet Inn in Hazleton. I suspect I thought I was booking a room at the Red Roof Inn, which was two doors further up the street. After double checking the confirmation email, the Red Carpet Inn it was. Frankly, it was a bit skanky, however it was the first hotel on this uphill stretch of busy road, so I was glad to take it.

This morning was interesting. First of all, I set my wrist alarm for 7:00 am and my phone alarm for 7:05. However, in an effort to manage battery power, I also put the phone on airplane mode. I now know that overrides the alarm. I woke up at 5:30 to pee, got back in bed, and the next thing I knew, at 8:45, was that wonderfully refreshed feeling as you realize you have overslept. It was the latest and best I have slept in quite a while! Fortunately the ding to my schedule was of no serious consequence. Instead of walking to Antonio’s Restaurant a few doors up the hill, I packed up and checked out and road to breakfast.

A great local place – good food & hopping!

As mentioned, the hotel and Antonio’s were on a busy, four-lane, moderately steep hill, with zero shoulder. It was about 2/10 of a mile to the restaurant, which I easily rode. For sure, if I had to go up this hill at the end of yesterday, I would have been walking.

After breakfast, which was excellent, I continued riding up the hill. I mention this because, as it turns out, the hotel where I stayed 2 years ago was on the other side of this hill. Fortunately, I was not really sure where it was when I looked this time, and so did not book a room there this time, even though it was across the street from a Perkins. If I had, it would have made yesterday much more difficult, because the 10-minute ride this morning from the Red Carpet to that hotel probably would have taken at least a half an hour or more last night. Fortuitous.

Fortunately, after that initial climb, the rest of the day was mostly downhill. It was wonderful. This was easily my fastest day of the trip. At least twice I exceeded 40 miles an hour, breaking the posted speed limit. Even the rain did not put a damper on my good spirits.

I was going to stop for lunch somewhere along the way, peanut butter and crackers, but I could see that the town of Catawissa was approaching, so I held off. It worked okay. The tacos, outside at the Cracker Barrel Bar in Catawissa, were excellent.

I love it when my bike is parked right next to the table.
Tacos at the Cracker Barrel.
Some stream crossing.
The Susquehanna River at Catawissa, PA.
Checking into the Red Roof Inn at Danville, PA.

Tomorrow is the last day of the ride, 36 miles to my brother & Debbie’s house, which I would like to reach by by 5:00. I will set my alarm, and this time make sure it works.

Good night.

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Williamsport-2021 – Day 9: Hazelton, PA

It was a day of spectacular rural Pennsylvania scenery!
  • Miles Today: 59.8 @ 8.3 mph
  • Difficulty: 5.1 out of 5
  • Execution: 5
  • Fun/Interesting: 4.8
  • Total: 14.9 out of 15

Although not my longest day of this trip, it was certainly the most difficult. The hills were unending – up and down and up and down – with lots of walking.

The good news is the last four or five miles were mostly downhill. The really good news is that I misjudged the final big climb of the day, thinking I had three more miles to climb when in actuality I was at the top.

Most of the roads were pretty good today, although a fair number were lacking in shoulder. This was a special issue when climbing a long or steep hill, which required walking. It was scary at times, but fortunately there were no incidents.

I am pretty cooked today so I’m just going to provide a bunch of photos. It was another stellar day, both in terms of weather and scenery.

Tomorrow looks to be about a 40 mile day to Danville, PA.

Good night.

About to start at 7am this morning.
Single room school house.
I think this snake was dead, but I can’t say for sure. I also don’t know what kind it is.
This was a particularly scary stretch, which I walked as fast as I could.
Roadside art.
Lunch was a turkey hoagie (that is PA-speak for a submarine sandwich) at this shop. Notice my bike wheel peeking around the right edge of the building. I sat in the shade for an hour next to my bike.
The signs just keep getting better and better. Keep in mind that to get to this point I had to climb a similar grade.
Dinner! The deal was buy one, get one for a buck. I did NOT eat the entire second Impossible Whopper!
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Williamsport-2021 – Day 8: Stroudsburg, PA

The day started with breakfast at Perkins.
  • Miles today: 44.7 @ 8.8 mph
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Execution: 5
  • Fun/Interesting: 5
  • Total: 15 out of 15

Today was a really good day! The weather remains superb, in the upper 80s with sunny skies, low humidity, and no rain. The forecast for tomorrow is for the same.

