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Day 32: Another Warm Showers Welcome

Interesting Insect At Camp

Interesting Insect At Camp

20 miles

This morning the nice lady at the campground finally remembered to bring us that pasta and sauce she had offered yesterday. She apologized and said how she had forgotten about it until 3:30 in the morning. It was nice of her to offer in the first place and nice that she followed through. We declined the sauce since we didn’t want to carry the heavy glass jar, but we accepted a box of pasta she gave us. Our breakfast in camp this morning was rather light, so we chose to stop for a 2nd breakfast at The Valley Cafe in Whitinsville, MA. Even with these shorter days in the saddle, we can work up a decent appetite and so we ate every bite of our food.
For some reason, I was hoping Massachusetts would be less hilly than Connecticut. Well, today killed any such hope. We had some short, steep hills as we rode north in the suburbs outside of Boston. Our destination today was another Warm Showers host family. This time it was Matt and Kerry in Westborough, MA who accepted our request to stay one night with them. One last steep hill and we were in their neighborhood.
After arriving at their house we cleaned up and got some laundry going. Then we got to know them and their kids a little bit. Caroline was out in the yard playing soccer with their son, Herbie, when she twisted her ankle a little bit. Ouch! Fortunately it’s not a serious sprain and after icing it a bit she was walking on it with caution. We’ll see tomorrow if it feels good enough for biking. I tried to avoid injuring myself while playing with Herbie and their cute daughter, Laura, in the living room.
They fed us a great dinner of frittata with eggs from their own chickens and salad with greens from their garden. It was delish! After dinner we ate ice cream in the front yard while watching hummingbirds fly around their flowers and feeders. It was a really nice evening. I can understand how people here put up with the occasional muggy, humid day in exchange for nice days like today. And, of course, the humidity means you can grow lots of plants in your garden and almost never worry about watering your lawn. Can you imagine never watering your lawn? As someone from the West, that is truly mind-blowing.

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fast car

Day 31: New England Trifecta

20.0 Miles

Overnight these fungi sprouted from the leaf litter in our campground at West Thompson Lake. They are called squid stinkhorns. Pretty cool, huh?
Stinkhorn
Today’s ride included three states;  first Connecticut, then a brief stint in Rhode Island, and finally Massachusetts. In Connecticut, we left the campground and rode back to the town of Thompson to get back on our route. Outside of town, we passed the Thompson Motor Speedway, where a Porsche Club was holding races for the weekend. It was fun to see these little cars speeding around. The guy at the gate let us in to snap a few pictures.

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Day 30: Last Night in Connecticut

18 miles

Caroline ponders the morning.

Caroline ponders the morning.

Not much to report today. We did have a sunny and DRY morning for a change, which was lovely. It wasn’t muggy at all! Today we had two options as to how far we wanted to travel. We could ride a short distance of under 20 miles to one campground, or ride over 30 miles to the next possible campground. Last night we had decided to play it by ear and see how our legs felt on the road today.

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LIly pads

Day 29: The Adventure Continues

9.8 miles

Okay, okay, okay, I’ll admit it, I definitely needed a time out yesterday. I’ll also admit I’m struggling with this trip. I’m not ready to quit, but I feel like everything is a challenge for me. The heat, the humidity, the bugs, the endless meals of box mac-and-cheese and pasta with sauce. The hills, the exhaustion. As evidenced by my fall yesterday, I’m not handling it well. So what’s a girl to do? I really don’t want to go home in a mini-van, so I’ve got to get my shit together. I’m working on that.

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Day 28: Ups and Downs

28 miles

We started our day with the free breakfast at the hotel and were out the door by 9 AM.  We stopped at the local grocery store and hit the road.  You probably won’t be surprised to hear it was a muggy, humid day from the start.  East Windsor is a small town and we were out in the country in no time, enjoying the quiet roads and scenic farms.

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Barkhamsted Res

Day 27: Hilly times in Connecticut

Mist on the river

Mist on the river

32.39 miles

After an oatmeal breakfast with our Warm Showers hosts, we packed up and hit the road, quickly getting back on the ACA route heading eastward. Humidity was high from the storms the night before (what’s new?), and mist hung over the river as we biked along near Riverton. It was a hilly ride to start, with lots of up and down around the Barkhamsted reservoir. One last up and down brought us into the town of Granby.

