5/17/23 – Port Jervis, NY to Clinton Corners, NY

Miles: 79.8 Today /  Total 2256.34

Elevation Gain: 3406 ft. Today / 57,634 ft. Total

When we rode out, this morning, it was chilly, with temps around 48 that never got higher than 58 as the day wore on. The entire day, the winds blew 13-15 mph, which meant that this Arizona girl never got warm enough to take off her light jacket. Didn’t even consider it.

If, like me, you think New York State is all like New York City, you need to spend some time in the countryside, like I did today. Everything is green, lush and beautiful, with lots of quaint little towns, miles and miles of farmland, and friendly people. We rode along the Neversink River till we got to Otisville, then along the Shawankunk Kill, a tributary of the Wall Kill River we crossed later in the day. Who dreams up the names of the rivers and streams up here? They’re so dark.

Neversink River.

As I pulled into Bloomingburg for first rest stop, I passed a man walking down the road who looked like he was a Hasidic Jew, then women dressed very traditionally with their hair covered, also looking like Hasidic Jews. Was I in some kind of time warp? The van was set up across from a bakery (score!), and inside the bakery, the owner and his wife and daughters were all dressed like Hasidic Jews. They were super friendly, so I struck up a conversation with the wife. We talked about Israel and Arizona—how I went to Israel in January, and how her mother spends her winters in Tucson. We also talked about MS and how her 16 year old daughter has a school friend who has ALS, which is very sad. The bakery and the town made a huge impression on me, so I went back to see if the wife would let me take a photo of the two of us, but she wasn’t dressed up enough for a photo and said no, but she did let me photograph some of her goodies.

The story behind how all those Hasidic Jews ended up in that town is REALLY interesting. Basically, there were and are hundreds of Orthodox Jewish families living in New York City and its suburbs, who will never be able to afford a home. So the son of a Rabbi found a failing community of 400 people, in a town of abandoned homes, buildings and businesses, and bought them up, along with a bunch of farmland, with the intent of building a community where Orthodox Jewish families could live affordably and have the wholesome things they want in their lives. Well the 400 townsfolk didn’t like the invasion, similar to how communities didn’t want a bunch of Branch Divisions or Warren Jeff followers taking over the townS. It’s a great story where the good guys win, and you can read it Here.

After that rest stop, we jammed for 17+ windy, hilly miles of country roads, one with a long stretch of road construction.

Blasted Chip sealing!
The Wallkill River.

Then we took a turn onto the Wallkill Valley River Rail Trail. After almost 10 miles of a super flat and smooth path through beautiful countryside, it delivered us up to a lunch stop in Paltzburg with fabulous pizza by the slice.

A few miles later, we were on another Rail Trail Hall of Fame route down the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, taking us over the Hudson River, with spectacular scenery from start to finish.

Hudson River.

After taking a short break, we set out to ride the 15 miles to Clinton Corners, which sounds simple enough, but it was rush hour and the roads were really rough and super hilly, and I’m not talking standard hills. I’m talking steep hills. I had Butch in tow, because the battery on his phone had died, and he had no way to navigate to the church without it.

It took forever (in my head) to arrive at the Clinton Corners Evangelical Free Church, and it was so cold out at that point that I couldn’t even consider a hose shower. I had to give myself a sponge and baby wipe bath and call it a day. With no time or energy for anything but dinner, chores and sleep, I found a corner in a hallway to lay out my bed, and I was out cold in seconds.

2 thoughts on “5/17/23 – Port Jervis, NY to Clinton Corners, NY

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