Chris and John have been camping at some of our docking locations. Last night John, our Minnesota gondolier and a former Boundary Waters canoe guide (BWCA) slept in the gondola. He enjoyed being rocked to sleep and said it was the best sleep he’d had so far on the trip.
Early morning dock activities included an enthusiastic rowing lesson from Bepi with Enzo and Vittorio interjecting. It was loud, boisterous, productive and fun for all. Chris noticed a difference in his stroke as soon as they left the dock.
The gondola in front of the Marlboro Yacht Club.
Departing the Marlboro Yacht Club at 8:15am, Bepi, Enzo, Chris, and Vittorio began the day’s journey and we all made sure to express our thanks to the members of the yacht club.
The gondola had a good strong start, covering 5 miles by 9:20am.
By 9:15 the wind was light but steady, creating a very light chop – unpleasant for water skiing but fine for rowing. As we came up along-side the gondola to catch a photo with a freight train in the background, Bepi caught my attention, pointed to Chris and gave me a “thumbs up” indicating that he was rowing well – a big compliment considering the source.
By 9:50am, the gondola made it to the Newburgh-Beacon Bridges at 6.4 miles. John switched with Chris who received congratulations for his rowing as Bepi and Enzo joked that Chris had “taken my spot” on the gondola.
We were able to get both gondola and chase boat next to Pollepel Island for a great photo with the castle behind it.
The guys rowing past Bannerman's Castle.
From Bannerman’s south, the winds were calm and the sky was clear but for a few small clouds. It got hot today; the sun was out early and we found ourselves spraying a lot of sunscreen, actually wishing at one point, for a breeze to cool us down.
At 11:30am in the shadow of Storm King Mountain, I switched places with John.
Passing west point, we heard a bugle call and then bells – a chorus of bells accompanied us for the next 10 minutes. I was surprised to learn that Vittorio, Enzo and Bepi were fans of West Point. We stopped for a minute so they could have some photos of themselves with West Point in the background.
About a half-mile from the Bear Mountain Bridge, we took a break at 12:45pm to eat tomatoes and apples and waited until 1:15pm.
We passed under the bridge and arrived at the Peekskill Yacht club at 2pm – a half hour before our scheduled arrival time.
On the dock at the Peekskill Yacht Club.
The Peekskill Yacht Club was quite hospitable and welcoming. We had a great time getting to know some of them and at one point everyone ended up singing “O Sole Mio” at high volume.
It was a great day filled with some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen from a river. Scott Keller from the Hudson Valley Greenway had told me that this was some of the most beautiful scenery along the route and he was right.
Tomorrow we will be in the widest part of the river and an area where high winds can spell disaster.
Please pray that the winds will be as still as they were today.