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06/04/2007 Entry: "Barre, MA"
HOLY COW BIG UPDATE TODAY! MinWah has taken care of the first chunk, and I have the second. We are writing this from a library in Barre, Ma, and have only 80ish miles of riding left to do. Wow, we're almost done. A picture update is also on the way (from me at least)
On a side note, Karen got done awhile ago, she should write about it. *hint hint*
Bainbridge to Cobleskill (mileage forgotten)
That night there was a huge storm. I'm not sure if MinWah is writing about that or not, but there was a huge storm. It was huge. Did I mention it was a huge storm? There was lots of wind and it made us hide behind a tarp as the underside of the shelter we were staying at got wet. Later that night there was a wind storm that luckily had no rain involved. We were sleeping on picnic tables so would have probably gotten wet even under the shelter.
We decided that day to take Route 7 into Albany instead of our more mountain intensive route that would have avoided it. This was due to me almost breaking spokes on my new wheel, us being tired of hills, and us thinking we could find a bike trail through Albany as I had experienced in the past. It was a good idea.
The ride that day was, as far as I can remember, nice - but that was a long time ago. We ate some food, enjoyed the river valley, had some rolling hills but nothing real bad, and we had a great lunch in a town called Oneonta at a farmer's market. We ate pizza, it was rad.
The girls then road ahead into cobleskill but I had to stay behind and deal with some more landlord business using the local library and lots of phone card minutes. He is tired of the extension that he gave me, but that issue is not something I should bother you folks with. Suffice to say it was a pain in the butt and dealing with it put me into the end town some time after the girls.
They had had a hard time finding a place to stay and eventually we ended up staying beside a firestation. There we met a nice local cat who hung out with us most of the night and we became good friends.
Cobleskill to Cropseyville (50-60ish miles, but really, who remembers?)
By the by, it's COLD OUT HERE AT NIGHT and in the mornings. We have been getting late starts because of that. That morning (sunday, duh duh duh) we slept in just a bit and ate breakfast in the sun to try and stay warm. We had 30ish miles to ride in Scheneticididsdcydy (you try spelling that) where we planned to pick up a bike trail to take us safely through the Albany area. Apparently the river left the road around that time and we had a fair amount of up and down climbing (down climbing?) for the first 30 miles. Once we got near the canal trail we had no trouble finding it and getting on our way. We did, however, have some issues staying on it as it had this habit of abruptly ending in different parts of the cities and then reforming 10, 20, even 300 miles away in what sometimes proved to be different countries and once under the ocean. Or... maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but it was hard to follow at times.
We popped out of Tri-Cities on some busyish streets and were pretty tired of biking at that point so we decided to stop just outside of town at this antique place owned by the one, and only, Don D. Don D. was a great 64ish year old ex-marine with tons of stories, great hostpitality, and a backyard that came with a picnic table, a bonfire, a river, beer, and great company. In the morning we discovered that it even came with a wonderful homecooked breakfast. Don D. truly was a diamond in the rough and a wondeful end to New York State.
Cropseyville, NY to Plainfield, Ma (54 miles - it was super hilly, jerk!)
After Don D's Breakfast of Champtions we began our climb into the berkshires and Mass. (aka that state I can't spell) There was a long uphill, then a short down, then something like an 8 mile uphill and suddenly we were at mile 17, the NY/MA state line, and on top of an un-named Berkshire mt. pass with a great view. We stayed there for quite awhile, and the foolish ones (me) even said something silly like "This will be our last pass!" because some guy at a gas station had told me that. You'd think I'd know by not not to trust gas station people - because it was not our last pass. Nor was it "Downhill all the way to Boston." We went down alright, and then up, and then down, and then over another pass, and all over the dang place because there are NOOOO straight or flat roads in Mass. None. Eventually we climbed WAY the heck up into Plainfield around mile 54 and decided it was time to stop. We had an easy place to stay, it was late, why not?
And so we camped behind the city hall type building in a park in Plainfield. It was nice and quite (a rarety in the east) and had no trains, traffic, or anything to keep us awake. The stars were wonderful and oh, it was MIGHTY COLD! We were all warm enough in our bags, however, except for Ariel who forgot that circulating your blood is a good thing and almost froze. She's kind of silly like that. She also forgot that she has a sleeping bag liner that she's been carrying for nearly 4,000 miles now JUST for this occasion - and then when it finally happens she forgets to use it. Please laugh at her in your comments.
Plainfield to Barre, MA (65 miles)
The first 15 miles of our ride this morning was supposed to be downhill. It wasn't. But some of it was. Today was very hilly - and a bit confusing as - like I've said earlier - there are no straight roads in Mass. Part of the problem is all roads lead to Boston, but we aren't going to Boston. We are going just north of Boston to Beverly to avoid the city (it's a pain to bike into, been there, done that.) Mass is also very hilly, and we did a LOT of climbing today.
Uhm... and... not much else happened. We got free day old cookies at a Subway though, that was pretty cool. Mass is very pretty, btw. It's got great scenery and despite being physically hard to ride through it's been very rewarding. We've been able to stay off main roads which increases the hills but cuts down on the cars and trucks and gives us some great scenery.
Tonight we stay 3 miles south of town and over some hills (and off our route) at a farmhouse where we will get showers. (yay!) We plan on doing 60ish miles tomorrow and then 25ish Thursday into the ocean. Then we pack up our bike, spend a night celebrating, and must part ways. I'll be back in Eugene late friday afternoon. It's kind of strange, really, to be this close to being done.
But enough of that for now, we still have two days of riding to go before we have to rejoin the real world! Blah! Look at our pictures!
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