Monday, July 3, 2017

JUNE 22, 2017
Runyak for Liberty Days 114 to 116
If you are new to this blog you may want to start at the beginning.
If that is the case see Blog Archive above and to the right. Or feel free to start here.

In the spring of 2009 I coined the term Runyaking. Not easily explained but in the simplest terms: Runyaking: Placing a kayak by a waterway, and driving a distance down the waterway and parking vehicle and running back to the kayak then paddling to the vehicle. If one wishes to explore the waterway further one can repeat the segment just mentioned from where they left off.

I've completed 113 days of runyaking from the source of my home watershed, the Flint River. By using waterways of Michigan inland rivers, the Great Lakes and connecting rivers, St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara, the Erie Canal and Hudson River, I've arrived at Yonkers, NY, about 20 miles from Statue of Liberty on 22nd, 2017.

In the first four years, I was attempting a solo runyak the Flint River source to Niagara Falls. Once reaching that goal I wrote a book, The Runyaker's Journey. This blog only covers the adventure from Niagara to the Statue of Liberty. To read that book, please buy the awesome e-book. It is only $4 and can be purchased many places online. This is the Amazon link. Once at Niagara I did not want to quit so I decided to keep going until reaching Lady Liberty.

Runyak for Liberty Day 114, June 20, 2017

This is it, my final runyaking trip to New York. I'd continue further but the driving to the end points is getting too crazy. My wife is with me on the finale, or at least while driving the van, never on the water or while running.

We booked a room at a Comfort Inn right on the Hudson River, a couple miles south of the George Washington Bridge, in the city of Edgewater, NJ. After arriving I walked to the waterfront to see if it was suitable for landing. It had a bouldered bank, but I could land with a little work. Better than trying to work with the Edgewater Municipal Marina, who had not been answering my emails.

I awoke Tuesday morning to and take Swiftee to JFK Marina in Yonkers, where I finished the last trip, and prep him. Not an easy task, drove over the GWB, hit Manhattan about morning rush hour. My phone's gps was giving me fits, and several times I was in traffic with no navigation.

I did make it to the marina in Yonkers eventually. I began unpacking Swiftee and was interrupted by a friendly man picking up the parking lot. His name was Luis. I told him I'd not be launching now, but later after running from Edgewater NJ. I left Luis and began battling my way back through Manhattan and the GWB. The ordeal took two hours. I was about to begin my run back to Yonkers when I noticed my Garmin Forerunner was dead. Arrgh!

My wife, Hope, let me borrow her's, and I was off running the waterfront trail toward the GWB. Worst thing about hers, at every one minute interval it would beep for 5 seconds. It drove me crazy all day.... until it too finally went dead.

View of Manhattan from the GWB
I had to stop in the middle of running across the George Washington Bridge to sing this song:

The run was easy enough until descending into Manhattan. My phone's gps is THE WORST ever. So I was basically on my own, trying to get to JFK Marina, which Google Maps initially said was 12.3 miles on foot from the hotel

. I'd just found my way there an hour or so before by van but had used e-ways at times, this time I was on my own. I tried using park trails through Harlem, but more than once found myself going out of my way. The map above is what I did run and the one to the right is where I should have ran, had I had phone gps. Surprisingly, in the end I still ran about 12.5 miles

  Adding to the difficult was the the heat, which was near 90 by the time I'd reached the marina. In Bronx, on Broadway, I found a gas station and bought a large bottle of Coke. Big mistake, I was soon burping up foam. My phone's battery was low so other than the shots from the GWB I never took another photo. There was just enough battery when I arrived at the marina to call Hope, to let her know I was launching. It was during the last two miles when in Yonkers dread overcame me! I remembered I did not cable and lock Swiftee before driving back to Jersey. I was in that process when interrupted by Luis, the man cleaning the litter from the parking lot. My thoughts were that I put the lock and key in the van... yeah the van that was now back at the hotel. Have Hope bring it to me? As hard as I found it getting from the hotel to Marina, there simply was no way Hope could bring it to me. With each running step, I kept wondering what was I to do. Basically the whole day would be a waste by the time. I 'd have walked the 12 miles back, or pay a taxi or Uber to get me back to Jersey. 

When I got to Swiftee at the marina, next to a boulder near the launch, there was the lock and key, sitting on the rock. That sight totally made my day... terrible day that it was, and would yet become.

It had taken me so long getting to the marina, I knew the incoming tide would be working against my forward strokes. I looked out at the river and what I saw also scared me. The rough water  from up-fjord winds looked ominous. I made a quick call to Hope, got through just to say I was launching, the phone was at 1% and then went dead. 
I jumped into the kayak, paddled out of the protected launch, and began battling the waves. 

I still had Hope's Garmin Forerunner but it too soon would be dead. I've never had a problem getting my Garmin to last through the run and kayak, but her's, was set to beep every minute, which made it go dead much faster. I'd already endured the entire run hearing the incessant one minute beeps, now it continued while paddling. 

In my dry bag I did have a digital camera that I haven't used in four years. I dug it out and was able to take a few photos. One was of the Palisades.
I'd long been looking forward to seeing the Palisades, mostly because in my mind, I thought I'd round them to see the NYC skyline for the first time. That was not to happen, I first saw NYC miles back at the Tappan Zee bridge. So, the Palisades were sort of a let down, also because most of the time the sun was above them, or it was overcast, and made them look like silouettes. This photo is about the best I'd seen them in three paddle days that I saw them.

