Central Park, NY – August 23-24, 2018

The Wife Billboard

We left the bike shop in Poughkeepsie about 3:00 PM and drove back to New York City. It took a little over an hour and a half to drive to Central Park where we parked our car in a deck on 66th Ave. Realizing that we had a couple of hours to waste before the park would be closed to car traffic, allowing bikers and pedestrians a safer pathway, we decided to go to the movies! I had secretly hoped that we would be able to see an early screening of The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, at the Paris Theater, and my wish came true 🙂 . We walked about 10 blocks to the theater and arrived just in time to pay for our tickets, go to the restroom, and purchase a drink before scurrying into the dark theater where the previews had already started. The movie was definitely worth our extra effort; the acting was flawless, and Glenn Close’s portrayal of a wife trapped in desperation was mesmerizing to watch as years of her pent up frustration exploded on the screen before our captive eyes. The ending was completely unexpected; she finally had her freedom but not as the audience expected. I certainly hope that this deserving performance will finally earn Glen Close the Oscar, which has eluded her several times in the past.

Dusk in Central Park

Exiting the theater, we walked a few blocks west to the bike shop where I had purchased our 2-hour rentals through a Groupon for $12 prior to the trip. The rental agent informed us that the bike shop closed at 8 PM instead of 9 PM, which I had mistakenly thought. Since it was already 7 PM, we had only an hour to ride the 6.1 miles around the park, including pushing our bikes a few blocks over and back. As directed by our map, we entered the park on Central Drive and proceeded counterclockwise around the perimeter. There were literally hundreds of joggers and bikers following this same route, and it almost felt like a Friday night traffic jam in Atlanta. Bikers zigged and zagged around the joggers and pedestrians, whizzing by us as if we were standing still. The route around the park is hilly, and I needed to lower my gear several times as I strained to make it up some of the hills. Thankfully, neither of us succumbed to dismounting our bikes and pushing them; however, our uphill speed was nothing to brag about 🙂 . Since New York is further east than Atlanta, the sun sets earlier. As we neared the end of the loop, darkness was fast approaching, and many bikers turned on their headlights. We returned our bikes with five minutes to spare, and I crossed off another item on my bucket list: bike through Central Park 🙂 .

Tavern on the Green

I talked Joyce into eating dinner on the patio at Terrace on the Green. Thankfully, I had packed my jacket because it was chilly sitting underneath the canopy of lights on the terrace. Although this restaurant is located in a beautiful, romantic setting in Central Park, the food was really just average. After dinner, Joyce and I lamented that we should have purchased dessert instead of wasting calories on a bland meal that was not very satisfying. We walked back to the parking deck, paid $40 (ouch!) for our car, and drove toward LaGuardia to our hotel. Since it was night and we were not familiar with the highways to Long Island, the drive was a bit stressful; however, Joyce remained calm and we did not miss a turn 🙂 . Arriving to the Wyndham Hotel after 10:30 PM, we were informed that we could either pay $25 for parking or try to find a legal place to park nearby. We carried our luggage to our room and returned to the car in an effort to find a free parking space; however, after circling the streets around the hotel to no avail, we decided to concede and pay the valet fee. We probably didn’t get to sleep until after midnight and had to wake up early the next morning to get to the airport. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we returned our rental car and took two shuttles back to LaGuardia. I slept during part of our flight home, and was thrilled that my husband had decided to pick me up at the airport rather than have me take MARTA to the North Springs Station. I was glad to be home but already planning our next bike trip on the newly inducted Cardinal Greenway in Indiana.

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Hudson Valley Trail Network, Poughkeepsie, NY – August 22-23, 2018

Leisure Ride Bike Shop

After our bike ride in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, we drove three hours northeast to Poughkeepsie, New York. We arrived in Poughkeepsie about 6:15 PM and drove directly to the Leisure Ride Bike Shop (excellent customer service and well-maintained, quality bikes) where we rented two KHS Brentwood comfort bikes and a rack for our next day’s ride on the Hudson Valley Trail Network. The 18-mile Network is comprised of three paved trails: the Dutchess Rail Trail (13 miles), Walkway over the Hudson (1.3 miles), and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail (3.6 miles). Our original plan was to ride across the Hudson to the northern terminus of the trail and back the same evening as we rented the bikes to reduce the amount that we would have to ride the following day. However, we found out that the Walkway over the Hudson closes at 8 PM (time adjusts with sunset), and if you do not make it back across the pedestrian bridge before the gates close on the west side, you have to bike south and cross the Hudson on the car bridge. Based on this new information, we decided to wait until the following morning to bike the whole trail down and back, which would be a total of 36 miles.

