When you think about the East Coast in September, what comes to mind? Crisp cold mornings, leaves starting to change colors, long rain falls during the day, or even a star filled night sky by a warm fire? For me it's all of those things plus it's finally time once again for the famous East Coast Gypsy Run. On the Gypsy Run it's safe to say that camaraderie, friendship, ingenuity, and life long memories are just a handful of things you will encounter on this great adventure. Pretty safe to say I have never been anywhere else where I have met and made so many life long friends. I think it has to do partially with the only real rule you have to follow on the Gypsy Run. "Don't be a dickhead" - Walter G.
Kat and I rode four hundred plus miles to Jay and Virgina's house the day before the run, friends we met on Gypsy Run 7. Three hundred miles of the trip was completely in the rain, which made for a pretty dreary and tiring first day of traveling. It never would let up, it just got worse and worse the closer we got to New Jersey, almost as if we were following the storm.
The next morning felt like Christmas though, we were all really tired, cheerful, and extremely excited to get on the road to Cool Beans International Coffee and Teas where the run launches. Upon arrival, both sides of the street were packed with bikes and anxious people awaiting the "kick stand up" to be called on the megaphone.
The run kicked off around 10:00 am, there was probably over 100 bikes in the first group. Some smaller groups stay back and do their own run, but this year we decided to ride with the first group.
The first day of the run went from Oradell, NJ up to Woodstock, NY and then to the Landers River Trips campground which is right off the Delaware River. The run is always in the same area of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania but there are always new roads to explore. It never feels like the same run but familiar in a way of the area. This was our third year and many of the roads were foreign to me; it made for some real fun and excitement. This years newest feature to the run was a GPS tracking and mapping app that was integrated to work with Gypsyrun.com. If you were to get lost and had some type of cellphone reception, you could find the main pack again just by pulling it up in the Maps category of the site. When you pull it up you can see a little motorcycle stick figure moving on a map and the line taken, which is saved so anyone can take that same route later in time. Brilliant stuff really, from our friend who designed it Ace Goulet, who was stuck being the human GPS the whole weekend. No good deed goes unpunished, I'm not sure it was much punishment though.
The first night was killer, stars shined forever and fires didn't burn out till the morning sunrise.
The second day was pretty cold, dreary, and eventually a soggy wet mess. Some groups went home early to try and avoid the rain that would inevitably fall for the rest of the day. Others stuck it out, did some small runs on their own and explored all the Catskill Mountain's have to offer. Kat and I discovered and Native American battle ground just a few miles away from our camp, it was really incredible to think about and see. When we returned from our own little ride, the rain started to fall harder and harder, creating small lakes all over the campground. The shenanigans of minibike races, axe throwing, and alcoholic beverages distracted pretty much everyone from really ever caring on how much rain fell.
Let's not forget to mention I had to move our tent out of a thirty foot lake in the middle of the night. I took my shoes off and pulled the bottom leg parts of my jeans over my knees all hobo like, then dragged our tent up hill to more solid ground. I did most of this blind because my wife thought it would be a better idea to shine the flashlight every direction, other then where it needed to be. Let's just say I had a ton of fun. I couldn't believe most of our stuff stayed dry though. Well, almost everything, all of my clothes were soaked due to the fact I am really dumb and left them outside of my bag. "It never rains on the Gypsy Run" - says no one ever, because it ALWAYS rains each and every year. It just wouldn't be the same without it.
I always see the Gypsy Run as way longer run than just two days. It's more like a four day adventure full of unexpected twists and turns. The 500 mile ride from Cleveland, the two days of partying and riding with the massive group and then the ride back home. The Gypsy Run is more then just a run, it's a place to discover new roads, friendships, and yourself. When it's all said and done you walk away with tons of stories and the biggest smile on your face knowing you just did something really amazing. I love the Gypsy Run and would never change a thing, wet clothes and all.
"If the Gyspy Run was easy it would be the El Diablo Run!" - Walter G.
One of the best stories from this year's run was, our friends Jay Cagney and Virgina Hall got engaged on Saturday during their own little run! Congrats again guys and I wish you nothing but the best in your future together.
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