Day 65: Long Island and Meeting Family!
In the morning, Morris made me a deal. If I went and got us both baked goods from the bakery, he would pay for mine. He had me at baked goods. A quick detour later and I was back with the food. Morris grabbed what he thought was his Danish out of the bag and I ate what was left. However, he soon realized that he had the wrong pastry. At the time, we didn’t really understand what happened and we thought the bakery had given us the wrong items, but thinking on it now, I’m pretty sure the mistake was on us. In any case, it would be a busy day for us both as Morris cleaned out more of his mother’s house and I would bike to the end of Long Island. I also planned to meet up with another cyclist and some more extended family on the way! At the tip of Long Island, I would to take a ferry to Connecticut and stay the night with another Warmshowers host.
When I had been searching for a place to stay partway along Long Island, I had contacted a bunch of different hosts. One of them wasn’t available to host me, but was available the next day and wanted to meet up at a café and talk about my trip. We agreed to meet at Kerber’s farm near Oyster Bay.
(Not a great photo, but it's the only one I've got!)
Kevin and I met up for a fun coffee break and I got to have some apple cider donuts. He was excited to talk with me about my trip, and it’s always fun to meet new people on these adventures. We couldn’t stay that long as I had another meeting planned with my extended family member, Chris, but I am very happy to have been able to talk with Kevin on the way!
I had heard that the riding on Long Island wasn’t great, but I thought otherwise. There wasn’t much of a shoulder, but the roads were mostly flat and the traffic was low. Most importantly, a lot of where I rode was farmland, so there weren’t many lights or stop signs to slow me down. That was especially important today as I had a ferry to catch.
Chris’s house was barely off my planned route, and it didn’t take much of a detour to reach him and his family. Chris and I went out to eat and talk. It was great to meet him and I have really enjoyed being able to connect with family I had never met before and probably never would if not for this journey.
Chris used to be of the immense number of police officers in New York, so it was great to get his perspective on the city. He paid for everything and we drove back to his house.
They knew I still had a few days left to ride, so they sent me off with a bunch of bars and snacks to eat on the rest of my trip! With that, I needed to get a move on because I had a ferry I was only barely going to make if I really pushed hard.
I had lined up another Warmshowers host in New London, CT. A number of the hosts in the area said I was welcome to stay with them, but Richard (my host for that night) had done some bicycle touring in Japan (where I now live) and I wanted to hear his thoughts about touring the country. He also lived in what looked like a spectacular part of the city, right next to a lighthouse and the ocean. I wanted to get there before it was too late, so after saying goodbye to Chris and his family, I dropped the hammer for the rest of the ride.
Again, I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the riding was in this part of Long Island. The roads themselves were nice to ride on, but before too long I also found a newly paved bike path! They were still doing some work on it, but I could just go around the construction signs, along with everyone else on the path. It kept me away from the cars and all the distracting bakeries but one...
Even when I eventually did have to return to the road, I was so far out on Long Island that cars were pretty scarce and the riding was awesome! Everything felt so different from the West Coast that it made riding towards the end of the island especially enjoyable. I don’t have a ton of photos of the area because I was riding as hard as I could to make the ferry, so you’ll just have to take my word on it…
Pretty exhausted, and out of water, I finally made it to Orient Point and the ferry. It would leave about 10 minutes after I bought my ticket. I asked around whether there was any water, but they said the water wasn’t good out here. I still ended up having to refill a bottle in the sink.
When I was aboard the ferry, they secured my bike and I went to the upper deck where there was enough space to lay down and take a quick nap for the couple hours it would take to reach CT.
I woke up as we were approaching New London. I was supposed to meet my host, Richard, somewhere around the ferry landing for food, but I was unable to contact him. After searching the area, and the concert that was happening at the harbor for about an hour, I gave up and headed towards his house as it was getting dark.
Right as I pulled up at his house, a car pulled in behind me. It was Richard and his wife just getting back from the concert. The timing worked out great.
They gave me a quick tour and also told me that I would have to stay outside due to COVID. They knew someone who had just had a breakthrough case of COVID while vaccinated (it wasn’t as well-known back then) and were now more vigilant. While entirely understandable, I really wish they had told me that beforehand because I had several other options of places to stay where I wouldn’t have had to sleep outside, but their awesome location did largely help make up for what I knew wouldn’t be the most pleasant night.
They had a private beach with an outdoor shower that I could use and were next-door to the lighthouse, which made for a fantastic location to take some photos and go for a quick night swim. The water of the Atlantic is soooooo much warmer than the Pacific. While I didn’t get to sleep indoors, they did allow me to eat inside in their open patio area. Richard’s wife also made me dinner, despite both of them having already ate at the concert, so I still had a good time with them.
While I ate, I got to talk to Richard about his touring experience. He said his tour in Japan was somewhat short, but still a lot of fun. Now that I am working in Japan, I hope to do a tour around the pilgrimage route my island of Shikoku is famous for, Ohenro.
After eating, I set out my things to sleep. It was already wet from the humidity and I did not want to set up my whole tent only for it to get covered in moisture and take a ton of time to pack up and dry. So instead, despite knowing I would be cold, I just used my sleeping pad and slept in my clothes. I also didn’t want to get my down sleeping bag wet, so I forwent using it too.
The last time I did this was in Kansas, and I regretted that decision quickly as it started to rain and I was freezing all throughout the night. I was hoping that without the rain, it would be a little more tolerable... Though with how high the humidity was, it might as well have been raining…