I could see the George Washington Bridge as soon as I launched. It took hours to get beneath it.
Each mile was taking 30 minutes or more. By the seventh mile of the 10 plus paddled, the Garmin went dead. I had no was of checking whether I was making progress other than to watch the shoreline. 
Once under the bridge I still had two miles to go. I knew I was going slow, but just kept paddling. Near a mile to go, I had to be delirious. I even think I was hallucinating.  
I heard a man yelling to me, he was on a dock, or was he on a boat?
"Are you okay?" he yelled out. 
"Yeah," I yelled back, trying to speak in normal voice, as if to say, "Why not? Why wouldn't I be okay?"
That's a strong current you paddling against, it's about 10 knots."
The man had to be real, if imaginary my mind would never have said "knots." I have no idea how fast a knot is. (Yeah right, a dude who always wears a Captain's hat, who doesn't know what a knot is. Go ahead laugh at me. I have no reason to be on the Hudson in a kayak) 
When he said it, I, with arms aflailing, began looking at the shoreline. I was going nowhere, I was basically on a treadmill. 
I immediately changed direction and paddle into a small marina-like cove to get out of the current. I looked back at the river and saw just what I was paddling in. Holy beejusus! the current looked horrific. And who knows how long I'd been there before he spoke to me?
I later had to find out how fast it was, if what he said was true, 10 knots. 10 knots equals 11.5 mph or in runners terms, 5:18 minutes per mile! I was on a (water) treadmill doing 5:18 min/mi? NO WAY! Something's not right. From there on in, I hugged the shoreline, and hit inlets when I could to make forward progress.

I received this Facebook post below from Dom J. Manalo, whom I will write about later on day 116. The graph shows tide info for the GWB, about where I was paddling. According to it, I was in the river when the current was the fastest. It was no where near what the man in my hallucination said, yet, I was lucky to be paddling 1 mph! No wonder I was stationery in reference to the shoreline.

When reaching the large Edgewater Municipal Marina, another man standing at a slip, yelled, "Your wife's here, she's looking for you." It was 5:00 pm, still earlier than the time I originally told her, to soon for her to be worried. She had to be looking for me to get pictures. I looked for her, but not seeing her I kept paddling for I still had another half-mile to go. At times when I had to be in the current, to make forward progress I'd push against seawall or boulders until I finally made it to the hotel. With much difficulty I was able to get out out of Swiftee. Getting him out, and onto the bank, was like trying to land a marlin. 
I was spent, I'd just gone through 23 miles of hell. I've dribbled 3 basketballs 26.3 miles and have felt better than this. Oh wait.... I have to do the same thing again tomorrow? 

Runyak for Liberty Day 115, June 21, 2017

I got a good rest last night, after a hot soaking in the hotel bathtub. Today will be the very last runyaking day of the Runyak for Liberty. There will be no running tomorrow, just paddling out, circling the statue, and paddling back. Despite yesterday's difficulties, I felt like I could tackle the last runyaking day just fine. First, to give the legs more rest, and to be sure the tide was on my side, I decided to paddle first, run last. The unorthodox runyak will make for a hot New Jersey 10 mile run. It's odd that I've runyaked this far, but New Jersey is only the third state of the entire distance. 
Lost Paddle
One good thing about today launch, no driving. Step outside the hotel, hop in Swiftee, and paddle off. But wait... no paddle. Somewhere after the debarkment, the paddle was not recovered. Unseen it went back into the water or I left it and it was taken. Thankfully, I always carry a backup.

The Manhattan skyline was right across the the river, but my plan was to paddle on the Jersey side all the way to Liberty State Park, which is in Jersey City, NJ. 

Constantly looking at skyline, it looked too exciting to resist, the Jersey side was boring. I crossed the Hudson to be nearer the action. 
I actually paddle too close to Manhattan at times, so it seems. Here (picture) I was paddling past a US Coast Guard facility. I read this sign and immediately paddled away. How was I or anybody paddling to know without being too close? 
It was 9:00 am on a beautiful Wednesday morning, and I was the only kayaker on the entire Hudson. I never saw another during the 11 mile paddle to Liberty Park. While paddling I found it hard to believe, sort of flabbergasted, that within 15 miles of me, there were over 10,000,000 people, and I was the only one kayaking! 
Also strange was seeing a commercial airliner parked in a slip on the Hudson. I was ignorant to the fact I was passing the Intrepid Air, Space and Sea Museum. Never did I realize the plane was an SST, behind it was the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, and under the tent-like structure was the Space Shuttle Enterprise. That would have been great knowing when paddling by. With all the things I have to contend with on this journey I don't have time to research everything I might pass.

When approaching the Battery, south end of Manhattan, it was after 10:00 am, I began seeing much water traffic, ferries and water taxis. The water was getting choppy, I had to make a break for it, and get to the Jersey side of the river. 
This pictures gives an idea of how choppy it was getting across the river to Jersey from Manhattan. Lady Liberty can be seen near the center.

I paddled close to Ellis Island without realizing I'd crossed into a restricted zone. Out of nowhere came the US Coast Guard and I heard over loud speakers, "You are in a restricted area, you must leave immediately."
Not till then did I realize the bouys around the island, stated "Restricted Area." I knew about the restricted  area of the Statue, but not that of Ellis Island. I obeyed, and wished I had known about  the a no paddle zone within 150 yards. 
Ellis Island and Statue

After getting around Ellis Island I was only a mile to where I'd find a boat launch. When I landed there and got out of Swiftee, there on the launch was a dead crab. Only then did I realize, "that is an ocean species," I'd paddle from my home in Michigan to the ocean!

