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Labor Day Weekend 2010

The weather during the week preceding the weekend was very summer-like with temps in the mid 90’s. There was an Ozone alert one day. Summer’s last stand.To make things interesting there was a major hurricane,Earl,that was taking an express ride up the east coast. A little bit the wrong way in its projected path, could mean less than ideal weekend weather for the mid-Hudson Valley region.Thankfully for those of us here, the storm remained on the projected path heading north easterly up to Maine to become a “Moose storm”.The effects of the storm could be felt to some degree on Friday. Friday was very humid with a few brief showers. In the wake of the storm we would be treated to very beautiful,low humidity, weather for all 3 days of the weekend,Saturday,Sunday and Monday Labor Day. Saturday and Sunday were more like Columbus Day weekend with temps in the low to mid 70’s. Monday was more Labor day like with temps in the mid 80’s.


  The sunny, fall-like, weather this day was a refreshing relief from the the overcast humid previous day. I would just ride localy with my ‘2 wheeled SUV’ to get some much needed suplies and to get ready for the more-or-less planed adventure on Sunday and Monday.


  Originaly I had sort of planned on taking the UCAT bus to Rosendale and ride the northern, suposedly paved, section of the O&W – Marbletown RT. I did not get up early enough in order to get to the transportation center at the RR station in time for the 9:45 UCAT bus. I would switch to plan B – as in Beacon – for the day. I would, instead, take the MTA Metro North train to Beacon for a ride in this area. I had been to Beacon last year,in early June, to see the tall ships as part of the year long Hudson Quadracentenial celebration and festivities. (the grand finale was of course, the opening of the Walkway OTH in October) However, the tall ships were across the river in Newburgh. I would have to ride across the Newburgh-Beacon I84 brige on the pedestrial-bicycle path, which is part of NY bike route 17. Therefore I did not have the time to explore downtown Beacon and any rideable trails in the area at the time.The primary focus of this trip would be to find the trail along the Beacon-Danbury branch line that the Metro North RR has owned since the mid 1990’s. I had seen a reference to a trail along this branch line in Beacon, as part of my research of the Maybrook bikeway-trailway.I had seen on a map that SR 9D, south of the station area, crossed this branch line.I had figured if there is a trail alongside this rail line,this might be where there is an access to the trail, if indeed the trail extended to to this point,and if there was an at grade crossing at this point.

the undiscovered country …

  On ariving in Beacon, the first part of this day’s adventure would be in search of a restroom. The Beacon station is actualy just a large pedestrian tunnel going under the tracks and there is no rest room. The city park adjacent to the station, oddly, did not have a permanent restroom. However, there were Porta Poties set up for the summer. I then began my ride south on Beekman Ave. to SR 9D. I had seen that Long Dock Rd. was closed for some sort of construction. This road goes down to another city park along the river. I arrived at an intersection. I had seen a sign to my right for the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, Dennings Point and trails. I began to follow the signs downhill taking me on the “scenic route” past the waste disposal facility and the sewage treatment plant. The road dead-ended in a parking lot across from the treatment plant. There was an imposing electric gate with an AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY sign.There was also a large sign for the BIRE. The large text on the sign read “PARK HERE AND PROCEED ON FOOT”. I had hoped this also included (bicycle) wheels as well as I rode past the gate, through a trail pedestrian access gap, up a dirt road. The dirt road took me up and over the Hudson Line (MNCRR,Amtrak,CSX) via an old iron truss bridge with a wood deck. The wood deck was not the expected wide wood planking but many,many strips of wood. As I crossed the bridge, I could see to my left the (very) little used Beacon-Danbury branch line bidge over the Hudson line. Metro North RR had purchased the BD line in 1994. They have yet to run a single revenue passenger train. Only on rare ocasion is there a CSX freight train on this line. There was a sign with directional arrows for the trails and the BIRE. The arrow for the Beacon Riverside trail was U shaped and seemed to indicate the trail to the train station was right behind me. I turned around and there it was.

pardon me boy.. is that the Klara Sauer Trail? yes sir … and its mighty fine!

