Monday, June 27, 2011

First ride of the summer season with friends

Mike has several friends he rides with, but yesterday was the first time the two of us rode with friends. We invited Chris and Sharon for a ride on some of our favorite roads - plus a couple of new ones.

They met us at the Double Hex in Manchester, and we set off up over Bromley Mountain, through Londonderry and over Terrible Mountain into Ludlow.  I've driven up Terrible Mountain a number of times, and even was part of a 200-mile running relay that ran OVER the thing, but this was the first time I'd ridden it on the BMW. Great views and a screaming descent into Ludlow.

Our route:

We turned off Route 100 onto Route 103, heading through Proctorsville and Cavendish. Along the way we went past the old Cerniglia Winery, which is now a snowmobile touring center. Mike and I moved to Vermont in 1991 to open a retail winery location in Bennington for Cerniglia wines, and have great memories of their apple wines.

Route 103 is everything you want on a bike:  twists, turns,, mountain views, a rocky stream to the side and quaint towns with little to no traffic. We turned onto Route 5 in Ascutney, heading south through Bellows Falls into - you guessed it - Putney. Sharon is from North Carolina, and told us she loves southern BBQ with a lot of vinegar. Lunch at Curtis' BBQ was just as good as the week before. Not only did the BBQ meet Sharon's high expectations, she also pronounced the coleslaw perfect.

Well-fed and happy, we headed south on Route 5 along the Connecticut River into Brattleboro and picked up Route 9 west toward Bennington. Route 9 between Brattleboro and Bennington is called the Molly Stark Trail, following the route General John Stark took east back to New Hampshire after the Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington in 1777. It's great fun on the BMW, but I can't imagine riding a horse, or in a horse-drawn wagon up and over the mountains. At the top of Hogback Mountain you can see three states:  Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

After leaving Chris and Sharon in Bennington, we turned north onto 7A through Shaftsbury and Arlington back to Manchester. We drove over some of the most breathtaking scenery in Vermont during our ride, yet I still find the familiar roads and views of Bennington County are some of my favorites. Maybe that's because the views are colored by 20 years' worth of memories of our time in this part of New England. Or maybe because it really is one of the most gorgeous places on Earth. Ride it yourself, and let us know.

Video of today's ride:

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