Bull's Island Ride (and Camping)

DateJuly 24-25, 2004
Hosts Deb and Al Cudworth
WhereBull's Island State Park
Who (else) Susan and Greg Adam, Helen and Bob Bird, Christina Chan and Rich LeGrand, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook

Cheryl and I arrived early Friday morning to set up camp at Bull's Island Campground. Raised the tarp, spread the ground cover, erected the tent, restored the fire pit and gathered a copious amount of firewood from the woods out on highway 29. Feeling secure in the setup, we took a rest for a swim in the nearby Delaware River. However, soon the dark clouds streamed over the mountains from the West and the wind and rain ensued. Picture Cheryl and me standing beneath our tarp holding onto the aluminum support poles in an attempt to secure them against the wind and torrential rain! Four hours later the rain subsided sufficiently for us to move all the gear, reinforce the overhead tarp, build a fire for roasted marshmallows and hunker down for the night. It rained all night long but our tent was dry in the morning when we arose to grey skies.

Not certain if we were going to ride, we took our time getting ready when we received a couple of phone calls indicating that we were planning on giving it a go. (I must admit that Christina did not sound so excited on the phone at 8:30AM!)

Finally dressed and ready to leave the campsite, Cheryl and I rode out to the entrance to meet with the gathering group. The weather began a gradual improvement as we awaited the arrival of Rich and Christina who embarked on a long commute from Bergen County to Bucks County. We left the campground walking over the bridge to Pennsylvania to begin what we believe to be the first official, dual-state DOGS club rides. Beautiful homes flanked narrow roads dressed in attractive flora. The ride was seasoned as well with the occasional fauna to delight the eye. White-tailed deer crossed our paths, cattle along roadside farms, a dog at every corner, the cry of the red-tailed hawk above and even a red fox broke cover to greet the folks on the strange looking two-wheeled vehicles. The pace was moderate as the hills were, at times, challenging. Rich and Christina were pushing the pace a bit (Mel, they are genuinely strong riders!) but we managed to all remain together finishing up the 44 mile trek with the standard sprint to the finish at the entrance of the park!

Post-ride festivities were held back at the campsite where we imbibed in fabulous sandwiches and salads prepared by Debbie. Later we all gathered around the campfire to roast marshmallows.

Three couples remained to camp on Saturday night. Rich, Christina, Al, and Deb set up tents on the site next to us. The six of us went to a local restaurant for some fabulous food intertwined with entertaining conversation as we learned a little more about one another. For example, Al is a night club singer and stand-up comedian. Bob and Helen each have a dog and carry portraits of themselves with their respective favorite canine, Christina is Chinese (I never would have guessed); Rich plays with toy robots for a living, whispers "suggestions" to Christina into the "Tandem Talk," and has a voice that is masked by the drone of airplane engines! Greg and Susan are still quite young (compared to the rest of us) and have to just "suck it up" on the hills! In any case, following another episode of "sittin' round the campfire," we headed off to sleep, appreciative of company and thankful that the rain did not interfere with our day.

Next morning, everyone slept in but I, who arose around 6:30 to chase away the squirrels that were knocking about the remaining items on the picnic table! I started up the campfire, cleaned up the table, got out the breakfast foods, and prepared coffee and tea on the open fire. Slowly but surely the slumbering beings were wrested from their tents. Breakfast was served and then we donned cycling garb to embark on Sunday's scheduled 32 mile ride. Deb and Al posted another first in DOGS history by having the first multiple day camping and riding event! Sunday's ride headed off into the hills of the NJ side of the Delaware. It was another great day to ride. The three remaining couples covered the 22 mile route rather quickly, culminated by the famous, blistering downhill finish back to route 29 where we all approached 50 mile per hour on the descent! Back at the park we assembled for a quick bite to eat and then broke camp.

We are all grateful for the invitation to join Al and Deb on their camping/riding weekend. Hopeful that this will become a yearly event and that more couples participate in the festivities in the future.

Saturday's Group Photo

Sunday's Group Photo

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Copyright © 2004, Mark Cook (text); Al Cudworth (photos)