Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day One Hundred Thirty-nine, 090717 - Tomkins Cove, NY

Day One Hundred Thirty-nine, Date Friday, July 17, 2009
Time in Saddle: 4:33
Distance for the Day: 39.94 miles From Montclair, NJ To Tomkins Cove, NY
Accumulated Trip Distance: 6519.44 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 525’/504’, Highest: 934’ Accumulated: 1745’
Speeds: Avg: 8.7 mph, Max: 31.4 mph
Weather: 68° mostly cloudy all day
Expenditures: $16

Early in the morning, well before the light of dawn, I got woken up due to lights from cars that had parked in the back of the parking lot near my campsite. I wasn’t spotted, but one fellow was talking loudly about something I couldn’t tell about (and had no interest in). I got up at 6:07am and saw that the two cars were *police* cars (yipes!) It was now light enough to see, but either they still didn’t see me, or they didn’t care that I was there. I packed up, and rolled out at about 6:30am without comment. Interesting. Got breakfast at Burger King ($4) and recharged my notebook; also got liquids during the morning ($4). Early on, I ran into a nice library (the Ridgewood Public Library) and stopped to work on my blog from 10am to 3pm. When I got back outside, I was feeling little sprinkles of almost-rain; the sky was very cloudy, and I thought I might get rained on, today or tonight. I got stopped again by another cop after just exiting Hwy 46; another one of those “the computer said it was okay – but it wasn’t” situations. I got off as quick as possible, but he somehow found me and advised me that it wasn’t a good place for a cyclist, which is why, I said, I got off. He was friendly concerned, interested, and helpful, but he had to go, so our conversation got cut short. I took surface streets from there on, and stopped for a Subway sandwich break ($8) from 6-6:30pm, before continuing on towards my next major city, Danbury, CT. I passed from New Jersey to New York sometime today, but didn’t see any sign stating it. Another missed photo-op, Demitol. The roads along this route reminded me of the Blue Ridge Parkway – beautiful, tree-lined, and *hilly* – though not nearly as bad as the BRP. Still, not a ride in the Everglades (flat), fer shure. As the day progressed from afternoon to evening, I began to keep an eye out for a good stealth camp, when I spotted a nice church just off my route up a side road on the side of a hill. I rode up to it, but saw that it didn’t really have any suitable place to set up around it. There was a house to the left of it, at the same altitude, so I thought I’d check to see if the pastor lived there. As it turned out, it was a house for sale, with no current occupant (N41 14.869’ W73 59.336’). It had a nice, flat, clean bit of new asphalt in front of it that was mostly hidden from the roads and other buildings, so I settled in with my book to wait for dark and to verify inactivity before I would set up my tent up, there. While sitting quietly reading, as the fireflies flashed and streaked every now and then, a deer appeared not thirty yards from me up the hill. I looked up at him, and he noticed me. I turned back to reading my book, and he turned back to grazing the grass. We stayed like that for a good 20 minutes; I would occasionally look up at him, and he would stare back, then each of us going back to what we were doing. Eventually, I got up to set up my tent, whereupon he decided to move on. I had just settled in to sleep just as it began to get dark at 9pm, when the “first” fireworks show started up. I could hear it, but I couldn’t see it. The muffled booms and crackles went on for about 40 minutes before the grand finale. Then, around 10pm, the second fireworks came: a thunderstorm, with constant lightning flashes, loud thunder, and one flash/boom with a 1-sec delay. That went on for about 1.5 hours with lots of rain to go with it, but I remained dry in my wonderful tent. I escaped the rain bullet this time, with my clothes and sleeping gear remaining dry, and my earplugs to help me sleep despite the occasional traffic noise.