The 11.5 mile paddle was over, the easy part. I know had to run close 11 miles back to the hotel. It was noon and the temperature was 90. So glad today I had my Garmin and not my wife's, and it was still well chargedl. But I was still having problems with my phone gps, and I knew it would be dead before I finished the run. The run time was less than 2:30 hours and avg. pace was 13:15, but I stopped many times. It was about 4 hours before reaching the hotel. The first stop was when leaving Jersey City, and in Hoboken. where I stopped at a hot dog vendor, had a hot dog and a Gatorade. That was at about 4.5 miles. By 7 miles I was dehydrated to where I was feeling it. I saw some construction workers, and knew they had water. I didn't hesitate to ask. One worker looked in a truck, did not see any. He asked his co-worker, who said he'd drank the last bottle. "Where is the nearest store where I can buy some?" I asked. About a half mile further there is a Starbucks." 
I took off, and he wished me luck. I wished he told me the truth about how far it was. Well after a 1/2 mile I asked a cop where the Starbucks was. He assured me I was going the right direction but it was another 1/2 mile before I found it. 
I ordered a venti frappuccino and a venti water. My phone had gone dead since I last talked to Hope at the hot dog vendor in Hoboken. I felt the need to let her know my progress, that I'd be later than expected because of the heat. I saw a thirty-ish millennial standing near the counter with a smart phone. Dripping wet in running clothes I asked him if I could borrow his phone to call my wife. He, in a defiantly tone, told me, "NO, I DON'T LET ANYBODY USE MY PHONE." Behind him was an older man, and EMT or firefighter, I asked him the same thing. He said, "I don't have a smart phone just one of these." (showing me a flip phone) "Yes, a phone, I really need to call my wife." 
Thankfully, Hope answered a call from an unknown caller. I quickly let her know my situation, said bye, flipped the phone shut, thanked the man a couple times. I finished my water and frap, and before leaving walked over to the young guy who would not let me use his phone. I whispered to him in a Jack Nicholson way, "You're a New Jersey asshole," quickly turned away and walked out the door. He said something in defense, but I did not engage, just kept on going. So glad I didn't. It might have gotten ugly, as it was, it felt great running in the near 100 degree heat the last 3 miles. 

  Statue visible with camera

 Empire State Building center
 Jenga Building, Jersey City

 Approaching Ellis Island
 Liberty and Ellis Islands

Runyak for Liberty Final Day 116, June 22, 2017

Well, this is it. The final day. It's taken 116 days, but over 8 years and 2 months. Today nothing but paddle, no running. Good thing, for the hot 23 running miles the previous two day has sapped my legs. We checked out of the hotel and loaded the van. To mark today's the special occasion, I brought a bottle of rare craft beer to be enjoyed at the Statue. It was a 2009 bottle of Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, from Three Floyd's Brewing in Indiana. Me, being the Michigan Beer Snob, felt it should be a Michigan beer, but since it was given to me, I'd been saving it for a special occasion, this had to be it. I may not have an occasion left in my life as special as this, and the fact that it was brewed, and given to me, the spring of 2009, when the voyage began, also was fitting.

I made sure not to forget it when leaving home, placing it in the side pouch of a soft cooler with hard liner. Today, I filled the cooler with ice from the hotel and took it to the van. I unzipped the side pouch to put the bottle on ice. From what I saw next, I immediately went into a state of horror. Inside the plastic lined pouch the bottle was smashed and there was a pool of beer. I'd been wanting for 8 years to uncap the bottle, which now was smashed. In my disappointment and disgust I began jumping up and down screaming obscenities

Hope had to calm me down, difficult as it was. Alas, the beer was still all there. The situation could have been worse, had there not been a liner. She helped me in the salvage process. We cupped and strained out broken glass from what once was a 22-oz bottle into a 16-oz mason jar.

After the disaster, we together drove to Liberty State Park. We had driven there after the blazing hot run yesterday to retrieve Swiftee, not wanting to leave him at the park overnight. It was only a 11.5 mile drive but it took us nearly an hour to get there driving through the urban jungle. Skirting the city would take about the same time but was a 24 mile drive. From the previous experience we decided to try the longer drive.

We arrived at Liberty State Park well after 8:00 am. I wanted to be out by the statue at 9:00 am, the time I told friends I'd go Facebook Live, so I was pushing it a bit. I still had plenty to do on my pre-launch checklist. One added checklist item, taking more time than usual, was mounting the smartphone to Swiftee's bow, for the ability to go hands-free live.

Seems several kayakers were landing as I was leaving. They knew something that I didn't. They'd paddle out to the statue before 9:00 am. After that the tour boats begin passing, which make the water quite choppy.

One kayaker in particular was interested in what I was doing. At the time, seeing my banner, he was asking questions and breaking my thought process. I needed all the concentration I could muster. Yet, in the end, it was great that he took an interest. Hope knowing my frustration level began answering his questions. Actually, I was a intimidated by him. I, with my 9.5 ft. bathtub with pointy ends, have never considered myself a true kayaker. Here was this guy, with all his fancy kayak and equipment, asking me questions. This true kayaker was Dr. Dom J. Manalo. Dom is a professional photographer, who previously did genetic research at John Hopkins Medical School.
Prepping for the final RFL paddle - photo by Dom J Manalo
In the 116 day voyage, I've met hundreds of people. Some I only spoke to for minute or two. I've gotten help and advice from many. There are a few folks, that I often wonder what might have happen, if our paths had never crossed at the particular moment that we did. I do not believe in guardian angels but in my mind these real people can be called just that. I hope to make a Thank You list when I roll the credits. Dom, just happens to be the final name on the list.

