Day 12
Gino's dog barked most of last night, so I Left early (on the road by 7:15) this morning. I headed out of Middletown in a foul mood. I stopped for breakfast at a popular place on the way out of town, but the wait for service and my mood meant that I left after filling my water bottles and waiting 5 minutes for service. I followed the AC route north on 17M but at 302 I cut over to 17. There were no signs that bicycles were prohibited, but 10 miles or so down 17 I got 'kicked off' that route by a very polite State Trooper. I was only going to be on that route for one more exit, so it was easy to make my way down to Bloomingburg by back roads. I had breakfast there and headed east (after missing the, unmarked, turn once) on the AC route along the Shawangunk river valley.

I met a bike tourist (!) on the route and he said there was another group of tourists up ahead of me. He is from Scotland and had come to the States at Boston in order to ride down to Richmond and to cross the USA on the '76 route. We had a nice visit and I pushed on, perhaps a bit harder because I knew the other group was ahead of me. I stopped at a good bike store in New Paltz, Cycle Path, to replace my hat (ripped off) and my gloves (coming apart after 8,000 miles or so) and had a bite to eat before proceeding to the Hudson.

I made Highland (about 50 miles) about noon, but something (the heat and humidity probably - about 95F and 95%) really wiped me out as I tried to get across the river. I was just barely able to bicycle up to the toll booth where the attendant told me I was supposed to take a bike path (I knew that, but the AC instructions were totally inadequate for finding the path - I'd just wasted several miles trying to find it), but that she would lt me walk my bike across the lanes of traffic to get to the sidewalk on the other side of the bridge.

At that moment, the fellow who had just pulled into the next lane said he'd take me across in the back of his SUV (I knew those things must be good for something!). He not only took me across, he took me up river almost to Hyde Park on 9G. He is a bicyclist who has done some centuries and would like to get into touring. He certainly came along at an opportune moment for me. I think I could have made it across the bridge and through Poughkeepsie, but it was pretty iffy. I was really exhausted and a bit ill from (I hope) the extreme heat and humidity. He let me off at a store where I got a quart of Gatorade and a candy bar and sat in the shade for half an hour recovering enough to go on.

I decided to stay on 9G rather than going down to the more scenic 9 (Vanderbilt estate, etc.) because I was barely able to ride at all. It was so hot and humid and I was so wiped out, that getting up any kind of a hill meant a pounding heart. gasping breath, leaden legs, and copious sweat. By staying on 9G I cut maybe 5 miles off of the route. At that time I was hard put just to ride 5 miles, even on the relatively flat 9G. When I turned east on 19, things got tougher.

After a few more hours of riding (walking up some hills that I would hardly have noticed normally) and resting in the shade for 15 minutes near the Taconic State Parkway, I made it to Stanfordville and rested/visited there for more than half an hour. Then I rode the relatively flat, and quite pretty, 82 to Pine Plains. This route goes through Expensive horse farms; I saw a Steeplechase course!

At Pine Plains I looked for a motel but saw only B+Bs, so I rode on to Millerton. That was a harder ride with close to 1000 feet of climbing in 10 miles, but also quite pretty. I deviated from the AC route which goes on 60 (Winchell Mountain Road), staying on 199 and the going into Millerton on 44. 60 takes off at the top of he biggest climb on 199 and then climbs some more. I was barely able to make the climb on 199! That was followed by quite a nice descent to 44. There were some hills in the 1 mile on 44 into Millerton, but nothing big. I recommend staying on 199.

In Millerton I also saw nothing but B+Bs. I stopped at a diner for supper and the locals told me there were only two motels left in the area. Everything else was $100+ a night B+Bs. I rode on into Connecticut and to the 'motel' closest to my route, only to find that it had been converted to a B+B. My room, which includes a 'partial, not full, but more than continental' breakfast, is costing me $140, including tax, for the night. The cheapest room in the area is $10 a night less. Gino has nothing on the folks that bought this place a month ago.

There is supposed to be a motel in Amenia (which is on 44, 10 miles or so in the other direction from Millerton). Maybe the B+B folks won't have converted it when you come through. I guess there may be places to camp in this area, although I haven't seen any. This room is not worth $140, or even half that, so I suggest any tourists avoid staying anywhere near Salisbury.

Tomorrow I need to take a rest day, but I can't afford to at these rates, so I'll do a late start and press on in search of a cheaper place to rest! I'm not sure that I'll follow the AC route. I may head north through Massachusetts to Vermont and then head east through New Hampshire to Maine. I could even use all or part of the AC route from Ticonderoga to Bar Harbor. That looks to be a more scenic and less congested route than going through Hartford and near Boston! Then again, maybe if I go to Hartford (60 miles or so) tomorrow, I can find a room I can afford to stay in for two nights. Maybe it will even have a phone system that I can use for net access.

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