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My Saturday ramble (lots of pictures)

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

My Saturday ramble (lots of pictures)

Old 11-09-08, 03:27 PM
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Hocam
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My Saturday ramble (lots of pictures)

Life hasn't been too great lately and the little daylight I could use for riding didn't seem to be helping. I had been too concerned with average speeds, heart rates and numbers. After reading an article about a forgotten tower, I picked a few other destinations and threw a route linking them together. Leaving the computer at home release me from the pressures of average speeds and allowed me to stop and take photo's, chat with locals and ask for directions when I was only slightly lost instead of completely. This is very unusual for me as I typically pride myself on completing a ride without stopping, and keep track of how fast I go over a given course. Stopping to take pictures, asking for directions and chatting with a few random people must have decimated my average speed, but today I couldn't have cared less, and it couldn't have been better.

Anyway, on with the pictures.

I loaded up the fred mobile with anything to help fix the mechanical problems that never seem to happen, a cliff bar and some water. The fenders helped early on when the roads were still wet from last night's downpour.



The weather hovered around in the 50's all day, but I had to turn back and get my gloves.



I passed by Mount Holyoke College, admired the architecture and kept riding.


I used to think this building was a church, but it's an incredible library.


A local road has been closed to fix a bridge that washed out, so I decided to check on construction. It looks to be almost done.



Built in 1867, this cemetery would be considered "young" around here.


I wonder if this fellow had anything to do with "Smith College", over in Northampton.


A few miles later and I start the ascent to the top of Mount Holyoke. Called the 'halfway house', this is no where close to halfway but does signify the end of the steepest grades.


One of multiple switchbacks up the mountain. You can see the wooden guardrail up and to the left.


I don't think I'm in danger of speeding.


(more on the way)
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Old 11-09-08, 03:28 PM
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Almost there and you're already rewarded.


The Summit House, about 850' of elevation gain from the road below.


The Connecticut River meanders in the distance.


"Real America"


The Fred Mobile awaits the descent at the stairs of the summit house.


After a cautious descent along wet leaves and switch backs, and another 5 miles north I continue the fredosity with a bike path headed west.


Did I mention it's covered in gold?


Crossing the Connecticut on the old rail bridge. It's rusty iron girders used to hold a much weighter load than me and my bike.


After getting lost, an old couple on bikes directs me down this dirt road, the one on my cue sheet, now back towards the south.



I'll be climbing the edge of that ridge later. Still headed south.

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Old 11-09-08, 03:29 PM
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Mt. Tom looms in the distance. The retiree's tell me the road to the top is badly dilapidated.



My favorite road sign.



After the ascent I get lost again, talk to some folks doing yard work and the point me up a dirt path to find Scott Tower. After hiking up a short slope, the tower pokes it's head out.



If I had known how badly this picture came out, I would have snapped another one. There's better pictures here.



This staircase winds it's way up to the top. I carefully clacked up it in my road cleats.



The city of Holyoke sprawls out beneath the top of the tower.



Mt. Holyoke is much further away now, but just as ominous.



From the tower I can see still more mountains to cross on another day.


I talked to a few people who had also read the newspaper article and were busy cleaning up some of the garbage strewn around the tower. A guy on a motorcycle showed up, and says the road to the bottom is in good shape, so I descend down it, past a playground and under a highway. Getting lost for still another time eventually brings me to the urban decay of Holyoke.



It looks much nicer from a another bridge over the Connecticut river.

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Old 11-09-08, 03:30 PM
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This dam is very close to home, and provides electricity for part of the area, as well as an unusual sight for those willing to look for it.



When I came back I found my breakfast sitting cold in the kitchen; I was so excited about riding I forgot to eat it! I always considered it so important to eat something for a ride but this time I was running on coffee and that cliff bar with no problems. Funny how you learn somethings about yourself only by forgetting others.

I left sometime around 10 and got home a little before 2, have no idea how fast or how far I went but this was one of the most memorable rides I've done in a long time. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
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Old 11-09-08, 03:33 PM
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great post. very much enjoyed. 100% what riding is all about.
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Old 11-09-08, 03:34 PM
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Nice pictures and seems like an excellent ride, thanks for posting!
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Old 11-09-08, 03:43 PM
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Beautiful.
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Old 11-09-08, 04:20 PM
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looks like a great spin through the Valley. there's some great riding down there. i just wish 116 between MHC and Amherst had more of a shoulder.
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Old 11-09-08, 04:50 PM
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great pictures and comments...thanks for posting!
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Old 11-09-08, 05:00 PM
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That looked like a great ride. I'm a bit jealous.
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Old 11-09-08, 05:02 PM
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Great post.....reinforces why I love New England......
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Old 11-09-08, 05:09 PM
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Great post, thanks for the photos.
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Old 11-09-08, 05:25 PM
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Wow beautiful shots.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:22 PM
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Love it. Great pics. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:31 PM
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Very nice.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:33 PM
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Great post! Reading through the narrative and pics. just makes me want to go out and ride. Thanks.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:37 PM
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Nicely done.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:45 PM
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Looks like we covered some of the same roads today. I sure would of remembered that bike if I saw it.

Thanks,
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Old 11-09-08, 06:48 PM
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Old 11-09-08, 06:51 PM
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Thanks for the pics. I used to live out there and recognize many of the landmarks.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:56 PM
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Thanks for the comments all, much appreciated.

Pedalandshift were you on a group ride headed south on 47? I saw a strung out bunch right before I got to Skinner park.
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Old 11-09-08, 07:22 PM
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awesome, I loved the post.
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Old 11-09-08, 07:57 PM
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WOW! Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-09-08, 08:25 PM
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beautiful, you covered some great scenery!
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Old 11-10-08, 07:31 AM
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Thanks guys. Now the challenge is finding even better places to ride.
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