Thursday, June 16, 2022

Home from Maine 2022 Day 10 - Poughkeepsie to Port Jervis, NY

 It's bicycle touring in America, baby!

Long, hard day today (60 miles, 2800 feet of climb) and I feel great. The Body Battery is still at 23%!

Poughkeepsie is on the Hudson River, and Port Jervis is on the Delaware River. Yes, there is a mountain between them, Shawangunk Mountain, which we had to ride over. We carefully planned the route to avoid crazy steep grades, and instead we had a fairly easy constant climb for only three hours. On an overcast, gloomy, chilly day, this is pretty soul crushing. Max said he was done with bike touring forever after this trip when we were about 200 feet from the top. Max says he is done with bike touring forever at some point on pretty much every trip.

The first thing today was to cross the Hudson. Poughkeepsie has a super cool giant railroad bridge which is now a very popular pedestrian/bike bridge and linear park. Here's a view of it from the filthy window in our hotel.

And here is a view looking west from the east end of the bridge.

And here is a barge going up the mighty Hudson River from the midpoint of the bridge.

From the west end of the bridge, there is a fabulous, super smooth paved bike trail clear to New Paltz, about 10 miles. At New Paltz, you switch to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.

The rail trail sounds like it could be great (it's the Adventure Cycling route!) but the trail surface is very rough and it's not easily rideable on road bikes. We endured it for about 5 miles and then we bailed for the regular roads that ran parallel to the trail and we were much happier. Doesn't this look like it would be great?

Nobody likes to ride their bike on railroad ballast.

We had lunch at Wallkill at a nice Italian restaurant called Pasquale's, where Max ate another entire pizza by himself. I think he's eaten a whole pizza for lunch every day since Boston. I had some tasty fried calamari. Then we started up the mountain. Basically, we traversed our way up the side of the ridge, with the road getting progressively steeper, where the ups and downs are more ups and less downs. But there was this eagle hanging out right by the road that we stopped to admire.

Here's the spot where we took a break and Max confessed he had lost the will to live. And we were almost over the top, too.

The top is the town of Otisville.

For the record, there were no bald Indian guys exuding absurd amounts of self confidence in Otisville. I was disappointed.

After a three mile screaming descent followed by 8 flat miles, with a quick break to fix Max's flat tire, we were at our destination, the Erie Hotel in Port Jervis.

The Erie Hotel was built by the Erie Railroad, and it's next to the Erie train station.

The hotel is still a hotel! It has a great restaurant on the first floor, and basic rooms upstairs. This is a score.

Max has not yet recovered the will to live yet though.

Check out the amazing historic bar. Hand carved, imported from Germany, according to the server at the restaurant.

They also have a tiki bar in the courtyard next door, so dinner started with a Mai Tai.

Before proceeding to the usual electrolyte replenishment therapy with dinner.

Giant slabs of beef did the job restoring Max's will to live. After dinner he conceded that at some point in the future he may do another bike tour, but not longer than a week, and he will train better first.

We are pretty happy at this point. Here's the Strava track.

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