Today start with another cool morning that slowly warmed and became very humid as we continued to bike. We rolled up and down hills towards Pocono Pines, before we turned off onto even more remote back roads (to avoid the climb into Mount Pocono). This road was rather uneventful, but slow due to its windy, hilly nature. Unexpectedly we spotted a sign for a 13% grade descent that would last four miles.
This was the steepest marked grade we have encountered so far on the trip, and we could not believe that we were seeing this here in the Poconos instead of the Rockies. We bombed down the side of the mountain down to Tannersville, topping 42 mph, new highs for us on the trip. As we descended, the drivers became more aggressive as more New York and New Jersey license plates appeared on the road.
Reaching Tannersville, we were in a busy commercial area that was in great contrast to the small mountain towns we had been biking through. This whole area is catered to the needs of tourists, and appears to be quite popular. We stopped in at a local diner and are breakfast in our spandex, while many other customers were stopping in for their pre- or post-church Sunday brunches. We spoke to a number of our diners who were shocked to here that we had come all the way from San Francisco, and wished us well on the final days of our trip. Somewhere in Ohio, those who asked about our trip began being impressed by the distance we had covered instead of always exclaiming: "Yous a long ways from home". In Pennsylvania, everyone we talked to definitely was impressed with how far we traveled, but are still a bit doubtful that we plan to get home tomorrow.
We set off from monstrous breakfasts to head down to the Delaware Water Gap. This area surrounding the Delaware River along the Pennsylvania/New Jersey borders is a National Recreation Area. For 20 miles, commercial trucks and businesses are disallowed on Highway 209, leading to a very nice ride. The area is very flat compared to the Poconos, with only some rolling hills that help us to keep us our momentum. The temperature was hot though, and with the high humidity leading to lots of sweating, we had to make sure to have enough water for the 20 mile stretch with no options for water refilling. We did not get to see as much of the Delaware River as we had expected, but the break from the mountains was well received.
Emerging from the Gap in Milford, PA, we decided to push on another five miles towards Matamoras to grab a Subway lunch. We cooled off in Subway and grabbed the last few things we would need for our trip from the attached Walmart. Off we headed through Matamoras and into Port Jervis, NY. Unfortunately, the state of New York denied us a "Welcome to New York" sign, so our collection will be one short (I hope Connecticut also does not disappoint us). We were now following Highway 6 as it mirrored I-84 (too bad we cannot just ride this back to Farmington). Leaving Port Jervis, we had to climb our final mountain of the day, but the grade was easy and after 20 minutes of low gear grinding, we reached the top.
The hills continued to roll as we headed towards our dinner in Goshen, NY. I had pancakes #4, 5 and 6 for the day, while Jonathan replenished his electrolytes (mainly sodium) with some Chinese food. After dinner we were left with a 19 mile ride to the western bank of the Hudson River. Per usual, we continued to roll over hills well after the sun set. Also keeping with our usual pattern, we found ice cream a few miles before our motel and stopped to enjoy some soft-serve before cruising into our lodging. Tonight's neighbors seemed to be really enjoying themselves as they starred off at nothing and yelled nonsensically. Luckily we were unable to hear them from inside our room.
Today's ride left us with about 93 miles tomorrow to the Health Center, a distance that we are confident that we can cover.
Photos by Jonathan Kobles
About Lea's Foundation
In 1998, Lea Michele Economos, a young woman who died of leukemia at the age of 28, made a dying wish to her parents that others would not face the hardships she encountered by finding a cure for this disease. Her family started this charity to carry on that wish. Today, Lea’s Foundation takes an active role in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma and to better the lives of people living with these diseases. At the UCONN Health Center, the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders sponsors research in this field. A new program covers the cost of bone-marrow testing to help recruit life-saving transplants for patients. Also, annual scholarships are given to children with leukemia who are planning to attend nursery school. For more information on other projects carried out by Lea’s Foundation, please visit their website at www.LeasFoundation.org.