Dusty DOGS Cruising the Columbia Rail Trail

DateMarch 17, 2012
HostsLarry & Brenda Isherwood, Dave Snope and Susan Nicolich
WhereCalifon Island Park, Califon
Who (else) Caren and Mike Bianco, Deb and Al Cudworth, Barb Flint and Neil McPhee, Pat and Ed Gifford, Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Wendy Samuelson and Jeff Winick, Linda and George Wells; non-DOGS: Ed and Kathy Krauser and son, Ben

Doubles DOGS Report

The day was unusually warm & sunny and what better way to celebrate St. Patty's Day, but to have 9 tandem teams and 4 single bikes all gathering on their variation of rail trail bikes to enjoy the spectacular outdoor weather at a very social pace with lots of riding conversation! Susan made two versions of Soda Bread as a pre-ride snack that was still warm out of the oven & delicious! Due to still healing from surgery, Larry held down the fort by fly fishing in the river at the park.

We started out riding southwest on the rail trail to High Bridge. Here is the link to this section of trail in Hunterdon County: http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/ParkAreas/ColumbiaTrail/info.htm.

At the turn-around point, most teams opted to stop for a Holiday Celebration Brew at a local Pub before continuing back to Califon for a picnic lunch. The remaining group returned to the park & headed for the picnic tables to enjoy their lunches. When the others returned, they joined us mid-lunch. Mike brought homemade banana bread & Pat made peanut butter cookies. Others brought some food items to share and we all enjoyed the "semi-buffet" style lunch.

After lunch, four & 1/2 teams decided they were in need of more trail enjoyment and headed northeast towards Flanders on the rail trail. Here is the link to this section of trail in Morris County: http://morrisparks.org/aspparks/columbiamain.asp. The others said their goodbyes & headed home. Larry stayed at the park & re-checked the fishing conditions until Brenda returned.

The first leg was 11 miles and the second leg was 16 miles for a total of 27 miles of dusty rail trail fun!

So we think the first official Dusty Dogs ride was a wonderful success and we look forward to this type of ride becoming popular, especially with those that really enjoy this type of tandeming the most!

Your DouBLeS DOGS Dusty Ride Hosts: Dave, Brenda, Larry, Susan

Team Wells Report

Saturday morning was a mess. When George got up and looked outside, he couldn't see across the street, the fog was so thick. Checking NOAA, the forecast had a fog warning that extended through noon and it looked like Team Wells wasn’t going to make the inaugural "Dusty" DOGS ride after two weeks of resurrecting our first tandem (The Enterprise) from space-dock, where she had languished since December 2006 when The Voyager was parked next to her.

Linda and I discussed the prospect of riding in the fog and decided that we simply weren't going to make the ride, so we sent our hosts an e-mail of regrets. Later the fog started to lift and, while having our usual morning coffee with our 93 year old neighbor, the cell phone rang, at 9:30 AM. It was Dave Snope giving us a local weather observation for Califon and a plea for us to make haste to the start point. We had already begun preparation, we had put the rack on top of our new Toyota the previous day (Friday afternoon), so all we had to do was get dressed for riding, put The Enterprise in her rack and our bike cubes in the car and we were on our way at 10:13 AM. We arrived at Califon Island State Park at 11:05 AM, only a few minutes late of the "official" start time (11 AM), which meant that we didn't really slow things down, as everyone was still gathering and talking. Following the picture, we left the parking lot at 11:30:23 AM.

This was the first off-road riding experience for Team Wells and we can report that it was different, but a nice different. The Columbia Trail section we rode led us to High Bridge (5.23 miles) and back (a total of 11.1 miles). The surface is hard-packed dirt with some gravel on it. We were riding 25mm Armadillos (which actually measure closer to 28mm when inflated), and we didn't feel any problems. However, the pace was slow and we averaged below 10 mph for the 11 miles of riding.

Early on, in our return trip to the park, we came to an intersection. Somebody yelled, "Beer!" and most of the teams turned right, while Brenda (Larry is still recovering from surgery and was waiting for us in the parking lot), Teams Snope/Nicolich, Willard/Hamanaka, Wells and single bicyclist -- returned to the park (with Brenda taking the lower trail back).

We had a great picnic in the park and lots of pleasant conversation as the sun continued beaming down upon us. When we all decided it was time to go home, Team Wells hopped in the car at 2:55 PM and returned to Molly (meow) who graciously accepted us back into her home.

Perhaps it was an optical illusion as well as physical perception but I could have sworn that we managed to go downhill in both directions! Okay, that isn't real but that is how it felt and looked. The slow pace allowed for lots of chatter as the pack of DOGS members rode the trail. To be sure, we did get a lot of surprised looks, even from the single bicyclists riding the trail. I guess nine tandems, with a few singles with us, made an impressive statement.

Now, if you are one of those DOGS members who doesn't really like riding on roads and/or riding at a fast pace, this kind of DOGS ride is custom tailored to your liking -- we only wish you had made the trip. But then, you probably were not aware that the fog had lifted and the day was going to be glorious. The next Dusty DOGS ride is scheduled for 19 May at 5 Station Road, Columbia - Trailhead Parking for the Paulinskill Rail Trail. (Check out the Events Calendar.)

In the meantime don't forget that our Annual Spring Equinox Party is next Saturday, 24 March, at the home of Team Bianco (Montville, Morris County). Most of the DOGS at today's ride said they will be at the party (4 PM) and many said they will begin their day with Team Bianco's ride (from/to their house at Noon), but not everyone has officially signed in and indicated what food item they are bringing to share at the party. We really need you to sign-up so our hosts and the rest of the participants know what to plan for.

By all means, enjoy the wonderful weather and get your tandems ready for a fun-filled riding season. (And it's still winter -- can you believe it?) We now have something for everyone: road, mountain, and, now, trails.

Our thanks to the DBLS-DOGS (Dave Brenda Larry Susan) for hosting this ride, with hopes that more DOGS members will participate in the future Dusty DOGS rides. And perhaps those who have a favorite trail will share it with the rest of us.

Did you know that today there is exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness? Yup! Hope all DOGS were able to get out on their tandem today. The daylight hours are now getting longer than dark hours -- it is full-on tandeming season.

Stay Upright!

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

Team Gifford's video from the event: https://vimeo.com/38846498. (4m47s)

DOGS Home Page

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Copyright © 2012, Brenda Isherwood, George Wells (text); Dave Snope (photos)