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Any Western Mass. Experts Out There?

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Any Western Mass. Experts Out There?

Old 08-18-16, 11:34 AM
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indyfabz
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Any Western Mass. Experts Out There?

I need to get from the Westhampton, MA area to North Canaan, CT the Sunday after Labor Day. Here is what I came up with using Google Maps as a starting point and then making route adjustments to, among other things, eliminate roads that don't appear to exist:


https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15868290


I definitely want to swing through the center of North Canaan so I can shop for groceries before heading to the campground.


This will be part of a week long trip from Brattleboro, VT to my home in Philadelphia. I have the first day figured out and will be passing through Deerfield, MA, where I went to high school. Once I reach North Canaan I will pick up ACA's Atlantic Coast route, which I have the map for. Will be getting to Brattleboro using Amtrak's new roll-on bike service on the Vermonter. Interested to see how that goes.


Thanks in advance for any feedback anyone can offer on the section between Westhampton and North Canaan. One question I am particularly interested in is whether MA 23 between Blandford and Otis would be a good alternative to the current plan. There doesn't appear to be much of a shoulder on MA 23, but if heavy traffic shouldn't be an issue I don't have a problem with that.
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Old 08-18-16, 12:59 PM
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While I don't claim to be a Mass expert I can say you have avoided the population centers where all the traffic can be expected. Given the route you are planning to follow you shouldn't have any trouble. I rode from western NH down to Annapolis last year and took NH10/MA63 down to just north of Springfield. I dodged my way around Springfield and on down across the CT border before heading west and catching CT4 on out to route 7. Once I started to pull away from US5/I-91 the traffic volume dropped off dramatically. With your route you shouldn't have any kind of traffic worries to deal with. You have to remember the bulk majority of the population in MA is around Boston with Springfield holding on for second place.
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Old 08-18-16, 03:52 PM
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Dave, Here's a route that I've taken from the Westhampton MA KOA that connects with ACA Atlantic Coast Route at Riverton CT. Easy back roads from Westhampton to Westfield then a brutal climb from Westfield to Granville. More climbing west on MA 57 to an obscure left turn just beyond West Granville on a dirt road through Granville State Forest. Yet another brutal climb on the dirt that I had to walk. Pavement returns after you cross into CT. Some fast downhill cruising from there into Riverton CT where you pick up the ACA route west to N Canaan. Another tortuous climb out of Riverton. There's a good general store/cafe in Riverton. 57 miles, just slightly longer than your proposed route.



https://goo.gl/k37Dib

Last edited by BobG; 08-18-16 at 04:56 PM. Reason: tweak map link Westhampton to Westfield
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Old 08-19-16, 07:29 AM
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Thanks. I had heard that the ACA route coming out of Riverton is really hard. When I rode home from Bar Harbor after the Northern Tier I took a detour to visit a friend at Yale and picked the route back up in N. Canaan, so I missed that part.
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Old 08-19-16, 06:08 PM
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As hard as the climb is westbound from Riverton it's quiet rural roads all the way until the route hits US 44 which is not that busy. Just you and the hill... no traffic to deal with. Once you join 44 it's downhill al the way to E and N Canaan. Nice campgound a flat 2.4 miles south of Riverton if you wanted to stop there...



Here's an alternate route through CT I took on a subsequent trip that joins the ACA route at Poughkeepsie. Way back in the 70's there was a hostel at Bantam Lake which defined this route for me long before ACA. The hostel is long gone but there is an affordable campground on Bantam Lake...

https://goo.gl/tL25iz
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Old 08-19-16, 08:55 PM
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Damn! I consider myself a Western Mass expert, but I always go north of Easthampton!!!
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Old 08-20-16, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
One question I am particularly interested in is whether MA 23 between Blandford and Otis would be a good alternative to the current plan.
I have no personal experience on that stretch of road but I do have the MA state paper map in front of me. It shows route 23 in black as opposed to red. Most black roads in MA are lightly traveled so it may be fine. I traveled the black 57 just to the south and it was quite rural. Could be some fun winding around using your GPS route. Often the spontaneous routes are the most fun!
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Old 08-20-16, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
I have no personal experience on that stretch of road but I do have the MA state paper map in front of me. It shows route 23 in black as opposed to red. Most black roads in MA are lightly traveled so it may be fine. I traveled the black 57 just to the south and it was quite rural. Could be some fun winding around using your GPS route. Often the spontaneous routes are the most fun!
I've been on parts of that road. other than 91, and Rt. 2, there is no road I've been on west of Boston that is bad for riding.
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Old 08-20-16, 05:24 PM
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I used the Vermonter on 8/19/16 leaving Northampton going to Montpelier Vt. When I tried to get a bike ticket online 8/17/16 there were none available. Amtrak only sells three bike tickets on that train(I called and asked).Yet they let on our party of five (two with bike tickets, three without). When the train arrived at the station we asked if we could bring the bikes on. At first the conductor said no, the person leading the ride politely requested if there was space, so the conductor went and looked and told us where to store the bikes. He was very helpful. The conductor did not charge for the bikes, though I offered him the money. They put the excess bikes in the space for the wheelchairs.
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Old 08-21-16, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I've been on parts of that road. other than 91, and Rt. 2, there is no road I've been on west of Boston that is bad for riding.
+1 on that, but Rt. 23 ain't exactly what you'd call "flat".

Blandford to Otis Profile

Last edited by hilltowner; 08-21-16 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 08-21-16, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
+1 on that, but Rt. 23 ain't exactly what you'd call "flat".
It's western mass. What's "flat?"
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Old 08-21-16, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
It's western mass. What's "flat?"
True that, hence my username.
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Old 08-22-16, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by essiemyra View Post
I used the Vermonter on 8/19/16 leaving Northampton going to Montpelier Vt. When I tried to get a bike ticket online 8/17/16 there were none available. Amtrak only sells three bike tickets on that train(I called and asked).

Made a reservation weeks ago. One nice thing is that it didn't cost me anything. Amtrak had a total melt down on me earlier in the year while I was trying to get from NYC to Philly after a business trip. It started with the ticket agent giving me incorrect information, telling me that an on time train was actually hours late. I could have caught that train had she not been incorrect. When I finally did get on a train one in front of us broke down and we had to make an unscheduled stop in Trenton to pick up stranded passengers. More than 4 hrs. elapsed between me walking into Penn Station and me arriving in Philly. I am a member of their rewards program and I called at *****ed. They gave me a $100 travel voucher. With the bike charge, the ride to Brattleboro was $96.
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