IBR 2021 Day 6: Yankee Doodling

Southeast MA – Spring Valley NY
Saturday Jun 26, 2021
(~808 miles)

Two hours of sleep in my own home, feeling more refreshed than after a typical stay at the Iron Butt Hotel, I quietly packed up, quaffed a Five-Hour, and got rolling once again at 03:15, about three hours after my arrival. On familiar roads now, I zipped up I-95 and I-93 into Boston, mostly asleep and peaceful at this hour. There were two bonuses in the metro area and one was daylight only, so first I headed for the 24-hour location. Exiting on Storrow Drive, I crossed the Longfellow Bridge over into Cambridge. I rode a few quiet city blocks to the edge of the MIT campus on Main Street to secure the LONG bonus on the dimly lit side of a university building.

close up of plaqueThe first two-way long distance telephone conversation was between Thomas G. Watson here in Cambridge and Alexander Graham Bell in Boston in 1876. They talked for three hours.

first long distance phone call plaque

LONG bonus

I crossed back over the Charles River via the Longfellow, navigated the byzantine Leverett Circle intersection without issue and took Storrow a half mile to the Boston Common exit. With some traces of light now poking into the edges of the sky, I left the bike running along a deserted Arlington Street and jogged over to the nearest gateway into the Boston Public Gardens. I spotted the fountain sculpture for the ETHER bonus right away and got my photo, plus a few extra to document the dawn light in the sky showing distant buildings. Based on my previous experience with that bonus in Wisconsin, I now felt more comfortable with the definition of daylight, and was confident these photos would be accepted.

This monument commemorates the discovery that the inhaling of ether causes insensibility to pain. This was first proved at Mass. General Hospital in 1846.

ETHER bonus

Glad to leave the cities behind me for a while, I headed north on I-93 back to I-95, though I overshot my exit due to attention lapse. Getting quickly back on course, I made quick work of the remaining distance up to and through New Hampshire’s small seacoast region, as the day dawned. Exiting into Portsmouth, I enjoyed cruising through the picturesque streets of this little city when there was no traffic to mire me down. I could see lots of outdoor seating set up for the restaurants and preparations for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday parade. I was definitely glad not to be coming through here during the day!

I pulled up to the nation’s oldest bank building to collect the NH bonus and found Ben Ernst there, backing his bike down off the sidewalk to head out. We waved and then he was gone, so I walked over to get my photo.

The New Hampshire Bank opened its doors on this site in 1782.

plaque for nations oldest bank building

NH bonus

A few more turns through the streets of Portsmouth and I was on Market Street headed back for the interstate. The bike ate up the next 160 miles to the next bonus up in the northern reaches of New Hampshire, rolling north on I-95 past Portland, then ME 26 to glide through many still-sleeping towns. I re-fueled in Oxford and it was only 06:30! This was the perfect time of day to enjoy the riding through beautiful northern New England, with deserted roads and very little in the way of traffic enforcement. Up I went, through Paris, Bethel, and Grafton, enjoying the speedy woodland riding and crossing into New Hampshire by Lake Umbagog.

Several miles later I climbed up through the pass at Dixville Notch and came down next to pretty Lake Gloriette with the scenic Balsams Hotel on the distant shore – a popular scenic view in this area. In this case, the huge (points-wise 😉 ) DIX bonus was the historical marker located just off the road here.

Dixville Notch has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries since 1920.

IBR 2021 Day 6: Yankee Doodling

DIX bonus

Route 26 brought me down into Colebrook NH on the Connecticut River. I turned south and followed US 3, more nice scenic riding some 30 miles down the river valley, still making good time. I picked up US 2 in Lancaster and crossed the river and state line into Vermont, feeling a bit of deja vu from having recently ridden this stretch twice during my Ride Around Vermont in May. In another 20 miles, I was rolling through downtown St. Johnsbury to arrive at the VT bonus, by the road in front of the Fairbanks Inn.