Because of him, when I did launch, I had been forewarned about the ferry boats and that I should install my spray skirt, which I hadn't planned on. I'm glad that he stayed with Hope the entire time that I was circling the statue. During the time he took telephotos.

I was able to launch, and paddle to the statue and go Facebook live at exactly 9:00 am as scheduled. Back home I knew of many people who wanted to be with me when I finished. Up to a year ago I'd never heard about Facebook live. Now, with the new technology, I was able to talk to, and feel the presence of my friends. It was a great feeling, almost as good as being in the shadows of Lady Liberty itself, after 116 day of hard work.

But not until going off Facebook, gazing at the statue, did I really get the feeling of my accomplishment. I spent a few minutes reflecting, the took some photos and made a video to help document the finish. It was time to paddle back to Hope.

 Our torches

Manhattan from near statue
 Goodbye to Lady Liberty

Last four photos courtesy of Dom J. Manalo photography
After the landing, I got chance to talk with Dom. I apologized for my pre-launch behavior of giving him the cold-shoulder, saying I was sorry and that is not my normal personality.

The rest of the day was spent sightseeing without a kayak. We took the tour boat to Liberty Island, then to the Manhattan to visit the 911 Memorial, a consolation to not being able to land Swiftee at the statue. When approaching Liberty Island by ferry, the particular spot in the water where I had been earlier was tumultuous, because of all the tour boats and ferries. Swiftee and I would have been toast had we now been in the water.
 On Liberty Island
 Pedestal and inside tickets were sold out

Two Ladies
What's the next kayaking adventure? It's a question I keep asking myself. The first time, back in 2005 after paddling from Flint River source to the Saginaw Bay. Second time, after exploring the four major rivers of the Saginaw Valley from their beginnings to the Bay. Third time, when I reached Niagara Falls from the Flint River headwaters. Now for the 4th I'm asking it.

Well, please follow my next blog, as I runyak from Flint to Chicago, a goal not as lofty, and also not solo, as this one has been.  Hope I, then in my 70's, will be able to say, "What's Next," again after that. .


Monday, May 29, 2017

Runyak for Liberty Days 109 thru 113

MAP: Day 1 to Day 113
Runyak for Liberty Days 109 to 113
If you are new to this blog you may want to start at the beginning.
If that is the case see Blog Archive to the right. Or feel free to start here.

In the spring of 2009 I coined the term Runyaking. Not easily explained but in the simplest terms: Runyaking: Placing a kayak by a waterway, and driving a distance down the waterway and parking vehicle and running back to the kayak then paddling to the vehicle. If one wishes to explore the waterway further one can repeat the segment just mentioned from where they left off.

I've completed 113 days of runyaking from the source of my home watershed, the Flint River. By using waterways of Michigan inland rivers, the Great Lakes and connecting rivers, St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara, the Erie Canal and Hudson River, I've arrived at Yonkers, NY, about 20 miles from Statue of Liberty on 22nd, 2017.

In the first four years, I was attempting a solo runyak the Flint source to Niagara Falls. Once reaching that goal I wrote a book, The Runyaker's Journey. This blog only covers the adventure from Niagara to the Statue of Liberty. To read that book, please buy the awesome e-book. It is only $4 and can be purchased many places online. This is the Amazon link. Once at Niagara I did not want to quit so I decided to keep going until reaching Lady Liberty.

Those who have followed me over the years know I have done fundraisers for cancer research (V Foundation for Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, American Cancer Institute.) When I began my runyaking to Niagara Falls and now Statue of Liberty it never crossed my mind to do another. Yet, along my route, people have stopped me and asked if there was a cause for which I was raising money. So, I decided to go looking for a good cancer research institute so when asked I can say "YES." In my search, the Cancer Research Institute, was always one of the highest rated and why I chose to go with them. My friend Corky Meinecke, who died of cancer in 1997 is still the spirit that drives me. If you are following my progress as I Runyak for Liberty and feel you'd like to make a special pledge to someone who has fought cancer, please do. You will be in my thoughts as I runyak to the Statue of Liberty. You can donate at: Riley's CRI pageRunyak for Liberty Day 104, September 15, 2016

Runyak for Liberty Day 109, May 20, 2017

Remember, clicking on photos will enlarge them.
I kissed my wife goodbye at seven in the morning and began what would be a twelve hour drive before arriving at a 24 hour McDonalds near Peekskill. Not for food, but so I would have wi-fi for the evening. I would have made it in ten hours but made stops at five breweries. Breweries are a backstory to my journey, and find it hard to pass them in route. Not that I drank much, most places just a 5-oz glass, enough to say I drank at the particular brewery. 

Waking up on RFL day 109 temperature-wise, it was already in the 70s. Before the day was through it would reach 98 degrees. The hottest day of the 109 runyak days that I can remember. 
I drove from McDonald's to Cold Spring, where I debarked last September, then prepped Swiftee for the seven mile paddle, that I hoped would start at 10:00 am., but would be after 11:00 am because of problems. 
The biggest problem was, when I drove to where I'd end paddling but start running, Fort Montgomery, I could not park the van, there was a gate blocking entry. The park would not open until 9:00 am, another hour and a half. Grrr! I drove away looking for the nearest place to leave the van for 5 hours or so. I found additional parking for the historic fort a quarter mile away. I walked from there to where Swiftee and I would be landing later. I limit my running to only what is needed according to the rules of runyaking (which I made up). I'd be running close to 50 miles in the next 5 days, don't want to waste running muscles. 