The highlight for the day was the ride down the length of the Delaware Water Gap. This is the third time I’ve done this ride, and I love it more every time. It’s an incredibly great road to ride: quiet except for the birds & insects, beautiful woods, challenging hills, rewarding. I walked a fair amount up short steep hills, but didn’t mind because it was such a beautiful place to be. And the downhills were tremendous.

Then at the end of the Water Gap was the thrilling walk across the Delaware River on a sidewalk attached to the side of I-80, high above the river, with the cars and trucks about 2 ft from your head.

Here are a number of photos.

Some of the pavement was smooth, much was not.
I ate lunch sitting on the bottom stone step. It was quite comfy. I had remembered to resupply with peanut butter, so lunch was plentiful.
I’m riding on the new pavement, the old bridge is off to the left.
Back on the AT, if only for a short stretch.
Floating down the Delaware on a hot summer day.
Crossing into Pennsylvania on the Appalachian Trail

I’m staying in the Bridge Views Inn in Stroudsburg, PA, the same place I stayed 2 years ago when riding in the opposite direction.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day, about 60 miles to West Hazleton, PA. I’m planning on an early start.

Good night.

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Williamsport-2021 – Day 7: Matamoras, PA

  • Miles today: 56.7@9.2 mph
  • Difficulty: 4.5 out of 5
  • Execution: 4.9
  • Fun/Interesting: 4.5
  • Total: 13.9 out of 15

Today was a good, but not a great day. It was very challenging, especially the middle 20 miles, with incessant very steep ups and downs. Just when you think you’re at the top, and you do get a good descent, you have to climb again, and again, and again. Fortunately the last 10 miles were mostly downhill so the day ended on a pleasant note.

This morning was different than every other morning on this trip so far, and it worked well. Previously, I have eaten breakfast before checking out of the hotel. This leads to a later start. This morning, I loaded the bike and checked out of the hotel and rode 2 miles to the Plaza Diner for breakfast. Consequently I was pedaling, after breakfast, by 8:00am. This is a very early start for me, and contributed to the long day ending at 4:42pm, rather than 6:00 or later. Finishing early is definitely a morale booster.

The first 10 miles out of New Paltz was on a rail trail. However I was dismayed to find out that this rail trail is not paved (that detail had escaped my memory from the previous two times I have ridden this route), but rather was mostly gravel, with occasional dirt single track. It was rideable, but not smooth or quiet or particularly easy. However, the scenery was Ulster County New York at it’s most spectacular.

At the end of the trail, I ran into a group of people dropping off several riders to begin their ride. I noticed one of the women was wearing a 2021 PMC jersey. I realized that today was the official PMC day, and she too was doing her Reimagined ride.

I entered Port Jervis, New York, and crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania and the town of Matamoras, where I am in ensconced in a Best Western hotel.

Don’t get me started on how expensive it is. I am happy to report however that I was able to reserve a room for tomorrow night in Stroudsburg for under $100. Hoo ha.

Crossing the Delaware!
If you were wondering how a bicyclist crosses I-84, here is how it is done in Matamoras, PA.

Tomorrow is going to be a spectacular day! I will be riding the length of the Delaware Water Gap, on Old Mine Road. Having ridden it twice before, I know what a gem it is, and look forward to this section of the ride. As I mentioned I have a hotel reserved in Stroudsburg PA, for what should be a 41 mile day. The weather looks to be holding at spectacular.

That’s all for tonight. Good night.

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Williamsport-2021 – Day 6: New Paltz, NY

High above the Hudson River on the Hudson River Walkway, in Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Miles today: 12.6@9.0 mph
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Execution: 5
  • Fun/Interesting: 5
  • Total: 15 out of 15

Today was just about the perfect bike touring day. The weather was magnificent – about 90° and sunny. The morning was spent at the FDR museum with my good friend Jerry. Then the ride was short and flat and pleasant and included the magnificent walkway over the Hudson River.