Thaddeus Fairbanks held 32 patents with his most famous being the platform scale, which could accurately weigh large or ungainly objects such as entire wagons of produce.

first platform scale historical marker

VT bonus

I’d been running behind my scheduled ETAs by about 15 minutes all morning, due to  a slightly late start from my house. On this last stretch, I’d made up that time and it felt good to be back on schedule to hit the group photo this afternoon, without having to drop any other bonuses.

From St. Johnsbury, I blasted south on the wide-open I-91 to White River Junction, where I hopped over to US 4. This stretch was an interminable test of patience, being forced to cruise at speed limit or under for miles in long lines of cars through small popular Vermont destination towns like Queechee and Woodstock. The weekend tourists out in force. It is beautiful riding through the forests next to the Queechee River for many miles, but now I know better to avoid US 4 across Vermont on a summer weekend!

Going through downtown Rutland also kind of sucked, though I used the slow traffic as an excuse to stop and fuel up. If I’d had any time at all to focus attention on this part of my route, I would have chosen some faster more isolated back roads across the state from St. Johnsbury!

After Rutland, US 4 becomes a divided highway – a welcome relief – all the way to the Putney River and crossing into New York. I continued on through Whitehall into Queensbury, where Google saved me time again, on some local roads to avoid the usual weekend traffic mess on US 9 on my way to the interstate.

I-87 brought me south to bustling Saratoga Springs. The sizeable NY bonus is a cool sculpture right downtown. Yay, not another plaque! 😉

Charles F Dowd of Saratoga Springs conceived of Standard Time. We thought about making this bonus available 25 hours a day but that would be non-standard.

standard time sculpture

NY bonus

I followed route 9n west out of town to NY 29, travelling south of Great Sacandaga Lake, and made a brief foray north into Adirondack Park near Mayfield. A couple of miles on route 30 and CR 123 got me to the SAP bonus, a beat-up historical marker celebrating the “First Sap Gravity Flow System”.

Waffles have never been the same since.

historical marker for first sap gravity flow tube system

SAP bonus

This bonus only served to make me think about and long for those delicious waffles at the Greenville Marriott in 2019.😧 Although those poor southerners don’t know about real maple syrup.

It was about quarter past one, and still 24 miles of local roads remained to get to the group photo bonus at 14:00. Shouldn’t be a problem, but I remained focused and riding urgently – you never know when there will be construction, an accident… or perhaps a big ole hay truck trundling along for miles with no passing opportunities! 😠

back of hay truck

South on route 30A, skirting around Gloversville and Johnstown, following behind that damn truck most of the way! I crossed the Mohawk River in Fonda and was then surprised to find myself on an onramp for the I-90 NY Expressway west. WTF! I hadn’t had time to really read the bonus description in detail yet, and figured that my GPS was playing more tricks on me at this point. Maybe the waypoint was so close to the highway that the GPS thought it could get me there rather than on local roads? Before doing anything rash, with minutes counting down, I zoomed in on the GPS…whew, yup this was the right way!

It looked like close to the same number of bikes were in the parking area as there had been back in Golden Spike Park on Leg 1. I same sailing in around 13:40, with a comfortable enough cushion to catch my breath, and say hi to some folks. I got checked in with Dennis over by the river bank and took a couple photos of the canal bridge and locks, with napping rally riders on the grass in the foreground.

bonus check-in table

rider sleeping on grass by Erie Canal

bridge and locks on Erie Canal

Still having a bit of time, I went back to the bike and decided to take care of my CALL2 call-in bonus while I had some mandatory minutes off the bike. This time I forgot to play back my recorded message, so I left a shorter one with just the required info as well.

Call on Saturday, June 26, 2021, between 7:00AM and 7:00PM CENTRAL DAYLIGHT TIME

Turns out my first message made it through and was included on the call-in transcription blooper reel the following day. If you haven’t yet checked out the call recording transcriptions yet, they are really worth a read. Char had been reading them to me over the phone along with the rest of the official reports, and I was laughing so hard that I had to ask her to stop and ration them out each day so I didn’t bust a gut.

