Northbound Warren County

DateOctober 21, 2006
HostsClaire Hamanaka and Walt Willard
WhereWhite Township Recreation Area; Warren County
Who (else) Bob Bird, Barbara and Tracy Cate, Debbie and Al Cudworth, Jane and Paul Fialcowitz, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Connie Mertens and Don Engleke, Dave Snope, Linda and George Wells

[Walt Willard's report]

Even with the retirement of Voodoo Dave there was little doubt that the weather would cooperate for a fine fall day. The foliage color was a good blend of falling leaves and brilliant color in the sunshine. When I drove the route on Friday, I was worried that all the wet leaves would make for hazards along the way. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the ensuing windstorm had cleared all the leaves and left the roads dry. The cool breeziness made for invigorating riding, but I didn't feel cold. We cruised through the colors blazing in the sunlight, and soon arrived at Vicky Race Farms.

Pausing long enough to devour some delicious cider donuts, most of the group was soon off to warm back up. Claire and I waited with the remaining donuts for the incorrigible rose-smellers, who we knew were well armed with shortcuts. They soon came chugging up to the farm. They had chosen a shortcut without the aid of a topographic map, so as one related it, it was shorter on distance but probably hillier than the planned route. Claire and I let them savor the last of the donuts as we took off on our own shortcut to intercept the first group in time to get the food setup.

I want to thank Claire's sister Karen for taking time from her Saturday as a non-biker to play the catering role in getting the Black Bean Chili and bread to us piping hot. Thank you Karen! There was something for everybody in the group with a variety of shortcuts and extra scenic loops. Several people took the time to fit our ride into very hectic schedules, and we thank you all very much sharing your companionship. That alone makes the effort of putting on this fall classic worthwhile. Thanks everyone for a great ride!

[Team Wells's report]

We think everyone in New Jersey got a healthy dose of rain starting Thursday night through most of Friday, then a cold front made its way through, bringing strong winds. Saturday dawned with clear and chilly skies. Seven teams (Willard/Hamanaka, Isherwood, Cudworth, Wells, Engleke/Mertens, Fialcowitz, and Cate) and two of our DOGS Captains riding singles (Dave Snope and Bob Bird) assembled at the White Township Recreation Center for the long-planned ride through Northern Warren County. This ride has become a staple of the annual DOGS calendar, and we were all happy to know that Walt and Claire would be leading it, once again.

If you haven't done this ride, all we can say is that there is a lot of climbing and a lot of downhill riding but a treat near the end -- a few extra miles out to a scenic overlook of the Delaware Water Gap where you get to view the Gap as well as the beautiful golds and reds of the trees off in the distance. The chilly weather was overcome in the first few miles as we climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more. (You get warm really fast, on this ride, with all that climbing). The roads were in pretty good condition, although the rain had dropped a lot of leaves on the surface and wet leaves don't make for great traction. So, caution was the watchword on all of the descents -- many of which can only be described as "epic." If climbing wasn't enough, more than a few of the climbs got an extra added attraction of headwinds -- just what we needed. The upside was noted by Claire, that the traffic was particularly low and that was welcome.

There rest stop at Vicky Race Farms for their delicious doughnuts and cider was also welcoming. Due to the temperatures, this was a brief stop -- just enough to get some additional fuel, adjust fluid levels and get back on the tandem so that we would remain warm.

Team Wells opted out of that optional loop that allows the viewing of the Delaware Water Gap because we were getting a bit bushed due to the many climbs and headwinds. (This also allowed us to gain a bit of time on the rest of the pack). The optional loop was only four miles, but the riding that we accomplished today had been enough for us. The best part of the final portion of the ride that Team Wells appreciated was that the Warren County Department of Public Works had repaved a lot of previously nasty road surface. Despite the heavy rains and wind, the Fall foliage was in full splendor, thus making it a colorful ride. (However, captains didn't get to see that much while keeping an eye on those pesky wet leaves on the road.)

Following the ride was another signature of our hostess -- a pot of her delicious, hot, vegetarian chili, a basket of fresh-baked breads, and if, that wasn't enough, pumpkin and apple pies! George Wells made a "green" salad to go with Claire's chili. Helen Bird surprised us and popped by with delicious chicken dumpling soup, and Jane Fialcowitz made some of her delicious chocolate chip cookies for everybody to enjoy. This was definitely a welcome feast for all the hungry riders (who generally over-ate, but who cares!) Many thanks, Claire and all of the members who made the post ride feast. We DOGS bring the term "Ride to Eat" to a whole new level.

The good news is that the DOGS riding season isn't over by a longshot. Next Sunday, 29 October, there is a Halloween Ride, led by Al and Deb Cudworth, starting at the Loantaka Brook Reservation, Morris Township. The following Sunday, 5 November, brings the return of the famous Pancake Rides out of the Califon Island Park, Califon (thanks to the DBLS DOGS). And the annual Winter Solstice Party will be held at the home of Paul and Nora Meixner and their two daughters who live in Mullica Hill. Weather permitting, that day should begin with a 25-mile ride. So, get out the cold weather riding clothes and enjoy the wonders of Fall and early Winter in New Jersey.

Linda & George Wells
Leaders - Doubles Of the Garden State (DOGS)

The sun-drenched, warmly-dressed group

Pre-ride milling around

Out in the hills and foliage

Leaving Vicky Race Farm

Vicky Race Farm -- the second wave

DOGS Home Page

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Copyright © 2006, Walt Willard (text, photos), Claire Hamanaka (photos), George Wells (text)