The day began with a walk to the Eveready Diner up the street, where I ate my veggie omelette outside. It was classic, delicious diner food. Also, in a moment of weakness, I had coffee with breakfast. It felt really good. However, I did take Tum’s before and after to avoid any problems.

Jerry ended up staying at the same Quality Inn as me, and he went for a ride in the morning. My ticket for the FDR Museum was for 11:45, and his was for noon. We met up at the hotel at about 11:30, and I rode over to the museum, literally right across the street.

After parking and locking my bike, and figuring out where to go, I entered the museum. The way it works is your reservation is emailed to you, so you show the officer your phone. No problem.

Then I said to the officer I have a story to tell you. I explained how my friend who’s coming in right behind me pretended to steal my bike last night and nearly gave me a heart attack. So how about if you help me out to get him back, and tell him that something’s wrong with his ticket or something like that. Just then, we see Jerry walking up the sidewalk. The officer said is that him? I said yes: his name is Jerry. The officer was with me on this. So I went around the corner and waited for Jerry to show up, which he did a moment later.

I listened as the two of them went through the same routine the officer had done with me: ID, show me your phone, etc. Then the officer says to Jerry “I’m sorry this ticket is not valid”. And Jerry says “what do you mean it’s not valid?” The officer says “it’s just not a good ticket. You can’t come in.”

At this point, I could barely contain my laughter, as I showed myself and said “Pay back!” Jerry laughed! The officer laughed! It was excellent!

The museum was really good. I spent about 2 hours, and Jerry covered maybe half the museum in that time. I left my bike at the Museum and we drove to lunch, at the same Eveready Diner where I had eaten breakfast, again outside on the patio.

After retrieving my bike (Jerry went back in to finish the museum), I started riding again. It was a relatively easy 5.4 miles to get to the Hudson River Walkway, a former railroad bridge converted to a walking path. It is awesome! I spent half an hour covering the 3/4 of a mile or so of the bridge, stopping along the way to read the posters or take a picture. I could not resist an Italian ice from a vendor in the middle of the bridge.

Two or three trains came by in the half hour I was on the bridge, all freight trains. A poster said this route is no longer used for passenger service.

The paved bike path continued at the end of the bridge, all the way to my hotel in New Paltz, a Rodeway Inn, where I am sitting as I write this post.

I must say, lodging has been particularly difficult on this trip, especially since I made the decision to not bring camping equipment. I must find a motel every night, or suffer the consequences. I suppose in a pinch I would look for an Airbnb or something like that, but I’m skeptical I would find anything around here. My ultimate fall back is that I have a space blanket, and I would find someplace to curl up for the night. I am also told you can ask for the local cops to put you up in a cell. Fortunately that has not happened yet.

However I was fearful about that tonight. I called last night to make a reservation at the Hampton Inn, where I have stayed before. They had a room, but a two-night minimum at $305 per night. I said no thanks. The next place I called was sold out, although it wasn’t quite as expensive. The third place had a suite available for $300. After talking a bit and realizing that I was actually a member of their loyalty program, it came down to $276. I felt I had to take it. This is turning into an expensive trip. I hear a lot of stories about hotels being unavailable or very expensive. Maybe if I had realized that before, I would have brought my camping equipment. Oh well.

After settling into the hotel, taking a shower, and making a hotel reservation for tomorrow, I walked about a mile to Órale Mexico restaurant for dinner, where I was the only customer sitting outside on a quaint patio out back. The combo plate was good, but the flan was exceptional!

Tomorrow looks to be a moderately long day, about 54 miles, going to Matamoras, PA. Once again I had to call three hotels before finding a room, and that too is wicked expensive. Oh well.

