After last week’s inaugural ride of 2010, we headed to the Westhampton Barrier Island which lies to the south of Long island. There are several outer barrier islands lining the south shore of Long Island – Westhampton, Long Beach, Fire Island or Jones Beach. Westhampton barrier island is terminated by the Shinnecock inlet in the east and by the Moriches inlet in the west. It is not the longest of the four, but it is the only one that has an asphalt road spanning from one end to another AND is not entirely covered by obnoxious suburbia.
Although the weather forecast for the weekend was fantastic, the only apparent downside of riding on Sunday was supposed to be the fog which was predicted to be lifting around 9am or so. The plan was to get up at 5am and then drive the thirty-some miles to Cupsogue County Park on the east end, park and bike the 15 miles to Shinnecock County Park on the West end, take a break and bike back before the sun gets too hot and before the traffic picks up significantly.
As far as plans go, it worked out pretty well, except it took a while for the fog to lift up and the sun to show up. Unfortunately as a result it was also pretty cold and the pedaling was only barely keeping us warm. The entire island appeared to be almost deserted as we passed an occasional jogger or were passed by an occasional car.
A nice bonus of this ride were several geocaches that I was able to easily pick up. Two of them (GCX58K, GCX878) were within walking distance of our parking spot, the next two (GC1DN49, GC1DN4N) roughly in the middle and the last one – GCVANZ – at the other end. Out of the five hides, the two in the middle were probably the best. I left the bike with Millicent and Andi to find the cache by the road and in the spirit of my ongoing triathlon training ran the fifth or so of a mile to the other one – and back.
As we were nearing the east end of the island, the road quality was steadily deteriorating and it was appearing to be more and more desolate. Fortunately, the fog started to lift up and the sun started to peak through every now and then.
After reaching the Shinnecock end of the island, we snacked on some fruit and energy bars and after about 30 minutes headed back. At this point the sun was completely up with few clouds remaining in the sky. Apparently dissatisfied by the flat terrain, Andi and Millicent wanted to bike up the Lighthouse Road Bridge, which we promptly did as there was still very little traffic. The rest of the ride was uneventful, except for a few provocative photographs at the end.
Overall, this was an awesome day. Very nice, albeit a cold-ish day, scenic surroundings and most of all – reasonable solitude and silence. I guess it gets quite busy around here in the summer. We finished the day (or the morning I should say) with sushi lunch (seaweed salad!) on the way home. And as an added bonus, few videos shot with my iPhone.