I find biking is always more fun when you have a destination in mind. This time, the plan was not only would we discover the gravel-packed 15-mile Columbia Trail in Hunterdon and Morris counties, but we would also stop at Valley Shepherd Creamery.
If only it all went so smoothly.
We were barely out of the parking lot in High Bridge when my rear tire felt soft. Back to car, out came a floor pump.
Then 10 miles later or so, it was really soft. A flat. The second in two days. Ugh. I swapped out the tube … and found a tiny piece of metal wire poking through the tire. Thanks.
Looking for Valley Shepherd Creamery a mile off the Columbia Trail
Of course I’d forgotten where we were supposed to turn off the trail for Valley Shepherd. I was expecting a bigger road, not the (tiny) center of Long Valley. And the signage is really bad, even by the low standards of many trails. (How about consistent mileage markers across both counties? Or be truly radical and include distance to the next town and amenities, not just to the Morris County trailhead?) So we overshot, backtracked and headed the half-mile or so off the trail, past a brewery (maybe next time) and to the dairy. I went straight for the sample of goat cheese … mmm, so creamy but also awakened some hunger pangs.
Unfortunately, there was no time to linger because we had a party to get to, or I would have debated the other cheese offerings (we went for goat cheese with blueberries, for the sake of novelty) and certainly had some gelato made from cow and sheep milk.
That’s one reason to come back. Another is to bike at the bottom of the Ken Lockwood Gorge, along the Raritan River (we thought the dead-end sign meant … dead end, for cyclists too), and to pause in the towns along the route.
And if I make it back with a car? The creamery sells just the thing for the garden: 40-pound bags of “ewe poo.”