Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Old Put Century" 6/14/2009

My "Old Put Century", (l uploaded my GPS data to Garmin Connect) from the end of the #1 train at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to Putnam Valley Veterans Memorial Park in Carmel/Kent in Putnam County, started out with a moderate drizzle. Nobody showed up to join me though several had RSVPd: they were deterred by the rain even though the forecast called for the weather to improve by mid-morning. After waiting around to see if anyone would show up I headed out.

The initial leg of the South County Trailway was quite pleasant: a smooth asphalt path through the woods. The side roads in Yonkers for the on-road connector to the next leg weren't in such great shape but that cleared up. I knew from various reports that the Trailway was closed at Odell Ave. but I had checked out the area with Google Earth and was optimistic that I would have a ready exit onto Saw Mill River Rd.

The satellite imagery was misleading because it was out of date: the ready exit had been turned into a construction support site and was fenced off. I had to backtrack and tried to find my way out to Saw Mill River Rd. through the subdivisions behind Toussaint. No joy, despite having a GPS: the map in the GPS clearly showed a road as a through street which was in fact very established as a dead end. Given that I'm using the Garmin City Navigator 2008 maps which are really from 2007, it's possible that the street was changed but it sure looked well-established not 2-3 years old. After almost an hour exploring to find the way out I gave up, took the Trailway back to Toussaint and took Tuckahoe Rd. over to Saw Mill River Rd. and thence up to the Barney St. trail entrance. The rest of the ride was no problem.

By the time I reached the bridge over the Croton Reservoir, the weather had changed dramatically for the better as you can see from the view from the bridge, seen in the photo below, out over the reservoir in the photo at left.

The quality of the pavement decreased after the reservoir crossing. I could not comfortably keep an 18 mph pace, even though much of it was a slight downgrade, due to all the bumps -- presumably tree roots. The pavement improved again somewhat and was pretty good going through Yorktown Heights.

The Yorktown Heights station, seen in the photo below, from the Putnam Valley Line is a Westchester historic site. It's the only intact station left from the "Old Put". The town has a nice little park built up around it and this is the place to take a slight detour across the street for bathroom and refreshments at the gas station. It's a long ride since Barney Ave. and there's no more opportunities to leave the trail for many miles so this is it.

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