It was a beautiful morning when we left the campground this morning, cool and calm. We followed minor roads with good surface and no traffic. It was a nice way to start the day. Then we turned the corner and suddenly found ourselves confronted with a wall. Within moments we were dismounted and pushing our bikes up hill. Fortunately this didn’t last long and we soon were heading north on Rt 31. The hills were steep but not ridiculous. Then we hooked up with Rt 119 which we followed northwest into southern New Hampshire, then west across southern New Hampshire all the way to Brattleboro, Vermont.

The steep climbs at the beginning of the day had us quite worried about reaching Brattleboro at all today, but after a couple of hours the grades and length of the hills moderated and we made somewhat better progress. All along we were looking for a diner to get a second breakfast but the best we could do was a gas station/ convenience store / Dunkin Donuts, so we had coffee and a bagel sandwich. It’s a good thing we did because we didn’t find a diner until we reached Winchester at noon time, about 42 miles into the day. In Winchester there was a little old-fashioned diner where the daily specials included a Reuben sandwich & fries (for Jodi) and tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich (for Allen). I’m not sure why I chose that as I probably haven’t eaten tomato soup in many decades, but it just appealed to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was another 14 miles from Winchester to Brattleboro. During the day we had been debating whether we should turn left once we crossed the Connecticut River into Brattleboro and head south to Fort Dummer State Park to camp, or whether we should turn right and head to the north end of town where the motels are. As we were crossing the bridge it started raining, and we took that as a sign that we should turn right and choose a motel. We checked out the Holiday Inn Express, but that was way too expensive so we continued up Rt 5 to the America’s Best Inn. After a shower and a nap, we walked a bit further up the street, past the now abandoned Howard Johnson’s where I ate breakfast on my first multi-day bicycle tour back in 1996(?), to the Ninety-Nine for dinner.

Tomorrow we’ll head out along the west River then make the climb up and over the spine of the Green Mountains. I just emailed Jeff at the Gren Mountain House Hiker Hostel in Manchester Center to reserve a room for us for 2 nights, so we’ll take the 4th off and rest up before heading north from there. I first stayed at the Green Mountain House during my thru-hike in 2009, and Jodi and I have been there for a couple of days each year since then, as it’s a nice area to spend a couple of days cycling. default icon20120702.gpx