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Day 26: Our First Warm Showers Hosts

16 miles

Despite the large size of last night’s campground, it wasn’t too noisy and I slept ok.  It helps that it wasn’t a hot night and we left the rainfly off the tent to get a little more fresh air.  The campground store had milk so we were able to enjoy a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast.  It was a nice change from oatmeal, which can get old, especially in warm weather.

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Day 25: When the going gets tough, the tough do a short day

20.8 miles

We left Rudd Pond State Park this morning and rode back into Millerton for breakfast at Irving Farm Coffee Roasters. Their chocolate croissant was delicious. Our plan was to ride to Riverton, CT to stay with a Warm Showers host for the night. “Was” is the operative word here. Straight out of Millerton we began slogging up and down hills in Connecticut. And it was hot and oppressively humid again. We stopped in North Canaan for water and that just did me in. I was tired of biking, tired of stewing in my own sweaty juices, tired of finding everyday a challenge. So we stopped in a park for a while and talked about how to proceed. We decided that for the time being, shorter days would be better. Fifteen or twenty miles seems so paltry, but the heat and humidity, combined with all the climbing, makes it a real challenge for me.

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Day 24: Val-Kill and Hills

49 miles

Val-Kill

House at Val-Kill

We knew we had a lot of miles to cover today, so we didn’t waste time getting on the road.  A quick stop at the cafe nearby and we rolled across the Hudson River once more.  Not far north of Poughkeepsie is the town of Hyde Park, which is famous for being the hometown of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Along the road we saw a sign for Val-Kill, a historic site dedicated to Eleanor Roosevelt.  We decided to stop in for a look around.  It was interesting to see this modest home and grounds where Eleanor Roosevelt spent much of her life.  In fact she lived there up until she passed away.  The grounds were scenic and peaceful.  If you find yourself in the area, definitely stop in.

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Day 23: Have you been to the Walkway?

15 miles

View from the Walkway

View from the Walkway

Today was a rest day in Poughkeepsie. We slept in a bit and had breakfast at the Walkway Cafe. I filled up on an egg sandwich and Alan had a short-stack of blueberry pancakes. Everyone we met in Poughkeepsie asked us “Have you been to the Walkway?” We hadn’t. “The Walkway” is a 1.2 mile-long railroad bridge across the Hudson that has been converted to a pedestrian and bike bridge connecting the towns of Highland and Poughkeepsie. After breakfast, we set out for Poughkeepsie across the Walkway on unloaded bikes. We thought it was kind of funny how everyone talked about the Walkway, but I think they are justifiably proud of this landmark. It provides a terrific view of the Hudson River and is the only way to safely bike across the Hudson River for miles.

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Day 22: Into Poughkeepsie

35 miles

Waking up to dry gear despite last night’s rain was a real treat.  Our next treat of the morning was some muffins that we bought yesterday in Port Jervis.  Caroline opened them up and was surprised to find one had an oddly large air bubble in it.  Wait a minute, that’s no air bubble!  A mouse or chipmunk had gotten into our panniers during the night and nibbled a big hole in the muffin.  Thankfully it didn’t chew a hole in our pannier as well but merely snuck in through the top opening.  The other muffins were unmolested, so we made do with three muffins for breakfast instead of four.  I know some of you might be grossed out and would have thrown them all out, but at 400 calories per muffin, we couldn’t afford to throw them all away and forgo the energy they contained.

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Day 21: New York Again

33 miles

Packing up in the pavilion.

Packing up in the pavilion.

Last night we had some really strong thunderstorms come through the area. Sometimes the lightning would be so bright you could see the flash even with your eyes closed. And the wind was blowing hard and putting our tent to the test. Thankfully the tent held up well and we stayed dry inside. Since the outside of our tent was so wet this morning, we decided to carry all our gear over to the nearby pavilion (basically a big open air rec hall). There were many picnic tables we could use to spread out our gear and cook breakfast.

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