Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week ending 8/27/2011

I haven’t ridden much in the past month for several reasons but I did manage to get out this week a few times for a little more than a hundred miles each time for a total of about 500 miles for the week. One of the reasons is that the bike needs service and I haven’t had the ambition to work on it, - so it sits in the garage until I do. Meanwhile I’ve been busy working on my book and other writings.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Week Ending July 16, 2011

I finished the week with a total of 1810 miles, for an average of almost 260 miles per day. But with the heat coming this way, I don’t expect to ride as much. Most of my riding has been in northern Dutchess, Columbia and Rensselaer Counties. The photo below was taken a mile or so west of Shekomeko, a tiny historic hamlet in northern Dutchess County that was once a village of the Mahican Native American people. In 1740, some Moravians from Pennsylvania founded a mission at Shekomeko and began to convert the Mahicans to Christianity. In 1743 they built a chapel there and this Mahican community became the first Native American Christian congregation in the United States. It's a beautiful area.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I got out for my daily ride at about nine and decided to try riding in five states on the same day. I'll figure out my route as I go along. I headed first for the northern tip of NJ, where I thought earlier of making it a pit stop and maybe having a quick second breakfast. But since I wasn’t ready for a stop, I headed across the state line into Matamoras, PA and back across the Delaware River into NY via the old US 6 / US 209 bridge at Port Jervis.

When I got to Ellenville along 209, which was my next option for a pit stop and quick breakfast, I thought it might be too late for breakfast (almost 11 AM), so I thought maybe I’d stop in Red Hook for gas and lunch. But after crossing the Rhinecliff Bridge, I blew right by there too and took NY 199 to the Taconic Parkway and headed north. I stopped for gas at the Hudson/Ancram exit, but the only thing they had at the gas stop to eat was a cheese Danish, and I didn't want to take the time for a sit-down breakfast or lunch at the diner next door.

So I ate the Danish standing up and got back on the Taconic for another few miles and took NY 23 east straight into Great Barrington, MA. Since it was early when I got there, I got the idea to head north for Bennington, VT and add a sixth state, which I figured would add only about 125 miles to my cay. So I went back to NY 22 and headed north. Route 22 was quite rough for about 30 miles through Rensselaer County and I was almost sorry I included it, but by that time it was too late to turn back, so I pressed on for Bennington via NY 22, NY 7 and VT9. I turned around and came back via the same rough section of Rte. 22 and cut over into Connecticut via County Road 62 and US 44 near Canaan. From there, I turned around again and followed 44 back to the Taconic Parkway and rode that, NY 301 and US 9 to get home.

 I got home at 4:45, having had only the small Danish to eat all day and I didn’t drink anything because there wouldn’t have been a place to stop and let it out along my route. I carry water in case of emergency but didn't feel I needed it because the temperature only got up into the low 80s yesterday. I rode 387 miles for the day in 8 hours. Considering my 86 years, I thought my ride, which included six, rather than five, states was a pretty good day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I finished up last week with a total of 1681 miles for the week, which gave me a daily average of 240. I saw the spinal specialist on Tuesday of this week and he took several X-rays to confirm an earlier diagnosis, which is that the radiologist “over-read” the MRI and that an operation is not necessary. He said physical therapy MIGHT help and he would prescribe it if it bothers me. I said the thing that bothers me most is my lower back and legs, and that I’d like for him to focus on that area, which would raise my quality of life considerably. I told him that my primary internist and the pain management specialist have said that there’s nothing they can do, and I mentioned that I had injections in both SI joints 4 months ago with no improvement. He said there wasn’t anything he could do for that either except possibly PT, although at best, it might give me minimal relief. He then asked if I was still riding the motorcycle. I told him how many miles I put on last week, which brought a big smile to his face and he said, “Then keep doing it, which is better than anything I or anyone else can do for you at this point!” I asked, to be sure, “You mean that the best treatment for my pain at this point is to keep doing what I’m doing?” and the answer was, “Yes. Keep doing it.” So we shook hands and exchanged big smiles and I was out of there! It was very good news to me that I didn’t need another operation, so the first thing I did was to take a ride, which put the total mileage on my bike over 100,000. I got the bike 3½ years ago. This week I clocked a total of 1470 miles for a daily average of 210 miles. I suppose now that I know it’s the best thing for me, I’ll be spending more time doing it! If you look closely on the photo, you’ll see the odometer mileage of 100,001.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week of June 26 to July 2, 2011

