I’ve been lucky to have had some of the best riding of the entire trip during the last few days! The riding in New York was very good, especially the 116 miles on Hwys 20 and 28 to Cooperstown. If you haven’t been to upstate NY, it is much more hilly, forested and rural than you might expect. The best thing about the riding in NY however is the roads…all of the state highways are in very good condition and have wide shoulders. Even better is the courtesy the drivers afford you (and no, I’m not being sarcastic).
As good as the riding was in NY, the highlight, for me, was the Baseball Hall of Fame. Adding to the highlight was the fact that my Dad met me there. I’ve always loved baseball (which is a little strange because other than little league I never really played it); I like the statistics and the fact that it is relatively easy to compare players and teams from one generation to those from another. As a kid in the summer, I couldn’t wait to get up and read the sports page to find out if George Brett or Rod Carew got a hit or if the Cardinals beat the Cubs; many mornings my Dad would already have read the paper and we would discuss baseball while I ate…so, in a sense, going to the HoF with my Dad was like being a kid all over again (I know, some of you are thinking I never stopped being a kid in the first place).
After Cooperstown, I finished riding through NY and then rode through the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont (home of Mt. Snow for all of you skiers) and finally entered New Hampshire. The rolling hills of NY gave way to fair sized mountains in VT which tapered back to rolling hills in NH. Through it all there were beautiful lakes and rivers and what was a hint of fall just a couple of days ago is much closer to full blown autumn now. I’ve been to New England in the past, so I wasn’t surprised by the postcard-perfect scenery, but one fact that has been emphasized by the slow speed of bicycle travel is the incredible history that exists in this area of the country. Although I am aware that the northeast is the birthplace of our nation, as someone who has spent his entire life in the west, I’m unaccustomed to beauty held by centuries old villages and buildings. And I’m awed by the thought that I am riding through towns founded in the early 1700’s and also through the sites of historic battles of the Revolutionary War. Due to the fact that a lot of this area is still relatively undeveloped, it is easy to daydream about what it must have been like in the time of Washington, Adams and Jefferson.
Other than the historic daydreaming, the other thought that I couldn’t avoid today is that tomorrow will be the last day of my cycling journey. Sometime late tomorrow afternoon I’ll arrive at my friends Mich and Robyn’s house and that will mark the end of an incredible summer. I’m not sure how I feel about that; I’m definitely excited to see my friends and I’m also looking forward to waking up in the same place on a repeated basis, but I think I’m going to miss the adventure of the unknown things that I’ve encountered each day since I started on the fifth of June.
Having said that, I think it’s fitting that my final day will begin from NH, the state with my favorite motto: Live Free or Die. I know they were confronting much more serious circumstances when they coined the phrase, but I think it is great advice for each of us to keep in mind everyday. It captures, much more eloquently, the essence of what I’m trying to say when I say that I hope that each of us chooses to take the chances to follow our dreams and live a great life.
So, as usual, I’m looking forward to the ride tomorrow and the destination tomorrow night. I’m also looking forward to telling you in my next update how great that first Boddington’s tasted as I sat on the beach looking at the Atlantic Ocean with thousands of miles between me and the ocean back at home in California
Have a safe and happy Labor Day!