7.05.2018

New York State of Mind: Port Jervis

I was way overdue for a trip to my hometown of Allentown, PA. I hadn't realized it had been 4 years since I was last there. I wanted to see family & friends and of course mix in a couple of rides if the weather permitted.

It was a bit of an adventure arriving into Philly. I had to sleep in Chicago's O'Hare airport after the last flight of the night filled up!! The consolation was a bump to first class on the 5a flight the following morning. I'll take it.
A 20 mile beautiful scenic drive through the Delaware Water Gap brought me near Port Jervis.
The next day I was up early and pointed my rental car towards Port Jervis, NY. It's just over the PA border across the Delaware River. New Jersey is also a stone's throw away. I heard about these trails a few years ago from a Tucson buddy, Dejay. He was instrumental in getting these trails on the map, even has one named after him!! I loaded up my rental bike from Action Bikes & Outdoors ready to sample some new dirt.
If you need a bike for the day, stop by and see CJ.
It was around 11a when I got rolling, already hot & muggy, I knew I'd be in for a sweat fest.
Trek Marlin with a 3x8 drivetrain!!

The trail system was well signed. Couple that with the Trailforks app & paper map and I was set.

Trail difficulty marked on the trees.

A rare long distance view thanks to a powerline clearing. Thankfully, I'd be under the canopy of trees most of the day.

There were a few manmade features: bridges, logrolls, a skinny & rock armoring along the way.

For the most part, these trails were loaded with embedded rocks, plenty rideable, but sure was a bumpy ride!!

There were some stretches of smooth flowing singletrack.

Not sure what the story is here, but this barrier seemed to stretch along for miles.

Walt's Keep trail skirts along Reservoir Number Three.

I should mention that all this greenery and water can only mean one thing: bugs. Lots of swarming gnats hovering in front of my eyes the entire time. They really didn't bother me a lot other than being a visual deterrent.

Sketchy looking skinny, I rode the gap to the right.

Well done Port Jervis.

Watershed Park trailmap

I made it around the north end of the park and found Dejay Downs trail.

Rated expert too.

Nice benchcut in sections.

The trail meandered around and over this creek.

A couple long chunky downhills kept things entertaining.
I have to say, Dejay Downs trail was my favorite of the day. From north to south it trended downhill, had good flow but also some solid challenges.

This reminded me of Nebraska singletrack.

It's fern season in the northeast. Following Reservoir Number One.

I guess that's why this trail is called 'Out & Back'.

Everything I wore may have been drenched in sweat, but at least it was shady most of the day.

Creepy looking structure tucked in the woods.

A quick peek above Port Jervis.

Point Peter sits at 865' above Sea Level.

Elks - Charles Brox Memorial Park.

The Delaware River makes an appearance.

Not much topography looking NE, but I-84 cuts through the far hillside.

Some local history.
Thanks for the tip Dejay, really fun trails. It was quite the change in scenery from what I'm used to, so much green!! I wish I would've been able to rent a full squish bike for these trails, so many embedded rocks. Maybe next time I ride here it'll be less humid!! It was in the low 90's with 60-70% humidity, that's a far cry from the <10% I'm used to in the desert southwest. There are plenty of hiking options in the nearby Delaware Water Gap to keep the outdoor stoke high. It's nice that it's only two hours away from Allentown, an easy getaway.


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6.17.2018

Picketpost: June Chills??

The stereotypical reply to someone complaining about the heat in these parts is: 'But it's a dry heat'. June often fits that description. It's hot, typically 105º - 115º, it's dry (<10% humidity) and it rarely if ever rains...until this year!! Cue our pal, Bud. Bud was a named Pacific Hurricane and we had the good fortune to lie in Bud's path as he fell apart. Keep in mind, it hadn't rained here since March 11th!! Yet here we were, mid-June, our driest and second hottest month and the forecast called for rain & 82º as the high.

I had planned to go ride on Saturday when the storm arrived, but I slept in a bit and when I woke we had a steady rain falling here in Queen Creek. So much so, that there were large puddles in our backyard. News worthy indeed. I opted to wait until Sunday to hit the trails, but where to go?

Most of our trail systems dry out quickly, but a few stay soggy for a day or so. Gold Canyon was out. I needed to stay kinda close to home...then it struck me. Picketpost. Yes. I had to take advantage of the good weather window.

