Friday, July 03, 2020

Best Berkshire Ride

I really love my new-ish job at Nuance Communications. Lots to like about working there, including a bonus day off for the 4th of July! Since the 4th is on a Saturday this year, we have the 2nd and 3rd off. And because our annual Berkshires retreat with Nana and Papa is cancelled this year (for the same old reason....), I decided to treat myself and drive out to Lee and do one of my favorite rides.

I left the house with my Raven around 6am and arrived in Lee just two hours later. I parked near the venerable Oak N Spruce, where we usually stay. 

My route (shown on Strava, along with photos!) was all familiar territory. I started by riding south, and rode up Jerusalem Rd, with my favorite view of all at the top:

My descent into Tyringham was steep and quick (almost 50mph), with lovely views of the cemetery and church steeple to the left - but it's nicer in the fall. From there, the hill up to Monterey was long and torturous as usual. At least I did it early in the day, so maybe I had a little of my morning caffein left in my system. 

In Monterey, I was reminded that the General Store was still out of commission, but it looks like construction is continuing. I really hope it'll be open by this time next year! I've had lots of nice early morning snack breaks there. Heading out of Monterey, I passed the Roadside, which, surprisingly, was open. But I passed it by and proceeded on to Great Barrington. 

GB was bustling - lots shops and restaurants seemed open (as was the case pretty much everywhere around there). My longest uninterrupted stretch of quiet road followed, north through Alford to West Stockbridge. I was planning to have the lunch I'd brought with me at Olivia's Overlook - after another long climb. So in West Stockbridge, I took a break at my favorite coffee place in the world, No Six Depot. 

That gave me sufficient energy to make it up the hill to Olivia's Overlook, and I had a nice turkey sandwich and potato chips overlooking Stockbridge Bowl far below. 

The descent from Olivia's Overlook took me past Tanglewood, right into Lenox. I felt like I was in the home stretch after that, and continued along Housatonic Rd to the little footbridge behind the old Lenox railway station. 

From there, I took the gravel road along Woods Pond to the October Mountain State Forest campground, where I gratefully used a restroom.

(I'd been dreaming of camping there since the day we got our camper.... but discovered that there are no hookups available - boondocking only! So we'll need to get to be a little more experienced before tackling that. And maybe get a generator.)

So after that, I rode into Lee and took Fairview back to the car. NOTE TO SELF: Fairview is brutal, with a couple very steep hills, and is ALWAYS a regrettable approach to my starting point... but I never seem to remember that.

All in all, a GREAT ride, about 51 miles, including over 4200 ft of climbing! 

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Weekend on the Cape

For our second trip with the camper, we decided to go to the seashore. We hadn't been to Cape Cod really since our infamous Nickerson camping trip 10+ years ago when everybody came home with ticks. The drive to Truro reminded me why: the traffic was horrendous, and it took almost 4 hours to get there. Ugh. Plus, the AC in the Pathfinder broke during our last camping trip, so it was very hot indeed.

We camped at Horton's "Camping Resort" in Truro. The campground wasn't bad, all things considered I guess. It's a spin-off from a chain with another campground near by. The main one is ridiculously jam packed and totally unappealing. Horton's has much more space, but no more personality. It's pretty big, including one whole bit that's disused, and scattered with carcasses  of abandoned RVs. We never did see anyone working there, except (I think) for a woman with two giant off-leash dogs that scared the bejesus out of us when we arrived.

Our site was fine. I was able to reverse in (with Kim's help!) without much trouble. There were some tent sites across the way, and the spots on either side of us were empty when we arrived. Once we were settled in, a nice family came in with a beautiful, brand new trailer - a Flagstaff E-Pro. I have to admit that I was briefly obsessed with it... it has many more deluxe features than ours. On the other hand, it was much more expensive, so I really can't complain! The mom is the proprietress of The Painted Pastry, a cookie baking enterprise on the North Shore. Here's some more info about them - and their trailer!

The next day, a couple checked in on the other side of us with a Scamp - an eensy weensy trailer, very cute. I also became briefly obsessed with that, but I it was a passing fancy. Our next trailer will be an Airstream anyhoo.

The best thing about the campground was the location - an easy walk to Highland Lighthouse:

And a very easy bike ride to Coast Guard Beach, where we spent several hours baking in the sun, wading in the surf, and watching the seals!

One day, we ventured into Provincetown for a walk around, and even ate out for the very first time since the pandemic hit. It's an adorable town, I'm sure it's utter pandemonium when evening rolls around. But it wasn't terribly busy when we were there. We enjoyed our early dinner at Patio, where they had good food and very nice outdoor seating with plexiglass dividers between the booths.

We debated bringing the bikes.... since we're using the trailer hitch to pull a trailer, we don't have a good place to put our four bikes. I'm debating getting a roof rack for the car ($1000+!!!), but we loaded all four into the camper and that worked just fine!

So we had some nice family rides around the campsite, and to the beach. And I did an epic ride down to P-town, around and back. Gorgeous! The bike paths are a little bit of a hodgepodge way out there, but there were lots of them, and I barely had to be on the road at all. All the paths are exceptionally well maintained, and I barely saw anyone else. Paths went through thick forest, sand dunes, and along the beach. Couldn't be better! Here are the details on Strava.

And then on Father's Day, I did a fantastic 8-mile run around Truro, including views of bay and ocean!