Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tiggy's Maiden Voyage Along the Hudson


November 28, 2006--Yesterday I took my first ride along the Hudson River. It's been a long time dream of mine to finally follow in my mother's Shimano-clips, wherever she goes. I know that River Road situated at the base of the Palisades is one of her favorites, so I asked her politely to take me there first for the maiden voyage of my new carrier, Paws.
She hemmed and hawed a bit about the hills and the traffic, but eventually after giving her the best of my sad, brown eyes, and the hopeful spring in my step, she relented.

It was a practically flawless day, though as mother had predicted, riding at the same level of giant, rolling, car tires gave me a bit of indigestion. But I thought, "what the heck, you only live once," and tried to ignore the fear welling in my stomach.

We headed off along Hudson Terrace circumspectantially (it's in the official Blogger's Dictionary, I dare you to look it up), where most cars gave us enough space to feel safe. I guess they saw my yellow wagon behind the looney in the yellow and green cycling kit, and they couldn't figure out what she was carrying back there so they gave us the benefit of a doubt.

We headed over to the Hated Hill more formally known as the entrance to Palisades Park at Dyckman, and mom used the opportunity to take me out and walk down the 1/4 mile or so to the roadway below. For dogs-in-the-know, the roadway is closed to cyclists because through some convoluted, antideluvian logic that has its origins in the Neanderthal brain, cyclists are safer when they walk down the narrow hill than when they ride, even if they are twice the width while walking.

At the pin-turn, mom shoved me back into Paws, and we took off down a wonderful descent to the old graveyard where the picnic benches are. Bet you didn't know there was a graveyard there? I begged mom to stop and let me dig up some of those old bones just for good measure, but she refused, insisting that we had had enough encounters with ghosts in the past month, and we didn't need anymore right now.

Then we passed the old park ruins that are partially hidden on the right side of the road. We don't know the history, but there is at least one story about the old, stone remains: one of mother's friends passed there about 2 years ago, and heard someone crying out for help. Her friend kept riding, and on his return saw about 10 police cars parked in the same spot. He learned that the man he ignored had been stabbed to death.

Nice guy. I guess that's one of the reasons she's kind of lost touch with him.

Mom huffed an puffed up the hill from there, and complained loudly that she wasn't able to go as fast as she was used to when she didn't have to carry an extra 50 pounds, but I was perfectly happy watching her do the work: it's about time.

We passed a couple of roaring waterfalls, and generally it was peaceful except for the constant banging against the road. When are they going to repave River Road? Geez!

When we reached the end, right before the final climb to Alpine Police station, mom stopped and took me out for a spin. I was a bit shaken by the rough road, and I was ready to take off for a hike up Alpine Hill when she reminded me gently that we were on a bike ride, not a hike.

I explored the grassy ruins around an old hut which seems to serve no purpose whatsoever, and posed for her camera.

It completely went over my head that we were on old, hallowed territory, the Palisades of old, not far from Undercliff, a small fishing village that used to be there, also the place where large boulders would fall from the cliffs above, sometimes completely smashing the houses below.

After 15 minutes of sight seeing, Mom shoved me back into Paws, and we headed back towards the Hated Hill, but not before mother had to scale several different hills, each with a muttering and a cursing that could be heard for miles.

Speaking of Hated Hill, it is no surprise to me that the authorities in New York City, my home for many years prior, are trying to control cyclists with their proposed parade rules. Here on River Road, a new crop of cyclist-fascist signs have emerged telling cyclists that on this road, where there are typically more cyclists than cars on any day, they have to ride single file.

The Hated Hill is no exception, and the sign in this photograph (that you can't see because of the flash) says "No Parking", practically the only "no" sign posted for car drivers. But clearly since it does not say "cyclists can't park", we parked Paws and Mr. Bike there and posed for our own photo album.

Once again, in an effort to avoid a $50 ticket and 8 hours in Alpine traffic court, mother walked me up the hill. Several cars passed going well above the speed limit, with not a police officer in sight.At the top of Hated Hill
Once at the top, I admired the view of Manhattan and the George Washington Bridge in the distance, and looked with great curiosity at the graffiti there. Someone had written "Gerry Sucks" on the stone, and I wondered what it was like to be convicted to suckdom forever more on a rock facing the Hudson without having the opportunity to defend yourself.

Till next time!

Tiggy

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