I feel good and tomorrow is a big day. Good night

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Williamsport 2021 – Day 5: Hyde Park, NY

Dutchess County, NY
  • Miles today: 46.8 @ 10.4 mph
  • Difficulty: 4.5 out of 5
  • Execution: 4.7
  • Fun/Interesting: 4.8
  • Total: 14.0

Today was a good day, not great but good. The weather was mostly really nice, sunny in the mid-70s, with a few periods of chilly rain which did not last. (I was told it was pouring back home.)

Yesterday I predicted a “short day to Hyde Park”. I was expecting something under 40 miles, so the fact that it came in close to 47 was a bit depressing. Those extra miles are always so painful, although today was helped by the fact that the first 10 miles was on a beautiful, easy rail trail, and the last 5 miles were mostly downhill. In between was a lot of tough hills, a fair amount of walking, and a lot of really beautiful scenery.

Hudson Valley Rail Trail

Breakfast was a delicious Eggs Benedict, sitting outside, at the Oakhurst Diner in Millerton, just down the street from the Inn where I was staying.

Lunch, on the other hand, was truly al fresco, in that there were no restaurants for miles around. I sat next to a farmer’s field and ate my peanut butter and Ritz crackers, and a Clif bar. It was not bad. However I deducted Execution points because I failed to pack my knife and spoon any place remotely accessible without emptying an entire pannier, or actually all three panniers, because I didn’t know where the things were. I got by with a pocket knife to spread the pb, which worked well enough. Here is a photo (I posted a video postcard to Facebook today, but it is too large to put here).

Lunch! Dutchess County.

The day ended with quite the surprise! I checked into the Quality Inn here in Hyde Park, and when I came outside of the office, my bike was gone! (No, I did not lock it. It’s too big and heavy to steal.) I immediately start looking around to see if someone had moved it, or if I could catch someone loading it into a truck. Just then, my good friend Jerry came walking around the building, with my bike, saying “Are you looking for this?” I could have killed him! However all ended well when he apologized and then bought dinner (we sat outside at El Guacamole Mexican Grill). It was great to see him!

Tomorrow should be a good day. We both have tickets to go see the FDR museum, which is across the street from the motel. Then Jerry is heading home, and I am riding on to New Paltz, about 15 miles away. We’ll see how far it actually is.

Good night.

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Williamsport 2021 – Day 4: Millerton, NY

Ready to ride

Today was a very good day. Unlike yesterday, I did not follow Google Maps’ advice, but instead took my own route to get back to the Adventure Cycling route. It paid off!

  • Miles today: 36.7 @ 9.1 mph
  • Difficulty: 5 out of 5
  • Execution: 5.1 (I make the rules)
  • Fun/interesting: 4.8
  • Total: 14.9 out of 15

The day started well with a veggie omelette at the Twin Colony Diner, across the street from my hotel. Then I went back to the room to pack, finally starting to pedal at 9:07am, in anticipation of a not very long day. Once again, the weather was practically perfect, although a bit on the cool side in the low ’70s.

I was using Google Maps to navigate to the town of Norfolk, CT, where I would rejoin the Adventure Cycling route. Two miles in, nominally following Rt. 272, I came to the following intersection:

There are several things worth noting in this photo. First of all, the nearest intersection says “Mountain Rd” . The far intersection includes a right turn to Rt. 272. The sign for “Norfolk” is ambiguous as to which of those two roads it is pointing to. One thing is clear: Rt. 272 is a numbered highway, and Mountain Road is not.

In my experience, when the name of a road includes words like “Mountain” or “Hill”, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. This Mountain road did not disappoint.

Up to this point in the ride, that is to say, for the last 3 days, I have been patting myself on the back for not having had to walk, yet. That changed big time today.

I turned right onto Mountain Road at Mile 2.0. The road climbed very steeply ahead. Within 50 yards, I was walking. Here are my notes from the ride:

9:26am. 2.0@9.0. Bottom of Mountain Rd. WALK
9:45am. 2.4@6.3! Top(?)
10:07am. 3.1@5.2. Top( for real)

In other words, I walked 1.1 miles over 41 minutes. Good thing it was a beautiful day and a beautiful road, because I was sure taking my time getting up it.

