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.

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