North Adams, 2006

A few months ago, I bought a pair of tickets to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra play at their Tanglewood location in the Berkshires. Cris and I decided to go back to Blackinton Manor and make a weekend trip of it, since the BNB required a two night stay. We put the second bike holder on the car before Cris left for NYC for work on the Sunday previously, and made plans to meet in Williamstown on the Friday night.

Fri Aug 18/06

I'd banked a few hours at work and left at 4pm on Friday. I rode my bike home and pulled up next to the car, and was able to get it onto the roof with minimal problems. I grabbed Cris' bike from the basement and did the same, then went inside to clean up, eat supper and finish packing the car. I'd put most of the biking stuff in the trunk already, so I just had to grab my clothes. I made myself a travel mug of chai and put it in the drink holder before setting off, a bit late at 6:30 (I'd had to do a quick cleaning of the bathroom, as the landlord was going to recaulk it, I found out about that task in the morning, and it threw off my time estimates). Traffic was heavy all the way, with a bit of a slow down around 84, as usual. I stopped to use the bathroom just before I84, and bailed on getting gas there as it was packed to the gills. I pushed it to a quarter tank left before stopping, in Blandford I think, and had to contend with 3 pumps being out of order, and some jostling to get the right sides of all the cars facing the working pumps. Lots of bikes on cars, and I felt very trusted by Cris when I thought of his touring bike up on the roof (never mind the car, I was worried about the bike!) - I kept checking through the sun roof to make sure that both bikes were stable, but they were fine the whole way.

I made it out I90 to Lee, and up to Pittsfield before Cris called me to say that his bus had just turned off of I90. I went straight to the BNB, getting there around 9:30, and the innkeeper said that we could check in when I came back with Cris. I left the bikes on, and went back along 2 to Williamstown to the Williams Inn. Another woman was there waiting for the bus, but I only sat on the bench near her for a bit, preferring to walk around a bit and stretch my legs after the 3 hours in the car. The bus was a bit late, but Cris called just as it came into sight, and it was good to welcome him in person. Threw him in the car, and back to Blackinton, where we checked in for real. We were both pretty exhausted from the work week and the trip and ended up going right to sleep.

Sat Aug 19/06

I woke up to the clink of cutlery at around 8:30, and took my time getting out of the huge bed, revelling in Saturday morning laziness. We went out at 9am and just missed a seat at the occupied table, so we sat by ourselves at the one near the piano. The blueberry/cranberry pancakes were delicious, though I should have tried to squeeze in one more. The croissant and pot of tea and glass of orange juice were also good to start the day (they had Lady Grey tea bags, nice to have it again). Back to the room where we changed for biking, then out to take the bikes off the car. I tried to adjust my shifters, but the chain still kept falling off the cogs. We rolled out at around 11 and hit the bike store in Williamstown (The Spoke) where the nice guy there did a quick adjustment for me (he had two bikes to get out the door), and let us fill up our water containers, and gave us a tip about a spring we should check out.

We turned off Rte. 2 onto 43 and took that down to 7 south. 43 was really nice, very green, though a bit of a narrow shoulder in places. We saw a big blue chair in one field (like 15 feet tall big), and a random cart with rolled down sides and a chimney for sale in another field (maybe a hot dog cart? but sized for kids...). 43 is also known as Green River Road, and we were riding along side a very rocky creek bed for most of the way. 7 had a huge shoulder, which made up for the cars whizzing past at 50-55 mph. It was really nice to be able to ride side by side for a while. We'd planned to get lunch in Lanesborough, but lack of options stymied us, and we were both getting light headed due to lack of food (this was around the 20-25 mile mark). We pushed on and found food at 30 miles or so, a conjoined pizza/pub place that was very accomodating. Made a mistake in our order though, as the cheese on the pizza didn't metabolise for another 10 miles. :/ I think that was in Cheshire. We turned off 7 at Summer St. I think, it was a very abrupt hill, but short. We found the spring by the side of the road, in a little clearing hollowed out of the hillside. A woman was filling up about 8 gallon jugs with water, and more cars pulled up as we were sorting out our water containers. I should have emptied my camelbak, but just topped it up. It was *good* water, glad we stopped. We continued on that road across to the Rail to Trail bike path that ran between the Cheshire Reservoir and 8. The water level was really low in the reservoir, we saw a mixed flock of birds wading far out. It was a bit of a shock to go from the side of a road to a dedicated bike path, and we had to weave around a few families. We got off the path to get food, and then went back on to the end, and another hill up to a ridge line so that we could avoid 8 by going along (I think) Wells Rd, might have been 8A. Nice views from up there, with the hills marching away into the distance. And some nice long downhills to reward us for the climbing. :) Back on 8 for a little bit to get through North Adams, and then I very ambitiously decided to try for a two state ride, by continuing up 8 to Vermont. I was still low on calories, but kept spinning up hills and screaming down valleys, and we made it just across the border at around the 44 mile mark. We stopped at a gas station to get a frozen fruit bar for me, and an apple for Cris, and while waiting in the fairly long line, I saw an impressive stream of cigarettes get sold. We stood outside the station to eat, but the sugar in the bar got to me after about half, and it ended up in a mud puddle after I let Cris have a bite, so I gave up on it and threw the rest away. We cut over on Middle Road to head back over to the west side of North Adams, another bit of a climb rewarded by a twisty fast downhill. I glanced down at my bike computer at one point and saw I was doing about 28, so I gingerly applied the brakes as the posted speed limit was 25. A cop car came around the next bend just then. :) Checking my maximum speed for the ride, it was 33.7 mph, and I think it must have been on that hill. We got a bit turned around and backtracked when we saw that our bypass-rte-2 road was going right up a ridge line, and rolled back into the parking lot of the BNB at exactly 50.00 miles on my odometer. We'd metabolised the pizza by then and could have gone further, but it was 4:45 and we had to get to the concert. It had rained a bit while we were at lunch, and we got a few drops on us in the afternoon, but it was mostly a perfect temperature with overcast for most of the time we were biking.

