Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to Boston

The day began with breakfast served up by the new owner of the Fitzwilliam Inn. It was very special to be their first and only guests (more were due in today). A nice 50 degrees out and we were on the road. It was to be a net downhill day but still lots of rolling hills. The usual 2nd breakfast on the road followed by lunch as we approached Boston. To ease back in to civilzation we stopped at Subway and each had a 12 inch sub, and finished them off.

It was time to call on the GPS to find Liz's new place and after a minute of thinking we were off following the directions. It did a great job of getting a nice path through the heart of Boston. One detour was a little painful, but a recalculation and we were back on track. About 240 miles for the last 3 days. Totals for the trip - 1,062 miles and about 23,000 feet of climbing. And too many stunning scenes along the way to count.

We finished in Jamaica Plain (Boston) with ice cream and a smoothie. A perfect end to the trip. After a shower at Liz's new place it's off soon for dinner and beer on Center St.

Definitely sleeping in tomorrow morning and then it will be time to pack up the bikes for the return trip via FedEx. Just can't wait to get back to toasty temps in Tucson :-)

Lots of good food and beer along the way. Just a fun way to travel. Met many nice people, including a number a good friends along the way, and of course saw wonderful sights. The legs are a little pooped for now!

Dartmouth, the longest covered bridge and Robert Mitchum…

What do those three things have in common? They were all a part of ride from Norwich to Fitzwilliam. The day started with breakfast at the room of the Norwich inn that we bought at the “Dan and Whit’s Country Store next door with the motto: “if we don’t sell it you don’t need it”. We went across the bridge into Hanover and visit Dartmouth campus briefly. I wanted to see the frescos at the basement of the library but it was closed until 8, so I saw a little bit through the window. We rode on Route 10 and then 12 A in New Hampshire. We were happy with the road by the Connecticut River going up and down the hillside into small towns. We were ready for our second breakfast when I saw a bigger town on the VT side, Windsor and were happy to be able to cross the river through one of the covered bridges of VT. It was actually the longest (see picture above). After a regular breakfast at the local diner, two eggs over easy with toast and potatoes and I also had a blueberry pancake. We went back to NH and continues on route 12 A and then 12, leaving the river and going up a big hill into Keene. This area is beautiful but very hilly, the Monadnock mountains…After going up to Keene, a medium city in our map I was tired, my legs felt like jello and had the bad feeling there were not be many hotels for another 30 miles. We had done already 64 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing and there were more mountains on the way. I tried to suggest we could stay in a nice Best Western with free wi fi, but Steve was on a mission to get closer to Massachusetts. So we went, and continued to climb into Troy, Steve said for sure there is a place to stay…wrong. We asked two women who were drinking in a porch with a Great Dane dog. There was no place in Troy, there might be an Inn in Fitzwilliam 4 more miles uphill but information did not have a phone number for the place… I was so tired I could not even complain and had a bad feeling it was not open. There was no choice; we weren’t going back so we kept pedaling. In 4 miles we were in Fitzwilliam, and we found the “Historic Fitzwilliam Inn from 1796”. The door was open, there was a rug outside on the porch and there were loud sounds of a vacuum cleaner. Even though I am the one that usually finds out about the rooms, I sent Steve, I was not very hopeful. The good news was that even though the couple that bought the building in an auction were still remodeling a number of the rooms were finished and we were their first guests! So why Robert Mitchum? Our room in the second floor by the stairs was the one used by Robert when he would visit his son who lived in Troy, NH, there were many of his pictures and a biography book where I learned a lot of useless trivia. We had our usual shower and walked to the only restaurant in town, then walked back to the Inn under the almost full moon, ready to go to bed for our last day of riding.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The end of summer

The beginning of September and the thermometer read 38 deg F as we loaded the panniers on the bike this morning. A little brisk! There was fog over the lake and a nice mist as we rode around the lake to get to the highway. We brought tights and jackets, but the first few descents were a bit brutal. We were actually looking forward to the first climbs of the day. Our toesies definitely got coldsies.

About 20 miles in we found a little diner and went for the 2 eggs over easy, toast, home fries, and coffee. It really hit the spot. The route was quite hilly until we made it down to the Connecticut River which separates Vermont from New Hampshire. We spent the rest of the day on US 5 which parallels the river. Very scenic and very light traffic as the interstate is just a few hundred yards away for most of the route.

84 miles and a little tired at the end of the day. The temp quickly rose to the 70's and stayed there all day. High pressure, no clouds and calm as well. Perfect riding conditions after we thawed out.

2 more 80 mile days and we should be back in Boston :-)

Recharging before the journey back to Boston

Another day at Caspian lake… the day started slowly as yesterday. I enjoyed my time in the morning before everyone get up. Since arriving at the lake I started reading Travels with Willie, adventure cyclist by Willie Weir (I highly recommend the book to all of you avid cyclists that read this blog). The book is about short stories of his travels on the bike, the one named “Buying Time” was on my mind all day. In a way the less we buy , the fewer things we are attached to or the less we want the more time in our hands to do what we like to do. I am glad I was able to buy time at the lake, to spend with friends, go for a swim and a walk in the woods with Lucy. Pel liked to hear some of the stories read out loud by Steve. The picture of the little shack with a green roof is a place called “Pete’s organic farm”. The shack is where you can buy produce, it has sunflowers growing in the roof and garlic drying at the eave. The second picture is Lucy with a wet suit and I with just a bathing suit going for our afternoon swim. Now for Randy, we did go to dinner to a very nice Vermont restaurant that is supported by many local producers called “Claire”. It is located in Hardwick. All the food is organic, Steve and I ordered strawberry basil margaritas, which were outstanding, my favorite part was a beet, walnut and green salad and the local bread with local butter. Lucy and Doug’s favorite was the corn chowder and to complete the meal I shared a blackberry and raspberry upside down cake.
It is sad to say goodbye and hope Lucy, Doug and Pel have a great month at the lake.