Finally getting around to writing up some notes on last weekend’s bike tour. K and I trekked up to New Hampshire & Vermont to do some biking over the Labor Day weekend. It was a fantastic weekend.
I’ll find myself occasionally using the phrase “you pays your money and you takes your chances”. I don’t remember where I picked it up, but regardless, it’s true of so many things that I just like the phrase. Anyway, bike tours to far flung destinations (at least far flung for me) are a perfect example of the phrase. You really never know what you’re going to encounter when you sign up in advance for a bike tour offered by some tour company – or even if you go it alone. Is the weather going to mess things up? are the accommodations/food going to suck? etc, etc. You sign up, make the trip and you hope for the best.
This last weekend we came up all aces. We did the “Moose Mountain” tour (4 day/3 night) offered by Bike Vermont. We got to Moose Mountain Lodge on Friday. It’s way up in the hills near Hanover NH. Though we had directions, we still missed the turn and had to backtrack. It’s off the beaten path quite a bit. Then up a long, steep, winding gravel road. The view once you get up there though is fantastic. They call it a 100 mile view, and I don’t know if that’s true or not but you get a panoramic view of the Connecticut river valley and across into Vermont.
Moose Mountain Lodge is a rustic place with a lot of rooms. Our group though was only 6 strong plus a tour leader and a couple of random hikers that had joined us for the weekend. Peter and Kay that run the place are salt-of-the-earth folks that couldn’t have been better hosts.
Let me say first off the food at the place was awesome. I won’t go into the details of the menus but we ate breakfasts and dinners there from Friday thru Monday and I enjoyed every meal. Breakfasts had made-to-order eggs and typically some wonderful baked goods. Fresh blueberry muffins or a cinnamon roll coffee cake, plus turkey sausage, black bean hash, fruits, yogurt, waffles, french toast, etc… Great stuff. Dinners included things like pork loin, fresh corn on the cob, a variety of vegetable dishes, fantastic desserts… all fresh from the kitchen in the next room.
Oh, and fresh batches of cookies were routinely available. Mmmmm.
It was a BYOB type of place as well so we enjoyed some nice wine we picked up in town with meals.
Ok, so the food was excellent. What about the weather? Mint. A thunderstorm greeted us Thursday night and it ushered in a weekend of fantastic weather. Low humidity, morning temps in the 40’s that warmed to the 70’s, maybe 80 on Monday. Clear blue skies and light breezes. Carmel California weather in New England. Starting out in the mornings, it was down right chilly. I soaked up every ounce though ’cause this morning – back home in Austin – it was steamy and pushin’ close to 90 by the time I finished my morning ride today. (Was dreaming of last weekend’s weather … sigh.)
And the riding? Loved it. Traffic was light and we rode scenic rolling hills throughout the CT river valley area around and north and west of Hanover NH. Trees, rivers, hills, lakes, views, covered bridges, quaint towns, smooth roads, and stops for ice cream, … I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We did “options” on both the Sat and Sunday ride. Bike Vermont rides tend to cater to people that don’t ride much – or plain just don’t ride on a regular basis at all. Without options, the rides are pretty easy. They’ve been in business for over 30 years so I think they realize there are a lot more people that DON’T bike that much so best to cater to the needs of a wider audience. However, they’re good about providing options if you want to do more. This is my 2nd such tour (other was years ago) and in both cases they’ve been willing to suggest extra routes. So we ended up doing 54 miles on Sat and 52 on Sunday. In both cases these were options to options. The basic route would have been maybe 30-something miles. The options included some more hills as well, not surprisingly.
The routes are not flat in this area though. This is some hilly country. Though most of it was in the river valley and none of the hills were particularly bad. Some gravel, though mostly not.
The group was smaller than most ‘tour’ type rides I’ve done. Only 6 riders plus the tour ‘lead’ that shadowed us in a van. That size was good though. It allowed everyone to pretty much take however much time they wanted.
All in all, a good tour. I’d do another some time.
The pictures in this post include one in Enfield, NH. Someone had turned their bike into a flower pot of sorts. Kinda cool though I thought. And then this last one of K and I at one of the covered bridges we encountered.