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Friendships and Kindness Along the Route on the Anchor House Ride for Runaways

Durkeefarm_3
Anchor House support crew member Mike Quinn (r) chats with the Durkee brothers on their family farm in Danby, Vermont. Quinn first met the boys when they were little.

Longtime veterans of the Anchor House Ride for Runaways debate exactly when they met the Durkee family of Danby, Vermont.

For three Anchor House rides over the years, the Durkee family dairy farm has been a fixture on the Anchor House Ride, and a stop to look forward to after a long day of climbing steep hills.

It appears that Anchor House ride first made a stop at the farm back in 2004, when the ride began from South Burlington, Vermont.

Not only does the Durkee family allow Anchor House to use the farm land, but also welcomes the riders to use their swimming pool. Family members help out with set up and chat with the veteran riders, and the family also makes a monetary donation to the Ride for Runaways.

“They are wonderful people,” said support crew member Mike Quinn. “When we first started coming here, the youngest boy wasn’t in school yet, and he was proud to show all the cyclists his new calf. He came up to my knee. Now they are in high school and college. Next time we come here they will probably have kids of their own.”

In addition to a support crew of more than 35 people, the Ride for Runaways depends on the kindness of people along the route like the Durkee family. Firehouses, houses of worship and private homes serve as rest stops along the route all week so that the cyclists can rest, eat, and refill their water bottles.

Joe Mutinsky, Stacy Shanfeld and Stu Shanfeld, all of Lawrence, begin a climb up a hill near the Durkee farm Monday.
Joe Mutinsky, Stacy Shanfeld and Stu Shanfeld, of Lawrence, begin a climb up a hill near the Durkee farm.  Photo: Jeanne Imbrigiotta.

The three rest stops along the route Monday also served as cooling stations as temperatures climbed into the 90s. The cyclists climbed 4,400 feet over the course of 61.3 miles today on the trip from Rutland, Vt. to Glens Falls, N.Y. They faced a three-mile climb early in the day, followed by several steep climbs. Along the route, cyclists could be seen taking breaks from the hills and heat in what little shade they could find.

Cyclist John Hinton of Warren summed up the feelings of many cyclists when he described the day this way: “The hills sucked.”

“It was the longest 61 miles I’ve ever ridden,” said cyclist Dave Wyatt.

Locals chatted up Anchor House participants along the route, and some offered to fetch water for the cyclists stopped alongside the road.

When the cyclists arrived at their destination in Glens Falls, many headed to a local eatery called Davidson’s for dinner, because the owner offered to donate a percentage of the proceeds back to Anchor House. One more act of kindness along the way.

Bob Stults (l) of Dayton, Ohio and Brian McLaughlin of Ewing bike near the Durkey of the e farm in the second day of the Ride for Runaways.
Bob Stults (l) of Dayton, Ohio and Brian McLaughlin of Ewing bike near the Durkee farm. Photo: Jeanne Imbrigiotta.

Tuesday the cyclists will bike 65.5 miles to Latham, N.Y.

Reporter Krystal Knapp  is a cyclist in the 35th annual Anchor House Ride for Runaways. For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation, visit www.anchorhouseride.org, where you can also make online donations in a cyclist’s name. Donations can also be sent to the Anchor House Foundation, P.O. Box 2357, Trenton, NJ 08607-2357.

Editor’s Note: The Anchor House website has been down due to technical difficulties and the hosting company is working to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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