I arrived at the trailhead around 5:30a and it was chilly!! Perfecto.
Early morning rays created quite the scene on Picketpost Mtn.

Water in the desert is fascinating.

Weaver's Needle pokes up along the horizon.

Different light angles this time of year really changed the landscape.

Any other time I've started a ride here before 6a, it would still be pitch black.

Picketpost Mtn. slipping below the saddle.

Century Plants in bloom.

Saguaro forest basking in the morning sunbeams.

I don't recall seeing Saguaro fruit before, the red through me off until I realized what it was.

I had planned to do an out-n-back to the 10 mile overlook, but I ran short on time. I opted to make a lollipop loop linking Telegraph Canyon Rd. back to the AZT via a horse trail instead.

These rock striations caught my attention.

Life finds a way to survive out here.

Quite a few large pools of water. This area received a bit of rain the day before.

Hero dirt along Telegraph Canyon Rd.

Turnoff to the horse trail connection. The trail was ok, best ridden the other direction, but it's only 0.6 miles long.

Saguaro fruit.

Back at the trailhead, it was maybe in the low 80's. I was only sweating because of the spike in humidity.
So glad I made to decision to head east to ride. The early morning light was really spectacular out there. I may try to ride there more often in the summer, just gotta get there early as it's mostly uphill the first 10 miles south.


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6.10.2018

Boone, NC

Boone, NC is such a nice summer getaway from the Phoenix heat. Now that we have family in the area, visits will be more frequent. I'm actually starting to get a sense of knowing my way around the surrounding area too.

We had initially planned on taking a red-eye flight, but the flight was nearing capacity and we weren't exactly near the top of the standby list. Plan B? Move up a flight and arrive earlier! This worked perfectly and we were driving away from Charlotte late on Thursday instead of Friday afternoon.

Let the brewery tour begin!! My in-laws are now retired and mostly do the snowbird thing between Boone & Tallahassee. They know where all the good local watering holes are. Our first stop would be new to them as well: Beech Mtn. Brewing Co.
One of the area ski resorts in the winter.

New brewery, take a flight.
The beers were pretty good, nothing really jumped out at any of us though. There also happens to be the Land of Oz theme park on site, of course K wants to come back for that.
We poked around the museum for a few minutes.

This scene freaked me out as a kid.

We're off to see the Wizard...

Oh, look, a mountain biker!! Yes, there are lift assisted trails to ride!! Next time.
It may not be a high Rocky Mountain pass of the west, but the elevation is enough to not really notice the higher humidity.

We made our way back over to Boone for a late lunch at Lost Province Brewing Co.

Impressive pizza oven.

Plenty to choose from.

Flight time!! The lager made with corn grits was interesting...in a good way.

Shrimp Po Boy & New Orleans kettle chips is fine southern eating!!
I love how the view from the porch changes by the minute. Storm clouds building.



I often wondered what all those peaks were, I knew about Rocky Knob (Mountain bike trails!!) I searched for a good Android App and found PeakFinder AR. $4.99 well spent in my book as it allows photos to be taken inside the app, then the overlay can be properly aligned if needed.
We had a few errands to run on Saturday mixed in with a couple more brewery stops.
We weren't planning a stop here, but found out their delicious Scottish Ale was back on draft. 

Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone.

Nice selection. Flight bound.

Cool mural above the bar.

Cheers!!
There was a food truck kinda attached to the building, portable kitchen!! The food was fantastic too.

Say whaa?? Yes, please. A couple packages were frozen for an AZ return.

Sunset from the porch.
Sunday was set aside for visiting with Gary's Aunt Sue. She comes to the mountains once a year, a nice getaway from the Charlotte area.
The gang out for brunch.

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sisters.

It's not often I get K to wear a biking shirt, Dr. Seuss sure helps!!

So many hills, bumps, peaks & layers of mountains. No idea how accurate this one is, but I'm sure it's close.

More porch time on a Sunday late afternoon. Great place to watch the birds & lightning bugs in the evening.

Gurgling waterfall at the bottom of the driveway.

Quite the mountain retreat!! New landscaping complete.

Yuengling brats cooked in Yuengling beer. Mmmm.

A couple heavy hitters we sampled.

A few that made their way back to AZ.
Boone is such a cool place to visit, especially when escaping the desert heat. We're already planning a longer stay next time, hopefully spending some time down in Asheville. Perhaps a ride...or two??