Getting closer every day. OK…it was closer the day we rode out of Everett, WA, but when you’re talking one mile out of 3800-ish, it doesn’t feel closer. Yet, today, crossing into New York felt closer. The Real Riders have north of 3300 miles under their tires. Impressive, no? And the last few days have been challenging miles, as well. The hills may “only” last 2-3 miles (some are shorter than that), but they are much steeper. It isn’t unusual to see a 10 or 11% gradient on the GPS and on some hills the GPS has said 20%. Thankfully there are not too many of the latter, but we do seem to see long 7-8% climbs with a kick at the end where, apparently, the road graders just said, “Too tired, to grade, let’s just slap some asphalt on what’s left and call it a day.” OK, maybe not, but the kick at the end just seems cruel.
The day started in the Allegheny Forest and finished in New York. Pennsylvania is now behind us and, quite frankly, I’m glad. Pennsylvania did not have nice infrastructure for bikes. Shoulders were often torn up, narrow, and in some cases blocked by a rumble strip (grrrr….really? And where, dear road engineer do you now expect us bikes to ride?!?!?!?!). To make the memories worse, one of our riders got clipped by a truck, making all of us a little skittish on the busy roads. Now, that said, 99% of the Pennsylvania drivers were great, giving us room and waiting to pass (or for us to find a pull out). This is probably due to the large number of Amish buggies on the roads — drivers are expecting non-automotive traffic. But, still…that one truck driver left a bad taste for all of us. Sorry, Pennsylvania, you had the Allegheny Forest and it was awesome, but some unhappy biking.
Today, again the terrain, was rolling hills. Forest and small towns. One really felt that this was the foothills of the Appalachians with small farms, old buildings, towns that seemed to be laid out linearly along the highway and go on forever. It is hard to imagine that this area was once considered “frontier”.
Details. 69 miles, 3642 feet of climb
Reading List Against the Grain James C Scott. Political Science viewpoint of early states mostly focusing on Mesopotamia. Very academic and often intentionally controversial, but thought provoking (e.g., did the development of the state domesticate humans?). [I continue to clean out my Audible freebie list before buying anything new so the reading list will be scattered from this point on.]