It was during the walk back to where I'd begin running, that I saw, and took this photo, ruins of the barracks of old Fort Mongomery.
It was getting close to 8:00 am when I began my run back to Cold Spring, a half hour behind caused by the parking snafu. I really wanted to begin the paddle by 10:00 am, knowing that would give me two hours of  tidal advantage (low tide was about noon). 

 During the Revolutionary War, Fort Montgomery was a defensive hold against British ships trying to navigate up the Hudson. It, was one of the locations, chains were strung across the Hudson to stop British ships. The chains were forged at the forge across the river at Cold Spring, my launch point. Just upriver from Fort Montgomery is West Point, where the "Great(est) Chain" was positioned. The fort there at West Point was named Fort Arnold, after THAT traitor. It was renamed Fort (James) Clinton for obvious reasons. I'm seeing much Revolutionary history where I am, and will be runyaking.
In this photo, left of the rail bridge is Popolopen Creek, right of it is the Hudson River. Fort Montgomery would be in the vicinity of the the bare spot in the woods, upper right. I am taking this photo from Bear Mountain Bridge, a mile from where he run began (near the pedestrian bridge barely seen below the arched bridge). In the mile run I've elevated 200-feet. 

This tranquil pretty picture was taken from the middle of the Bear Mountain Bridge looking north to the Hudson Highlands, where West Point is (on the west) and Cold Spring around the bend on the east. It's a rarity to paddle on such placid waters.
Although the Robinson House is no longer, I ran past a sign noting the location near Garrison, NY. It's said Benedict Arnold fled from his wife and child to escape on the British ship Vulture.... Love the history of the area.
This is the entrance of Saint Basil Academy, a school for at-risk youths. It was of interest to me because it once was Eagle's Rest, the estate of Jacob Ruppert who created the New York Yankees dynasty of the 1920s and 1930s. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehring and the rest of Murderer's Row all spent time at here at the owner's mansion. 
Near the end of my 10 mile run, there was gap in the Highlands, where across the Hudson (out of view) looking west I could see West Point.

This is Swiftee and a Hudson Highland peak, just before launching on day 109. I was an hour later launching than expected, but still an hour ahead of low tide. I was thankful to get any favorable paddling. 
A northerly view of the Hudson Highlands, I'd be paddling the opposite way
West Point's Eisenhower Hall to the left and Fieldhouse to the right. 
Thayer Hall of West Point from the river resembled a fortress
This is photo of the Army's Navy!
I counted 9 Army 'sailors;' can you believe that?

Bear Mountain Bridge built in 1924. Oldest bridge south of Albany. 
My exit from the river can't be seen, but is just before going under the bridge. I'd veer off, up the mouth of the Popolopen Creek.

A man with a Scottish brogue walking his dog took this photo. Besides the three bridges seen, the pedestrian one, above my head, the rail trestle just above water, and the Bear Mountain Bridge, there is another in the direction I am looking. With this added non-Riley photo, of the missing arch bridge, all four can be seen.
When finishing Day 109 the temperature was way over 90. I had to find relief from the heat.
One day down, four to go. The run was excruciating because of the heat, with a pace of  15:30/mi. I worried about having to run four more days, (I would find out the following day's runs would be better.) After the run, and when I began paddling, I was so tired from the run, my arms were refusing to do their job assignment. They were in oxygen debt just as my leg. Thank goodness I had some tide moving me or I would have not made it. I ended up paddling 2 hours, well after I figured tide would be reversing, but I never felt it, The average pace was 17:30 per mile. Better than average pace for most rivers I've paddled.
So hot was the rest of the day, I had to find a motel to get some relief. Not far from the USMA at West Point I found a nice reasonable priced one. Only the second time in my solo trips I've not slept in my van. Last time, was Day 87, at Little Falls, NY. Quite different that day, then it was because of October cold and wind.
Runyak for Liberty Day 110, May 21, 2017
When I woke up on Runyak for Liberty Day 110, it seems strange being in a motel room. When I left the room, I ask the desk clerk where the ice machine was. She said she had ice in bags and brought me one. It was in a Glad bag, enough maybe to chill a bottle of wine. I was looking for a big bag. She asked, is that enough? Knowing I'd need ten of her bags, I just said yes, and left to buy some on the way. I was irked enough that I drove past Fort Montgomery, Swiftee's location, without thinking, paid the $1.50 toll to the troll, to get across the Bear Mountain Bridge. I was across the Hudson and two miles from Swiftee when I realized I hadn't prepped the kayak before heading to where I'd be running from, Verplanck Point. I had to turn around, head for Swiftee. Which meant I had to pay the bridge troll once again. Arrgh!
Once on the 9 mile run I watched the gps course on my smart phone closely. I'd be running through Peekskill, and any wrong turn would cost extra miles on my legs. Once out of Peekskill, about halfway, I knew the rest of the route. The rest of the way would be a winding mountain road with no shoulder to run on. I felt a little unsafe. Before heading into the danger zone, I stopped at a convenience store, drank a bottle of Gatorade, same as I had the on the run the day prior. I didn't feel the need for it as I did the day before, which is good. Yesterday I was thinking each day of running would get worse.
The previous day's run also had been on a winding 'mountainy' road. Both days I saw cyclist. I was leery running the roads, no way would I ride a bike. When I could, I crossed the road at sharp bends so cars would have a longer line of sight before seeing me. Not once did anyone honk horns like I was a crazy s.o.b. for running the winding road, which surprised me.
I stopped running when I reached the Bear Mountain Bridge and walked the rest of the way to the kayak, (over a mile.) The day before I ran the opposite way from Ft. Montgomery over the bridge, so the distance had been covered already by runyaking rules (that I made up). I've come to do this "walking" thing since the first days of the Erie Canal. Running the same thing twice just adds superfluous miles to the total RFL miles. My legs don't need it, and it just pads the total mileage.

