It is hard to believe how beautiful today was! The weather was perfect--started out a little chilly (in the 50s) so I wore tights and a jacket to start, but peeled them off as soon as it warmed up. Braver souls started out without the warm clothes, knowing it would heat up in short order.
We were in Latham, NY last night, not Albany. It is a suburb of Albany. Barbara grew up some where around here, so her relatives came to visit her last night--her sister and brother-in-law, cousin, and the cousin's 3 daughters. They came to take Barbara out to dinner and she was kind enough to invite me, too! (Thus saving me from yet another night of Chinese Buffet). We had a great time--they were like old friends! And after the dinner, they drove me all over the place looking for a postcard. I guess post cards are not cool anymore... hard to find.
Back to this AM... Barbara's cousin had told us to be sure to leave before 7 AM if we wanted to miss the worst of the traffic, so George and I rolled out of the motel at 6:30. Barbara was right behind us... It was wild getting out of town! At less than a mile from the motel we had a rotary interchange with several highways going all different directions. If you think it's hard in a car you should try it on a bike! After that routine, we traveled 4 miles in moderately heavy traffic and then went across the Hudson River on a bridge with no shoulders. Fun, fun, fun. Right after the bridge, we went though a tunnel (our first on this tour) and then we climbed up out of the Hudson River valley. We stayed on route 2 until about 12 miles into the ride, and then turned onto a back road and had a wonderful ride. There was some climbing at this point, but nothing that required granny's help. There were rolling farm fields and rushing creeks and rivers. Very Scenic. We could see the mountains of Vermont off to our right (east).
20 miles into the ride we got onto route 7E, and we all wished we hadn't. There were lots of big trucks that did not want us on their road... there was honking and loud braking, very nerve-wracking for us. We rested at the sag and then got back out there with the trucks. Fortunately we lost some of the traffic when we turned and entered Vermont (mile 31). We rode on highway 9 for only a mile and then got off on the back roads again, which was great fun, but required attention to be paid to the cue sheet! Lots of turns, some on unmarked roads. Some climbing involved...
We passed through Bennington, which was fun. There were life sized sculptures of people all over town; people doing ordinary things. I should have stopped and taken photos... I admired them as I went by, and then was startled by a man who moved--I thought he was another sculpture! Right after Benningon we started a 7.1 mile climb up Mount Anthony. It was not steep, just long. There was a nice wide river on the bottom, and our road up the mountain parallelled the river all the way up. Even when we couldn't see it we could hear it. Very nice. By the time we were done climbing we were above the level of the ski slopes! We could see all the mountains around us in every direction. And the little babbling brook that was the beginning of the river we'd been looking at. River and brook shown in photos above.
After we crested Mount Anthony, we had a long descent to Wilmington (over 6 miles). The second sag was there and we had a sandwich and snacks before going on to Hogback Mountain. It was only a 3.5 mile climb this time, and we stopped at the top and bought post cards at a lookout spot. We could see 100 miles, mountains in all directions, very beautiful. The way down Hogback Mountain was a real screamer--about 12 miles down! I managed to keep my speed down under 35 MPH by intermittent braking... Alex and Achim passed me. Linda 2 and Rick passed me... that's OK. It was a great ride down at any speed. Total climbing today was 6,100 feet! I can't even imagine ever doing that at home!
It is unbelievable how perfect the weather has been this week. Today it was 84 degrees when George and I pedaled into Brattleboro and stopped for an ice cream. There was a nice little breeze and the sun was shining from a very blue sky with a few puffy clouds. Perfect. looked like a postcard!