I’ve clocked about 1200 miles so far this week and I still have a few days to go. I figured if I have to go for another spinal operation, which seems likely at this point, I’d probably be restricted from the bike for another couple of weeks, - so I might as well get the riding in while I can. The odometer is very close to turning all six wheels to 100,000. There aren’t too many 650cc bikes out there with more miles than that, and I’ve never done much to it except tires, chains, sprockets and brake pads. I can still do all of those chores myself. The bike runs like it did the day I got it. I wish my old body stood up as well. We’ll have to see in a couple of days what the surgeon says about the need to cut again. I don’t mind the knife as much as I do the anesthesia, which usually sets me back a little; - like last month it took only a few days to recover from the cut and stitch, but two weeks to recover from the anesthesia.

Yesterday I went up into the Berkshires. One of several little towns I rode through was Stockbridge, the home of Alice’s Restaurant, a place that Arlo Guthrie used to sing about. It was a beautiful day and I had a great ride of about 280 miles. Today I was in Dutchess County in the morning and west of the Hudson this afternoon, where I rode on several two-lane roads in western Orange County, a few of which were new to me. I clocked about 225 miles total for the day, which included a piece of old Rte. 6 between Middletown and Port Jervis that I hadn’t been on in many years. I almost forgot it was there. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the high 70s and very low humidity. The sky was beautiful with lots of white fluffy fair-weather clouds around and otherwise bright blue. The miles don’t come nearly as easy as they did a few years ago, and I often have to push myself to get out in the morning and get on the bike; but that only increases the value of every mile.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Week Ending 06-18-2011

I rode a total of a little more than 700 miles this week within a 100-mile radius and taking a different route every day, although occasionally repeating a few of my favorite roads. I’ve been promising myself to take the camera along but I still haven’t gotten into the habit of carrying a cell phone. It’s about time I started planning multi-day rides. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week of 06/12 to 06/18/11

The week is not over yet but here are a few rides I took so far:

Sunday afternoon, 6/12, I toured several of the scenic roads inside Harriman Park to check out the mountain laurel, which is in full bloom every year around this time, especially along Tiorati Brook Road, Lake Welch Parkway and Johnston Rd. From there I took County Rd. 106 and NY 17A west to NY 94 in Warwick, followed by County Roads 1A and 1 through the black dirt farm area of Pine Island and north to near Westtown. I rode county roads 12, 36 and 100 back to Goshen and took NY 207 to Newburgh before heading home, for a total of around 85 miles.

Thursday, 6/16, was an excellent day for riding so I got on the road a little after nine and headed generally northeast without a specific destination in mind. By the time I got up around Southeast and Putnam Lake, I decided to go into Connecticut and ride the southern Berkshires to Massachusetts. I began by heading into Sherman, CT, on CT 37 and then CT 39 to Gaylordsville, where I used a no-number road (S. Kent Rd.) past Hatch Pond and Leonard Pond to CT 341, followed by CT 45 through Warren to US 7 in Cornwall Bridge, and then east on CT 4, and north on several scenic state roads to Canaan, where I turned west into Millerton, NY for a pit stop and a quick lunch. 

After the stop I headed north via Columbia County Rtes. 62 and 63 to Boston Corner, and I took NY 22 to Copake Lake, where I headed due east into Massachusetts via NY 344, which goes past Copake Falls toward Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts. I took West St. north from the falls and back to the NYS line, where it becomes a narrow seasonal road called Sunset Rock Road, a very steep downhill grade on loose gravel for almost two miles. I noticed when I was about halfway down that my gas reserve light was flashing and I wasn’t sure how long it had been on. The gas odometer said I already had 315 miles on that tank-full. The dire consequences of running out of gas on a seasonal road flashed through my mind. I couldn’t expect anyone through that way until probably the weekend. But I was able to make it out to NY 22 and a gas station in Hillsdale with about a quart to spare. The price was about 30 cents cheaper than Westchester County.