Somewhere along the next 5 miles, all of which was steep ups and downs, I came to a valley which was filled with stone walls. They were on both sides of the road and on both sides of the many long curving driveways going to the big houses on either side. Here are some photos, which do not do the walls justice:

A local guy told me a local landowner had an obsession with stone walls, and the means to satisfy that obsession. They were beautiful.

About 8.5 mi in I came to the town of Winchester, CT, an incredibly scenic, tiny, little town.

Note the flags.

Finally, at around 12:45 p.m. at Mile 16, I rejoined the Adventure Cycling route in Norfolk. There I met a fellow who was refurbishing a monument at the entrance to town.

Norfolk, CT

There I also had a delightful outdoor lunch at Wood Creek Bar & Grill, a grilled chicken sandwich with melted cheese.

Norfolk was pretty much the high point of the day, geographically speaking. From there to Millerton was mostly downhill, pay back for all the climbing in the morning. I love it when the day is front loaded like that. That’s why Difficulty got a 5 out of 5 today.

In Salisbury, CT, I intersected with the Appalachian Trail, always a high point for me. I expect to cross the AT again in a few days.

Shortly thereafter, I crossed into New York State and the town of Millerton, where I was staying at the Millerton Inn.

My 3rd floor room is circled.

The Inn was built in the 1860s and is a fine, old hotel, well maintained, with ornate wood work and stained glass. Although normally above my price point, it was the only option for miles around, and I am very happy to be staying here.

While walking around town, I met a guy with a 1961 MGA 1600. We chatted a bit, and he popped the hood for me. Sorry no picture of the engine.

Dinner was a great lasagna at Taro’s, and my first real ice cream of the trip was at Candy-O’s (salted caramel with pretzels – killer good!).

Tomorrow, I have a short day to Hyde Park, New York, where I have a reservation at a Quality Inn. I then have a reservation to go to the FDR museum on Friday morning, after which it’s a 15 mile ride to the town of New Paltz. So it looks like my next two days will be relatively easy. I’m looking forward to it.

Good night.

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Williamsport 2021 – Day 3: Torrington, CT

Breakfast at Skooters in Windsor Locks, CT
Lunch at Tan Wong in Simsbury, CT.
Dinner at Twin Colony Diner in Torrington, CT

Today was a good day, but not great. Relatively short, but not easy. My route selection left a lot to be desired, with many miles on scary highways with little shoulder. But I made it through the day without incident, and once again did not have to walk on any of the hills, although I did put my feet down on a few climbs.

Meals may have been the best part of the day.

  • Miles ridden: 30.9 @ 9.0 mph
  • Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5
  • Execution: 3
  • Fun/Interesting: 3
  • Total: 9.5

The day got off to a good start with a short walk to Scooter’s Diner for breakfast, followed by a leisurely exit from the room. I started riding at 10:10 a.m., more or less on schedule for a short day.

I am nominally following the Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast route, but since I am not carrying camping equipment on this trip, I must find a hotel every night. There were none on this part of the route, so I diverted here to Torrington. My intention had been to follow the Adventure Cycling route to within about 5 miles of Torrington, then diverge. However, I goofed, and followed Google Maps in a straight shot to Torrington. That not only saved me four or five miles, which was not my goal, but it also forced me to ride many miles on busy roads. Parts of this were actually nice, when there weren’t cars to drown out the noise of the birds.

Long portions were scary. There was one long climb, maybe a half a mile, with two lanes going in my direction and very little shoulder, maybe a foot to the guardrail to my immediate right, so there was no leeway in either direction. Cars & trucks were whizzing by at high speed. Fortunately traffic was not so heavy, and mostly the cars in the right lane could merge left as they passed me. It was not pleasant. When I finally got to the top of the hill, and the guardrail ended, I was able to recover. I wish I had taken more of the Adventure Cycling route today. Deduction to all 3 categories.

It was only scenic when it wasn’t scary. At least this portion had a good shoulder. Others had none.