Mill House Brewing</center)

The bike owner personally helped us secure the rack and bikes onto our rental car, then we drove to Mill House Brewing for dinner. We ordered a pizza and discussed how to adjust our schedule for the following day. I highly recommend this two-story, warehouse brewery; the food was excellent, and the service was quick even though they were extremely busy. Following dinner, we drove to the Holiday Inn Express to spend the night.

Martha on Pedestrian Bridge

We ate an early breakfast at the hotel, including one of their decadent cinnamon rolls, and then drove back to the Leisure Ride Bike Shop to park our car. The shop was not open yet; that’s why we rented the bikes the previous evening. We unloaded the bikes and pedaled a few hundred feet to the entrance of the trail. Although the trail passes through several hamlets, it felt fairly isolated. We crossed three iron bridges over highways on the 6.5 mile stretch from the bike shop to the Walkway over the Hudson.

Walkway over the Hudson

The 1.3 mile Walkway over the Hudson River is the longest pedestrian walkway in the world. As we approached the bridge, we noticed that pedestrians are supposed to walk along the outer sides while bicyclists are supposed to ride in the center – a recommendation which definitely improved the flow of traffic across the bridge. It was approximately 9 AM, and there were about 100 people on the bridge; however, there were noticeably more walkers and joggers than cyclists.  We stopped several times to take photographs and then made our way to the other side where we biked 3.6 miles to the northwestern terminus of the trail.

Caboose Near Western Terminus

Caboose Near Western Terminus

The trail was extremely well maintained with restroom facilities, mile markers every .5 mile, and numerous benches and picnic tables. This more isolated portion of the trail was tree canopied with a few rock outcroppings, and it reminded us of the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia.

Wild Flowers along Trail

The ride down to the end of the trail and back to the bridge took about an hour, including a quick bathroom stop. As we entered the bridge, the sun was in front of us and I was thankful that I was wearing my sunglasses. It took only about 10 minutes to bike across the Hudson. After exiting the bridge on the eastern side, we continued down the trail past where we had parked our rental car and pedaled on to the southern terminus in Hopewell Junction. Although we had read that this portion of the trail crossed several roads and was more urban, it was unexpectedly remote as soon as we passed the outskirts of Poughkeepsie. I enjoyed the wild flowers and the variety of trees bordering the trail. This stretch was not as crowded and seemed slightly downhill.

White Haven Train Depot

We arrived in White Haven sooner than we expected and decided to eat lunch at Daddy O’s, a New York chain restaurant located almost in sight of the restored train depot and museum marking the end of the Dutchess Trail. After a satisfying lunch (turkey & avocado sandwich with fries and a coke), we biked 6.5 miles back to the bike shop where our rental car was parked and returned our bikes before driving back to New York City for our flight home to Atlanta.

 

Videos Coming Soon!

Lehigh Gorge Trail, Jim Thorpe, PA – August 21-22, 2018

Empire State Building

Our bike trip to the Poconos started with a flight from Atlanta to LaGuardia, followed by a two and a half hour drive to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Our GPS route took us directly through Manhattan, via the tunnel under the East River, down 5th Avenue past the Empire State Building, and under the Hudson River to New Jersey.

Broadway Street, Jim Thorpe

Arriving to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania was a pleasant surprise! The quaint tourist town, lined with gift shops and B&Bs, is sandwiched between the Pocono Mountains and the Lehigh River. A scenic railway, bordering the river on the east side of town, runs daily from Jim Thorpe north to to the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Inn at Jim Thorpe

We checked into The Inn at Jim Thorpe and carried our luggage to our room before walking a block to Molly Maguire’s for dinner. Our original plan was to eat at the Stone Row Eatery, but we found out that it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Molly McGuire’s

The outdoor deck at Molly’s pub was a perfect spot to enjoy a good meal and the cool, fresh air! After dinner, we hurried back to the hotel so that I could log into my online help session for the college algebra class that I’m teaching this semester. I helped one student and then fell asleep watching a new episode of 800 Words on Acorn TV. Fortunately, I got a good night’s sleep and felt rested the next morning.