After filling the tank, I headed southwest on Columbia Cty Rd. 7 diagonally across the county through Ancram to Jackson Corner, west of the Taconic Parkway. From there I used County Roads 51 and 15 and Centre Rd. through Schultzville to Salt Point, where the traffic begins to build. I hadn’t been through that area for at least four or five years. I decided to take Hibernia Rd. from Salt Point to the southbound lanes of the Taconic Parkway and I came home through Fahnestock Park, where the mountain laurel is also still in full bloom. I clocked 215 miles for the day and had a really great ride.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ride on June 10, 2011, my 86th birthday

My son Jim needed parts for his KTM enduro bike and I said I’d gladly pick them up at Moroney’s in Newburgh. I had thought about taking the car since it was only 10 days from the date of my hernia operation and the surgeon had said I should stay off the bike for two weeks. But I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I rode the bike to Newburgh to celebrate my birthday?

I wasn’t even sure I could get my leg over it and back it out of the garage safely when I reached for my helmet at 8:45 AM. No sooner I threw one leg up to swing it over the bike, the other leg partially collapsed and I almost ended up in a heap inside the garage! But I got on, shook the weak leg and backed it out, hoping that it wouldn’t collapse again while I was depending on it to hold up that side.

I started the bike and carefully eased it into gear, reciting the Lord’s Prayer as I rode carefully down the driveway. And I took a deep breath of fresh air as I started up the street. I had been feeling weak ever since the operation and I had met with the surgeon the day before. He said I should walk more and get more exercise. I said that I don’t have much desire to walk or exercise, and I asked, do you mean I should push myself? He answered, “Yes, push yourself.” So after taking a deep breath, I said aloud, “Push yourself!” and I pointed the bike toward Newburgh, hoping for the best.

I felt a little out of it as I was passing a school bus and a string of cars going up Storm King Mountain above West Point, and I wasn’t sure I should be pushing quite so hard. But after picking up the parts and saying hello to a few friends who work there, I felt a little more normal. So when I got back out to the bike and was able to get my leg over it without incident, I felt a little more confident that I might take a longer way home, since I had only traveled 25 miles so far. Oh well, he did say, “Push yourself,” so I repeated it and headed west, instead of south.

By the time I got past Stewart International Airport, I had already decided that I would turn north and maybe go as far as Modena via some back roads. That started a series of similar incidents where I’d think of the same two words, push yourself, and I kept going north until I got beyond Kingston, where I was already almost 60 miles from home and didn’t know yet where I was headed.

At one point, I had come to where about six or eight state troopers had set up a roadblock to check inspection stickers. I pulled in and turned off the engine, since I wasn’t wearing my hearing aid and wanted to hear what was said. One big guy said, “Don’t turn it off,” as he walked around to the right side. Four others stood in a line on my left, looking on. I said as the big guy walked around to the right, by the way it’s over on this side, near the top of the fork leg. He said, “I already saw it. Do you have a motorcycle license?” I laughed and said, I sure do. I’ve had one since they “grand-fathered” me in about 60 years ago, and I reached for my wallet. He said, “I don’t have to see it.” I then told them that I’m out taking a ride to celebrate my 86th birthday. I got at least one smile and about four other “Happy Birthday” wishes as I restarted the bike. As I pulled away I said, “Take care guys, have a nice day.”

I gassed up north of Kingston and decided to head east across the Rhinecliff Bridge toward Dutchess County, thinking about which roads I’d like to ride on my birthday, and always thinking of the doctor’s saying I should push myself. Of course I realized that he meant by walking more, but this certainly wasn’t as strenuous as walking! By the time I got back across to the east side of the Hudson, I had already decided that I’d head for Ancramdale in Columbia County, where I’d have lunch at the Farmer’s Wife, a little country deli and catering place I’ve used several times in the past.

I started experiencing lightheaded episodes earlier and I wondered what might be causing them. I had been having very low blood pressure since coming out of the anesthesia, so that could be a possibility. Another could be dehydration, but I had coffee when I stopped for gas. I wondered if it could be weakness from not having eaten much that morning. Lunch at the Farmer’s Wife would decide. I got there at exactly 12-noon, and the place was empty; so I got my order in before the rush since they usually have quite a large take-out business at lunchtime, which apparently hadn’t begun. I ordered a Rueben and helped myself to a Tropicana orange juice out of one of the coolers. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch, and when I got back out to the bike it was sunny and around 80 degrees, and I felt much better.

