Thursday, August 14, 2008

Layover Day Report

Well, we did 2 days of riding, 38 miles the first day and 43 miles the second. And today has been a layover (rest) day!

Let me do a catch-up of what has been happening. On Tuesday night we all boarded 4 school buses to take us to the dock for our Sunset Cruise on the Hudson River. It was a lovely night on the water and we cruised down stream a ways and then returned to the dock. We saw many beautiful homes along the cliffs above the water and a bunch of run-down shacks along the river's edge. It was a most enjoyable activity.

Wednesday morning dawned cool and clear and I set off for our 43 miles. Yesterday a guy named Stewart followed me most of the day, claiming he liked my pace. So today we rode together again. Our one rest area (after 18.5 miles) was at a winery so I stopped there for about 40 minutes and looked around and had some snacks that are provided by this tour. The rest stops have been well stocked with drinks (water and gatorade) and snacks (fruit, granola bars, PB and crackers, nuts, etc.) and friendly tour volunteers. I cruised the last 25 miles (apparently) because Stewart and I were the first people at the campsite. A couple of other guys showed up shortly after that so once again I helped to unload the baggage truck. Tomorrow I am going to stop in the last town until I am sure that enough time has passed for the truck to be unloaded!

I ate lunch yesterday at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and had a fabulous meal. I ordered one of the specials of the day, a wood-fired pizza topped with goat cheese, grilled pears, a bit more goat cheese and on top of all that, right in the middle, a pile of arugula lettuce with balsamic vinegar drizzled on it! It was so delicious! I also had a glass of Reisling wine. For dessert, I walked to the Apple Pie Bakery on the CIA campus, which is run by students in their sophomore year, and got a couple of cookies for dessert. They too were wonderful! I walked by various kitchens where students were working and got to see the students making a variety of foods. It was all very interesting. The CIA also has a wonderful view of the Hudson River. On the ride back from lunch I stopped at the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt. I took the guided tour of the house and then did a self-guided tour of his museum and the Presidential Library. It was a beautiful home in a lovely setting above the Hudson River.

Last night there was entertainment in our campground-a guy playing a guitar and singing. He was very talented, but many of his songs were kind of sad. I sat and knit during his concert and got the heel turned on my toe-up sock. Now I can cruise along up the leg of the sock.

We have been camped on the grounds of a Catholic School for 2 nights. It was delightful to not have to pack up a wet tent (it rained during the night last night) this morning. I just ate my breakfast, decided what I wanted to do today, hopped on my bike and off I went. I rode 37 miles today, visiting another estate on the Hudson River called Locust Grove. I did not tour the house because I arrived too early, but I did hike on some of the trails on the property, including one that went down to the river. There were also lush, showy gardens on this estate. From Locust Grove, I rode to New Paltz for lunch, this involved riding across a Hudson River Bridge. One of the riders on this tour was telling me about this great restaurant in New Paltz that he discovered last year and highly recommended it. He said the chef was a graduate of the CIA. This guy couldn't remember the name of the restaurant but gave me directions on how to find it so I thought I would give it a try and I'm glad I did. The restaurant, called Main Course, was at the end of a strip mall and was pretty nondescript. I got there just as they opened and got a seat by the window so I could keep an eye on my bike. After reading a wonderful menu with so many things that sounded good I decided on a Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Salad. It was wonderful. The salad was a mix of field greens and other vegetables, along with gorgonzola cheese and candied pecans. It was dressed with a grape vinegrette. It was perfect. I ended the meal with a small piece of carrot cake. I glad I found this place! Then I burned up most of those calories on the 15 mile ride back to camp.

After a quick shower, I walked the mile or so to the Vanderbuilt Mansion, arriving in time for the 3 PM tour. This place is over the top! So many rooms and each laviously decorated! Even the servants quarters looked nice! Before walking back to camp I toured the gardens and enjoyed the various views of the Hudson River.

Tonight we are on our own for dinner. I will have to return to camp and see if joining up with some other folks seems appropriate or else I will head out on my own. There are several choices of places to eat within easy walking distance.

Late this afternoon it got dark and about 10 rain sprinkles fell, but most of the threat of a storm seems to have passed for the time being.

I am feeling bad about missing the Olympics. I have read a little bit in the newspaper, but that is not like watching the actual competitions. I am also missing a Rochester visit from Jeannie, Mark and Michal. I will have to look forward to seeing them in October at Michal's wedding.

Tomorrow Corey goes back to Syracuse! Good Luck, Corey! I will stop to see him on my way home on Monday. Jim and I will once again revert to being Empty Nesters.

That's all for now.

Hope all is well.

I guess that is all for now. Time to figure

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Bike Ride

After a wonderful Women's Weekend, filled with laughter, great food, ice cream, hiking, knitting, etc., I am now on another bike ride.

Today was the first day of the Great Hudson River Valley Pedal, from Albany to NYC. I drove from Jenny Lake to Albany, in the rain yesterday afternoon and it rained well into the evening. The meeting place for this ride was on the campus of Sage College. I decided to find a place to sleep in the Student Union of Sage and not set up my tent since the ground was completely saturated.

I attended the Wine and Cheese Reception for the ride, getting a chance to meet some of my fellow riders. We were told some statistics about the ride, so I will pass them along to you. There are 159 riders, 60% men, 40% women. The oldest rider is 80 and the youngest is 6. The average age is 53!

After the reception I drove around looking for a place for dinner and ended up at the sports bar and grill at the Hilton, hoping to see some Olympics. And that is what I saw while I ate. When I returned to the campus it was still raining, so I hauled by baggage and my bike into the union and started to look for a place to sleep. I ended up on the floor in a dark room off the main entrance, which had a squeaky door! Around 11 PM the security guys came through and told me I was not supposed to be sleeping in that room. I told them I was harmless and would be up at 5:20 AM. They let me stay! So, it wasn't a great night's sleep, but it was dry and packing up was easy this morning.

The skies were clearing by the time we had our official send-off and we had a delightful day to ride. We were escorted out of Albany by the police since it was rush-hour, that was pretty cool. Today's route covered 38 miles and included 2 official rest stops with food and drink supplied. Both stops were at parks along the Hudson so were very scenic. The riding was fairly easy with a few good hills and a tailwind for part of the day. I arrived at our camp town shortly after 11, so early that the baggage truck was not unloaded by I helped get the bags out, along with some other early riders. I have a nice camp spot under a tree, near a picnic table and a stone bench. We are on the campus of Green Columbia Community College.

This afternoon I toured Olana, the home of artist Frederick Church and it is an amazing place, with incredible views of the Hudson River and surrounding Catskill Mountains. I hiked back to camp with some other riders. Tonight there is a boat cruise on the Hudson-that should be good.

Tomorrow is a 43 mile day to Hyde Park. I am having lunch at the Culinary Arts Institute at 1 PM so I will have to watch my time as I am riding.

So, overall, a great start to this ride. I have met some very nice people and look forward to tomorrow's activities.

Once again, I cannot share my photos until I get home.

Hope all is well.