Bear Mountain Bridge is where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Hudson on its way from Georgia to Maine. While walking across the bridge I had an 'aha' moment. A friend, Marit
Janse, walked the entire AP trail in 2004, the year I retired from GM. I envied her and wanted to do a special journey myself. I bought Swiftee a couple months after her finish, and began exploring the Flint River from its beginning to the Saginaw Bay the following spring. The following three years, I did the same for all major rivers of the Saginaw Valley: Tittabawassee, Shiawassee, and Cass. Those four years served as my apprenticeship for daring to do the Runyak for Liberty. Today on the RFL, my path crossed with Marit's Appalachian path. Of course, I had ran it the previous day, following her footprints, but today, going the opposite way, they crossed.

I launched on Day 110 and headed out into the Hudson for what would only be a 6 mile paddle, I had to paddle less than 1/4 mile to the mouth of the Popolopen Creek. I really was hoping I'd paddle under the trestle when there as a train overhead. I missed the train by several strokes.
Going under the Bear Mountain Bridge, I noted it was the third to last bridge I'd paddle beneath before reaching the Statue.
The peak that BMB seems to cave into is Anthony's Nose. The bridge road actually T's there and goes north and south. Wondering who 'Anthony' is I searched Wikipedia and got this for an answer, "The peak has been known as Anthony's Nose since at least 1697, when the name appears on a grant patent. The eponymous Anthony may be St Anthony, as a rock formation called 'Saint Anthony's Face' existed on Breakneck Ridge nearby before its destruction by quarrying."
It was an fast and easy paddle today, averaging under a 15 min. pace. The second mile was 11:29 pace! The paddle turned out to be the easiest day of the 5 days of kayaking. I enjoyed the easy day by drinking some M-43 New England style IPA from Old Nation Brewery in Williamston, MI, my new favorite Michigan IPA. 

For what seemed like a mile, running in the morning, I passed the Indian Point Energy Center. In the final miles of paddling, I had to get around the point, that produces nuclear energy. IPEC owned my Entergy is scheduled to close in 2020-21.

I've been finding landings by using the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail map.
Arriving at their proposed dock at Verplanck Point I found it very difficult to debark. The deck was too high. Using the boulders, I managed to get out of Swiftee and get him to higher ground. Minutes later, a hundred yards further, I saw a gravel beach, where I was supposed to land. Arrgh! Oh well, on Day 111, I will use it for a much easier launch.
I had much time on my hand after RFL Day 110 landing at 1:00 pm. So, from Peekskill, I took a 40 mile ride (south) on the Metro North, into Manhattan. I was there during rush hour. I was hoping to visit a brewery, but could not find one. My phone went dead on the ride in. Before leaving Grand Central Station, I bought a portable charger, which was supposed to be pre-charged. Yeah right! About two minutes worth. I tried two other places, one a Staples, all were the same, basically dead. I was smart enough the second and third time to check the charge before leaving.
Having no smartphone in Manhattan is crazy, how can one maneuver Gotham without one? Of course, I never heard of a smartphone the previous three times there, and I managed just fine. Back least I carried a map and camera. Today, I was able to take this lone photo above, before the camera shut down. I did go to a brewery though, Heartland, near Times Square, that I had been to 15 years ago. Nobody there could help me locate another brewery, so my business in Manhattan was over. I headed back to Peekskill.
That night I slept at the same 24-hour McDonald's as the first night, the temperature had dropped significantly during the day, so much, it was cold at times during the night in the van. 

Runyak for Liberty Day 111, May 22, 2017

As mentioned earlier, there's a lot of Revolutionary War markers on both sides of the Hudson in the area I'm runyaking. Where I launched on Day 111, was also the launching spot of the pivotal moment of the Revolution. George Washington made a decision to abandon all New York operations and head to Yorktown, VA. The victory there was the last major battle of the war. So, here in the summer of 1782, Washington commanded troops to cross the Hudson from Verplanck Point to Stoney Point on the west side and move south, bypassing NYC which was controlled by the British
I was awed when looking at  the portrait on this monument. I was seeing the same identical peeks across the Hudson that I was looking at Verplanck Point. It was a "standing in Washington's footsteps" moment. I prepped Swiftee yards away from the monument, then drove to Ossining, NY and ran 10.5 miles back to the kayak. The run was noticeably less hilly than the previous days, a sign that I am out o the Hudson Highlands.

South if Verplanck Point, and out of the Hudson Highlands, the river dramatically widens. I'm in the Tappan Zee (Tappan Sea) It is more than 3 miles wide in several places. Last time my water route was this wide was when the Erie Canal crossed Lake Oneida, which was at times 5 miles wide. I had difficulty crossing Oneida because of waves similar to ones encountered on the Great Lakes. Recently, knowing the Tappan Zee had to be navigated, I was concerned about rough water, especially combining the tide into the equation. Today it was not a problem.

