Friday, November 14, 2008

Our Trip So Far

Well, here we are in Greenfield MA, at a coffee shop called the Koko Cafe. Our trip so far:

New Paltz: We hit town around 9:00 and went to the Gilded Otter Brewpub for dinner. Pretty nice, though I thought the beer was better than the food: my roast beef sandwich fell far short of the "Christian Springs Hotel roast beef standards" to which I had become accustomed, though Anne did like her meal. We asked about lodging, and ended up at some interstate motel, where a teenager asked me to rent him and his friends a room. Sorry, Bub... I was polite about it, but the last thing I needed was our sleep disturbed by a bunch of kids trashing the hotel on my credit card. They took off, and the rest of the evening was uneventful.

In the morning we got biking advice and breakfast at a crunchy coffee shop in town, then went over to Lake Winnemaska to ride the carriage roads. I hadn't been there in years but it was the same as ever: still scenic, still reasonably easy/aerobic riding. Cold and breezy but beautiful, we got in about 12 miles over maybe 3 hours, then took off for Vermont via the Champlain Bridge.

Burlington: This was Anne's birthday, and we hit the Vermont Brew Pub to celebrate but it was a fairly early night. Motel outside of town, breakfast next day in town, and then we headed up to Stowe for some hiking -- snow was already on the ground, and when we got up to higher elevations it got to be 4"-6" deep, then icy, and so we turned around, and got pizza in Stowe. We didn't get as far as we wanted, but we were out for a good chunk of the day -- it was beautiful up there.

Back in Burlington, dinner was a nap but then we went out to catch some night life. We went to Ri Ra for a few pints and Irish atmosphere, then caught a good blues band at Red Square. (I'd heard a few years ago that they were going out of business, but they seemed to be going strong that night.) Rain started to fall, mostly just drizzle, and hasn't stopped since... 

Yesterday was browsing Burlington, then we traveled here with a dinner stop: friends of Anne live near a brewpub outside Springfield VT, and we met them there. Tonight were meeting her son in Northampton.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Leaf Mold And A Head Cold

The leaf mold finally got to me. It's worst year I can remember, and I've been suffering after every time out in the woods -- even worse than the May "tree pollen rides." It was really bad the other day, and must have opened a door for some germ because I am now colonized: sinuses, chest congestion, the usual.

It hasn't slowed me down (yet): we went to McSorley's in Manhattan yesterday, with dinner at Carmine's afterward, and both were awesome, as was the other little bar we stopped in (for a break from the McSorley's scene). It was the 3rd annual Which Brew / Porters bus trip into the city, the usual suspects but with a more Porter's-oriented crowd.

Today I'm on vacation for real, and in about four hours (after laundry & housecleaning) I'm picking up Anne and we're heading North. No real plans, but we'll probably be stopping near New Paltz tonight, hiking the Gunks tomorrow, and then heading for Burlington; the eventual goal is to visit her son Ben, going to school near Amherst, later in the week. Lots of hiking, biking, reading, coffee & beer in the meantime...

To get ready we went to that semi-new (me) sporting goods store, Cabella's. What a nightmare, a total big-box store dedicated to mostly hunting -- they even had a furniture section, the kid of stuff that would go well with the elk on the wall... I got a couple of pairs of hiking pants, she got boots, and then we got the hell out of Dodge.

Anyway, that's it for a couple of days. Stay tuned for pictures -- I have about a hundred from yesterday, plus a bunch of earlier ones, various events, that I still didn't get to. But, later...