Renee’s Cold Cut Hut

I chose French toast and bacon for breakfast at the Broadway Grille (hotel restaurant); the food was both delicious and filling. After breakfast, we loaded our luggage back into the rental car and drove about a mile and a half to the Lehigh Gorge State Park where we met Jim, our shuttle driver, who transported us with our Trek rental bikes to White Haven. Jim dropped us off near the trailhead, but we decided to pedal a few blocks back into town to Renee’s Cold Cut Hut where we purchased sandwiches for a picnic lunch on the trail. We purchased a large hoagie, chips and a drink for approximately $8, which was much cheaper than we expected. Renee, the owner, was extremely cheerful and friendly.

Martha @ Waterfall

We started biking about 10:00 AM and within minutes we felt completely isolated from the hustle and bustle of the world around us. The 25-mile Lehigh Gorge portion of the Delaware & Lehigh Rail Trail follows the Lehigh River through tree-canopied forests on its slightly downhill route to Jim Thorpe. The trail is hard-packed crushed gravel and is well maintained (no potholes or debris). We passed numerous waterfalls on our ride, including Buttermilk and Luke Falls. The landscape reminded me of the Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia, and I felt extremely blessed to have the opportunity to experience this remote, scenic portion of the country on a bicycle!

Joyce @ Picnic Spot

Just below Penn Haven Junction, we decided to eat our lunch at a picnic table perched on the bank of the river and adjacent to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway tracks. Opposite the tracks and in sight of our picnic table was a small waterfall – what a perfect spot for our lunch! We enjoyed our ham & cheese hoagie while listening to the river rushing below. The water was swift but too low for rafters; however, we did spot two groups of tubers.

 

St Mark’s Cathedral

After lunch, we pedaled south a few more miles to the Glen Onoko access point. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make the two hour plus round trip hike to the falls so we continued our journey south to Jim Thorpe. We parked our bikes and took a walking tour of the town, peering in gift shops, strolling down narrow carriage roads, and admiring the Gothic-style St. Mark’s Episcopal Church built in 1869. Our walking tour ended at Wood’s Ice Cream where we indulged in our traditional end-of-the-ride dairy treat 🙂 .

Scenic Railway

As we departed Jim Thorpe, the scenic railway train was also leaving the station for a sightseeing trip up the valley. The train paralleled the bike trail for several miles, but we turned east into the state park to return our rental bikes to the same parking lot where we had left our car earlier that morning. Our shuttle driver had left a combination lock for us to secure the bikes to a concrete picnic table until he later returned to get them.

Although this is not a Hall of Fame trail, I highly recommend it! We only rode the Lehigh Gorge portion of the much longer Delaware & Lehigh Rail Trail, which spans 141 miles from Bristol (just outside of Philadelphia) to Mountain Top in the Appalachian Mountains.

Stream Near
Buttermilk Falls

Abandoned Track Adjacent to Trail

View of Lehigh River Valley

 

Videos Coming Soon!

Tammany Trace – Day 3

Since our Amtrak train was scheduled to leave Slidell at 7:57AM, we had set the alarm for 5:45. We showered, dressed, and ate breakfast at the hotel before biking the 2 ½ miles through a residential neighborhood over to the train station. Although the train was supposedly running early, it actually arrived 30 minutes late. During our wait, we met two nice ladies, one was a retired teacher and theology professor who used to live in Smyrna, GA and the other was visiting her daughter, a student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. After boarding the train, I slept until almost lunchtime. We decided to eat in the dining car again and were seated with a couple from Little Rock Arkansas who were staying in a roomette (something that Ed and I plan to do on our Great Lakes trip in May). He is a retired middle school music teacher and she writes technical government documents for a pharmaceutical company. After an engaging conversation and a good meal, we returned to the coach car where I tried to take another short nap, but the temperature was too cold! I decided to go to the lounge car where it always seemed to be much warmer. I worked for a couple of hours grading my students’ online tests and then joined Joyce and the theology professor for a discussion about religion. I ordered a salad from the snack bar for supper and also purchased a blanket so that I could sleep comfortably for the remainder of our trip. Although our train was more than three hours late returning to Atlanta, I still am an advocate of taking the train!

Joyce and I are already talking about our next bike ride, which will be the Hudson Valley Trail in upstate New York in the fall….