I rode about 100 yards north and saw the relatively new sign for the Klara Sauer Trail, the new name for this trail. The Beacon Riverside trail was renamed
and dedicated to, Klara Sauer the day before I was in Beacon last year for the Quadracentenial flotila sail up the Hudson,on June 7,2009. I had forgoten about the re-naming of this trail and-or did not know that the trail being re-named is this trail. As this 1 mile (.9 miles from the signs at either end – another little bit to Denning Rd.) trail follows alongside the ocasionaly active BD line and the very active Hudson line, this trail is that unique ‘beast’ known as a rail AND trail. There was no fence seperating the trail from the rail at the southern end and, most odly, the track was almost completly covered with a fine gravel, like for the trail.Only the tops of the rails were exposed, and even more unusual, where the BD line connects with the Hudson line, there was a gate. I had seen the gate in a photo of this trail at, the gate has, since that photo, been wrecked by something very big like a … train. At the north end alongside the Hudson line, there was fencing around the perimiter of the construction area along the river for the expansion of an existing park partialy obscuring the wonderful view of the river.

  The north end of the KST is at the MNRR station. I rode out, and up, from the station to ride Main Street. Beacon is a city that has transformed itself to a trendy, upscale, Yuppie enclave with cafes,restaurants,and art galeries. A kind of SOHO north.The opening of the Dia:Beacon in 2003, the re-purposed Nabisco box factory, was the spark that gave new life to Beacon’s downtown. As I rode up Main Street, I saw evidence of Beacon’s scruffier, pre-Yuppie, past as I rode by a check cashing establishment to my left. As I aproached the intersection with East Main Street, the entire side of an old industrial bulding had been turned into a sort of outdoor art galery. I had forgoten about the “Electric Windows 2010”. This is a display of art on several of the old industrial buldings in this part of Beacon. I was also unaware of the waterfall and Fishkikill creek. I was in full bicycle touring siteseeing mode. I would stop at one location, take some pictures, then go a short distance and stop at another location and take some more pictures – etc., etc. I had seen a Feng Shui establishment in this area. I had learned from someone, that this place preceded the DIA, and so it would seem the Yuppies had established an early ‘beachhead’ in Beacon. I had seen Beacon’s future at the roundhouse. This unique building, with the semi-circle section on one side  giving this building its name, will be transformed into an upscale spa-hotel-restaurant. This bulding will be the ‘anchor’ for a complex of buildings within this old industrial area in downtown Beacon. There will eventualy be a section for permanent housing as well. I had checked the website for this project – The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls – and had discovered that this will be a ‘green’, energy eficient, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Enviromental Design) certified project. One of the more interesting parts of this project will be the restoration, to full operation, of the old hydro-electric plant to provide power for the Roundhouse Spa-Hotel and restaurant. I had noted, on my way back toward the RR station, the Beacon Cycles bike shop was open, on a Sunday, during the Labor Day weekend. I could not leave Beacon without paying a visit to this relatively new bicycle shop. I had found out they would have the tires I needed for my bicycle during the week. This would give me an excuse for a return visit to Beacon.


  I would go for a short ride across the river. With the low humidity and sunshine continuing through Monday as well, the views from the Walkway were quite nice. The Labor Day crowd on the bridge were reminiscent of the weekend crowds in October of last year.There were a lot more people than there had been during the summer. One day in August, the Walkway was practialy empty. I had almost the entire bridge to myself and was able to ride at full touring pace of 13 MPH.I would ride the open old section of The Hudson Valley RT to check on the lack of progress at the CR12 – New Paltz road crossing. Ever since I had first checked the status of the construction at this location in June,I have not seen any evidence of project progress, and/or activity, untill this day. I had seen a back hoe machine down at the trail on the other side of the barricade, indicating there might be actual work being done at this location. Of course nowhere near completion,and so when the new section is open in early October, the old section will still be split in 2 sections.

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