I headed northwest on County Rte. 3 toward the foothills of the Berkshires and then took several back roads to Sharon, CT. From there, I rode several of my favorite country roads along the CT/NY state line, including a ride through Mizzentop, to NY Rte. 164, and through Towners and Luddingtonville to get home. Altogether, I clocked 210 miles in a little over six hours, and it was a really great birthday. I still had barely enough energy to attend a joint birthday party for my grandson Jimmy and me, who share the same birthday. Barbara served pizza and ice cream. I got up the following morning without any negative aftereffects, so I’m back in business!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

It was the first really nice day we’ve had this year. I took off at 8:45 AM, having not yet decided where I was going, but I headed generally northwest. Once I got up around the black dirt, onion country of Pine Island, NY, I decided to cross over into NJ and maybe ride a few of the nicer roads there. The traffic was exceptionally light and I got the idea after crossing the state line to make it a five-state ride (NY, NJ, PA, MA & CT), using only country byways. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure of the shortest way through or around the Catskills to get from PA to Great Barrington, MA. It would have been nice to have a map at that point!

I avoided the traffic in and around Port Jervis by heading up County Road 519 and a few other back roads to and through Otisville, NY and across US 209 onto County Rd. 7. I wasn’t sure of the shortest and least congested way into PA from there, but I chose to take NY 42 south when I got there, which took me a little out of the way, but it deposited me on the NY 97 “goat trail” along the Delaware River, which was a really nice ride along the river to Shohola, PA, where I crossed over and got some gas and came right back across because NY 55 was there, which I chose for my route to skirt the southern edge of the Catskills to US 209 north of Ellenville. It’s not quite as quick as using US 52 across, but it was there, it's scenic, so I took it.

The weather was perfect and the traffic was light until I got to US 209, where it’s usually a little more congested, but my only other alternative would have been to go through the mountains, which would have taken longer. I crossed the Rhinecliff Bridge and picked up NY 199 that I planned to take all the way to Millerton, where I had thought of using NY 22 north to NY 23. It was a bad decision that costed me at least an extra half hour, which I realized a little too late. US 9 north to NY 23 would have been shorter. By the time I got almost to NY 22, I decided to turn south for home at Pulvers Corners over some of my favorite county roads because it would have taken me a little longer than I had planned. I’ll keep the 5-state ride for another day!

As it turned out, it was a really beautiful day of riding and I clocked 308 miles by the time I got in. As I parked it in the garage, I noticed that the back tire was totally bald most of the way around. It could probably have gone the extra 80 miles or so, but there’s always another day. But since then the bike has been sitting in the garage because I’ve been nursing a hernia for the past month and won’t be getting it repaired until after Memorial Day weekend. Tire changing will have to wait until I’m 86 in a few weeks and the hernia is fixed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend of 5/14 and 5/15/2011

Tom Brigham hosted the annual BS Night for old-time woods riders of New England, which now starts at 3 PM because all of the RAMS are getting on in years and can't handle the late hours anymore. It's a little less than 160 miles for me each way, and I was the first to arrive around 2:15. The event is potluck and I was asked to bring the champagne (for a toast to departed members of the RAMS) and the blackberry brandy. The forecast was for showers, but I lucked-out and got no rain at all on the way up. The only thing I was bothered by was the recent hernia that I had developed within the past few weeks that allowed some of my innards to spill out onto my lap every time I hit a big pothole. I suppose that will continue to be a problem until it gets repaired in a few weeks.

About 50 or 60 guys came and went during the next 10 or 12 hours, only about 10% of whom arrived by motorcycle. I got to talk with several old friends while I stuffed my gut with all kinds of great food from shrimp to Stromboli, coleslaw, baked ham, chili, kielbasa, beans, and you name it, and later all kinds of sweets for dessert, most of which was brought in by the guests. Tom Brigham, our gracious host, donates the baked ham, the keg of beer and many of the other items.

Many of the guests left before dark while others stayed on. I was fortunate enough to be offered a bedroom and I turned in at 9, while many of the younger guys in the group stuck it out, probably until the keg was empty. In the morning it was quite evident that the rain, which had stopped for a moment, was coming back, so the group decided to hit the road instead of going out for our usual breakfast to stuff our stomachs again. I was one of the last to leave at around 8 AM.

It poured heavy for at least 100 miles on my way home and I was practically brought to my knees! I'm just not as strong as I once was. When I stopped in Danbury for gas, I was totally drenched and totally exhausted. Visibility was practically zero for about 100 miles of the trip and it was real scary a few times because the traffic was heavy and far too fast for the conditions. A few times I didn’t know if I was in a travel lane or on an exit ramp, and some of the cars and trucks came awfully close several times. I did manage to get my leg over it again after gassing up in Danbury and I came the rest of the way home in sprinkles.

