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Rail trails are the best!

Day 11: Mineral Springs Family Campground to Windsor Hyatt Hotel (30.29 mi)

Thanks for coming to see me James!

My legs were still pretty wobbly after the previous day's riding, but luckily what goes up, must come down. I had a relatively short 20 mile ride, most of which was downhill, to lunch where I met with my friend James and his wife who drove up from New Haven to meet me! Afterwards, it was another short ride to my final destination for the day: a Hyatt hotel! Since I am administering a qualifying exam tomorrow, I needed a place with good internet--plus the half day and subsequent rest day will be good to rest my legs following the tough climbing day. I don't remember taking this much time in my previous tour though, perhaps I am getting old...

Day 12: Rest day (0 mi)


More ridonkulous food pics

Day 13: Windsor Hyatt Hotel to Taconic State Park Rudd Pond Campground (61.45 mi)

Nice to see, but you have to earn getting to the sign in the first place...

Another big climbing day with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain! Though this time I am a bit more rested and was able to get a much earlier start. The cycling has been fairly comfortable in terms of safety, with wide shoulders that occasionally shrink down to a foot or less but for the most part remain large. This allows me to just focus on making progress and definitely allows me to cycle faster in comfort. Immediately after lunch, I was faced with a very lengthy climb over a span of about 9-10 miles from Winstead to Norfolk but then I was treated to a nice downhill portion of about the same length into Canaan valley. Some chatting with locals was nice to let me know what to anticipate on my ride, so there weren't really any surprises for me today (in terms of terrain).

I did, however, encounter a different sort of surprise when I was attacked by a rottweiler: in rural areas it is unfortunately common for owners to leave their dogs off leash. This one came running at me, barking like a madman, and I had to stop and wait for maybe 2 minutes before the owner came strolling over. Luckily I wasn't bitten but I certainly wasn't happy. The days stretch so long and I pass through so many obstacles that are completely engaging at the time but are now seem to be nothing but distant memories. Are those coyotes howling in the night all around me? (I don't think there are any wolves here...)

Day 14: Taconic State Park Rudd Pond Campground to Newburgh KOA Holiday (60.47 mi)

More rail trails please!

New York has some pretty nice rail trails! These trails were formerly railroad tracks that had the rails removed and often replaced with crushed/compacted gravel or in some cases are entirely paved over. The trails do not allow motorized vehicles and perhaps even more importantly, trains are typically unable to ascend at more than a 1% grade, and that makes rail trails reaaaaally flat! Following a nice 10 mile section of trail, I had the single big hill climb for the day, some grueling 600-800 feet in a row, but afterwards a nice downhill portion. Most of the resty of the day consisted of slight rolling hills, but nothing too serious.

Crossing the Hudson River, very nice views!

I was riding through the outskirts of Poughkeepsie and I met a nice family of four bike tourers: Paulina, Luis, and their two young sons who were travelling through New England and had a pleasant conversation for a few minutes. Nice to see others bike-packing as well, especially at such a young age! I got to ride another rail trail across the Hudson River and onwards to within just 10 miles of my final destination. The crossing was very scenic, though the Hudson seems pretty dirty (no offense!). Over dinner, I realized that I would be leaving New York the very next day, and I did have one item on my NY bucket list which was to get some ice cream from Stewart's. Fortunately, my dinner spot turned out to be just a half-mile from a local Stewart's gas station and so ice cream was definitely on the docket for dessert.

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Aug 05, 2021

... And more importantly, trains are no longer allowed on the rail trails

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