Day 101

Norfolk, CT to Norrie State Park, NY
$2 :: coffee, donut
70.21 mi :: 6.16 hr :: 32.7 mph :: 11.1 mph :: 6688 mi

I wake up, it’s too light to be night, too dark to be morning, and very cold. The thought of leaving the sleeping bag is unbearable, so I tell myself it’s just early and go back to sleep. But I can feel the rain coming.

I wake again for the first flash and thunder, then it pours. It’s even colder than before. Now I’d be crazy to break camp, everything would get soaked. It’s perfect Captain Ahab weather, so off I go into the turgid tale. A few chapters later, the rain has become light drizzle and tree-drip. I harden myself, leave the bag, and pack up.

When I reach my picnic table, the rain has stopped, so I sit and make oatmeal and hot cocoa. Don’t skip any opportunity for a table, I’ve learned. So it’s almost 11 am when I leave the park.

Thankfully the first miles are downhill, but it’s really cold. I’m wearing more clothes on the bike than I recall wearing even in camp since Sherman Pass. The drizzle resumes.

I cross the Appalachian Trail, but I don’t see it. I pump up a small hill to get to Millerton, and then a truly steep longer hill. Up into the fog, then finally the hill gives out just before my legs do. It feels like I’m high on the globe. A white horse prances like a ghost in a field below, then nothing is visible but clouds and the down-sloping road ahead.

I buy a hot coffee to help keep me warm while I eat at a gas station picnic table in Pine Plains, NY. I still catch a little chill, but it helps get me cranking to warm up afterwards.

I get lost and ride on all sorts of unknown county roads. It’s fun, I have to double back a couple of times but I use the compass to keep me in the right general direction.

Tired, I ride all over Norrie State Park on the Hudson before deciding to cook and sleep in the open boathouse of the old Norrie mansion. Dinner occupies me until well after dark, then I sleep on the table, fully mummied, warm in the cold wind with ducks, geese, and jumping fish in the river playing my lullabye.

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