I got in around 11:15, which wasn’t bad time considering the conditions. I think my total mileage for the weekend was 318. My clothes are still drying the next morning.

Week of 5/7 to 5/13/2011

I didn’t go anyplace special during the week but I covered 1,261 miles, for an average of 180 miles per day. For the most part, I took a ride each day in a different direction and never got caught in the rain.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Week of 4/30/11 to 5/6/11

The first two days of this week were covered in the previous post.

On Tuesday, 5/3, after a quick stop at the credit union in Fishkill, I headed for Luddingtonville, where I started one of my favorite rides up into the beautiful farm country of Dutchess and Columbia counties. After getting as far north as Ancram, I rode east and stopped for lunch in Millerton before crossing over for the first of three separate excursions into CT that day. On the first, I rode around Lime Rock Park, the famous sports car track, then south from there past the huge golf course on CT 41 and through Sharon before crossing back into NYS at Amenia Union. A few miles later I crossed the state line again via Bog Hollow Road into Kent, CT; and from there I went back across the Housatonic River via the covered bridge on Bulls Bridge Rd. into Dogtail Corners, NY where I saw a huge 30-foot high white flowering tree that was perfectly shaped like a chicken’s egg and full of huge white blossoms!


I turned east again on NY 55 to approach Mizzentop Ridge (also known as Quaker Hill, NY) from the CT side. The north end of Quaker Hill has a steep gravel hill leading up to it, but during this time of year it’s often washboard and rough and I didn’t care to take the jarring on my aching back so I approached it from CT 39 and turned in by the farm with the four silos clustered around the barn complex, which is my landmark for Taber Rd. that also leads to Quaker Hill Rd. and Mizzentop. The ridge is beautiful any time of year but late spring and fall are the two nicest times to see it. The many flowering trees and bushes were spectacular, as are the east and west panoramas. The estates and manor houses along Quaker Hill Rd and some of the horse farms are also quite spectacular.

From there, I came down Birch Hill Rd., where there was once a huge game park with all kinds of exotic animals. Lillian and I used to take the children there 50 years ago. I think the park has been out of business for at least 30 years.

I came back through Towners, using NY 164, which runs through the three low-clearance railroad underpasses, two of which are one-way. I met a car coming the other way at one of them and he let me go first, - maybe because I was coming at it a little faster than he was, and the guy probably freaked out!

I was starting to get a little tired by that time and it was time I should be headed for home! I clocked exactly 180 miles that day and was back in plenty of time to pick up my grandchildren at the bus, which was my special chore for the day.

On Friday, 5/5, I accomplished what I set out to do, and from that viewpoint it was a success. I’m also happy about having ridden 252 miles that day in seven hours in perfect weather and most of it with very nice scenery. The flowering crabapple trees and cherry trees all the way across NJ were spectacular. The day’s ride also brought my total mileage for the week to a little over 1100 miles – the same distance as from here to Daytona Beach, FL. The only thing that dampened my joy was the congestion on the NJ roads going to and coming back from Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

In the park it was practically deserted and I rode around the area and along the Delaware River for at least two hours and had lunch in Columbia, NJ, but on the trip there and back I got behind trucks and slow drivers for many miles. I used many familiar back roads through NJ. The park is actually huge and runs alongside the river for at least 40 miles. I think I’ll stick to the NY and New England roads with my riding, though, where I’ve had much better experience with the traffic.

Actually they were the same roads today that I’ve been over many times in the past and they very seldom had traffic like today. I even thought maybe it was God telling me that I shouldn’t have gone out today!! I was extra tired when I got in and maybe that contributed to my negative attitude.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend 4/30 & 5/1/2011

I rushed to get some chili cooked Saturday morning that would last for at least a few days and I was able to get out of the house by 9:00 AM. The hitch was that I had taken my diuretic that morning, thinking that I’d be tied up in the house all morning, so by the time I got a little more than an hour out, heading towards Vermont, I decided I’d better not, – my bladder just isn’t big enough!!  So I turned around and came back. I put on 110 miles and got in around 11:15. Since the chili was still warm, I had that for an early lunch with a salad and took off again. I figured the diuretic had done its duty by then.

