Ride #2:  Arlington to North Bennington                  Date:  Sunday, July 31, 2011

Riding Buddies:  Todd                                  

(Moderate Terrain-more like Difficult)

Liz’s Rating:  10

Mileage:  51   


 

We started the day with a nice breakfast at the South Shire Inn.  Todd got the car packed up while I sat on the front porch trying to plan out the day’s ride.  Todd was anxious to get going as usual.  I was determined to see the Bennington Battle Monument.  We arrived at the site and took the elevator to the top.  The view was awesome however the little windows made it difficult to take pictures.  It was fun reading about John Stark and his strong-willed and determined wife Elizabeth “Molly” Stark.  I pictured them as a great team who loved each other very much.

So now that I managed to spend the whole morning doing everything but biking, it was probably 11am before we started pedaling.  The day presented itself as the perfect iconic Vermont summer Sunday.  A small yellow farm house struck me early on the ride with its picket fence, flag, and old maple tree in the front yard.  It was located on quiet Maple Hill Road and seemed like the most peaceful place on Earth to live.  We rode past giant fields of bright yellow sunflowers with bumble bees buzzing around and past corn fields at their peak height.

We did not realize it at the time, but this ride was the turning point for Todd and I.  We were metamorphosing from caterpillars into butterflies.  The tour proved to be very difficult for both of us due to its length, terrain and the humid weather we were faced with.      

We stopped for lunch at a historic hotel/restaurant while crossing into New York State (somewhere near NY Route 22).  I can’t remember the name but we ate outside on the front porch area.  There was also a long side porch where guests could eat as well.

The ride continued to get more difficult as we continued on some steep hills and dirt roads. It was a steamy hot summer day and we rode past hoards of people enjoying the Battenkill River while tubing or jumping off bridges.  We couldn’t wait to find our quiet spot on the river when we finished.

Soon we encountered a heavy rain shower which served to break some of the humidity. We finally finished the ride around 5pm, the rain had stopped, and we plunged into the chilling waters of the Battenkill.  It felt so nice to get the sweat and mud of the day off of our bodies before heading back on the long car ride home.

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Ride #1:  Putney to Westminster           Date:  Saturday, July 30, 2011

Riding Buddies:  Todd                                  

(Moderate Terrain)

Liz’s Rating:  8

Mileage:  42   


       

Todd and I left on a Saturday morning ready to conquer two bike rides (one on Sunday) in Southern Vermont.  We reserved a room at the South Shire Inn, a bed and breakfast in Bennington.  I had always wanted to visit this part of the state since moving here 25 years ago.  We started the ride in Putney.  This is the town where our current governor is from (Peter Shumlin).  Before starting our journey, we fueled up with lunch at a diner in Putney.  While waiting for our food, I found myself eavesdropping on some local conversations (which I often did just to get a flavor of what the towns were like) by an elderly woman whose dialect sounded just like Todd’s grandmother, Theresa Young.

The first 10 miles were unassuming and busy.  Once we entered River Road, we enjoyed views of the Connecticut River and the coolness of the shade in the wooded area.  The ride here was beautiful—there were new small vineyards that resembled the River Valley of Sonoma.  The only problem was that the newly paved road had tire mark grooves all over the place.  It was annoying knowing the road was freshly paved and smooth underneath.

While still in N.H. we stopped at Stuart and John’s Sugar House for a much needed reprieve from the hot scorching sun.  We filled our water bottles, refreshed ourselves in the bathrooms, and enjoyed a cool dish of ice cream before heading back out in the heat.

This much needed break helped us get to the finish.  After packing up the bikes for our car ride to Bennington, we bought some small snacks and a couple of beers to enjoy at a park.  I’m not sure of the name of the park at the time of this writing, but there was a small lake and a picnic table area.  Dusk was setting in so we opted not to swim but just enjoy each other’s company before heading to the South Shire Inn.

After arriving at the inn, we dressed up and took a walking tour of the town while searching for a late-night dinner spot.  Ironically, there was some kind of “bike art” theme being displayed around the store fronts.  We walked back to the inn and enjoyed a peaceful night’s rest.

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