Thursday, August 30, 2012

Up in the Air

Those inclined to take the air in Vermont expect a lovely Inn, wonderful food and an attentive owner/manager. All of this is to be found at the Echo Lake Inn in Ludlow.

So here's the story... yesterday afternoon I was pau with my NY ride and racing to get cleaned up and out of the Courtyard Buffalo by my extended check-out time.  I hastily dug out my VT notes and realized that I had changed my original ride plan in favor of the intriguing Ludlow/Reading Loop that I had discovered on line. But I had no where to stay. 

Try wait! I re-read the details of the Loop and discovered that the start/end location is "right across the road from the Echo Lake Inn." So I quickly phoned the Inn, spoke to the owner and he booked me in a deluxe room at the standard room price. When I told him that I would arrive at about 10pm, he said that was passed his bedtime, but he'd leave an envelope pinned to the front door with my name on it and the key inside.

Indeed the drive was lengthy but when I arrived at 10pm the envelope awaited and I settled in quickly. Nice. Old. Sloping floors. Just what I imagined it would be.  Supper was a chicken wrap and Pepsi that I had picked up at a gas station a couple of hours earlier. It was the perfect one-handed meal as I prepared my Erie Canal blog entry well in to the night.

The next morning was delightful. Sunny, chilly, wonderful breakfast with lots of conversation with the other guest (many of whom were cyclists).  I decided to scout the ride route by car before riding it. That decision turned stressful as the written directions had a couple of errors in them, such as the wrong road number on one key stretch. As a result,  I returned to the Inn after nearly two hours of fruitless scouting and was not at all sure I wanted to do the route.

Five minutes later, Lawrence the Innkeeper had me all straightened out with corrected route info. and oh, by the way, said I could keep the room as late as I needed it. No extra charge.

I told you all of that so I could tell you this: It was a fantastic 33 mile loop ride that was slightly downhill for the first 22 miles and culminated in an eighteen hundred foot climb followed by a steep downhill thrill ride that ended right at my Inn.  Here are some scenes along the route.

The early miles took BB past classic New England style homes like this one with slate siding.
Cemeteries often portray key elements of a community. This place honors their veterans.
The grave of a 10 month old named Lavinus.
Crops send a message of well being.
This hill reminds me that there is a regional ski center nearby.

It wouldn't be Vermont without a covered bridge!
Weird sensation when you ride a bike through here.
The road sign states: Howard Hill Rd.  Could Marian the Librarian be close by?

After a leisurely departure I drove to my next state, New Hampshire. The drive took all of 40 minutes. Staying tonight in Hanover, looking forward to my 4th ride in 5 day.

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