Sunday, July 9, 2017

Books and Bikes

Today was all about navigation! Google and I got real friendly, I never would have made it without him? her? it? 

Almost immediately after I left Shodack Island I missed a turn and was off route.  I accidentally turned on the "turn by turn voice feature", which I typically hate, but I realized that just viewing that page gave me valuable information about when the next turn was, what road it was, etc.  If I turned the radio up I couldn't hear the persistent voice telling me over and over what to do! This would prove to be very helpful as the day went on! 

I navigated from the campground to I90, after that it was easy to get to the Eric Carle Museum of Children's Book Art.  I throughly enjoyed my hour spent there! They have an exhibit about David Wisener and wordless story books. He's one of my favorite artists and I loved learning more about him and discovering some new books! 

I had two other stops in Springfield planned, but they are forecasting rain for tomorrow and I wanted to get in the bike ride I'd planned near Boston. I'd made reservations at the only campground near Boston and decided that took priority, it would be easy to catch the Springfield things next time. So, I left Amherst heading for Boston.  Google maps gave me two options - 90 to 95 or a backroad option through northern MA.  I chose the backroads! 

I'd gotten about 10 miles in when the road I missed a turn, only I didn't realize it until I'd gone a few miles. Then it was several more miles to find a place to turn around.  I saw a sign for "wildlife viewing area" and turned in there to turn around. It happened to be a park next to a reservoir and there was one vacant picnic table with a water view in the shade, so I had lunch! 

The trip across Massachusetts was beautiful! I went up and over mountains, no civilization at all, then I came to MA2 which started as 2 lane & grew to 4 before I got to Bedford! 

My next destination was Bedford, where the start of the Minuteman Commuter Rail Trail was. This is another Rail Trail Hall of Fame trail! I never would have found my way to Bedford without google. The route I needed was constantly changing, and the signs all mention towns I've never heard of, all the roads are tiny 2 lane roads with trees and houses (very  nice!), and then there are roundabouts every few miles! I actually have come to like roundabouts, but it's hard when you aren't sure which way you want to go! Luckily google knew! The only problem with this method of navigation is that I arrived in Bedford with no idea how I'd gotten here, which direction was which or anything! I'd arrived, but I'd missed key factors in the process of getting there. 

There was a large shopping center with a Whole Foods about a block from the trailhead so I parked there and headed off!  The trail was very nice - paved, smooth, shady, but it was nothing super special.  It was as the name implied, a commuter trail. It reminded me a bit of the W&OD in Northern Virginia but this trail was nicer! It passed through the towns of Lexington and Arlington both with shops and cafes right off the trail! 

It was only 11 miles from Bedford to the end of the trail in Cambridge. At the end there's a wetland preserve with boardwalks and ponds with Lilly pads, but it's definitely very urban! As I rode back I really saw the contrast between the suburban beginning and the urban end! 

After my ride it was time for more navigation! This time I needed to get back out to Littleton, MA where my campground was. This was easy thanks to google, I did take some extra time to study the map and the directions before I started and that helped me have a general idea of where I was headed. 

The campground is your basic campground - small sites, lots of RVs.  My site is level and backs to the woods! When I walked around this evening I did notice that they made excellent use of all the available space, there's not much rhyme or reason to which sites goe which way, but they can get a maximum number of RVs in! A bit like Tetris! 

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