Tammany Trace – Day 2

Pool & Gardens

At 4:30 AM, I awoke to the sound of thunder and rain pelting down on the roof above my bed. I checked the weather app on my phone to verify that the storm was expected to end by mid-morning, and I quickly drifted back to sleep for a couple more hours.

Linda, the owner of the B&B, had prepared our breakfast before our arrival and placed it in our kitchenette. In addition to the spinach quiche and fresh strawberries in the refrigerator, there were also slices of banana bread and cranberry muffins on a glass-covered serving tray. While eating our breakfast in the terrace room overlooking the pool & gardens below, we realized that the rain had subsided.

HJ Smith & Sons General Store

I decided to take a walking tour of Covington following the map that Linda had provided us upon our arrival the previous night. I stopped at the HJ Smith & Sons General Store & Museum and admired the collection of antique farm equipment, hardware tools and transportation artifacts (stagecoach and hand-carved canoe) on exhibit.

Brooke’s Bike Shop

I walked over to Brooke’s Bike Shop, which displayed a wide range of vintage and new bicycles for sale and rent. Circling back to the B&B, I passed several charming shops and lamented that I didn’t have more time to peruse the local boutiques.

Southern Mansion in Covington

Joyce and I loaded our panniers on our bikes and thanked our charming southern hostess before embarking on a quick riding tour of Covington, the parish seat of St. Tammany Parish. I suspect that this historic  Northshore village attracts many tourists and locals who want to visit the specialty shops and enjoy the Cajun cuisine.

Covington Trailhead

With some help from a few local residents, we located the trailhead and began our 28 mile journey to Slidell. Heading east from Covington, the asphalt trail follows the original Illinois Railroad passageway. The Trace is lined on both sides with loblolly pines, live oak trees, and wetlands. Although it was still a little early in the season for alligators, I was on the lookout for them as we pedaled within feet of ideal gator habitat. We heard lots of birds (maybe waterthrush) that made shrill clicking sounds, and we saw a large turtle sunning himself along the banks of a swampy stream. When I turned around to take his picture, he quickly crawled back into the opaque water and out of sight.

Abita Mystery House

Between Covington and Abita Springs, we crossed the Tchefuncte and Abita Rivers. In Abita Springs, we saw the namesake brewpub and a vintage service station which had been converted into a mystery house full of southern Louisiana folk items and “junk.”

Liz’s Where Y’at Diner

Continuing east from Abita Springs, the trail turned south toward Lake Pontchartrain. We passed a large park and children’s museum about halfway to Mandeville. As we entered Mandeville, we turned south onto Florida Street and biked a couple of blocks to Liz’s Where Y’at Diner where we ordered a sandwich and chips to go. The service was fast and Liz, the owner, came over to personally introduce herself.

Dew Drop Jazz Hall

We pedaled back to the Trace and continued our ride through Mandeville. At the Lamarque Street intersection, we turned right and rode a few blocks to the historic Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall (dewdropjazzhall.com), which was built in 1895 and is considered to be the world’s oldest rural jazz hall. Jazz events are still scheduled on select Saturdays throughout the spring at this rustic wooden structure surrounded by majestic live oak trees.

Ruby’s Roadhouse

We followed Lamarque Street two blocks north of the Trace to Ruby’s Roadhouse – a local pub and a stage for local, national, and international musicians. Poking our heads into the smoke-filled bar was enough for two teetotalers from Georgia 🙂 . We jumped back on our bikes and continued three miles south to Fontainebleau State Park where we planned to eat a picnic lunch.

Pier on Lake Pontchartrain

Entering the state park, the ranger waived us through without charging us a daily use fee. I’m not sure whether he assumed that we were over 62 or whether there’s no charge for bicyclists 🙂 . We rode through the park and down to the shore of Lake Pontchartrain where we parked our bikes and found a nice spot to enjoy our lunch. Although it was a little breezy, the temperature was close to 70 degrees, and a young man was learning to paddleboard in the murky waters stretching toward the horizon. We spotted pelicans diving for their lunch and marveled at the expansive 24-mile bridge connecting Mandeville to New Orleans. After eating our lunch, we walked out on the fishing pier and then biked over to the restrooms at the campground before resuming our ride on the Trace.

Cypress Knees

The stretch from Fontainebleau SP to Lacombe was remote and marshy. There were cypress knees in the swampy waters along the trail, and we spotted a yellow flowering plant which we aptly named swamp flower since we didn’t know its true identity 🙂 .

