Susan and our friend Linda had embarked on a vacation in Scotland, and I and Peter (Mr. Linda) found ourselves temporarily bachelors. So Peter invited me up for a visit. He lives in Hillsborough, NH, which is about 70 miles from my house. This seemed like a good weekend adventure. I had long ago given up real bicycle touring, the kind where you carry your stuff from place to place. Of course, a real tourist would carry their stuff and their bedroom (aka tent) and kitchen (aka aluminum cooking gear, stove, etc). It was a real long time ago (decades) since I did that sort of thing, but I had done the credit card touring thing more recently. After looking at my old Raleigh touring bike hanging on a hook for about 6 years, I finally faced the fact that I really wasn’t going to do this any more, and gave it away. So going to Hillsborough was a kind of mini tour. It was a manageable distance, I’ve been known to go that far for a weekend ride, but unlike a weekend ride where I end up back where I started, this ride had a destination. And I would have to carry stuff, so it was almost like a real tour.
Stuff basically consisted of a change of clothes, a book to read, and a toothbrush. Next I had to decide on a stuff container. I had an entire shelf in the garage dedicated to panniers, seat bags, handlebar bags. I had two sizes of messenger bag and a makeshift one I constructed out of an airline bag and a bungee cord. Panniers were out since for that terrain I really wanted a bike with a triple, and the Cannondale has no rack. The various messenger bags seemed like overkill for underwear and toothbrush, but the beltpacks didn’t quite hold enough, so I settled on a ratty little backpack that was a road score.
The weather was sounding rather iffy, and I was all set to abort the mission if it looked really ugly. Bedford was a 50% chance of showers and Hillsborough claimed to be having rain late in the day. Well the 50% turned out to be 100% and Hillsborough started earlier than scheduled. So the net result was that I got rain pretty much the entire ride.
I gave Peter an ETA based on the fact that I had a GPS and “couldn’t get lost.” WRONG. I managed to get to Groton without getting lost. Then I made a left that I “remembered” from the map that should have been a right. No problem 1/2 mile or so deviation at most. The problem with the GPS was that I had a choice of quickest route or shortest route and the one I really wanted wasn’t either. Also, I hadn’t figured out that you can tell it you’re on a bicycle and it will act accordingly. So it started sending me in directions that seemed very weird, and I was losing confidence in it. Things got really iffy around Milford when it was sending me in directions that seemed to make no sense. So I soldiered on 101a for a lot longer than I thought I was meant to be on it. I turned around and consulted a state map. It showed route 13 going north and connecting with the road I wanted. So I took that, but blew by the road and ended up in New Boston, home of the 200K check point. Out came the map again and I realized I could get back on course without too much trouble, just doing two sides of a triangle instead of the hypotenuse. In Bennington I had a choice of route 31 and 202. The GPS was beeping at me to go on 202 but I know Peter’s road was off route 31, so this was pretty much a sure thing. As it turned out, it was actually shorter to go 202, but 31 was more scenic (and far hillier).
So I finally rolled into Peter’s driveway around 3pm. Thanks to the miracle of plastic bags I still had some dry clothes to change into, but I couldn’t face another rainy day on the return trip, so I got a ride back with Peter next day. So much for touring.