Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

24 July 2010

Justine's First Multiday Trip

Tomorrow I'm going to do something I haven't done in seven years:  I'm going to take an overnight bike trip.


Actually, I'm going to be gone for three days.  Millie is going to take care of Max and Charlie.  She's happy to do that, and she's happy to see them:  She rescued them from the streets.


This will be not just the first "long weekend" bike ride in seven years:  It will my first ride of more than a day since my surgery and since I started living as Justine.   And it's going to take me to the Delaware Water Gap.


I'm actually kind of nervous about this.  I haven't really done a lot of riding.  All right, so I've done three 100 kilometer rides, on flat lands.  My first and third days' ride will be much longer than that.  It will also include some hills, which I haven't done.


At least I'm not going to carry a lot with me:  Changes of underwear and socks, another pair of shorts and T-shirt (besides the ones I'll ride), a bathing suit, a light sundress (which will work as a cover-up) and a light sweater that I'm going to take from one of my twinsets.  The night will be cooler where I'm going, and I could wear the sweater over the sundress if I really need to be somewhat presentable.  And, of course, I'm going to take enough hormones, my dilator and camera.






At least each of those items is small.  I'm going to try to fit it all into my Carradice Barley bag.   When I went for my surgery, everyone marvelled that I had everything I needed for eleven nights in a carryall. 


Some things I'm taking aren't so different from what I took on Nick's rides.  But the bathing suit and sundress are things Nick never would have brought.  As Nick, I also didn't have twinsets.  And a dilator!  Hormones!:  As my old self might've said:  "What's with that shit?"


If I recall correctly, that's what Eva said the last time I rode my bike to the Delaware Water Gap.  We'd gotten into an argument--about what, specifically, I forget, but I think the mere fact that we were together got us into arguments--and I pulled my bike off the wall, rolled it through the apartment and slammed the door on my way out. 


I had absolutely no idea of where I was going or when I would be back.   Of course, that was part of the plan: Had I told her "I'll be back in an hour," or even "I'll be back in a while," it would have given her a more or less definite amount of time to cool off or to toss my belongings out of the apartment.  Part of me never wanted to see her again, but I also wanted her to worry. 


And she did.  I knew that when I called her.  I changed few dollars for a bunch of quarters in a diner somewhere and found a pay phone.  (For all of you young people reading this:  In those days, the only cell phones were on Miami Vice.  And they were about the size of today's laptops!)  I dialed; she picked up on the first ring.


"Where the fuck are you?"


"Pennsylvania."


"Penn Station?"


"No, Pennsylvania."


"Where?"


"The Delaware Water Gap--you know, next to the river, across from New Jersey."


"Shit!  What the fuck are you doin' there?"


"Well, I got on my bike and this is where I ended up."


That's when she said, I think, "What kinda shit is that?"


It was late, but the air was pleasantly cool and the sky was so clear and the full moon was so bright that I could see my reflection in the trees.  All right, I took considerable license with that, but you know what kind of full moon I'm talking about:  the kind you never see in a large city.


I crossed back over onto the New Jersey side of the Delaware River and kept riding until I saw a motel.  I paid something like thirty dollars, and I think I was the only person who stayed there that night.  Having no clothes to change into, I figured it was pointless to take a shower.  Besides, I was tired, so I simply flopped into the bed.  It might have been the worst mattress ever made, but no queen (I'm talking about monarchs, not the kind that live in Chelsea.) ever had such a plush bed.  At least, it seeemed that way.  I guess it's an example of some corollary to the principle that anything tastes good when you're really hungry.


Now, of course, I don't expect this ride to be anything like that one.  If anything, I'll probably be even more tired than I was that night because, for one thing, I haven't done as much riding within the past year as I did in a few weeks before that ride.  Also, I'm about a quarter-century older.  And, of course, there's one other change. 


So why did I pick the Gap for this trip?  Well, I have other memories of that place:  I did a ride there with a club of which I was a member when I was at Rutgers.  That was a shorter ride than this one will be, and I probably rode faster on that ride than I will on this one.  Also, I did a hike there when I was a scout.  (Yes, a Boy Scout.)  So, I have pleasant memories of the place, and even though this distance is longer than anything I've done in a while, I don't think it's impossible even if it's a bit intimidating. 


I had thought about going along the Jersey coast from Sandy Hook down to about Island Beach State Park, or  the East End of Long Island or even taking an Amtrak to Boston and going out to Cape Cod.  But I figure that any beach area is going to be trafficky--and expensive. 


So it's off to the Delaware Water Gap for me.  I'll try and post during my trip.

3 comments:

  1. Have a lovely trip! I'm a bit impressed by your packing skills. I've only got to camp for a couple of days and the bike looks like a 'rag and bone' cart.

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  2. Aaaah! This is so exciting and I am envious. I can't seem to get it together and do this, partly because I have doubts whether I am a strong enough cyclist, and partly because there is no nice route out of Boston in the direction I'd like to go.

    Enjoy your trip and the new memories you will make their.

    And thanks for the image of Nick looking at Justine's hormones and dialator and saying "What's with that shit?" : ))

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  3. Velouria: I just couldn't help thinking about how Nick might've reacted. Can you imagine, though, the look on his face if Justine replied, "It's your future, honey!"

    BB: I always figure that if you're in an industrialized country and not in the deepest wilderness, forgetting something isn't the end of the world. Most of the ride I described is through New Jersey, and it ends in Pennsylvania. Parts of western Jersey are rather bucolic and even scenic, but even the smallest villages have a pharmacy or some other kind of store where you can get things you might forget.

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