As I post this, it is the day before the Will Bike 4 Food ride. My fundraising goal has been met, which is awesome! I’ve made my matching donation and am making sure I’m prepared for tomorrow morning.

Two days ago I went on my final training ride. This time I rode up to Shelburne Falls. I’ve been there many times before, but this time I took the hard way to get there.

I started out riding into the western part of Holyoke, and then headed north, passing through Southampton and Easthampton. The forecast had mentioned some possibility of rain, and in fact it started sprinkling on me as I was riding the line between those 2 towns. Then it began to rain in earnest, and so I took cover under a tree. I had brought a rain outfit with me, but it looked like this would blow over quickly. There was a heavy downpour for about 60 seconds, but then a couple minutes after that it let up completely, and I continued on my way.

I headed through a bit of the western edge of Northampton, and then went further north through Westhampton (completing my tour of the ‘hamptons for the day). In Westhampton, I passed this rooster (click to enlarge pictures):

I then started some serious hill climbing, as I went northwest into the town of Chesterfield. Here’s a stream I passed over shortly after entering Chesterfield:

The climbing had been steepest in Westhampton, and was more gradual in Chesterfield, but it went on for a long time. Finally I got to the town center:

From there I got to go downhill a ways, and then rode northeast into the town of Goshen. I’ve drive through Goshen before, but I think this was my first time cycling in the town. I went a mile or two on a dirt road which had some slight up and down, before getting to Route 9. I went east for a very short distance on 9, and then turned north on route 112. A little up and a little downhill riding brought me into the town of Ashfield, which is still at a pretty high elevation. Here’s a view from the roadside in Ashfield (looking northeast):

From this point, Route 112 goes downhill. A lot. This was the payoff for all the climbing I’d done so far. Much of the downhill was pretty fast until I passed into the town of Buckland, but in Buckland I mostly had at least a somewhat downhill ride as I continued north, so it was easy pedaling. Here is a creek that I passed over in that town:

I reached the northern end of 112, where it runs into Route 2, but just before one would have to get onto 2, there is a side street that goes off to the east and then curves south. I took that street, and it brought me into Shelburne Falls (which is a village center shared between the towns of Buckland and Shelburne). There, I sat on a bench and had lunch by the Deerfield River:

After eating, I took a walk on the Bridge of Flowers. If you have not heard of it before, or read my past blog posts about it, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a walking bridge lined with flowering plants:

Here’s a sampling of the stuff I saw there:

While on the bridge, a monarch was flying around, enjoying the flowers:

I left Buckland heading south on Conway Road, which took me, after some hill climbing, into the town of Conway (where the road changes name to Shelburne Falls Road). I had alternating bits of climbing and level riding, and then got a good-sized downhill bit before coming into Conway center. I took a picture there of the library, because it is interesting looking:

I also thought this house was a neat color:

I then began another climb as I headed south. I passed a sign that was more specific than other ones I’ve seen of the type:

From there, a bunch of climbing brought me to a level ride into the town of Whately, and then some downhill riding followed as I went south and southwest, heading into Willamsburg. I came to Route 9 again in Williamsburg, crossed it, and then soon was able to get on the rail trail that goes through Northampton. I followed the trail all the way to downtown Northampton, and then headed south on Route 5 back to Holyoke. I was out for about 8 hours, and the total distance was 79 miles.