Westfield, MA to Catskill, NY:

Nowhere to Go but Everywhere
Statistics for today
Distance 134.54 kms 83.89 miles
Ride time (hours) 8.22 -
Statistics for trip to date
Distance 397.74 kms 247.31 miles
Ride time (hours) 23.50 -
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Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Cheap American chain hotels have sad breakfasts. Sugary cereal in big plastic dispensers, milk from a machine, some kind of industrial pale-yellow drink that is supposed to resemble orange juice. Coffee that the French would call jus de chaussettes (sock juice). Some supermarket muffins round out the menu. I'm joined by a few bleary-eyed travelers crunching on Fruit Loops while they stare at some morning news show on the TV. I'm not unhappy to peddle away from this place.

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The theme for the day is due west. Coming out of Westfield I quickly run into the Berkshire Mountains, what they call the Appalachians where they run through Massachusetts, with its ups-and-downs but not terribly strenuous climbing. The backroads pass through pleasantly wild country. I feel like I'm beginning to escape the high-density sprawl of the east.

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A bit of nature.
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New state.

Late in the day I arrive in Hudson, NY... I realize that I could have planned the route better, I need to take a detour south to get over the Hudson River. I've been over it before in cars and on motorcycles but I forgot that it's actually quite a wide crossing and with a bicycle I need a bridge that will let me on. In the event it's the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (apparently the story references this area) that has a pedestrian/cyclist walkway.

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The Rip Van Winkle Bridge over the Hudson River.

Daylight runs low as I near the Catskills. I was hoping to get into them a ways before dark so I could camp, but darkness falls before I even get there. I'm left with the option of either pitching the tent somewhere in the dark or getting a motel. I opt for the motel.

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The sun setting behind the Catskills.