Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day One Hundred Thirty-eight, 090716 - Montclair, NJ

Day One Hundred Thirty-eight, Date Thursday, July 16, 2009
Time in Saddle: 5:40
Distance for the Day: 49.76 miles From Atlantic Highlands, NJ To Montclair, NJ
Accumulated Trip Distance: 6479.5 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 384’/525’, Highest: 539’ Accumulated: 4357’
Speeds: Avg: 8.7 mph, Max: 29.8 mph
Weather: 67° mostly cloudy all day
Expenditures: $4

I spent the morning eating my last yummy home-cooked breakfast for a while (thanks Julie!), packing my trike, figuring out my next goal and route, and checking the weather. At 10:11am I was ready to leave Julie and Michael’s home. We hugged, kissed, shook hands and said our farewells, It was tough to leave such a wonderful hearth and heart, but I am nothing if not a determined SOB, and most of the other half of my goal still lay stretched ahead of me in all its hot/cold, wet/dry, flat/mountainous, rough and smooth, glory, with sights both wondrous and terrible to see. With Winter staring me in the face from a distance of only four-point-five months, I knew I had no time, this time, to tarry. One last wave to my sister as I turned the corner, and I was on my way. Well, she did beep me one *final* time as she drove past about 10 minutes later, on her way to work. She drew me a little map that took me to a nice “rails to trails” bike route that took me from Atlantic Highlands several miles to Matawan, which was very nice. Then, at 1:22pm I crossed the Garden State Parkway Bridge on Hwy 9 (error!) Got stopped by cop because they were worried about me; this was not a cycleable bridge, despite what my computer mapping program told me, and I should get off it and get onto Hwy 35 ASAP. There was a smaller bridge (the Victory Bridge, Hwy 35) with a cycle path on it right next to this parkway bridge; my mapping program *should* have picked it. I’m going to have to be a little more critical about the routes “Delorme Street Atlas USA 2009 Plus” selects for bicycles – it’s not perfect, and I need to remember that. From there, it was the usual busy roadway up through towns and gaps between towns into north New Jersey. I stopped to eat the sandwich and plum my sister made for me (deelicious!) and continued on. I got a few sodas along the way ($4). Julie had warned me about “The Oranges”; a rough suburb of Newark, and she was right. I was passing through the more poverty stricken neighborhoods, with broken sidewalks, liquor stores, poorly maintained tenements, and cars driving by playing loud “boom-boom” music, and, it was getting into the late afternoon – I did NOT want to have to try to find a stealth camp around here. One man in his mid-20s saw me pass by and commented loudy, “You’re a *brave* man!” I just nodded agreement, and kept rolling. Fortunately, I was able to make it past The Oranges, and found a decent stealth camp in the back lot of a church in a nice, quiet neighborhood (N40 49.528’ W74 11.457’). I pulled in at approx 8pm, knocked on the door but got no answer. I found a couple of trees to set up my hammock behind a shed, and had just settled in for a nice, quiet sleep, when around 9pm, it started to rain a little bit (argh!) Fortunately, it never got worse than a quick, light sprinkle, and the trees I was under kept most of it off me; it quit altogether after a few minutes. I think a mosquito got inside my hammock with me, because I got three bites, Demitol.

1 comment:

Julie said...

So glad you made it through "the Oranges" without mishap... definitely NOT a place to camp out no matter WHERE you are!