The huge jacuzzi tub beckoned, and a Lush bath bomb was used. The innkeepers had put out some wine and cheese for us, and we had a snack while deciding on where to go for dinner. We settled on The Source, in Lennon, an organic focussed restaurant. We drove down, over the part of 7 that we'd biked on earlier, and found the restaurant with no problems. We were *very* hungry by the time we sat down, and had a bit of a wait for our food. They were out of the coconut crusted salmon, but the mahi-mahi was quite good. I had the salad for an app and skipped the greens on my dinner plate. The red potato salad was delicious, with knobbly mustard to add a bit of bite. We didn't have time for dessert or caffeine, as it was 7:45 by the time we finished eating, and the concert was due to start at 8.

We were able to get fairly close to Tanglewood before we hit traffic, and were directed to the East Main overflow lot, parking on the grass. We walked for a fair bit, detouring around to the non lawn entrance, and then back again to get to the Shed. The building was open to the air, and we could hear the rain falling outside at quiet times. The seats were wooden, and not nice to our bike saddle abused rear ends, but shifting around a bit helped. The first piece was by Dvorak, with Hillary Hahn as the solo violinist. It was beautiful, and she did a solo piece as an encore. After an intermission, Beethoven's 3rd was done, though I have to admit to almost drifting off during the quiet bits, I was tired out. I stayed awake for the drive back to North Adams, but it was a close thing. I think we were asleep by 11pm.

Sun Aug 20/06

The clink of cutlery woke us up at 9am, when we said we'd be out for breakfast. We were at our own table again, as a couple moved their place setting to the other one to recreate the set up from yesterday. More tea, and a very good baked omelette with salsa, a blueberry muffin, yoghurt and OJ. We packed up and checked out by 10:30 or so, drove by the book store in Williamstown but it was closed. We stopped in at the Clark, amazed at the huge crowd (it was dead in Feb.) for the Clark Brothers show. They had notes on which brother bought which piece first (in a lot of cases both owned them at some point, buying through agents when they fell out with each other). It was nice to revisit some of the pieces that we'd seen in Feb. and to see some new ones, but the crowds were getting to me, and time was running short before Cris' train. We saw the meadow where we'd gone hiking in Feb, lush with greenery instead of being a frozen wasteland.

Then we headed back down 7 to the outlet mall in Lee. Cris got a pair of work shoes, and we grabbed lunch in the busy food court, getting subs, and Cris ate while I got us on the highway to Springfield. We found the train station at around 2:20 or so, and got there just in time to hear that the train was delayed from it's 2:50 ETA, to 3:20, then to 3:30. I went out to the car to check for his PDA (the innkeepers found it, will mail it back to our home), and then bid him farewell again, for another few days in NYC. I was able to get back to I90 with no problems, and again had heavy traffic most of the way, with a big slow down around 84 again. But I made it home around 6pm or so, fed myself, then made the mistake of sitting down to read after getting my laundry in the wash. I was in bed and asleep by 10:30, tired despite no lingering soreness from the ride.


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