Dry, summer-like temperatures and peak foliage in the Green Mountains are a perfect match. With the impetus to visit Hazen's Notch and Lake Carmi—two Vermont regions I'd longed to explore—there's no time like the present for a bike ride. At 7 a.m. I step off the commuter bus into dense fog. I don a reflective vest and start pedaling. In Johnson I make sure to photograph the cool bike racks.
A few months back I read an article about Microadventures written by inveterate adventurer Alastair Humphries that inspired me. Being the “time-crunched living in an urban area yet still having a passion for the outdoors” sorta guy that I am, the idea of fitting in a small adventure during the week resonated with me. I’d been thinking about it for a while so this past Tuesday evening I gave it a go.
I had been patiently waiting for one of my kids to be ready for a bicycle tour. Finally, the six-year-old really wanted to spend the weekend on such a trip. Boston to Portland is a great introduction to bicycle touring: The route is generally flat with long stretches of bicycle trails away from cars, there are many beaches to stop and play at -- and, of course, it doesn't hurt that there are plenty of ice-cream shops along the way.
Let's take a step backwards, to how I got here. I had planned on touring this summer for at least a week, but a handful of decisions, by myself and others, prevented such a long excursion. In June I saw that a window would open around the July 4th holiday, with my wife visiting friends out of state and my family willing to host me.
I’ve been wanting to take a bikepacking trip for quite awhile now, so with nothing too pressing on my schedule I decided to go for it. I couldn’t get any of the boys to go with me, and it was probably a good thing as it turned into a very difficult ride. I’m not the most meticulous planner; I think deep down I like a sense of adventure, not knowing what is around every bend in the trail.
The Robert Aufderheide Memorial Drive is one of the most gorgeous roads I have ever had the privilege of driving. Well, let's back up a moment: I grew up in Michigan. Michigan is pretty, and I love my home state, but there are some really impressive places in Oregon. I'm fortunate that my work brings me to many remote spots that the general populace doesn't wander upon. Rainbow, Oregon, near Cougar Dam was one of the first places I went after moving here, and it remains a favorite ... but I'd never gone farther than the dam. Others who lived in the area extolled the wonders of this road, which is the Aufderheide.
One of the best things about living in New York City is our extensive regional rail system. Ever since I was in high school in the early nineties, I've been using commuter rail to get me to all kinds of great places to bike. When people think of New York, they imagine skyscrapers ... an endless cityscape. But the Big Apple offers a lot more, particularly for cyclists. Hourly service on one of the region's three commuter rail systems can often place you in a very quiet, bucolic setting -- perfect for riding -- in just an hour or two.