Week #15 – Boston to The Hamptons
Monday October 7th to Sunday October 13th
Monday October 7th
Feeling miserable in a cell of a motel room on the outskirts of Boston. I felt unsafe in the area. I’m increasingly disliking the feeling of being in cities whilst on the journey. The motel has was fenced in. I wonder, is it time to move out of the big city I live in and move to a simpler place? There’s a certain fear and standoffishness that pervades a city. In a city I need to keep on eye on the motorbike.
I was headed for Hyannis on Cape Cod, not knowing that it is the home of the Kennedy family. I randomly chose a town half way up the island for convenience. It has often happened on this journey that I find myself in the perfect location without putting any great planning into it. Prayer is often all the planning you need.
Boston’s rain was still hanging around in the early part of the morning and then changed to a mix of sunny and overcast. The rain has been the worst to deal with. The rain makes the days colder and stops you from doing so many things, like jumping off the bike for that quick photo op. It’s even difficult to put gloves back on when your hands are wet.
I set the GPS to take me along the back road of Massachusetts, heading through small towns such as Plymouth. Plymouth, a lovely little town. I noticed lots of signs about pilgrims. I was about to leave town when I saw a sign for Plymouth Rock. Ohhh, really? That’s where I am? Wow. That changed everything. I parked the bike and took a wander around. I went to see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower from across the water.
I arrived on Cape Cod and loved how pretty it was. “I could live here,” I thought.
Tuesday October 8th
Mia, my couch surfing host very nicely toured me around Hyannis, showing me all the sights, telling me all the history, showing me where the Kennedy’s live. Then I set off for Provincetown on the end of Cape Cod, and then back towards Rhode Island. A beautiful sunny day. At last.
I stopped along the northern shore of Cape Cod and watched the seals playing in the ocean. There was a sign advising swimmers that Great White Sharks inhabit the waters.
Provincetown turned out to be Cape Cod’s answer to Key West in Florida. Quaint old homes and streets with a main promenade of boutique shops. The Pilgrim Tower is here, celebrating the probable site of the pilgrim’s first landing (not Plymouth Rock). I didn’t find the town to be motorcycle friendly, i.e. the parking lots nearly all said “No motorcycles”, so I rode around and left. The town was full of tourists. The roads leading into town lined with old seaside motels. I imagine in the summer it’s difficult to get around due to traffic congestion.
I stopped outside of Provincetown to see where the pilgrims first found, fresh water. I took a walk through the woods amazed that I was walking where the pilgrims first walked in this strange new land. There was a sign warning of the presence of poison ivy. I’ve never really seen poison ivy or felt it. Part of me wanted to brush up against some to see what the reaction would feel like. But I didn’t. The woods were much like those in England and I wondered what the pilgrims thought of coming thousands of miles to find landscapes with such a familiar feel to them. I love the peace of being out in the countryside alone.
That evening I arrived in Warren, Rhode Island. My hosts cooked loin and roasted vegetables. I was staying with Artemis, Alan and Katerina. Artemis had found out about my journey from a blast sent out on Facebook by Triumph, and had followed my journey for a while on Facebook and then kindly extended an invitation to come and stay with them.
Wednesday October 9th
Ran a few errands with Artemis and then to the mansions of Newport and a walk along the cliffs. It’s amazing to think that some people can amass such wealth to build homes like the mansions of Newport. And they are just the summer homes! They are huge with beautiful grounds, all lining the cliff’s edge, looking out over the ocean.
We took a walk around Warren to look at some of the churches. We stopped by St. Michael’s. The church was closed but there were two ladies standing outside. Artemis knew one of them and asked if they were waiting for the church to open. Yes, they were– for a yoga session. The church provides free yoga sessions. The sanctuary inside is stunning. I can only imagine how moving yoga in that sanctuary could be.
Thursday October 10th
I headed from Rhode Island towards Torrington, Connecticut. There was a couple of National Geographic “Drives of a Lifetime” that I wanted to do in Connecticut.
I rode along Route 169 in eastern Connecticut, through autumnal trees and woods, and New England wood-paneled homes. It was beautiful and cold. I was feeling fed up of feeling chilled to the bone. But the drive along perfect roads, that bent and rose leaving you feeling like you were riding a roller coaster made up for the chill factor.
I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts and someone left $10 on my bike for me. I think it was the guy who walked passed and asked what I was doing and where I was going. I went inside and when I came back out he had departed and $10 was sitting strapped to my bike. The generosity of people sometimes is really heartwarming. It’s not all bad. In fact people are mostly good.
Friday October 11th
A cold night but thankfully a warm day. No chills to the bone on the bike today, thankfully, at last. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I took a National Geographic “Drive of a Lifetime” in a circuitous route from Torrington in western Connecticut, down to New Milford and back up to Canaan, via Routes 202, 109 and 7. The road was truly like a roller coaster taking my stomach with it. Perfect roads and sharp bends through woods. There were times that I felt slightly out of control, just like on a roller coaster. But still, I knew it was going to be ok. “Whooaaaaaa!,” I said sometimes and laughed. I hit 19,000 miles today (or 30,500 km).