My landing today would be yards away from Sing Sing prison in Ossining, NY. I'm paddling toward it in this picture.

This is where Swiftee spent the night of Day 111, at the dock and launch of the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club. Unknowingly, I arrived at OBCC the day before Commissioning Day, "a time honored tradition which celebrates the opening of the new sailing season," Which OBCC holds once a year, third Sunday in May. The hospitality of Ossining Boat and Canoe Club is above any other boat club I've come across. Quite the opposite from on Day 105, I contacted the Pirate Canoe Club south of Poughkeepsie for permission to land and launch, and they basically told me to buzz off, we're private. The OBCC members were hard at work gussying up the the property for Commissioning Day. One female member, Meadows, invited me in to eat lunch with other members, Peter, Mike and Susan. I believe it is only the second time I was fed while on the entire adventure. The last time was on the Erie Canal on Day 70 at Lyons Fire Dept. I met Bob Stopper that day, and he took me into the fire hall where they were having a Sunday chicken dinner, and bought me one. 
I bid the members of OBCC goodbye after asking if it would be alright to cable and lock Swiftee to a park bench. They said fine, and then Meadows even showed me the shower room, saying I could take one. I didn't, but said if the offer still stood for the following day I might. She said yes, but there would be much going on with it being Commissioning Day

Runyak for Liberty Day 112, May 23, 2017
Awaking from the confines of my van at Ossining's McDonalds I drove to where I left Swiftee, the day before. There he was... uncabled and locked. Something interrupted me the day before and I forgot. Good thing it was at the boat and canoe club, a semi-secure location.
The run back to Swiftee in Ossining was less than 10 miles but delightful. It began at Matthieson City Park of Irvington, NY. Before reaching Swiftee I'd run through Irvington,  Tarrytown, and Sleepy Hollow,  an area heavy in the history of Washington Irving (1783-1859). 
In my steep uphill run, out of the river valley, I ran past this statue of Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving's most famous literary character. 
The name Irvington was established in 1854 to honor Irving who was still living in Tarrytown, the next town north. The new name came about when two villages of Dearman and Abbotstown combined. 
Yes, there really is a Sleepy Hollow, not a fictious town but a quant village just north of Tarrytown where Washington Irving actually lived. 
Most of Irving's years were at his mansion Sunnyside. Another mansion in Tarrytown is Kykuit built by John D. Rockefeller. While running though the river towns of Irvington, Tarrytown, and Sleepy Hollow (I'm not sure how the area ranks by wealth), I got the feeling like I was back in Michigan, runyaking the Grosse Pointes on Lake St Clair.
I passed a large cemetery in Sleepy Hollow. I did not know it at the time but several famous people are buried there, besides Irving, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Samuel Gompers are interred there. 

Paddling out of Ossining my first view on the river was Sing Sing, one of the most infamous prisons in the United States. I first learned about Sing Sing from watching the Three Stooges when a kid. Seems in many episodes that is where they were, or they were being "sent up the river." That term for "go to prison," originated here, or actually in New York City where convicts were sent  up the Hudson to Sing Sing.
I'm paddling to Irvington, which is about 9 miles. The tide would not turn against me until about 3:00 pm so my paddle pace again was about 15min/mi.
About two thirds of the way, I went under the second to the last bridge of the RFL. And the longest, 3.5 miles, Tappen Zee Bridge. 
Make that a bridge and a half. A new TZB which began construction in 2013 has a projected completion of April of 2018. The new double span twin bridge, right will replace the cantilever bridge, completed in 1955, on the left. 
Reverse angle looking east, the side of the river I've been runyaking since Poughkeepsie, a 100 runyaking miles ago. The bridge is where the New York Thruway, beginning in Buffalo, and ending in NYC, crosses the Hudson. Pedestrians are not allowed, so I will remain on the Hudson's eastside.

The Hudson River is the widest at Tappan Zee. Why I wondered was the bridge built at the widest spot? If you are curious enough also, read a short article, "The Mystery Of Tappan Zee: Why Build A Bridge Where The River's Wide?" Briefly, MONEY, it would cost more, but in the end it would make more money. 
Once beyond the TZB I had a clear look down river. What I saw caused much emotion. I could see the New York City skyline. The first thing I did was go Facebook Live with my amazement. After 112 day of runyaking, to me, it was the most glorious horizon ever.
New York City skyline, The Palisades of NJ on the right.