Hello, this is Steve Goliath checking in either number 41. I’m currently at Randall New York awaiting the coupons photo. Last punish I scored was sap ASAP. And the next punish will be canal photo. Having a great, really great writing, some sections, it’s hard to beat the 19th for destinations, but that writing out in Montana in northern Minnesota was, was gorgeous, and it’s nice to Northern New England again. If it’s like an old glove, spent three hours at home yesterday, and southeastern mass. That was a good opportunity, if the shower, and checking my air pressure, and almost 24 hours of sleep. Thank you very much, and click Bye.”

At five minutes to go, the riders all headed to take our position for the photo by the canal, as directed by Dennis and Tim. It was a long five minutes! Finally the virtual shutter clicked, our presence was officially recorded via face and flag for the CANAL bonus, and we were free to go.

The Erie Canal was the first major commercially successful connection between the East coast and the Western Frontier.

rider group photo by Erie Canal

CANAL bonus (photo credit Dennis Bitner)

Amidst the flurry of activity and bikes leaving, I took a few extra minutes to use the restroom and grab a snack off the bike while verifying my plan and timing for the next few hours. Now I had to get back east which, being on a limited-access highway, unfortunately meant riding a frustrating seven miles or so west on I-90 to the nearest exit in order to turn around. I saw many of my fellow riders over in the eastbound lanes on my way there, after performing the same maneuver.

I re-traced my ride on I-90 from the previous day, crossing the Hudson River once more, but this time exiting south onto the Taconic Parkway. This is a scenic divided four-laner for passenger vehicles only (supposedly) that runs north-south all the way down to I-84 through the scenic uplands east of the Hudson. The speed limit is a bit lower and it’s well-enforced so I don’t often find myself on this little byway to make time, but it is a pleasant ride if you’re going that way.

In this case, I exited after 15 miles onto route 23 through Hillsdale to cross back into the isolated southwest corner of Massachusetts before heading south on 41 into Connecticut. It’s nice riding out this way, but there were a lot of slowpokes on the road today, causing lines of cars that made it difficult to pass. I finally pulled into Salisbury on US 44, and did a u-ey in front of the public library to get to the curb and capture the CT bonus.

The nation’s first public library was established in Salisbury in 1803.

library building

CT bonus

There was a lot more of the same slow local traffic as I rode west on US 44 back into New York, through Millerton and down to Amenia. Got through Millbrook and finally made it back to the Taconic for another 20 miles south to I-84 in Fishkill. I resisted the temptation to stop in at the Red Line Diner for a quick meal, knowing I really needed to get to my hotel to start my rest bonus ASAP. I crossed the Hudson again into Newburgh and took I-87 south to Spring Valley, my chosen staging point for an early morning assault on New York City.

rest start receipt

REST2 start receipt

After pulling off the exit, I stopped at a nearby Shell station to fill one tank and obtain a starting receipt for my 8 hour rest just  shy of 18:00 and pretty much right on schedule. I found the nearest Subway with my phone, almost next to the hotel. Finally, it was early enough to be able to get a freshly prepared meal to enjoy on my rest break. I picked up a nice 12″ sandwich with chips and cookies, and scooted on over to the night’s abode, a Quality Inn tucked at the very back of the shopping plaza.

I enjoyed my meal, after a shower and laundry tasks in the sink, while catching up on my bonus claim form and looking over my route for the next day. I’d be heading into some of my least favorite riding locales, so I was feeling some trepidation, even though I’ve been through this before and knew that I’d be hitting them all at the ideal time of night. All part of the plan!

map of todays route

10 comments on IBR 2021 Day 6: Yankee Doodling

  1. Steve, Curious how you are entering destinations on the fly into Google Maps. That certainly sounds handy when running into traffic. Are you dictating via voice commands or (!) entering by text or do you somehow have all the bonus destinations entered as Google Maps points?

    Thanks,
    Tom

    1. Hi Tom, I use an Android app called POI Pocket that Eric Bray turned me onto. Upload gpx file containing waypoints to an online account and the app syncs with that. Pull up a waypoint in the app and send to either Google or Waze.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa…Franklin MA makes the claim for the First Public Library in 1790. Loving the read and I am on time for the next scheduled read. On my second cup of coffee.

    1. Maybe this one was the first open to the public free of charge? I see mention of earlier institutions mostly funded by members.

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