I made this image of Rachel Van Slyke on Saturday May 10th after her first night of camping here in Dooleyville. She was sitting by her rig in front the Moorehead YMCA in Charlotte ready to play some music at the City Sponsored Bike Week Finale 1,300miles in to her ride from Miami to Montreal, Canada. Yesterday afternoon my phone rang, it was her and she was through NYC talking to me from along the Connecticut coast in Guilford on the US 1. This grid corridor of hell is parallel to and squished between the I-95 real and the Long Island Sound. Back after I had posted her original story my dad called from my home town of Brooklyn CT which is up in the North East corner of the state, entirely different perspective than the sprawly mess that she was seeing at the moment. Dad being an optimist and an all around nice guy offered Raych the hill behind the house on Maynard Rd to camp if she was close enough by for it to make sense. When she and I talked yesterday it turns out that she is headed for Providence RI for Thursday which is only 35 miles through the country from my parents house in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is 90 miles from Guilford but the way she is going is only suitable for Land Rovers and BMWs. I asked her to give me 10mins to call her back and I will have her on a magical cue through the hilly colonial country side to the house where I grew up at in no time.
I went to the nearest machine and went up on the googlemap then got her back on the telephone. I gave her the 90 mile cue off the crap and into the rural hills of interior Connecticut headed for the small enclave of Brooklyn in the North East corner of the Nutmeg State. As I clicked and dragged across the screen my brain was filled with visions of how beautiful her ride was now going to be. She took the data over the phone and by hand wrote out all the turns, towns, water ways, ferry river crossings and surface descriptions that I could throw at her. Then the list blew up in the air just as we finished, it landed in the road, I only picture 1.1million lanes of traffic trapping the valuable paper cue. Laughter, patience and a dash, she got it back and did not get run over.
30 Miles from where she was is the Connecticut River Basin at Deep River CT. She called me last night just after dark to let me know that she talked the lady in to letting her on the last ferry which brought her and her 105lb plus bicycle rig from the west to the east shore of the river. Just as she got off the boat on the east side if the river she was in the shadows of Gilletes Castle. A ranger took her up to give her a look see at this real piece of art architecture and then he gave her instructions on a safe place to camp along the water. She slept last night listening to the movement of the river as it works it's way down to the Long Island Sound.
This morning I am about to give her a text message push for the last 55 miles in to my Mom and Dad's place which will provide her with the best vistas so far of her trip. The terrain is rolling green country roads lined with 300 year old walls, large fields and hardwood forests with the occasional evergreens intermixed. When she gets to Canterbury on the RR 169 she may feel my ghostly presence for as a kid I peddled this road on bike with Ronnie, Johnny, Jimmy, JR and Jeff Doyle. It was so amazing growing up there and I am truly convinced that Rachel will have a great day today. When she turns off the 169 on to Wauregan/Maynard Rd she will have 4 hilly miles left over Black Wells Brook and across the flat to down the hill. I cannot wait to hear what she has to say about the sounds and smells there. The pool and private water will feel good, quiet, clean and densely connected to the earth she has been attached to via her Jamis since Easter.
Mom and Dad, thanks for reading my blog and realizing you could be in a position to help her out on her journey to Canada a few short weeks after she was here. Raych, call me tonight because I have a chip shot 35mile cue for you from Brooklyn to Providence with huge vistas!