Friday, July 17, 2009

Day One Hundred Thirty-four, 090712 - Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Day One Hundred Thirty-four, Date Sunday, July 12, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:47
Distance for the Day: 64.14 miles From Cornwells Heights, PA To Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Accumulated Trip Distance: 6429.74
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 271’/384’, Highest: ?? Accumulated: ??
Speeds: Avg: 9.4 mph, Max: 64.9 mph
Weather: 66° clear, warming to low 80s
Expenditures: $25

I awoke at 5:10am, tried to shake as much water from my tent as possible, and packed away my gear for the day’s ride. I got three hits from mosquitoes last night, demitol. The weather this morning was completely clear and somewhat but not very cool. The birds were chirping cheerfully, and there was a large waning gibbous moon high up. By 6am, I was ready to roll. Stopped for breakfast and food items 7:52am ($11), and continued on Hwy 512 towards the next big town, Trenton, NJ. I entered the state of New Jersey at about 9am by getting dumped down a short, steep road onto this bridge that crosses the Delaware River, and was already on the bridge before I realized cyclists weren’t supposed to be on it. Oh, well! The speed limit on the bridge was 15mph, and I was able to maintain that. There was a guard in a tiny building at the other end, but he didn’t seem to mind my crossing, and didn’t take any action. Stopped to take some pictures of the downtown area on the way through Trenton, and continued through and out the other side. I called Julie around 11:30am to let her know where I was, and that my earlier estimate was way off. At the rate I was going, I wouldn’t get to her place until around 5pm (hah!) At around 1:30pm, I stopped at Cree Mee Freeze for a rather large choco malted ($4.50), and continued on. At one point, I slowed traffic down to save a large turtle from getting smacked on the road. I chased him off into the bushes, but there was no telling whether he would try it again, later. Silly turtle - roads are for cars! I got drinks along the way ($3) and Gatorade and trail mix at a Wal-Mart ($6). Navigating through rural New Jersey was a real challenge, let me tell you. I kept missing turns, had to make alternate routes or backtrack, and got a bit frustrated as the hours passed by. I missed my second predicted arrival time, and by 7:07pm, with the sun getting low, I was finally getting close, and was on a road called ‘Cooper.’ I was rolling down a small hill on Cooper when I saw this sign that said, “Pavement ends.” What?? The road had turned into gravel – that was a first. Hokay, no other immediate route to take, so, continue up the gravel road. Which became a somewhat long and steep gravel road. My trike doesn’t handle steep gravel roads well, and I could only go 1 mph to keep the single rear drive wheel from slipping. I eventually crept my way to the top, where the road became paved, again, but ay carumba, what a beech!
With one last cruel route pick from my altitude ignorant mapping program, I gasped my way up a short, very steep street to get to my sister’s home, and arrived right around sunset. She had invited several friends and family to a celebratory arrival dinner party in my honor, and I *just* made it as the food her husband Michael was just coming off the grill. I was pretty sweaty, but my brave sister gave me a kiss on the cheek and proclaimed, “Hey! You don’t stink!!” I chatted a bit with the guests, who had come to see me arrive, and then quick like a bunny took a shower and dressed in my civies before joining the party. Julie and Michael had prepared a great dinner of grilled steak, corn on the cob, cole slaw, rice; stir fried chicken and vegetables, grilled shrimp, and a concoction called the “Sand Bucket,” that came in a small child’s toy beach bucket made with cake, whipped cream, and a light sprinkling of sugar that didn’t melt (the sand) in the moisture of the dessert. After a life of trail mix, candy bars and fast food, I thought I’d died and went to Food Channel Heaven. Eventually, after the party wound down, everyone said their goodbyes and good lucks, we all turned in. As is my habit, I slept on the living room floor on my sleeping bag, because I *am* the guest that uses minimal host resources.

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