Miles: 73.2 Today / Total 2176.54
Elevation Gain: 4324 ft. Today / 54,228 ft. Total
One word for the day: Hilly and Steep. Oh wait, that was two words.
I was unable to even turn my Garmin off yesterday, when I was working with the technical support guy over the phone. We had been trying to reset it to the factory settings, but were unable to get it to reset. Well last night, when I was going to bed, I noticed that it had completely died, so I plugged it into my charger overnight. Well this morning, I turned it on, and all data fields were working again, just no ability to connect to my phone or the Garmin app, where you download data from the device. The bottom line is that I can navigate again (YAY!!!), but I can’t get any of the data out of the Garmin and into my blog (Boo! Hiss!) So I’m still low tech, with no map and very few metrics that stick around at the end of the day.
Today’s cycling was pretty challenging. As we continued riding alongside the Delaware River, there was more character building winding, hilly road travel.
In Belvedere, we crossed back over into Pennsylvania.
And shortly thereafter, we started riding through the Delaware Water Gap, which cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains and was formerly one of the Wonders of the World. Well somewhere along the way, it fell from Wonders of the World status to roads are closed status, and they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Most of the roadway through the section on the Pennsylvania side was closed, due to rock wall barriers failing along the steep drop-off down to the river. We hefted our bikes over the barriers and had the place to ourselves with no cars, people, or road maintenance to bother us for who knows how long. Instead, plant litter and some fallen rocks adorned the road, and we enjoyed amazing views, lush trees and wild flowers, and some really cool faults in the rock faces along the roadway.
At the end of the road, we crossed the Appalachian Trail, and a few complicated turns caused most of us to get off course briefly before we got to the I-80 bridge to the New Jersey side of the Water Gap.
Continuing our journey through more lush scenery along more winding, hilly roads, after a few miles of very few people and cars, we again ran into even bigger road closed barriers. More hefting of bikes took place, then just 150 yards later, we hefted over another set of barriers and were back on open roads with, again, very few people and cars as we made our way out of the Gap.
Now we were on rolling hills through remote countryside with miles and miles of no commerce and very few homes. At Millbrook, we were surprised by the steepest hill of the ride thus far, with insane 14-15% grades.
The last section of road for the day was Old Mine Road—a heavily treed, climby gravel road with massive potholes everywhere. We’re pretty sure it got it’s name from the potholes that looked like they were formed by land mines, not because it goes to an old mine somewhere. The lush trees laid down a filter of shadows over the potholes, so you couldn’t tell if you were seeing a shadow or a hole, with the end result being you were usually wrong and smacked your brain and bike with a pothole, of which their were a gazillion. And when I said the road was hilly, that means that after painfully slow climbs up, your downhill reward was not rewarding, because you didn’t want to thrash yourself with added force. Later, when one of the guys took his bent wheel to a bike shop in Port Jervis, they told him that Old Mine Road is for gravel and mountain bikes, not road bikes. Good to know.
We were happy to arrive Port Jervis and stay in a wintertime homeless facility called the Warming House. It had really nice facilities for us currently homeless cyclists, with a really nice kitchen, shower, laundry setup and cots to sleep on.
A sad note: Nick decided to quit the ride by the time we reached today’s first rest stop. His legs were wasted from the morning climbing on top of yesterday’s climbing, and we’re on the first of 4 even longed days in the saddle, with even more climbing. His wife picked him up this evening, which leaves me and Ed as the resident old folks on the ride. We pinky swore an oath to each other that neither of us would quit for any reason.