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! 

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