Ok, so I am here to update you all on our trip, which is now over of course. I know there are many of you who have been eagerly awaiting the next installment in this adventure, so I won't delay. Here we go! Day 4. This day looked as though it would be a fairly easy day. Only 59 miles over what we thought was fairly flat terrain. As we got going, however, and by the time we stopped for coffee at a truck stop diner (see photo) we noticed that there was something about this highway we were on... something hilly-er about it.
It turns out the terrain was not as flat as we had assumed. We had begun to cross the foot hills of the Catskills to the south. And, where a normal highway will veer north and south in order to created a more gentle terrain, this "scenic byway" simply cut due west across these hills like a laser. By the time 11:30 rolled around, at which point we had gone about 30 miles (a blazing 8 mph average), we were really struggling. I wish we had taken photographs to convey the hillyness of this section. As it was we were to tired to stop and get the camera out. It was very hilly. Up hill for one mile, down the next and so on. Mind you all this wasn't as steep or as difficult as crossing the green mountains, but you have to remember that in our minds this was to be an easy day. This was to be our rest day. When we headed out that morning I had foolishly thought that, figuring for a conservative 14 miles an hour average, we could arrive at camp before 1:00 pm. Luckily I didn't say this out loud to Alison, otherwise she may have beaten me to death with her bicycle pump by the end of the day.
Lunch. Being hungry and tired and it being 11:30 this is what we began to think about. I suggested that at the top of the next hill we stop and eat some of the snacks we had brought and check the map. Before we had left I had marked out all of the grocery stores that we would pass on our route. Well as it turns out, there was nothing on the map for at least another 20 miles. don't worry, don't worry, it must have been a mistake, anyways we had seen a sign for vegetables for sale up the road. The vegetables turned out to be cucumbers being sold by a toothless farm boy named Sammy (see photo), six for a dollar; pickling cucumbers that had grown too big to sell to Price Chopper. Sammy's mother Therese came out and informed us that we were not mistaken, that there was not so much as a corner store for at least another 20 miles. It looked for a moment that Alison and I would each be eating 6 large pickling cucumbers each for lunch. Then Therese offered to feed us! If you are reading this, Therese, thank you again! You are an angel. They turned out to be a very nice family (I am sorry, I can't remember the name of Therese's daughter). We ate well. Sammy took me to see the animals: goats, geese and pigs, then we were on our way again. Sammy asked us to come back again next time we passed that way again.
The rest of the day was again as hard as the first part, but we did make it into the park by 4 pm. Of course the moment we rolled in we realized again that even though we had decided against it while riding through town, we really did want beer. Alison ended up asking our neighbor John (see photo). John however had suffered a heart attack earlier in life and had no beer to offer us. We did end up talking to him for a while and learning a bit about his life and left with a non-alcoholic beer. Not a complete failure; we met a friendly neighbor and got a cold bubbly beer-like drink. However John was not satisfied. A few minutes later he came back and gave us dinner. And when we went back to thank him and get a photo for our blog he and his wife Janet invited us back for bloody marys after dinner. By the way, John and Janet, if you are reading this, we lost your email address! please let us know what it is. And, we are serious about joining you in the white mountains for dinner when you visit!.
Anyways, dinner was great, drinks were great (Alison was taken by their chairs which "had real backs"), and John and Janet even advised us on our route. They had just come from the direction that we were going and they said that the hills only got worse (they had just barely made it in their RV). Using their maps, we mapped out an alternate route. The next day we would head north to Lake Ontario and ride west along it.