I rode into Liberty, New York. Liberty and the nearby towns all looked like they had seen better days. It seemed that businesses had been moving out. Buildings looked dishevelled and run down. The day was wearing on. No time to go anywhere else. Liberty it was for the night. I searched Yelp for a place to stay and found the Lazy Pond B&B. I decided to head there and was delighted by what I found– 12 acres of wooded lands, three wood-paneled buildings and rooms that made you feel like you were sleeping in your own house.
That evening I watched a Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special with Malala. Malala said, “Girls should be able to realize their dreams too.” Malala’s dream is to become a politician.
Saturday October 12th
I was very thankful to be staying at Lazy Pond B&B. Two nights somewhere is always good because you can settle in and leave your belongings and explore without them for once.
I readied for the day with the plan to head to the site of the Woodstock concert. I went out to the bike, looked at the chain and… Oh my word! Droopy! I had planned on a day riding around the Catskill mountains after going to Woodstock. Well, that ride wasn’t going to happen.
I found Rockwell Cycles on the Internet, about 60 miles away. I called and spoke to Nick. He said he could fit me in if I got there between 3 and 4 pm. I looked at my watch. This was now going to be a rushed day with no riding through the Catskills. Technically I was staying in the Catskills so I guess I’d have to be satisfied with that.
I headed to Yasgurs Farm in Bethel about 20 mins away, the original site of the Woodstock concert. I met three ladies there and they told me their dreams of finding that one special relationship, and health and success for one of their daughters. They said my journey was inspiring and that it made them want to do something for charity.
I looked at the fields and tried to imagine 450,000 people in this small place. It was a 600 acre farm but where I stood it looked just like a big field, not nearly enough room to fit that many people. The surrounding roads are small country lanes, bendy, hilly, and narrow. How on earth did they get all those people, the bands, the trucks, everything here? It seems physically impossible. No wonder surrounding houses became islands in a sea of people.
I had about an hour remaining, enough time to visit the museum before I had to leave for Rockwell Cycles in Fort Montgomery, close to West Point. I met two big, burly guys on the way to the parking lot who said “that takes guts” when they heard about my journey. I hope it inspires them to dream big.
The ride to Fort Montgomery was very windy, like struggling through glue. Traffic was horrendous by Bear Mountain. Traffic was backed up for miles– Octoberfest plus a football game. After sitting in traffic for some time it became obvious I wasn’t going to make the appointment and I’d have to wait two days until they re-opened on Tuesday. A group of four motorcycles cut down the center of the two lanes of cars. I decided to follow, using them in front as a shield for any motorists that took exception and tried to cut us off. There were a few of those motorists trying to squeeze us against cars in the other lane thereby stopping us from proceeding. Their plan didn’t work and thankfully our motorcycles were able to make it through safely.
I made it to the appointment late but Rockwell Cycles were still able to do the work I needed before they closed. It was a relief to get there. The dealership informed me that I wouldn’t have been able to go too much further with the existing chain without breaking it. Two more days riding to another dealership could have meant a breakdown on the way. I was very thankful that a new chain was installed just in time. I also bought a new, brighter headlight. The headlight I had supplied very poor visibility at night, dangerously so I thought. I was also able to purchase a new right hand mirror to replace the one that had been precariously glued on and lasted since Anchorage (with some re-gluing and falling off along the way).
Sunday October 13th
I was still in Liberty, NY and had arranged with the B&B to go to church and then come back and collect all my gear. I had chosen First Presbyterian Church of Liberty because it was the first church I saw coming into town, because it was Presbyterian, and because they had a sign outside announcing a fish ‘n chip dinner in a couple of weeks. Sounded like the perfect place for a Brit to go to church!
In the pews was a single blue welcome card for visitors, right next to where I chose to sit. I couldn’t see any more of them around me in other pews. The card announced on the front “I Wish…” and inside “”We want to make your wishes comes true.” It was a nice welcome. I felt at home. It was a message very similar to that of this journey– dreams.
I had come to yet another church with an interim or guest pastor. I’ve visited so many of them on this trip. I wonder why. The Rev. John H Jenner was the itinerant pastor for this week. I learnt later in speaking to him that he was homeless for some time. I wished I’d had time to spend with him and hear his story. Again it was another service full of the word “endure” and a theme of endurance. I felt for the third time that I was getting confirmation that the journey must go on. “Keep going!” is the message I received. If God keeps telling me to keep going then it must be an important journey to Him.
I collected some of the dreams of the congregation. One person’s dream focused on the revitalization of the area and Liberty itself. He said that Liberty was a poor town with very few job opportunities. He seemed to be suffering from the lack of opportunities.
I left Liberty and headed down the beautiful tree-lined Pallisades Highway through New York City, along a very long Long Island, all the way to Montauk at the end of the island. I arrived after dark on a cold night and was thankful for my new headlight.
I would be staying with Courtney and Tim in Montauk for a couple of nights before heading back west towards New York City. A young couple. Courtney wise beyond her years and Tim a light-hearted soul who’s mission it was to catch his first fish. It was a house full of laughter and happiness. They were always giggling. It made me smile. It’s so wonderful to see a happy couple enjoying each other so much.