Windham to Hillsdale

Tim kept you up to date with our progress so I’ll fill in a bit and call it a day. Here’s Tim’s method of transporting the trailer wheel from the bike shop back to the Thompson House, riding the tandem solo. Who needs a stoker?


WhileTim was cleaning and doing bike repairs this morning, I was cleaning the luggage. The ghost hand helped clear away the last of the road grit.

Hyalophora cecropia – thanks Tom (and others) for the information. Here is one of the pictures I took as Tim patiently waited on the trike (and sent you the picture he took).


Two opposable thumbs (and the rest of the fingers) at work replacing the tire and the tube after we were “screwed.”

My hand hanging on as Tim stands (right under the no standing or stopping sign) to take a picture from the bridge over the Hudson.

I decided on the second day that I would stop trying to take pictures from the back of the moving tandem with my iPhone. I don’t have any kind of strap to keep it attached in case I drop it. I figured I could make up for it when we we were stopped. But these trucks called to me on Route 23. I asked for a slow down so I could take a quick snap of these beauties.



The GPS told us to leave Route 23 and take Route 82 south, followed by a few other turns until we rejoined 23 in Hollowville. We have never tried this before, and it was a wonderful detour. Quiet, scenic, not too hilly. A real treat we hope to repeat again in the future.

We rejoined Route 23 in time to spy a favorite shop along the road and arrived in Hillsdale just at suppertime. Pizza restored the energy – at least enough to get us to the Holiday House Motel across the street from the Four Brothers Pizza Inn. Early to bed – at least for Tim, while I finish up my contribution for the day.

Thanks again for your encouragement, weather reports, extra information, and comments. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tomorrow on to Norfolk, Connecticut. The trip continues.


A Room With a View

This is what I see from our porch at the Thompson House, if I tilt my head extremely to the right.

We took the wheel from our trailer to Windham Mountain Outfitters to have the bearings serviced. On the way the main chain broke, again. I got to use my new chain breaking tool, which was way fun.

Otherwise, my legs were engaged in resting. They did this intensely most of the day.



A couple of people who moved from the North East to drier climes have commented on the amount of green in the outdoor pictures. We have a lot of water up here. In fact, we have such an abundance that it spontaneously falls from the sky. Sometimes we even have too much, and houses and towns get washed away. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that God loves the North East more than he loves the rest of the country. Probably because we have fewer mega-churches.

Rest day in Windham

For the last two semesters in Harry Littell’s photography class at Tompkins County Community College I have been playing with pictures of “ghost hands.” I use the app ProHDR on my iPhone to create images of my hands. Here is one I made while we were at the Jericho House in Afton. I can’t decide if the images are strong art statements or creepy pictures, but I have fun making them.



I have been looking forward to our rest day at the Thompson House. It’s quiet, they have washing machines, and good food. Plus I knew I could resume reading Rockwell on Rockwell. The book would be waiting for me in one of the many living rooms. I wasn’t disappointed. I remembered where I had left off when we left last year. Norman Rockwell on the importance of hands.


I thought I could get away with a photograph of the section that interested me most, but it’s difficult to read. Here is a typed copy of the page I read about hands:

“Hands are next to heads in importance in pictures containing figures. This is because they can express so much and because they can be such a great help in telling a story. There is a saying that you can tell how good a draftsmen an artist is by the hands he draws and there is some truth in this. Frequently you will see a picture that is well executed—except for the hands. Hands are difficult to draw and to paint but you will be well repaid for all the time and effort you put into doing them well.

In my picture, “Freedom of Worship,” I depended on the hands alone to convey about half of the message I wished to put over. You can express any human emotion with hands. You can excite pity with them or you can make people laugh. Use them in every picture you can and you will get a fuller expression of the ideas you are portraying with their wonderful help.

While hands are difficult to draw, you must master them if you are to succeed as a commercial artist and illustrator because if your hands are not right, you entire picture is weakened. . . .

Try drawing hands which, by themselves, will express such an emotion as avarice or joy or love or hunger. Never lovingly finish a head, and then carelesslly bang out the hands. Try to get just as much character into your hands as in the head. Consider the chubby, ineffectual hands of a baby and the gnarled and wrinkled hands of an aged person. Each pair of hands tells the story of that person’s life almost as well as the faces do. . . .”

I have been thinking long and often about how to show interesting positions of hands while making my ghost image trick work with ProHDR. Today’s visit, along with a book I purchased last year (after Harry showed it to me in class) — Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook — have given me more to puzzle over as I continue my study of hands.


I tried a few more ghost hands, but didn’t like any of them, so I tossed them out. I got a different opportunity when Tim and I started a ride down the street for lunch. Once again, the chain broke (as it had near Speedsville on one of our training rides.) This time, the chain was very (well relatively) clean and Tim had a new improved tool to fix it. I moved from art photography to documentary photography and shot Tim’s hands in action. He fixed the chain quickly and we finished our very short (and relaxing) journey towards lunch.

As I finish today’s entry (dinner is calling soon) Tim has taken himself and the tandem down the road to the Windham Mountain Outfitters (right next to our lunch spot). Tim has given them the wheel from our trailer to repack the bearings. Our hope is to start tomorrow’s 48-mile trip to Hillsdale, NY with as little extra friction as possible. We’ll see how that works out.

June 9: Oneonta to Windham

Back to Denny’s for breakfast. This is Tim at Denny’s the night before. Same place, different time.

