Our evening in New Paltz was fun, but too short. We had such a sense of accomplishment from the prior day—92 miles with so much climbing. We may never have had a riding day like this one. So we enjoyed the time as briefly as we could, but found ourselves lagging in the morning. Nevertheless, we were looking forward to riding toward the Hudson River. We have crossed so many large rivers on our journey north. It makes one stop to marvel at the ingenuity of man to build such expanses across these wide bodies of water.
A few miles from New Paltz landed us onto a bike path that lead straight to the Hudson. It was another reclaimed rail bed, encircled by the full green foliage of summer. As we approached the bridge, we were intercepted by a cyclist, named Eddie, heading in the other direction. He immediately swung around and began what turned into a several-hour conversation while we pedaled east toward Connecticut. Eddie showed us a short-cut out of town and lead us virtually to the state border some thirty miles away.
Another friendly New Yorker was Patrick, who with wife Roget was also out for a morning stroll over the Hudson. Patrick talked about the development of the Hudson River Walkway, on which we crossed the river. The walkway was sprinkled with pedestrians, roller-bladers, and cyclists, a slow day on the bridge according to our local source. We also noticed maintenance crews atop the structure, along with their cranes. The walkway was roughly wide enough for two automobiles to pass, that is, if they were allowed to travel this recreational area. As its name implies, the walkway is dedicated to pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles. Before meeting Eddie, Patrick, and Roget, we were wondering whether the lack of a “Welcome to New York” sign the day before suggested outsiders were not welcome, but our newfound friends demonstrated that this clearly was not the case.
As we rolled away from our friends’ hometown of Poughkeepsie with Eddie leading the way, we cycled to Amenia for lunch. Next up was another converted rail bed, forming the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. Both of today’s trails were paved. Paved trails are usually a good sign, because the cyclist does not need to contend with cars and the cycling terrain is typically flat—just what the doctor ordered after yesterday’s long haul. Along our trail ride, a field to the left hosted a small herd of deer. When one doe got wind of our presence, she bounded toward cover, rounding up her little ones. Their gazes at us were replaced by bouncing white tails as they escaped to the woods that lined the meadow.
At the end of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, we said goodbye to Eddie and were soon entering New England. The Northwest corner of Connecticut proved hilly as well. Because we stopped and visited with people and talked along much of today’s ride, the mileage was slow. So we began to look for overnight accommodations later in the day, narrowing the field to an Inn and a campground. Guess which one we chose? We put off camping for another day! We can attribute our decision to the ominous clouds or to not wanting to lose riding time while setting up camp. Maybe another day.
When we arrived at the Blackberry River Inn, an intern from Austria showed us our choices of accommodations. We chose adjoining rooms, courtesy of the friendly management, who worked with us to feed us and make our stay enjoyable. The owner and her Austrian helper even joined us for pizza in their dining room. We learned about life in Austria and the considerations of running an inn. This inn is on the national register for historic structures. The furnishings were very pleasant. Staying here provided a unique twist to our touring experience that we will remember for a long time to come!