My friend Tom Daponde recently found a great deal on a nice mountain bike, from Craigslist. Since that day, he's been sending me regular dispatches from far-flung reaches of the Connecticut river valley, and on into the trail ribbed depths of Connecticut state itself. It appears he can't be stopped, the bug's taken hold. Then, he found this (fantastic) book:
...and it was all over. The old, walking Tom is gone. The new, rolling Tom will be coming to a bike trail near you...
So it was no surprise when he asked if we wanted to go for a bike ride after work today. Well, he was preaching to the choir. I discarded all previous obligations when I got home, loaded up the bikes, scooped up Kelly, and we were on the way to meet up with Tom at the Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke. Apparently we weren't alone with the idea. The small parking lot there was near capacity.
We mounted up. Tires, check. Water, check. Sunglasses, check. You know what...? Forget the sunglasses. No, wait, give them to me... Actually, yeah, forget the sunglasses. And we were off. A quick left and right through some tall, ivy ensconced pines...
And swoosh...through the water laden beauty that is the Ashley Reservoir.
For all the cars parked at the gate, it wasn't at all crowded on the trails. There were certainly more geese than people. Ashley, by the way, is a Goose's paradise. (watch your step).
Tom had only been here once before, on a walk a group of us took an autumn or two ago. I noted to him that things are much better on two wheels. You pretty much get all the benefits of walking, and are able to cover much more ground. Well, I was preaching to the choir. The trail has been recently re-graveled, so the biking was smooth, as well as the running, and even for the poor misguided folks, the walking...
We whisked ourselves down and around the trail, and made it around the 3.4 mile loop all to quickly. Hmm, the walkers are still enjoying it, I thought, to myself. I thought about going round one more time. But the sunlight was fading fast, it was too late to start another loop around.
Let's get ice cream.
We shot over to Easthampton, and I called in to Mike Rooney, a native, to meet up with us. We parked and crossed the street, to Mt. Tom's Ice Cream; Home of the fabled Ice Cream Diaries.
It was my first time in here, as I don't have much of a sweet tooth and don't often frequent these establishments. But boy if I did...this place is sweet-tooth nirvana. Witness the jars of candy lining the walls, and every conceivable shelf space.
I did notice the proprietor was conspicuously missing, as his poor staff worked furiously, serving the long line of customers that we just added to, exchanging cones and money over cases of pastel colored home made ice creams.
I glanced around and happened to looked through a big opening in the wall behind me, into a back room. Sure enough, what do I see? A blogger at his muse.
I forgot to turn the camera flash off, so Jim Ingram turned around when I snapped the picture. I gave him my best trucker thumbs-up sign through the opening in the wall, and gasped "Hey Jim, Love your blog!"
He nodded and smiled wryly for a second, as if to say, "Thanks...please don't follow me home" and quickly turned back to his work, lest he get the stranger with the camera too excited.
Our group sat down at one of the small round tables, and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, cold ice creams. Jim does good work.
Afterwards, we drifted outside into the sunset, and chatted, leaning against the fence by Nashawannuck pond, until after dark.
Time to get home again; another summer evening upon us.