Bayou Lacombe was the most stunningly beautiful area on the trail! There was a well-maintained restroom facility and drawbridge operator office located on the west side of the bayou. The southern waterway fed into Lake Pontchartrain, and boat docks lined the northern inlet toward the village of Lacombe. The ranger who manned the crane-driven drawbridge told us that there were several exclusive homes with large yachts further inland. Fortunately, we arrived to the crossing before 6 PM, which is when they raise the bridge for the night. Otherwise, we would have had to turn around and bike back to the previous highway crossing to bypass the drawbridge.

Lacombe Bayou

After leaving the bayou, we rode 7 miles east to the Slidell Trailhead, which is actually 4.5 miles from downtown Slidell. Currently, the trail ends near a busy shopping center, and we decided that it was too dangerous to bike along the highway to our hotel. We called Uber and were rejected at least twice because the drivers did not want to haul our folding bikes. Finally, we got a driver with a large SUV, and we loaded the bikes with no trouble.

We checked into the Best Western Plus about 6 PM and pushed our bikes down to our room, which fortunately was located on the first floor. After a quick change of clothes, we hailed another Uber car to take us to New Orleans. Our driver was British and extremely friendly and helpful. He gave us good advice about when/how to visit New Orleans and some safe tips for taking Uber back to our hotel later that night.

Streetcars on Canal Street

It took about 35 minutes to drive across Lake Pontchartrain to the corner of Canal Street & St Charles Street in the heart of New Orleans. As soon as we stepped out of the car, I felt much safer than I had during my previous visit to New Orleans about 20 years ago. Canal Street was so lit up that it looked almost like daylight, and there were police and streetcar monitors everywhere.

Eating Beignets @ Cafe du Monde

We took a streetcar for a few blocks and then walked toward Decatur Street to Café du Monde where we each ordered three French beignets and milk 🙂 . Realizing that Aunt Sally’s, home of the New Orleans famous pralines (pronounced prawline in New Orleans), was closing soon, I left Joyce at the café and scurried next door to purchase boxes of the decadent sweets to carry back home. I rejoined Joyce where we gorged ourselves on the powdered sugar covered beignets while listening to the jazz band playing on the sidewalk next to the cafe. Deciding that we were no longer hungry for dinner, we walked back to Canal Street where we boarded another streetcar that made a loop down St. Charles Street toward Tulane University. Although it was dark and the ride was longer than expected, we enjoyed seeing the magnificently decorated southern homes along the route. When the streetcar returned to Canal Street, we called Uber and rode back to our hotel in Slidell. We arrived at the Best Western after 11 PM…yawn!

Tammany Trace – Day 1

When I broke my ankle in October, my bike riding was put on hold for a few months. After several weeks of physical therapy and a month of persistent stationary bike training, I was anxious to get back on the trail. As soon as my orthopedic doctor released me, Joyce and I planned a trip to Louisiana to bike the Tammany Trace.

Amtrak Waiting Room in Atlanta

On Monday, March 5th, we boarded the Amtrak Crescent in Atlanta with our folding bikes and loaded panniers bound for Louisiana. The 12 hour train ride to Slidell, located on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, was relaxing and uneventful. We decided to eat lunch in the dining car, which was an unexpected treat. The food was delicious, and we enjoyed our conversation with two ladies from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Due to freight train traffic, our projected arrival time was delayed by two hours. Fortunately, we were not under any time constraints that would make the delay any more than a slight inconvenience. The soothing motion of the train is better than a sedative, gently rocking me to sleep. While Joyce read her newspaper and her next book club selection, I took a long nap. After my nap, Joyce taught me how to play cribbage, and we spent several hours in the lounge car playing cards and staying warm. The coach cars were colder than I recalled from previous train trips, and I had to put on several layers of clothes to tolerate the chill.

Camellia House B&B

Since our anticipated arrival in Slidell was delayed several hours, we decided to eat dinner in the snack bar onboard. After deboarding the train about 9 PM, we arranged for transportation to Covington via Uber. The 25-minute ride to the Camellia House B&B passed quickly as we conversed with our driver, a local resident who shared insights about the Northshore and his family.

