At Homestead General Store I put in a coffee order for me and Terry C. We have a deal: whoever gets there buys coffee for both of us. The plan was to pick it up after the ride.
Then we were headed up Bridgeton Hill, where I chanted, "wheel on the ground" until we got past the steepest section.
It was a few turns later, near Ralph Stover Park, where I stopped for the pictures that would get me dropped from the ride.
They didn't even come out the way I wanted them to.
Jim stopped to take a picture of me taking a picture, because he likes being meta. We saddled up again, talking about how, with digital cameras, we don't have to hold them to our faces when we focus. In every picture of me taking a picture, I've got my arms stretched out. I do this so that I can zoom in as much as possible without relying on the digital zoom (which pixellates). We were just winding up that conversation when we got to the end of the road. Nobody was there. Ahead of us was a sign that read something like "no thoroughfare." Having been here before, my hunch was to go down that road. But, to our left, on a dirt road, I saw a biker in an orange jersey and thought it must be Bagel Hill Barry. So we turned left.
When we got to the end, the orange biker was nowhere to be seen. There was, in fact, nobody at all to be seen. So we turned right, which seemed to us (even with Jim's professed lack of directional sense) the logical way to turn. Still nobody. When the road ended in a T at Cafferty (a name I recognized), we stopped and I called Tom. (Cafferty, it turns out, goes on roughly forever. If I've been on this road, or past it, before, I have no idea where.)
By now they'd figured out that we were missing, but for us to turn back to catch up would be the work of at least ten minutes (they'd gone up a few big hills). I could hear Tom rustling paper maps. Jim checked Mister Garmin. Both came to the conclusion that, despite the fact that we were running more or less parallel to each other, there was no meeting up to be had. So Tom sent us on our way, downhill, on a glorious stretch of road that I might have or might not have ever been on. Jim and I decided that this stretch of Cafferty, between Tory and Route 32, requires a revisit.
When we got to the bridge over the Delaware at Bulls Island, we decided to wait for the rest of the group here instead of in the parking lot. I apologized perfusely for the missed hills and distance. Jim was not at all perturbed. Neither was I. If I'm going to be dropped, this is the best scenario for that to happen. We agreed that Jim should get his Hill Slugs Waders Club card punched because I'd taken him down a dirt road unnecessarily.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw two fawns walking along the towpath towards the bridge. I grabbed my camera, found a perch at the wall, and waited for them to emerge. I caught sight of them in the shrubs:
This picture makes getting dropped worth the experience:
The red Delaware River:
The river as I see it through my sunglasses, more or less (more less than more, but you get the idea):
A kayaker paddles through the mud:
Jim and I had a conversation in Gearspeak, the parlance of Wrenches, which I am not. Yet. We were talking about shifters and 11-speed cassettes and wheel spoke position. I said that I'm a Luddite when it comes to shifters: I don't see the point of electronic ones. "Why?" I asked.
"They save a smidge of weight," Jim says.
"Pfffff!" I said. "Sean says that even index shifters are untrue to pure mechanical form. He says that with index shifters you're never between gears. I told him that I'm between gears all the time with Miss Piggy."
Tom and company pulled in right around then. Many years ago, I accidentally dropped him, an event that has given him much verbal mileage. Now that he's inadvertently dropped me, we're finally even. Not that we won't find a zillion other things to razz each other about.
After the ride, I drove back to Upper Black Eddy to pick up our coffee and order a PB&J sandwich. On the way home, I conjured up another route to try. While I got gas somewhere near Amwell, I emailed Tom and Jim the idea: 579 minus 519 equals 60. It'll have to wait for a dry, temperate day. Stay tuned.
As for all the Gearspeak, there's a reason, but that's the subject of another post. Now I'm off to dinner, the start of a week during which I will not be permitted to eat anything that's not nailed down. Phooey.