Day 104

Greenwood Lake, NJ to Maplewood, NJ
$10 :: BF, snacks
41.80 mi :: :: 38.0 mph :: 13.6 mph :: 6819 mi

I don’t want to ride out past the camper when I’m packed up. The road is below me, so I search for a way down, but the last 10 feet are too precipitous. So I try to be quiet, but the plate-like broken sandstone on the trail is noisy. When the camper comes into view, I see there is a car parked at it that wasn’t there before. I zip past, down the hill, and don’t look back.

I told Rowland I’d try to make it there this morning, so I try to put the miles on. I see a sign that says it’s 32 degrees out – chilly.

The riding is rural and smalltown until I hit 23 – then it’s urban 4-lane survival riding. It goes fast tho, much of it is downhill. At one point a van goes into a screeching fishtail in front of me, fully perpendicular to the road. He barely misses the car that was in front of him, then skids around another to his right, and comes to a halt facing backward in the only empty space available. I can see him mouthing to the cars around him, “I meant to do that.” I wonder if he lost it because he was gawking at me.

The remainder of the ride Rowland has planned out for maximum beauty. I approach his neighborhood through a wooded forest preserve. It’s like I’m going into a little country hamlet except for the transit trains going by.

Rowland Bennett

I meet Rowland at home, insist on giving him a hug, and open his fresh jar of peanuts. He makes me a sandwich and I spend the afternoon at the library while he works. He laughs when he finds me looking up words from Moby Dick in the dictionary. On his hour off he whips up a very satisfying dinner while editing the copy for a poster with his friend Susan.

He goes to work again, I do the dishes then go out for a latte. When I try to call Hadie & Earl, I get some law firm. So, back to the library to find their number. Nothing conclusive. I reply to the one email I’ve received from Hadie – hope she gets it.

Rowland is funny – part impeccable nerd, part irrascible rebel. I enjoy him, but I worry he feels the need to feed and entertain me. This puts a practical limit on how long I can stay. Must reach Hadie & Earl.

I spend some time planning a foray into Manhattan tomorrow.

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