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.

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