I generally don’t like doing bike rides that start away from home, for the extra expense of the rides, the drive to get to them, and since there’s usually something just as good locally. With the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee though, this was a huge ride that I had been looking forward to and didn’t want to miss. I figured that it was a good time to make a trip out east to see family anyway, and so a vacation was planned following the D2R2 ride.
Since D2R2 ended not too far from my grandmother’s house in Vermont, I started planning out routes so that we could meet family in VT, have someone take our car back to NH, and tour by bike for two days. Looking over the maps I noticed a few old turnpike routes that I had driven before, and thought those would make great bike touring routes too. The roads were generally without shoulders, but with little traffic in the country that wouldn’t be an issue. Judging from Google Maps satellite imagery, the roads were often in the forest too, which Kathy always says she prefers much more than riding along the farms closer to home.
Our route had us following a bike path for a few miles to get to the border of VT/NH at the Connecticut River. We then followed on gently rolling terrain to Bellows Falls (briefly back in VT) for a brunch stop at Popolo. From there we climbed up, mostly gently but sometimes with steeper grades. This section was along the Croyden Turnpike, though we veered off to some side roads to avoid a few of the bigger hills.
The second half of the day is mostly up, and the last 5 miles turns sharply and heads up a rather steep climb to our campsite at Pillsbury State Park along a small lake. We saw a range full of wind turbines along the way, and when we got to the top, we were nearly on the same level as them.
The second day, we packed up camp back into our pannier sets and were off. I thought the route started with a big downhill, but apparently we had to go 10 miles to get to that point first. Descending down for a few miles was fast, and fortunately my new steel frame was more than sturdy enough. Kathy’s bike was rigged up with a rack that attaches through the wheel skewer, but seemed just fine as well. Our longer stop of the day would be in Bennington, NH not too far from Crotched Mountain ski area where there was just a mountain bike race the day before. Unfortunately the lunch spot I scoped out ahead of time was closed on Mondays, but there was a convenience store with a deli in the back that made some simple subs for us to eat out on the picnic table.
We also went through a town that has a few references to Goodell. I knew there would be a Goodell Rd along the route, so we stopped there to take a photo of that. Then on another fast section, I yelled out to Kathy to stop but she was too far away. I had seen what looked like a large gear monument on the side of the road, with a Goodell name on it. I made a mark on the GPS and will have to look it up later.
The tour ended with a hill again at the end of the second day, but it was not as long or steep as the first day. Just before reaching home in Amherst, we spotted a few birds in the bushes and stopped to take a picture when a flock of little ones jumped out of the bushes to chase up to the parents. We still haven’t been able to identify exactly what species it was though. Any ideas?
The route for the 2 days of touring is at Strava:
Day 1: http://app.strava.com/rides/19180360 49.4 miles with 2400ft climbing
Day 2: http://app.strava.com/rides/19180404 46.9 miles with 2000ft climbing