Homemade muffins, fruit, and farm fresh eggs await us the next morning—a splendid start to our second day of riding. This will be the first time either of us has taken a bike trip lasting longer than one day. We leave our gear for pick up later by car. The sun is bright already, suggesting the coming heat of the day ahead. As soon as we leave town, we are back in the woods, on a recently constructed section of the trail. Our plan is to lunch in Amsterdam at a restaurant we scouted out before the trip. It also serves ice cream. Entering the small dreary city of Amsterdam, well past its heyday in carpet manufacturing, we are in a rundown area with boarded up businesses along the railroad tracks. It is late morning on a Sunday. The streets are empty. This is the first time I have felt uncomfortable with the surroundings. We finally reach our planned lunch stop, only to find it is closed! There are no other eating establishments nearby and we are not willing to go explore this part of the city, so we ride on until the trail abruptly ends just beyond the city limits.
The scorching sun overhead is beating down like a storm. We have one snack bar to share and water is getting low. The trail now runs on a four-lane thoroughfare with moderate traffic. Thankfully, there is a wide paved shoulder—but not an ounce of shade in sight. We approach a large quarry with huge noisy machinery crushing stone and loading giant trucks that are pulling in and out at amazing speed—can they see two bikers about to cross their path? Are they even looking? The dust from the quarry and the truck tires is choking. I wait for what appears to be a lull in the truck traffic and race by as fast as I can, hoping my friend does the same! When we catch up with each other we are relieved to see the long downhill ahead. The heat is really getting to me. She pulls out of sight as she goes with the pull of gravity while I apply my brakes to resist it. Further down the road, I find her sitting under a small tree along the side of the road. A long upward hill looms ahead. She declares that this is it; she is done. I call my husband and request a rescue. We are both hungry and the water is gone. We have no idea how much further it is to the gas station I know is along here somewhere.
My husband arrives. First, we head to the B+B for our gear. The drive back home reveals the gas station was just over that last hill. Too bad, with some refreshment we could have finished the trip as planned. We stop at Jumping Jacks drive in for lunch, a popular fast food and ice cream stop. Then home to rest and shower. Her flight doesn’t leave until late the next day, so we plan to complete the section of the trail we missed today—Niskayuna to Mabee’s farm—in the morning; and do. All together we traveled about 70 miles—not bad for beginners.
I wonder how my fellow riders on this current trip are handling that stretch from my memory. I describe a few details from the past six days to my husband. But I am not ready to go in depth yet, do not even know where to start. Before retiring for the second night in my own bed, I prepare my bike, gear, and outlook for the next day. I am surprised to notice how eager I am to rejoin the group!