Start: Lenox, MA
Finish: Amherst, MA
Weather: 70 degrees, sunny
Distance to date: 2,961
Ah, Massachusetts. The landscape is
beautiful. The people cold, the drivers are vicious, the food is intricate, the portions are small. Welcome home.
The ride from Pittsfield to Amherst was one of the most beautiful of the entire trip, a long rise through the charming town of Dalton up the plateau at Windsor, then a long winding down for six miles or so alongside the Westfield River roaring over rocks, rippling over beds of smooth pebbles. Eventually the river turned south and the road rised again for several miles to the town of Goshen and took a long, narrow downhill through tall trees into Williamsburg, Florence and Northampton. I stopped for lunch at a local café and had a turkey and swiss with coleslaw on fresh baked toast with a side of fries; delicious but a drop in the belly after 40 miles.
Downtown Northampton was buzzing with incoming Smith College students, off beat locals and women pushing strollers; the busiest downtown I have seen. I took the rail trial over the Connecticut (murky brown and full of Irene debris from Vermont) into Amherst and cycled on to Andy’s place. He has a great house with three buddies very close to campus. We all
went out to a terrific barbeque place with a hot/cold bar so I filled up on incredible collard greens, beans, local grown hickory potatoes (locally grown is de rigour here) and slaw to go with the brisket. It made up for the paltry lunch.
Andy and I shared stories of the road and the Appalachian Trail until I was exhausted and fell into bed when he and his buddies went out to the bars.
Fields of Hadley, MA