Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Long Journey (Brooklyn to Montauk) Part I

This entry begins with this image, taken last Friday night before the journey began.  The Empire Drive-In was located in Corona in a parking lot outside of The New York Hall of Science.  Getting there was a 10-mile ride and hairy as hell at times due to having to ride on Woodhaven Boulevard at night.  But, man this place was incredible.  A group of artists got a bunch of salvage yard cars and piled them on top of one another.  You had the option to sit in them or on top of the roof.  We chose the roof of a late 80s (?) maroon Ford Taurus.  It was a sort of bike night sponsored by Transportation Alternatives and the feature film was Breaking Away.  I totally forgot how amazing of a film it is.  It's funny, romantic and has some great bike porn in it.  The timing of seeing this gem was beyond one of strangeness.  It was literally showing the night before going out to the farthest point of Long Island.  It was a night of inspiration, to say the least.  There was a full, blood moon, the ride back was smooth and avoided any major roads, cemeteries zoomed past, quite a few of them actually, and then we got to enjoy a cold beer on Washington Avenue once back in Prospect Heights.

The morning came a lot quicker than I had anticipated.  I mean, bam!  There she is and I overslept a bit, which definitely turned out to be a good thing.  I really needed the energy later in the day.  But, I was pissed at myself in the morning.  Ended up waking up a hair before 7:30.  My original plan was to be on the road by 6:00, with an alarm set for 5:15.  One of the main objectives of the trip was to see the sunset in Montauk proper.  My hotel was purposely located on the harbor to make things easier.  Obviously, with an actual start time of 8:30, that wasn't going to happen.  After the initial feelings of self-loathing passed, I was able to have a bit of coffee, hop in the shower and get shit going.  Ended up leaving the apartment with a pack that weighed about 20-25 lbs.  That added weight was something I hadn't really thought about when planning.  I mean, I packed as lightly as possible, but it took some getting used to.  It was still pretty early for the city on a Saturday morning and the traffic on the initial avenues (Washington and Myrtle) were pretty light and breezy.  Then, out in Queens, Merrick Boulevard began.  Jesus Christ that was that fucking awful.  Zooming traffic, double parking, doors opening and jaywalking people galore.  It was awful as all hell for miles.  It was the segment of the trip where I thought my eminent death was a real and likely possibility.  Then you are in Nassau County and Merrick Blvd. turns into Merrick Road and thins out a bit.  Luckily, the cue sheet I was using got me off that road for a bit and onto wonderfully mellow, suburban streets.  You could take normal breaths again and all the bicycling risks subsided.  It was lovely.

The first stop was in the notoriously haunted village of Amityville.  This was an unplanned stop, but had to be made.  It also turned out to be about 34 miles of riding at that point and nearly three solid hours of pedaling.  The Amityville Horror is one of my favorite haunted house movies.  It is pretty bad, but in the Run-DMC good way.  I have been on the LIRR many times and my eyes always light up when we hit the Amityville station, yet I had never really stepped foot in the town.  Lucky for this horror movie obsessed boy, I was able to ride through all of Amityville.  It was a kind of dream come true.  It is important to note that the mileage at this point of the ride really means nothing to me.  It is a walk in the park and the adrenaline is pumping, just by being on Long Island and starting to feel a bit far from the city.  And, I'm finally in Amityville!  The ride continued and the next stop I made was in Babylon.  One of my best friend's wife is from here and have been to this town a number of times.  There was an autumn festival going on and my cue sheet was a mess, seemingly taking me all over the southern end of Long Island.  I asked some Babylonians (ha!) for directions to Montauk Highway and just made my way to it.  Montauk Highway becomes Main Street in many towns, so there was a Halloween parade in Sayville.  Tons of cute little kids in costume, fire trucks with all of their doors open, rides.  It was awesome and felt like I had gone back in time.  It is one of the first times I felt as if these near parts of Long Island could actually be beautiful!  Sayville was 55 miles in and my arrival time was 1:05.  

And here is the fact of the matter and where things become important.  This point is not even the fucking halfway point and that extra two hours of sleep begins to creep their minutes of importance through my body.  I have to admit I was feeling amped, but starting to feel some negative energy coming from parts of my body.  At that point, my neck muscles were starting to ache.  They weren't bitching and moaning, but they were starting to tell me they were getting a bit cranky.  My knees also began to start to feel a bit weird here.  It felt amazing when they popped.  I'm not exactly sure what is working when that happens, but man, it is heavenly!  This was also the point where the straight up concept of self-discipline kicked in.  There would be no more stopping for at least 90 minute or so intervals.  That became a weird mental trick as well, as checking the watch every three to five minutes was torturous.  And, right after setting that rule, I came to Patchogue and stopped.  I just needed electrolytes...big time and water.  So, got a Poland Spring and a Gatorade and felt amazing after consuming those.  That was 60 miles.  Still, just under the halfway point.

Areas ridden through:  Brooklyn, Queens, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Rockville Center, Baldwin, Freeport, Merrick, Bellmore, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Amityville, Copague, Lindenhurst, Babylon, Bay Shore, Islip, East Islip, Oakdale, West Sayville, Sayville, Patchogue.

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