Hastings on Hudson, NY to Branford, CT
Branford, CT to Templeton, MA (by car)
Templeton, MA to Erving State Forest, Erving, MA
21 miles (pedaled)
Yesterday, Dan and I rented a car in Ardsley, NY (a grand caravan minivan, which Dan and I both had growing up. They have really advanced the minivan in 20 years!) We loaded all our gear and drove first to Branford, CT to drop off Russell. It was sad to leave him. But I am positive he will have a much better time away from his trailer. The trailer life just isn’t for him.
After Branford, we continued to up to Templeton, MA, where my parents had rescued us a week ago. As we were loading our gear back on our bikes we discovered that Dan had left his cycling shoes at my parents house. Gah! I found a bike shop in Greenfield (a town we would be passing through the next day) that had shoes in stock, but he had to cycle in his flip flops until then.
At 5:30pm we left Templeton and pedaled 21 miles to Erving State Forest. We arrived close to 8. We immediately put on our rain gear to protect ourselves from the swarming mosquitos and were able to set up our tent (or rather, Dan was able to set up our tent while I showered) before it got dark. Dan went to shower just as it got dark and I cooked dinner. It felt like he was in the shower for hours (when it was probably just 10 or 15 minutes). It was dark and I was terrified of a large bear tearing through the forest to come eat all of our food (and me!). When Dan (finally) came back I made sure that we did everything together for the rest of the night – fill water bottles, clean our pot, bathroom to brush teeth, etc. While we, luckily, had no bear visitors, we did have a family of porcupines as our neighbors. Our site was close to a large field where we saw a few baby porcupines grazing. Once in our tent, we heard them chatting and moving about closer to us.
Erving, MA to Shelburne Falls, MA
Today was a great day of cycling! We had beautiful views of the Connecticut River Valley and great weather. Our first stop of the day was in Greenfield, about 17 miles from where we started, to the closest bike shop on our route. Dan bought new cycling shoes and they were able to check out my bike. I had been hearing (and feeling) a creaking sound around my gears or cranks. Dan wasn’t sure what the problem was and we didn’t have the time to for him to look at it thoroughly. I’m really happy Dan lost his shoes because it turned out that there was a loose crank bolt. While that might sound innocuous to some, it could have caused significant damage down the road.
We left Greenfield with new cycling shoes for Dan and a creak-less bike for me. Just in time too, because the road out of town was the longest and steepest hill we’ve encountered. It kicked my butt! It just kept going and going. And then when you thought it was over and it had flattened out, around the corner it just went up again!
From there we had mostly downhill to the small town of Shelburne Falls. We were only going to stop there and then continue another 12 miles to a campground. But after that big hill, for the rest of the ride to Shelburne Falls, I was scheming how I would convince Dan that we should just stay there for the night.
I grew up going to camp in Western MA (in Cummington) and I remember going to Shelburne Falls with both camp and my parents. It’s such a cute little town and I love the Bridge of Flowers and the potholes.
I succeeded in convincing Dan that we should stay instead of continuing on and we found a bed and breakfast in town to spend the night. It was my first bed and breakfast! It was a lovely evening with a delicious dinner (from a gluten-free, dairy-free, and peanut/nut- free restaurant). And a very comfortable bed!