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.

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