Thursday, July 15, 2011.
Northampton, MA to Bernardston, MA. 34 miles.
Finally, the morning of our departure had arrived! Avery and I had spent the last three days deciding on a route, gathering gear, and getting the bikes ready. We would leave from home and camp at Traveler Woods in Bernardston where we had stopped on our first bike tour together when he was 9.
We took our regular route up River Rd through Hatfield and Whately up to Route 116. We kept reminding each other that we live in a beautiful place as we passed farms and well cared for farmhouses. The view of the Holyoke Range in the distance provided a nice backdrop.
The next section of the ride was new for us, River Rd in Deerfield, north of Rte 116. Usually, we’d go though Deerfield and Historic Deerfield, but I wanted to see if we could find the connection to the Canalside Trail which connects Deerfield and Montague. When Quinn and I rode it last year, it seemed like a good alternative, but we didn’t take full advantage, as I could not tell where the Deerfield end took us.
Well, Deerfield’s River Road is beautiful. The Connecticut River was visible through the trees for long stretches. At one point, we climbed a short rise, came round the bend, and the whole valley opened up. We could see several layers of mountains beyond the fields. Breathtaking.
River Road was longer and hillier at the Greenfield end than we had expected. We found the road that the Canalside Trail was supposed to be off of, Mc Lelland Farms Road, but had to turn around as it was the wrong end of the road. Little while later we found the correct turn. Which was signed! The trail was pleasant, but once again we got lots of headwind going into Turner’s Falls.
Our next rest stop was at the Discovery Center in Turner’s Falls, we had a nice long rest at the tables there and ate a few peanut butter sandwhiches. I could tell Avery was tired because he stretched out on the grass! He looked so ready for a nap.
I thought we had about 8 miles to go to the campground, and a few hills. I was hoping we would be at the site within the hour and he could take a pre-dinner nap.
Unfortunately, we got turned around and missed our turn on a dirt road. There weren’t street signs, and we ended up climbing two steep hills we did not need to. And much of the road was gravel with big rocks. It was very draining.
Without those added climbs we would have arrived in much better shape.
The host at Traveler’s Woods remembered me from last year and gave us a post card we could send to Quinn at camp.
We hung out in the lounge for a bit recovering from that last section. Neither of us had the energy to set up.
While climbing those last hills, I finally had to walk. Avery walked with me, I think mostly to keep me company. After a minute or so, he decided to ride, and encoraged me to ride too. Near the top he could tell I was struggling, and gave me a few, ‘Go Mommy, go’ chants! That always helps.
When we began setting up camp, Avery pitched right in. He helped with the cooking too, and the clean-up. He’s a great kid.
By the time we had showered it was dusk, and the mosquitoes descended. Avery suggested we play cribbage in the lounge. We played and talked until 9, closing time.
We’d told Heidi that we’d call after 9, but the phone was dead, so Avery got out of the tent and found an outlet to charge it enabling a conversation of a few minutes.
Before falling asleep, we revived the tradition of my reading aloud to him. I’d gotten a copy of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Hardy Boys just did not seem right anymore! I managed to get into the second chapter before we were too tired to go on.
What a great day!