Saturday, September 10, 2005

90 miles to Kaser, NJ, returning through Nyack

I didn't mean to bike 90 miles today. I had intended to explore the start of the route to the Poconos, then turn back after 35 miles.

The ride started fine - I crossed the George Washington Bridge and generally went North and West. I went north into Englewood, then west through Englewood along Palisade Avenue. It's a really nice area with fun shops and happy people! I stopped for a Portobello and Mozzarella panini for lunch.

I continued north into Hillsdale, and found a few-block stretch of Broadway that's bustling and cute. Was this turning into a tour of fun downtowns? The directions were bad starting in Rivervale, so I'd already gone back and forth a few times.

These photos are of Woodcliff Lake, which is also a reservoir. It is northwest of Hillsdale.

I continued East into Allendale, and the directions got progressively worse. It was time to turn back, but they didn't believe in putting up signs on a bunch of the streets. That coupled with bad directions got me quite lost. I stopped in a hardware store and the fellow said, "Just follow any street that says East and you'll eventually get to the Hudson River. Just take East Saddle River Road, turn right at Lake Street, then turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road, and continue in that direction."

That was terrible advice! I only found out later that this primarily took me much further north - to Saddle River, then Upper Saddle River, then Kaser, which is right below Ramapo NJ! It is six miles west of Nyack Beach State Park.

Kaser is a crunchy town and I stopped in an organic food co-op for directions. A nice fellow said to turn east onto Route 59. Route 59 is a bustling highway that has a shoulder most of the way. I reached Nyack and stopped for a slice of pizza. Nyack also had a fun downtown, that was larger than those in the other townships.

I returned via 9-W, which generally goes along the Hudson River.

It was getting dark when I reached Alpine, and the Palisades bike path was blocked off. A sign said that it closed at dusk. I went around the sign and went there anyway. It got pretty dark, and when I reached the Alpine picnic area I didn't see the chain that blocked the road until it was very close. I slowed as fast as I could but not in time to avoid the chain. I thought I was going to go flying, but the chain was attached to a post that moved inward, and I reached a stop a foot past the chain's original location.

The Palisades bike path is set along a hilly cliff overlooking the Hudson river. At times it's over 100 feet up. It's beautiful - especially at night - but with the tree covering and some bad road conditions, it's not a relaxing road to ride at night. This photo doesn't do the road justice at all - I wanted to capture the beautiful river below, but the camera didn't pick it up in the dim light. The flash did illuminate the road and the rocks, though - the road was much darker and my lousy bicycle light wasn't much help.

I crossed back into New York and arrived home sometime later, going a bit further to reach an even 90 miles.

Looking at the map online, it's clear that I would have avoided a lot of problems had I printed the map beforehand so it would display towns and large streets! Life lessons ...


Blogger Lora said...

You rode down 9-W!!! Just the thought of that scared me. I haven't been on that section in a while, so I will just imagine that it is in better shape then it is 50 miles up river in my hometown.

You river pictures make me homesick and the beautiful season is just about to start.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Capybaras United said...

I will have to make it to the Hudson River Valley during the fall!

8:23 AM  
Blogger Lora said...

If you do be sure to bring your camera!

7:06 PM  
Blogger M said...

You are insane!!! should have just taken 9W back to fort-lee instead of the palisades park road!..somewhat less prone to random chains in the middle of dark roads!;)
Also, looks like you got lost in my old hood of Woodcliff Lake..indeed, that place is a maze..beautiful houses though!
Sounds like a GREAT ride!

11:44 PM  

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