Camellia House Porch

When we arrived at the B&B, Linda, the owner, greeted us and gave us a quick tour of the restored, southern home filled with antiques and modern conveniences. Our suite had a large bedroom, bath, and a separate enclosed terrace with a twin bed and kitchenette. We had access to a private porch with a swing overlooking the pool and hot tub in the garden below. Exhausted from a long day on the train and feeling the one hour time difference, I had no difficulty falling asleep.

Day 3 – Heritage Rail Trail & Torrey C. Brown Trail: Railroad, PA to Cockeysville, MD (22.6 miles)

Garden Waterfall
@ Jackson House

This morning, we fastened our panniers on the bikes before breakfast so that we could get an earlier start. Again, breakfast at the Jackson House was fabulous – eggs Benedict, grapefruit, and fresh blueberries & local cherries 🙂 . Pam, the owner of the B&B joined us for breakfast this morning, and we enjoyed listening to her describe the history of the 1859 inn which she and her husband have managed for the past ten years. Before breakfast, she let us take a quick tour of all three floors; each room has a private bath and is decorated in Pennsylvania Dutch style with beautiful antiques and handmade quilts.

Gunpowder River

After breakfast, just before 9 AM, we started biking south. Our return trek to Cockeysville was approximately 22 miles and mostly downhill, except the first 1 ½ mile climb to New Freedom. As soon as we passed the state line, we started descending; I actually reached a speed of almost 15 mph, even carrying the loaded panniers. The Torrey Trail is much narrower than the Heritage Trail in Pennsylvania; it alternates between two lanes separated by a strip of grass to a single track. We stopped at the Monkton Station for a brief restroom break and met a local man who bikes the trail twice a week. I can’t imagine the luxury of living so close to a Hall-of-Fame trail!

Monkton Station

After Monkton, we pedaled the remaining 7 miles to Hunt Valley LLC where we had rented the bikes two days ago. The owner greeted us, offering to help us unload our gear and volunteering to drive us two miles to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Hunt Valley where we ate lunch and bought gifts to take back home. The Walmart-sized market was filled with Amish furniture, a bakery, and a smorgasbord of food prepared with fresh local produce. What a treat! Based on TripAdvisor recommendations, we both decided to order chocolate chip cheesecake for lunch. We purchased sampler-sized jellies that can be carried on the plane and then ate our cheesecake while sitting on the beautiful, handcrafted Amish rocking chairs in front of the market.

Pennsylvania Dutch Market

Prior to our trip, Dotty, one of our Clayton State retiree friends, insisted that we locate and purchase Berger cookies before returning to Atlanta. The shortbread cookies smothered in chocolate fudge icing are baked in Baltimore and sold in many of the local Maryland grocery stores. According to Berger’s website, the Giant store, located a few blocks north of the Amish market, carries the cookies. So, to fulfill our promise to Dotty, we schlepped our panniers through parking lots and along the sidewalks to the grocery store. After each purchasing two large boxes of the cookies, we realized that the outdoor heat would probably melt the icing before we could reach the Baltimore airport. One of the store clerks overheard our conversation and offered to bring us small bags of ice to place underneath the cookies 🙂 .

Realizing that the lite rail was due in about 15 minutes, we walked as fast as our 60-70 something legs would carry us in the 80+ heat to the Pepper Station. As we approached the loading platform, we saw a digital sign indicating that the next train would arrive in 2 minutes. In a state of panic and not wanting to wait an additional 30 minutes for the next train, we attempted to purchase an MTA card. Neither of us were successful at navigating the confusing, complicated machines which dispensed the tickets. Fortunately, Joyce noticed an announcement on the screen indicating that the MTA was offering free fares during a two week period in June, including today! By then, a train approached and we boarded it without giving thought to the fact that it might be headed in the wrong direction. Before reaching the next station, we asked a few of the passengers if we were on the train to the airport, and they directed us to the train on the adjacent track approaching from the opposite direction. We quickly deboarded, crossed the platform to the other side, and jumped onto the other train. Collapsing into our seats and unloading our 20 lb panniers onto the seat in front of us, we sat back and enjoyed the 90 minute ride to the airport. Although we had to walk at least a mile to our gate, there were separate security checkpoints for each concourse, which made the check-in process much faster and allowed us to reach our gate almost an hour prior to our flight.

While reflecting on our three-day trip, I am extremely thankful for good health which allows Joyce and me to make these journeys. As long as we are physically able and our husbands are willing, I think both of us are committed to biking as many trails as our bodies will allow!