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WB4F Ride #7: A Trip to Wales

Map showing route from Holyoke through Palmer and down to Wales, Mass, then west through Monson and Hampden, and back north through Springfield.

This past Thursday, I went on my seventh trip, heading south and east from home to a town I had never been to, and had only barely heard of. That would be Wales (not to be confused with the slightly more well known place in the UK).

I began by heading across the CT River into Chicopee, and going south until I crossed the Chicopee River, then turning east on Route 147. I followed this road across the northeast part of the city of Springfield, and then headed into the town of Wilbraham on Stony Hill Rd/East Boston Rd. That’s a nice, tree-lined road, and at one point the trees almost form a tunnel (click on photos to enlarge):

Looking along road surface, with trees on both sides that lean in and form a canopy over the road.

Just after this point I got onto eastbound US-20. Some more riding brought me to Nine Mile Pond:

Pond with a sign in front reading "Nine Mile Pond", with some weeds at the bottom of the frame, and trees on the far side of the pond.
Pond with weeds and a tree in foregound, and many trees on the far side.

A bit later, I passed by this horse and sleigh:

Horse figure on a lawn in front of a parking lot, with an ivy-covered cart or sleigh hitched up to it.  A part of a building is in the background.

That is displayed in front of this business:

Large sign reading "Country Homes Furniture - Pennsylvania House Collector's Gallery".  The sign is among some small plants and grass, with a parking lot and dark green building in the background.

In most of Wilbraham, there is a small amount of shoulder where one can ride a bike and not be in the traffic lane, but as one gets farther east, near the Monson line, there is an official bike lane for a couple of miles. Here’s a picture of it:

Road surface with bike lane painted on it, stretching off into distance, with some trees on the side of the road a ways away.

This lane might be partly in the town of Monson, as Route 20 skirts the northern border of the town for a while.

The road then headed into the town of Palmer, and through downtown, where they emphasize the railroad history of the place. Here’s a typical sign from the downtown area:

Green sign in front of downtown buildings.  The sign reads "Welcome to Quaboag Hills Region - Town of Palmer Depot Village", and below that has arrows directing viewers to various places in town.

A couple of blocks from that sign is this partial old depot building:

Small building with open area under much of roof, with sign on it reading "Depot Village Station".  Grassy area in front of the building.

That is part of a little park that has a small play train (presumably for kids to climb in):

Small park with grass, brick walkway, benches, raised planters with perennials, and a small red and yellow play train.  Behind all of that are some small trees and a 2-story building.

I continued east from Palmer on 20, and passed through a small spur of Monson before entering the town of Brimfield. In that little bit of Monson, I crossed the Quaboag River. Here’s the view south from the bridge:

Calm river water, with trees on each bank.

The road had been pretty close to level up to this point, with only minor climbing, but there was a long stretch in Brimfield with a gradual climb. Soon after that climb, I came to the point where I turned off south, onto Hollow Road, which took me down into Wales. Here’s the town line sign:

Concrete post reading "Town Line" with painted sign attached that reads "Brimfield" on the left side and "Wales" on the right.  There are ferns and such around the base of the post, and trees behind.

It’s a pretty wooded town – here’s the section of road where that sign appears:

Stretch of road with one lane of dark blacktop, and the other lane lighter in color.  There are trees on each side of the road.

A bit farther south there is a little marsh off the east side of the road:

Small marsh seen past a few trees in the foreground.  There arewoods in the background.

I had to climb some more on this road, until I got near the center of town. In the center, they have this monument I came across when I intersected Route 19:

Stone monument which includes four pillars on a round base, with a planter containing flowers between the columns, a platform on top of the columns, and that is topped off by a glass and iron lamp.  There is some landscaping with red wood chips around the monument, with a road and trees in the background.

Here are some details of the monument:

Close up of top section of stone monument, reading "Gifted by W.B. Howard to the Town of Wales".  There are trees and a house in the background.
Glass and iron lantern on top of monument, with white lettering on the glass reading "Wales, Mass".

I went just a bit further south on 19, then began heading west. I passed this pond just after leaving the town center:

Part of a pond, with brush in the foreground, trees to the left, and more brush and trees on the far side.
Part of a pond, with brush in the foreground, and more brush and trees on the far side.

From there the road went downhill a whole bunch. It was almost all downhill as I headed into Monson, and passed just south of that town’s center. Then I started to climb again as I continued west. I had an initial, slightly steep climb, then some more gradual climbs as the road turned to the southwest. It eventually headed downhill again, as I entered the town of Hampden, before running into another road where I turned west, and headed into Hampden center. Here are some pictures of that area:

Brick building that reads "Hampden Town House" on the front, with a lawn in front of it, and a flagpole with the US flag at half staff.  There are a few large trees around, and a street running by the building.
Stone monument with a statue of a man at the top.  Lettering on the base reads "Argonne".  There are bushes, trees, and grass around the monument.

That monument is apparently to soldiers from the town who served in World War I. Near here there was a town park where I stopped to eat my lunch. I ate in this empty picnic shelter:

Picnic shelter with yellow supporting columns and several picnic tables.

which was right by this playground:

A playground with red and blue monkey bars, a red and yellow slide, and some swings beyond those, plus a few animals on springs.  Trees are in the background, along with a small picnic shelter.

One gets from the parking lot to the picnic/play area on this little bridge over a ditch/creek:

Reddish-brown painted wooden bridge, with asphalt path leading to it, and small trees and bushes on either side.

While I was eating, there was a parent with a small child on the playground, and at one point the parent pointed out something on the edge of the playground, which I could soon see was a frog hopping away from them. It went down into the ditch, apparently into the water. Later, once they had left, I took a look in the shallow water, and found a frog – likely the same one:

A green frog sits in very shallow water, with the top of its head sticking out, facing the camers.  There are some twigs and a dry maple leaf in the water.

I went a bit more to the west, and then headed north by northwest to leave Hampden. I passed through a corner of the town of East Longmeadow, and then into the southeast part of Springfield. I made my way north through the city, eventually getting back into Chicopee. I crossed the Chicopee River in the same spot as I had in the morning, though with a better view of the dam there:

Looking upriver at a short but wide dam as water pours over it.  There are a couple of islands of brush in the foreground, and in the distance the river is lined on both sides with trees.

From here my path was the reverse of the way I started out. I got home having ridden 59.88 miles, bringing the September total to roughly 387.

Odometer reading mileage of fifty-nine point eight eight.

Coming next: the final ride of the month!

Posted by seaking on 09-27-2020 at 10:09 pm
Posted in Biking

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