I landed at Irvington's Matthieson Park about 1:00 pm. Early enough I thought of doing another segment and end in Yonkers. You see, the following day, Monday, is forecasted to be a rainy day. My thoughts were, if I got the Monday's segment in today, and it was raining tomorrow, I'd just head for home, since I did get to Yonkers, where I hoped to finish the trip.
To do this, I wanted to reverse the runyak order, kayak first and run last, mainly because the tide would soon be turning against me.
I switched into high gear, for I had to plant the van at JFK Marina in Yonkers 6 miles downriver. While going to the van, I passed a teen at the park gate taking payments to enter park entrance. I told him I'd be returning to kayak, and asked if I had to pay. He said Irvington residents were free, others pay. He knew I wasn't a resident, but said he'd let me in, adding, "I can't charge you, not with  that cool hat and all."
Never did I ever think a free hat, I got from Short Brewing Company, would come in this handy. Paying would have saddened me. Never yet have I had to pay for parking, or launching, or park entry. In 112 days, have come close a few times, but so far, not a cent. 
I drove to the JFK marina, parked the van and then... cycled back! CHEATER? Biked back? Not to worry I will eventually run from JFK to Irvington, but right now I was in a hurry to start kayaking, knowing I'd be bucking the tide to get back to JFK landing, and it would be evening. 
On this trip, for the first time, I brought the bike. The last two trips I could have used a bike, I had to walk back to vessel and vehicle Oct 2015, and Sept. 2016, took a ride back to Swiftee after a run. Not to worry, runyak rules were followed every time, mainly being, every inch of the way from very beginning, has be covered by running and kayaking.
Back to Swiftee, I locked the bike up, hopped in Swiftee and paddled off. 
Early in the day I saw the forecast, that the wind would be over 13 mph in the afternoon, but was hoping for the best. The first mile was 25 min/mi, second, 30 min/mi, and by the third it was 37 min./per mile (now tide is turning) plus waves were splashing over the bow. With three miles to go I was concerned enough to look for safe harbor. Helping to make that decision, wife, and friends had been posting me, "be safe." I obeyed. Long ago I was concerned about this part of the Hudson, The Widest Section. Now, in the Sea, yet with plenty of experience with wind and waves, the paddling was a little scary.
I ducked into Tower Ridge Yacht Club for protection against the growing waves. I no sooner grabbed docking poles to steady Swiftee, still bouncing from wave action, when a Yachty began screaming at me to get out of his club. I'd never been treated this poorly since the uppity, hoity-toities of Lake St Clair's, Grosse Pointes.
Tower Ridge Yacht Club
If thinking I'm not being fair, I will add the Club has history of turning noses up at myself and other riff-raff. I found this document  written over fifty years ago, telling how nice, and clean, and unpolluted it was "when there were no foreigners (Slavic factory workers) to monopolize the place, and no fences were needed."
I stayed despite being seen as a tresspasser, and told to leave. I'd take my chances, thinking police, if called, would be sympathetic to the dangers. 
In 15 minutes Swiftee was bobbing less. I decided to get to the next safe haven (hopefully a friendier place). I didn't have to paddle far, just another 3 football fields. I landed at Kinnally Cove, a city park of Hastings-on-Hudson, that the cities website explained had picnic tables, benches, and a "kayak launch." Gee, that would have been nice to know, something Hudson River Greenway Water Trail might want to add to there river map?   
I landed among park-goers, many staring (the Flint MI sign on the stern?) I was wasn't sure if again I was trespassing. I asked onlookers if it was a city park, they said it was. I was relieved, then got out of Swiftee, and dragged him out of the water, wondering, "now what do I do?" I was 4 miles from my bike and 3.5 miles from my van. I'd brought my bike to avoid situations like this, and now I'm still in a pickle. Arrgh. 
When assessing the situation, a  curious lady came over and asked if I really had paddled from Michigan. Assuring her I had, I explained my quest, adding I now I needed to get to my van at JFK Marina. She said she'd gladly take me to it. I learned her name was Eva. Unlike all others who have helped me over the years, I never got her last name, so I can't continue thanking as I do others in my journal. 
I gave her a final thank you, got into my van and drove back to where Swiftee was. Was I done for the day? No, I still had not run the "Hastings back to Irvington" section (where the bike was). Not until an hour of running and a 1/2 hour of biking back, was the day's two runyak segments complete.
When leaving home, I wanted to reach Yonkers, but looks like I fell short. Rain is still forecasted for most of tomorrow, Monday. 
Slightly disappointed, I decided to get go get a beer and steak at Yonkers Brewing Co. in celebrating what I did get done in four days. I left Swiftee, cabled and locked at Kinnally Park, and headed for Yonkers. Afterward, I found a 24 hour McDonalds where I'd sleep, get up early, go get Swiftee, and make the long drive home.

Runyak for Liberty Day 113, May 24, 2017
The rain started in the middle of the night and kept me awake quite a bit. When after 5:00 am and awake, I decided it was time to head home. When driving back to Hastings to fetch Swiftee, it stopped raining. 
As I was uncabling Swiftee, I looked out at the river. Like a siren it was calling me. Just a 3 mile paddle and a 3.5 mile run and my goal of getting to Yonkers on this trip would become reality. 
The impulse overtook me. With no prep, or going through a checklist, as I always do, in running clothes, I grabbed the paddles, jumped into Swiftee, (wearing life vest) and took off. 
Steady paddling at a slow 27:30 pace (against the tide? I never checked). I landed at JFK Marina after being in the water for 1:22 minutes. Never did it rain.
The Palisades from Hastings-on-Hudson. Not as spectacular as I hoped because of dismay weather.
 Last shot of NYC skyline near where I left off Day 113.

Wanting to get the run in before more rain, I locked up Swiftee and headed off.
The first and last mile, of every run on the Hudson since Albany is very steep. Baby running steps to get out of the river valley, giant steps running back to the river. Out of Yonkers, was no different. I trudged upward until finding a trail, a very flat trail. 
The trail is a marathon length (26.2 mi.) lineal New York State Park, that runs from Bronx/Yonkers border north to Croton Dam. The Old Croton Aquaduct trail follows the aqueduct path that began bringing fresh water to NYC back in 1842. 

 I've been biking and running the Old Croton Aquaduct Trail since Ossining whenever possible. Google Maps walking direction put me onto it. I did not know about it, but it sure beats running on Route 9 (Broadway) when available.

The rain held off, I finished the run drove back got Swiftee, loaded him and headed for home, via Manhattan and the George Washington Bridge. When crossing, I thought about my last trip when I'd be running over it. It was raining once again, and for hours. I caught a (cloud) break, and was content.