We woke up today in Williamstown this morning where I feel at home, having gone to Williams College in the mid-80s.  Living in Boston I continue to make it back to campus each summer for the Williamstown Theater Festival and I was glad to be able to make that a part of this trip. It was fun to show Justin and Dave part of the campus yesterday:  Spencer House where I lived senior year, 

Papa Charlie's where I read the sandwich choices for a long time and always order the Gilda Radner, and of course the Purple Pub. The pub has been completely rebuilt since I was a student and is no longer considered a dive. 

This morning we packed up our stuff at the Northside Motel (Williamstown needs some updated lodgings) and biked around the rest of the campus before heading east. I had shown them the campus south of Route 2 last night so we biked by Chapin Hall,

the new Paresky Center,

the Freshman Quad,

and a new building I had never seen before, the new Sawyer Library addition to Stetson Hall.

After the final tour of campus, we headed east on Route 2 and started our climb out of the Purple Valley. This would be our last significant climb of the trip. Despite my memories of a very steep road, the grade was not bad at all which made the climb very satisfying. Because we climb at different speeds, we decided to meet up at the hairpin turn.

The hairpin turn is exactly what it sounds like, a 90 degree turn or switchback up the mountain.

At the hairpin turn, there's  a great view of the Purple Valley of the northwestern Berkshires.

We then continued over the Whitcomb Summit and enjoyed a spectacular descent for miles. The road had been recently repaved and there was no traffic in our direction.

Eventually Route 2 meets up with the Deerfield River,

which we followed into Greenfield where it empties into the Connecticut River. The small towns we biked through along the way were charming.
Over the course of the day we began  seeing signs for Boston where the mileage was in double digits!

 In Greenfield, we stopped for lunch at a grocery store that had a prepared foods section.  A few days ago I weighed myself on Gretchen's bathroom scale and learned that I had lost about 8 pounds. My goal was to try to maintain my weight (Justin was even and Dave had lost just 3 pounds).  I was now conscious that I was burning more calories than I was consuming so when I saw two sizes of chicken pot pie in the grocery case, I went for the family size.  At home when something says it serves 3, that's usually about right for me, so on a cross country bike trip, this pie that served 6 was perfect.

Our goal for the day was to bike about 90 miles, leaving 60 for tomorrow. We were having trouble finding a place to stay but through a connection of Justin's (Justin's friend Ryan's friend Adam's mother Gail) we found a house in Fitchburg where we could pitch a tent. However, when we were about 10 miles away, I heard a voice from a car yell over to us, it was Peter and Dane in the Volvo!  It was a wonderful surprise visit, easily made as we were just about 70 miles from Boston.

They brought baked goods and drinks for an impromptu picnic,

 reserved hotel rooms in the next town and offered to take us to dinner.
After spending almost an entire month with just two other people, this sudden introduction of two "outsiders" was a necessary first step in out gradual reintroduction to society. We had dinner at the Old Mill restaurant in Westminster MA.

 It was much nicer than any of the restaurants we had eaten at the entire trip. We needed reservations and again this more formal meal was another small step in a process to reacquaint us with societal customs.

After a great dinner, it was back to the hotel for bed. 

For those who have been asking,  our plan for tomorrow is to meet at 7 AM for the free breakfast here at the Wachusett Village Inn. We will depart at 7:30 AM, which will give us ample time to be at the beach in South Boston to ceremoniously dip our front wheels into the Atlantic at 11:30AM.  A picture of the location is below, but it is just south of the small park where  East Broadway ends at the water. It's called Marine Park but may be better known for the statue of Admiral Farragut ("Damn the torpedoes!")  that stands within it.  Anyone in the area is welcome to meet us at 11:30. We've left enough time so we should not be late.


Sleeping on the concrete floor of the pavilion became uncomfortable in the middle of the night. Despite fractured sleep, we awoke early as today we had over 120 hilly miles to ride. After the first 10, Don had a flat from an extraordinarily sharp rock. We used our last fresh tube, and continued on. 

We hit a new grocery chain called Price Chopper for breakfast - cereal and danishes. We set out to tackle some hills. Unfortunately, our pace slowed significantly. Some of the hills had grades close to 10% and the extra strain of climbing them caused my lingering knee pain to be much more severe. Don and Justin were patient and we kept rolling over the hills one at a time.

The route near Albany became challenging as there were many options around the city, but none seemed ideal. We decided on one that lead us to a highway on-ramp. 

We changed course, zig-zagged past the airport, and got clear of the city. Eventually, we crossed the Hudson River and found a place to eat (and rest) in Troy. Because we had an early start, we had well over 80 miles under our belt at lunch. We stopped at the Flying Chicken for an awesome home cooked lunch. 

At lunch, we discovered and alternate route into Williamstown, MA which added on 4 miles but avoided a huge 1000 foot climb and descent, which we initially thought was inevitable. And this new route would take us through a new state: Vermont! Sadly, I got a flat (a tiny nail and a slow leak) to make the second falt of the day. Despite multiple attempts, we couldn't get our patches to hold and we were stranded. 

At least we were able to laugh about the terrible patches that stuck only to our fingers and not the tubes. Don and Justin rode ahead while I hitched a ride from an incredible nice guy, Mickey, to a nearby bikeshop. The guys at Tomhannock Bicycles took care of us and sent us on our way with free labor and free gels to get us the rest of the way. 

The final 20 miles was easy rolling along a river into Vermont and then Massachusetts. Seeing the green mountains makes us feel so close to home! 


We rolled into Williamstown with just enough time for a shower at iur motel and dinner at Papa Charlie's. 

Don had bought tickets to Fool for Love, a play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, months ago in anticipation of us being here.

The play was amazing. Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda did an incredible job. We grabbed a beer at the only pub in town, the Purple Pub. Don finished his tour of his undergrad campus on the walk back to our motel. Today was a long day! Time to crash.