I headed off the second time in a different direction, toward Callicoon, on the Delaware River about 2/3 of the way to Binghamton. But by the time I got up around Monticello, where I had to make a decision, I changed my mind and decided to ride some of the Old 17 along Beaver Creek and then take a ride up around the Pepacton Reservoir, near Downsville, NY. The reservoir holds back much of the headwaters of the East Branch of the Delaware River in the northwestern foothills of the Catskills. It’s a beautiful area with great “bike roads.” I got as far north as Margaretville and headed southeast past Big Indian and Phoenicia, and alongside the Esopus Creek to West Shokan. I took Acorn Hill Rd past Tetta’s General Store to reach Rte. 209 north of Kerhonkson and then went over the Shawangunk Ridge through Minnewaska Park using Rtes. 44 & 55 Altogether, including the morning’s ride, I clocked 347 miles for the day in a little over 7½ hours.

Sunday afternoon I took another very beautiful ride up into Columbia County and around Ancram and Ancramdale, before heading for Bash Bish Falls in the Berkshires and on to Great Barrington. When I got into Mass. I noticed that my reserve light for gasoline was flashing. I grabbed for my wallet pocket in my jacket to check and found no wallet! I checked my jeans pocket next and I wasn’t wearing any, - I was only wearing the riding suit bottoms. I hate having to humiliate myself to get gas by leaving something for security! What do I have for security? I checked the jacket pockets and found my cell phone that I never use. The battery is probably dead. Maybe I could offer that. I checked around for change and I only had about 67 cents. I stopped a bicyclist to ask for directions to the nearest gas station. The cyclist was a little old woman who looked like 80 years old and 80 pounds soaking wet in a skin-tight, one-piece bicycle suit, with helmet. I think I scared her – a grungie-looking old biker towering over her!  But she gave me directions and I found the gas station. I parked outside and started patting all of my pockets again, including the bottoms, for any miscellaneous thing I could offer as security; and as I patted one of the pockets of the bottoms there was something that felt like a big cell phone. I pulled it out and sure enough, I had totally forgotten that I “temporarily” stuck the wallet in that pocket so I wouldn’t forget to take it! ! I’m sure glad I went to church this morning! God has a sense of humor

I had a great ride back, I went down through Canaan, CT and then crossed over into NYS near Amenia, I found Amenia Union Rd and took all of the little twisty back roads home that run down along the NY/CT state lines, some of which were the “Old 22.” When I got below Pawling I took some other back roads past Whaley Lake and Pecksville and then home through Fahnestock Park and Rte. 9.

I clocked 210 miles for Sunday afternoon for a total of 557 for the weekend. Not a bad start for the new week. I see they’re calling for rain at least three of the days, so the head start should allow me to average at least 100 per day this week.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Week of 4/23/11 to 4/29/11

I clocked 253 miles today to finish off the week with 780, in spite of all the rain we’ve been having. Sometime today the odometer turned to 93,000. Earlier this week I was in Pennsylvania and rode through the northern Poconos around the Elk Mountain Ski Area. Today I was in the northern Catskills. It started out to be a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky as I was heading out through Fahnestock State Park. The new leaves were breaking out of their buds and the whole area was a pale green from the young leaves, interspersed here and there with white blossoms of the dogwood trees. The pastures up in Columbia County were also deep green. I turned west near Claverack and crossed over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to the west side of the Hudson. As I started to climb, things changed. The clouds moved in and the trees were less and less green as I climbed into the Catskills. By the time I passed the Point Lookout Restaurant coming into East Windham, I saw no green at all anymore and things turned bleak and chilly. Good thing I wore the heated jacket and gloves, so I threw the switch and stayed comfortable. I turned south in Windham on NY 296 and headed for Hunter Mountain, where I could see that many of the higher ski trails still had snow on them. I turned west at Hunter on NY 23A and headed out through Jewett Center to Lexington, and then south on NY 42 to Shandaken, where I felt a few drops of rain. I headed southeast on NY 28 and decided to take the Peekamoose Valley Rd. through the park, past Buttermilk Falls. It was my first time through there this year. Lots of sand on the road called for caution rather than letting it all hang out on the twisty mountain roads. I noticed that all five of the waterfalls were active on my way into Peekamoose, where I took Greenville Rd. from Sundown to Rte. 55A near the Rondout Reservoir Dam.  By that time I was just about busting a bladder so I headed for the McDonald’s in Ellenville where I also grabbed a late lunch before coming back over the Shawangunk Ridge toward the Bear Mountain Bridge and home.