November 9, 2010

Berkshire Cycling: Great Barrington Alford Loop 1 (part 2)

Bike travel, and its easy ability to meander, offers such a sensory experience: the smells and sounds change quickly with the specific surroundings. And it provides a better chance to look at detail than any other form of wheeled travel. Today, in many places along my ride, both the wild apples fallen on the ground and those remaining highlighted against the sky, like ornaments on naked trees are an autumn treat for the eyes and the nose, as they ferment.  I sometimes smell them first, see them second. And sometimes pick one to eat; usually they are wild apples, tart and dry, that make excellent apple butter or cider.
A road called “Crooked Hill Road” caught my eye on the map, so I doubled back to ride across it. I couldn’t spot a crooked hill, though its name is s evocative and it was fun to ride, twisting a little up and down before reaching Rt. 71. The road surfaces have been perfect to ride on, newly paved and very smooth.
 As I neared the Great Barrington airport a small, mustard yellow plane flew overhead, its flat, yellow-ish green color unusual and noticeable. It was a dull yellow, which I saw again as the plane took off when I was next to the runway. Within a hundred yards,  between the mowed cornfields and the road, there were three or four clumps of asparagus, surely left over from an old field, that had been spared the mower’s blade. Asparagus fronds can be just beautiful in the fall. These were almost the same hue as that plane, but not at all dull or flat:  in the late afternoon sunshine they were a luminous, glowing, mustard gold color.
Turning off Route 23, I rode past Wyantenuck Country Club and down towards Route 7. Avoiding Rt. 7 by crossing it and continuing to Boardman makes better riding, but by then I was worried about being late so I turned left onto Lime Kiln Road and when it reached Route 7 turned north. It’s good there is a wide shoulder, because the traffic is fairly heavy, and fast.
Start:  Taconic Ave. & Route 7 in Great Barrington
Castle Street to Alford Rd. to Alford
Left  past the Cemetery to North Egremont Rd.
Lef:t North Egremont Rd.
Right: Green River Road
Left: Crooked Hill Rd.
Right: Rt. 71 (Green River Valley Rd.)
Left: Rte. 23
Right: W. Sheffield Rd.
Left: Lime Kiln Rd.
Left: Rt. 7 

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