Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Home from Maine 2022 Day 8 - Ellington, CT to East Canaan, CT

 Despite being completely wiped out from yesterday's brutally hard ride, Max and I still rode 60 miles today with 3100 feet of climb. And we are happily camped.

3100 feet of climb is a lot less than the 4300 yesterday, and there were only two brutally steep hills. A thousand of those feet were all one giant 15 mile climb up the side of a mountain at a very reasonable grade. What was really cool is the 5 miles of screaming downhill payback we got that ended at our campground.

The body battery is at 5, and Garmin says the recovery time for today is only 3 days instead of 4 like yesterday. But I feel good now. I'm getting in shape and getting in the groove.

We rode the alternate route Max worked up instead of the Adventure Cycling route, which would have been the same distance but 900 feet more climb. The downside of Max's route was the 25 miles on US 44, which has giant smooth rideable shoulders, but which is also not that fun or scenic. We are going to do another Max modified route tomorrow.

It turns out my college friend Chris lives in Ellington, and he met us for breakfast.

It was really fun talking to Chris. I like how my college friends are now all mellow retired guys with funny stories. Chris gave the local resident scoop on Ellington, which was very entertaining. Chris says the largest dairy farm in Connecticut is in Ellington, and it has an 8 acre barn where the cows live and a merry-go-round where they get milked. Ellington is famous for the smell of this dairy farm, which I experienced firsthand.

Once we got out of the hills and into the Connecticut River valley, it's very bucolic and agricultural. 

We rode by lots of fields with these plants. But what are they?

me: "I can't figure out what is planted in these fields."
Max: "What does it look like?"
me: "It kind of looks like tobacco."
Max: "Do they grow tobacco here?"
me: "no"

Turns out I'm wrong. It's tobacco. I eventually couldn't stand the mystery and had to pull over and take a picture so my Picture This app could identify the plant. I had no idea tobacco would grow in Connecticut, and I have even less idea why anyone would grow it here. 

We took a back road along the east side of the river and crossed on a bike bridge next to the Hartford beltway. This road was a winner - it was lined with some really terrific historic homes.

Here is the Strava Track for today.

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