We packed, wrapped everything in plastic bags (especially our iPhones), and started east on Route 23 in the rain.


We rode up hills and down hills—in the rain. Trucks and cars sprayed their wake on us and we sprayed our own wake on ourselves. I noticed all sorts of potential pictures:

My favorite white car stuck up in the air coming out of Oneonta

A set of two silos with a grand entrance (stairs and large side railings) between them. I thought of my friend Sophia and her study of silos

Glorious piles of rocks, of gravel, of tree stumps. I thought of our friend Ed and his study

Wrecked rusty cars and trucks. I thought of my friend Mary and what fine images she might make

Buildings sliding back into the earth and I thought of my friend Jerry and how he would record them

The list of potential photographs could go on and on. . . but I regret to say, I didn’t take any of them. My phone was in my pocket wrapped in a plastic bag.

This is the only picture I took. I saw the slug during a trip to the “necessary” (I think that’s what Bethia called it in Caleb’s Crossing). It was a wonderful day for a slug. He seemed quite happy. Later alongside the road I saw a large group of yellow snails, many with brown stripes. I don’t think I have ever seen snails like this. But we didn’t stop, so I didn’t get a photograph.

We stopped for a second breakfast in Stamford and thankfully there was no air-conditioning in the cafe. Here Tim is drying off with the travel towel our friend Jane gave us. It’s a wonderful comfort when every inch of you is wet and you are looking for relief.











Tim lent me his Block Island sweatshirt for our visit to the warm indoors. Good rest. When it was time to go, we put all our wet clothes back on again and resumed our trip. I think gortex raincoats start out as raincoats and end up as wetsuits. Somehow they do help you stay warm, but not particularly dry.









Later in the afternoon the rain stopped. One thought I had about why we do this—why we keep riding when it’s raining (beyond sticking to a schedule) is that it feels so good when the rain stops. It was a good ride. We covered 50 miles and arrived at the Thompson House in Windham for a welcome break. Tomorrow we’re not going anywhere.





The view our our back window.


I am almost finished with Caleb’s Crossing and tomorrow will resume my reading of an Italian mystery series by Andrea Camilleri. Thanks to my friend Poppy I have a new series to work my way through.


Windham to Hillsdale: 49 miles and then on to Norfolk, CT 25 miles

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After hearing wonderful tales of bears in the Catskills from Joanne, and some of the history of The Thompson House from the owners, Eric and Deborah Goettsche, we set out on our on our way to our next destination in Hillsdale, NY.

Or almost set out. It appears that I lost the chip with all the road maps when I changed the batteries in the GPS. We make a search in all the possible places, but no luck. All is not lost though. We still have the route marked on the topographical maps. The colored road maps will have to be downloaded to another chip – another time.

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More signs? I’m trying to cut down, but to understand this sign, you have to remember what is on one side, and mentally add it to what you see on the other. A good excercise.

We briefly pull into the driveway of Point Lookout – where we have stayed several times in the past. Tim is looking for the perfect view, but doesn’t see what he wants.

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So we start the big descent. Notice our moving average (mostly climbing so far this morning). Also notice the altitude.

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But before we get going too fast, we see a spot for “the photo.” I’m OK with Tim’s crossing the road for a better view, but not too happy when he tries crossing the fence as well. He thinks again and cancels this idea.

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Not to be outdone with stupid moves to get “the picture,” I attempt a one-handed shot at the GPS as we fly down the hill. You can see my other hand holding on to the handlebar. Note what it looks like at the bottom of the hill.

Now it’s back to work. We seem to miss many green lights, but one red light gives me a chance to photograph a motorcycle rider who isn’t zipping by. The hard work at the bottom of the hill is making our way along the shoulder. It’s not NY States finest, by any means.

We have a welcome break when Claude Haton from The Daily Mail stops us for a photograph and a brief interview. He remembers that he talked to us several years ago along the same stretch of road – one year when we rode back home from Block Island as well.

Instead of a view from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, here is a closer view of what you might see if you take the time to walk (or ride a tricycle) across on the sidewalk. It says no bicycles, but I decide they don’t mean us – we have three wheels.

Another castle. This time a life-sized castle above the Hudson.

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Years ago a UPS driver stopped us to tell us how we could avoid two large hills by taking side roads that later rejoined Rt 23. They provide a welcome chance to avoid the cars, the dust, and the noise.

This car is too special to pass by without a photograph. I have no idea what it is.

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A quick stop by The Purple Barn. I always look forward to seeing what (or who) is going to be on display.

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We arrive in Hillside to spend the night – in a motel, not along the road where there will be a large music festival next month.

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The next day we have to climb our way past a ski mountain before we get a chance to have breakfast.

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Since Tim already sent a scene from the breakfast porch, I’ll show you the cool car that was parked out front and also how Tim cleans up for breakfast. He’s using a travel towel – a gift from my friend Jane. We use it for laundry, for us – for anything except the bike. it’s a great help as we try to keep ourselves and our clothing dry.

As I take the photograph, the owner is coming out with a FREE sign. I hope they find a good home.

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As the day passes it gets, hotter and more humid. Tim considers buying the motorcycle. Think of the breeze!

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But we keep on pedaling. And just as we turn into what we think will be our very last hill of the day, we realize why we are making such slow progress. There is a huge leak in the back tire! But we are so close (or so we think). Tim pumps up the tire with the hopes it will get us to our destination.
Tim has promised to tell you what happens next. So I’ll leave it to him to write about it in the morning. I too am tired, and it is time for bed!