Thursday, 22 August 2013

On a lighter note

A friend and I pedaled up to the Berkshires last weekend, a trip of about 100 miles by car (I would say a good 115-120 by bike given the side roads, mountain detours and occasional wrong turns). It took us two days, and we had a blast. The weather was cyclist-fantastic (room temperature and overcast) as we ate our way up the Hudson valley. A 6 a.m. departure from my Inwood flat put us well into the foothills by 9, and we breakfasted in Stamford, Connecticut with the bleary-eyed locals.

The route northeast from New York isn’t very touristic, and there aren’t many options for lodging in the obscure towns off the main routes. Quaint New England WASP havens like Sharon, Connecticut, will have their B&Bs for $200 a night, booked well in advance for Saturdays in the summer, but your basic Comfort Inn or Motel 6 are scarce. Our tongues were tasting asphalt after about 11 hours, and we were on the lookout for a place to crash when our last hope before dark, a decent-looking motel in Dover Plains, New York, turned out to have a ‘We are Closed’ sign on the office window.

Being a child of the communitarian 60s, I immediately started asking random passers-by if they knew of any place to get a room for the night, any Hispanic families looking to earn $50 or an abandoned schoolyard that we could occupy without getting busted by the state police (whose HQ was just down the road). Wouldn’t you know it but a friendly guy with a pony tail drove up in a massive truck and went to work for us, phoned his wife, consulted with the liquor store owner, and finally said, ‘You’re coming home with me’. And we did.

Carl turned out to be a hilarious biker dude with a gigantic Harley Hogg in the garage, seven children and a big heart. We sat up talking about life and finally sank into comatose sleep on his living room floor. Wife Colleen bustled around getting us food and putting out towels for us to shower, and we were sorry to have to leave the next morning after such a serendipitous taste of the wonderful old days when people were not immediately terrified of each other and intuitive sharing was part of the country’s ethos.

So here’s some love for Carl & Colleen of Dover Plains, New York.


LCM said...

Excellent. Brought a smile.

Taaj Jaharah said...

You cannot make this stuff up. REALLY happy to see it in print.

Dough said...

I admire your courage to travel and let the itinerary just happen.
Might be some hope for the human race after all.