Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall color and thoughts of Nate

Another sunny, warm day makes it 3 in a row! Even better, the leaves are changing color almost before our eyes. Saturday I commented on the muted colors of the leaves. Yesterday we rode through higher elevations in the southern Green Mountains where many trees were completely bare of leaves.

Today - red! yellow! orange!

A day like today brings a smile to my face. Three days in a row, and all is right with the world.

Sunshine and bright blue skies.
Time to spend with Mike - work can wait another couple of days!
Curvy, hilly roads bordered with brightly colored forests and the views of mountains.
Changing seasons which remind me that every day is precious and meant to be savored.
We traveled on some of our son Nate's favorite roads today. He loves these quiet paved roads because of the hills and the lack of traffic - perfect both for riding his BMW or traveling by longboard. Nate's in Colorado and hasn't been home this summer, but today we imagine he's with us, enjoying flying along the back roads near home that we know so well.

Riding a motorcycle can be a quiet, solitary event. As Mike's pillion rider, it's an experience shared with a point toward a hawk circling on the updrafts or a quick hug to share the moment. My mind often wanders while we're out on the BMW, and this afternoon I was smiling thinking how much Nate loves Vermont.

Nate, this one's for you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ride into Massachusetts

Another sunny, warm day and the Patriots play the Jets at 4pm - let's go for a ride! You can ride along witih us!

We headed out on some of our favorite back roads, winding our way through Arlington and Shaftsbury to Bennington. There's always something new to see, even when we're on roads we've driven, bicycled, run, and ridden the BMW on hundreds of times.

Houses and cars are few and far between on these roads, which makes for fun riding. Once in Bennington, we took Route 9 west toward Woodford, where we joined a line of cars and motorcycles winding our way over the Green Mountains on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

When we turned south onto Route 100, we left the tourists behind and once again had the road to ourselves. We love to see the Searsburg wind farm and today pulled over to the side of the road so we could get a better look.

Turning east, we ended up in North Adams, MA. Over the past few years this small city has reinvented itself from a GE mill town into more of an arts community, anchored by MASS MoCA contemporary arts center. It was a perfect time to stop for lunch and spend a few minutes looking around town.

Vermont Route 7 heading north rolls through beautiful countryside, which in early October means pumpkins and apples!

Dry leaves falling from the trees danced across the road in front of us, we spotted flocks of geese heading south, and searched the hillsides for spots of the bright red and yellow Fall leaves. We live in Manchester which promotes itself as the #1 Fall Foliage town in Vermont. After our rides this weekend, I have to agree!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Last weekend Mike and I attempted a bike ride, but due to heavy fog, heavy rain, and zero visibility we gave up after about 15 minutes. It was cold, wet and we couldn't see anything, so why ride?

The forecast today was for sun and warm temperatures, a perfect day for a ride on the BMW. Our destination was the Harpoon Brewery Oktoberfest celebration in Windsor, VT but of course we took the long, scenic route.

View heading up 11/30 toward Bromley Ski Area

Usually this time of year the sugar maple trees are brilliant with their Fall colors of red, orange and yellow but this year the colors are soft and muted. Everyone has their opinion about the lack of color - too much rain, too hot this summer, global warming - the list goes on and on. We were expecting vibrant color and had to settle for bright blue skies and sunshine - not a bad trade-off! Watch video of today's ride.
We followed winding roads through Londonderry, Chester, and Rockingham before we stopped for gas and a snack in Springfield. Each town has its own character, and we found a surprise in Chester:

Almost one month ago we were sitting in the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, enjoying the crowds, festive atmosphere, food, band, and of course the beer. Today we found ourselves in a time-warp as we wandered around the Harpoon Oktoberfest complete with crowds, tents, band, food (even Mike's favorite potato pancakes with applesauce), and beer.

I even heard people speaking German! We sat on the sunny hillside listening to the band, and sang along with the familiar "ein Prosit, ein Prosit" toast. One unfamiliar spectacle was the feats of strength performed by guys in kilts. I'm not sure what this has to do with Oktoberfest, but it was fun to watch them carry 250 pound beer kegs.

Never ones to hurry home, or to waste a warm and sunny day, we took our time riding home, passing through Ascutney and Weathersfield. This area was hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene the end of August, and many bridges are still under repair. When we came to the 'road closed' sign on Route 103, Mike decided to see just how 'closed' it was.

The side of the road closest to the Black River obviously had been at least partially washed away in many spots. We finally had to turn around when faced with a barrier blocking the entire road at a major bridge, but found a side road that led directly into Cavendish only 1/2 mile back. We were in Europe when the storm hit, and can only imagine the amount of water that caused all of this destruction.

Our way home led through the beautiful village of Weston, home of the famous Vermont Country Store and numerous beautiful old homes, plus throngs of people this Columbus Day weekend out to enjoy the sights.

Even though Fall tends to be a busy time for tourists in Vermont, the only real traffic we encountered was heading into the Harpoon Oktoberfest and riding through Weston. We primarily had the winding roads to ourselves, which along with the sun, blue skies, mountains and forests added up into a perfect day.