Day 35: Stroudsburg, PA to South Orange, NJ
As expected, we woke up to a very wet a soggy day. I started a little later since the ride wasn’t as long today and it wasn’t hot. In fact, it was really chilly. I wore some extra clothes, but soon found out that wasn’t enough.
The ride started with a good climb right off the bat. But that put me into the Delaware Water Gap. Visibility was low with all the rain, but this area was absolutely beautiful. I stayed on the Pennsylvania side for about 10 miles before crossing into New Jersey.
By this time I was soaked and pretty cold, but managing. As I started riding through NJ, it became more populated, but the terrain was still rolling. I still had some steep climbs in there and my muscles never warmed up because it was cold and wet.
I sort of gritted my teeth a little to get to lunch in Hackettstown town where we met our friend Mike Barba for some food. I literally had to ask Mike to unbuckle my helmet as my hands weren’t working at this point. Some warm food and a dry sweatshirt were certainly needed. I warmed up during lunch, but I knew it was going to be a tough ride the rest of the way. I basically picked the most direct route because of this. That ended up not being a great decision.
Caroline helped me with a warmer pair of gloves, a headband, and I wore two rain jackets and an R1 sweatshirt. I also put full leggins on. This really helped keep me warm(ish) the rest for the ride despite being soaked.
Back to the roads, I picked some really busy roads that weren’t bike friendly. I was in the thick of it and getting honked at and splashed for the rest of the ride.
Just when I was getting close... about a mile from our destination, I got another flat. This time it wasn’t a little puncture. I started walking my bike up this hill in the rain on this crazy road until there was a pull out and a little parking lot. As I walked into the parking lot to call Caroline... she was there! Just hanging out reading a book waiting for me to finish the ride! I could believe it!
I wanted to fix the tire so I took a look. The nail went through the tire and out the side wall. I tried to fix it, but the tire was shot. It was time to call it for the day. I’ll return to that spot tomorrow to start my ride so it’s continuous.
We drove to my friends, Mike and Carolyn Davis’s place, and that’s where we are tonight and spending the night here. They cooked an amazing dinner and gave us hot showers that I’ll probably never forget after today.
I also found a bike shop about 15 minutes away that had my tire so they are replacing the bad one. Turns out my bike pads are also shot. And my chain is stretched and on its last leg along with the rear cog... so I’m getting a bunch of work done so I can finish this ride off! I’ll pick the bike up in the morning and return to the puncture site to start my ride.
It was a rough one out there today. But I’m in a new state and I’ll be in NYC tomorrow! Technically, I’ll reach the coast tomorrow and my coast to coast ride will be complete. But, I don’t think the saddle sores are bad enough yet, so I’m going to continue up to Nantucket to finish this thing off. Should be 4 days of riding to get me there.