There was one humorous moment when I was stopped at a red light. I was in the middle of three lanes, going straight. The lane on my right turned onto I-84. A tractor trailer pulled up next to me. The driver leaned out his window and said “Do you want to race?” I replied “It might be close.” Then the light turned green, he turned right & I went straight.

Although today was only 30 miles, it seemed to drag more than yesterday or the day before. Maybe I’m feeling the effects of two long days in a row. In any event, tomorrow I will go back up to the Adventure Cycling route, then carry on to Millerton, NY, where I have a reservation at the Millerton Inn. It will be another short 30-some mile day, hopefully more pleasant than today.

That’s all for tonight. Good night.

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Williamsport 2021 – Day 2: Windsor Locks, CT

Google Maps strikes again!  This time it was all good!

Today was a really good day. A hard day, but a good day. I did 61.3 miles, ending at a Motel 6 in Windsor Locks, CT, directly under the flight path at Bradley International Airport. The weather was superb: mid-70s and sunny!

  • Miles ridden: 61.3 @ 10.0 mph
  • Difficulty: 4.5 out of 5
  • Execution: 4.7
  • Fun/Interesting: 4.5
  • Total: 13.7 out of 15

Adhering strictly to the constantly evolving rules of this scoring system, I give today 4.5 out of 5 in Difficulty. This was a tough day, but very rewarding. Lots of hills, including several where I had to put my feet down and gasp for breath multiple times. But I never walked, even though I gave myself permission to do so on two or three occasions. And the nice thing about hills is that what goes up must come down. So for all those two- or three-mile climbs, there was a corresponding two- or three-mile descent. With Billy fully loaded such as he is, climbing is very slow, but descents are thrilling!

Execution was good today. Breakfast at the Hampton Inn was very good, with scrambled eggs and potatoes. I exercised restraint, and did not have a waffle or a pastry. However, a minor navigational misjudgment around lunch cost me a few points. I was aiming for the Traveler Restaurant, along I-84.  I was following Google Maps. It seemed like it would take me to the restaurant, but when I came back to the main road, I was two and a half miles too far. I wasn’t going to add 5 miles to the trip by backtracking, so I kept riding. There were no lunch places indicated on any map, so I was resigned to eating peanut butter and crackers. In the town of Holland, MA, I came across a local convenience store, where I stopped to get a Gatorade and a Diet Coke. Inside, I realized I could get a sandwich, so I had a turkey grinder, which I ate while sitting outside the store. (See my stuff on the table to the left, next to my bike.)

Lunch at Holland (MA) Market

Long time readers may recall my rants about Google Maps for cyclists. 95% of the time it is miraculous. The remaining 5%, not so much. So when the road sign said Dead End, but Google Maps said go, I was conflicted. After thinking it over I decided to take the chance and follow Google Maps. About a half mile down the road I came to a barrier across the road indicating, in no uncertain terms, the road was closed. You can see the barrier at the top of this post.

As you can see in the picture, beyond the barrier is the remnants of a smooth, paved road, with a painted center line. Vegetation encroaches heavily on both sides. Clearly this is a road that is no longer maintained. The big question is, can a bicycle or pedestrian get by? Or, for example, is there a bridge missing or impenetrable sandy gravel?

After pondering this for a few moments, I decided to take a chance. It was easy to ride around the barrier. The road was perfectly smooth and took me through a beautiful forest, coming out to a swamp meadow. In front of me the road was under water. It appeared about three or four inches deep at the max. I could see the bottom. (That last point is crucial.)

So I rode through the water. Slow and careful, watching for the bottom at all times. No potholes. However, my feet did go underwater at the bottom of every pedal stroke, so my shoes got good and wet. No problem, it’s a warm summer day. You can see my tracks on the pavement below.

And in the Fun/Interesting category, today was both fun and interesting. Here are some photos, in addition to the above mentioned stuff.

I did not realize I would overlap the official PMC route. But wrong day.

Southbridge?
My favorite sign!
CT Tobacco field
The Connecticut River

Tomorrow looks to be an easy day, 36 miles to Torrington, CT. It will be a leisurely start in the morning. I already have breakfast identified, at a diner a half mile down the road.

Good night.

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