Following a so-far wise decision to check out alternative routes that don’t require biking up every hill between me and my destination, I left Millerton, NY on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. It’s smooth, flat, and straight, and for the first time in days I was able to make progress roughly similar to what I had predicted before starting. It’s also great for pretending you’re a train, something you might not have done since you were about 7 but is a great exercise in imagination and worth doing when you’re on a long ride.
It was a beautiful gray morning, lots of leaves, just a few sprinkles of rain, and very comfortable biking weather. After reaching the southern end of the trail, I moved over to NY State Bike Trail 17, which was spookily and enthusiastically decorated- it IS that time of year you know. I actually did pass a place called “Spook Hill,” and was able to spend the next 4 minutes making ghost noises because you can do that when you’re alone and no one can hear you.
By the time ghostly shenanigans had grown old, the rain had increased from “just a drizzle” to “bread-soakingly intense,” and I reached the Newburgh Beacon bridge across the Hudson. Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge authority, take note: YOU COULD DEFINITELY HAVE A BIKE LANE ON THE JAMESTOWN BRIDGE. Crossing the Hudson was not nearly as epic as I had hoped- no fanfares on the western shore- and once I had crossed I more or less retreated deep into the Rain Cave and went on autopilot for the rest of the ride.
The one thing I do remember after crossing the Hudson was passing Newburgh Free Academy at precisely the time everyone was trying to leave school. It was very busy- I was stuck in traffic for a while, and imagined what traffic looks like when all the cars are replaced with bicycles. If you have an idea, let me know- I’m imagining something like an anthill of bikes.