My inlaws invited Alisa and me to come vacation on the Cape. We stayed at a place called The Soundings in Dennisport along the southern coast. It was very opportune for me, as I've been wanting to ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The trail has three ends with a rotary near the beginning to choose which way to go. The first day, I scouted the area and then set out to find the rail trail.
My first effort took me down Belmont to Depot Road and then Bell's Neck Road. This last crosses the rail trail and looked like a quiet back road. It was. But then it became a gravel road and then got very sandy. I almost wiped out several times and resolved to not ride that way again. It was a really pretty spot, though, with ponds on both sides of the road, so we went back by car to park and walk around. But not a good place to bicycle. Having found the trail, I rode west a couple of miles to the beginning of the trail and then back to the condo.
I rode out very early the next morning to ride the Old Colony Rail Trail to Chatham. I rode up Depot Road, past Bell's Neck, to Depot Street and then onto the trail. As I arrived at the trail, I was tickled to find a Box Turtle in the parking area. I took a picture of him and then guarded him from vehicles until I could see which way he was going and then helped him into the vegetation.
The early part of the trail goes through Harwich to the rotary and then I headed east toward Chatham. It's a lovely trail between cranberry bogs and through oak and pine scrub forest. The trail goes through a few little towns and detours around the Chatham airport before ending unceremoniously at a road.
Having gotten to the end, I decided to look for breakfast and found that the best place seemed to be Hangar B, which was back at the airport I had passed. I rode back and got a seat outside where I could watch the planes coming and going. I got Red-flannel Hash with two poached eggs which came with sourdough toast and a little dish with strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry preserves. It was glorious -- unquestionably the best breakfast I've ever had. (Although the fact that I was starving probably has something to do with it too. :-)
After breakfast, I rode back and, in the end, went around 26 miles. It was a great ride. Later in the day, we went to the Cape Cod Brewery, where I got to try 5 samples of beer. I tried the regular IPA and then spent all my other samples (plus two extras from Alisa and Mickie) drinking the Bitter End Imperial IPA. It was really good.
The next morning, I took Alisa out for breakfast at Hangar B and went exploring the north shore by car. I crashed (in the bed) for an hour after lunch and then got on my bike to try to get to the other end — the longest leg.
I left around 1:15 and made good time. There isn't much wind on the rail trail because of the vegetation, but what there was was with me. But it was hot and having the wind with me made me even hotter. I got to Nickerson State Park and found a place to refill my water bottles, then pressed on. When I got to the end of the trail, I was pretty tired. I hacked the portal at the end of the trail and then turned around.
atingis la finon de la pado / made it to the end. pic.twitter.com/vIxAMrhXIh
— Steven D. Brewer (@limako) July 12, 2015
I had only gotten a few miles back when one of my pedals seized up and began grinding. I sent Alisa a text message asking her to organize a rescue and said I'd find a cross-street that would get me over to Rt. 6 to get picked up. It was complicated, however, by the fact that Alisa had left her car key locked in the car, which made driving the car impossible. In the meantime, however, I had found that there was a bike repair place on the cross street, so while we discussed the key situation, I was able to get my pedals replaced and continue my journey.
I was starting to get bonked when I reached Orleans, but found Hot Chocolate Sparrow, an espresso and ice-cream shop by the trail. I had been disgusted to find that on Cape Cod they don't seem to know what a milk shake is and want to make you buy a "frappe". And although this place had "frappes", they had a parenthetic note to say that this *was* a milk shake — and they had malt! So I was able to get a chocolate malt and press on. I ended up getting back to the condo around 7:15. Total distance, 52.5 miles with a riding time of 4 hours 45 minutes at 11mph.
After the ride, I took a quick shower and Alisa and I went for dinner at the Lost Dog Pub, which we had discovered in our morning explorations. This is our favorite place in St Croix and, although we had known there was a Cape Cod location, we'd never known where it was. I was mildly disappointed to find that they didn't have the Island Hoppin' IPA we can get on island, but they did have the Meatle Mania pizza, so I got one of those and consumed the whole thing.
Today, I've been able to take it easy: a nice soak in the hot tub and a short bike ride down the beach just to loosen up.
It's been a great vacation. Tomorrow morning, we check out and start heading back home.