Thursday was to be our last day of riding AND a travel day to return to Denver.
Staying at the Inn on Park Street in Brandon meant we had some of the best hospitality and food we had on the entire trip, which is saying a lot. Our hostess Judy had taken full account of our dietary notes and had found some chicken sausage to add to the great breakfast she served us. The meal consisted of fruit, beautifully presented spinach and goat cheese omelets, coffee, and perfect scones I couldn’t stop myself from eating (and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m kind of a snob about scones). We asked Judy to save a couple for us for when we got back from our ride.
Since today’s ride was an out and back, we didn’t need to have our bags packed up before we rode. However, we started to get some of it ready to go, since we did have to hot foot to the airport later in the day.
Today’s ride again offered several options but our main interest was covered bridges. There was an option to tour the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor. However, we didn’t feel we had the time to tour the museum, although we did ride into Proctor, an old company town at the south end of the day’s route. Interesting note though, gleaned from studying the website: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery is made from marble quarried in Proctor and was also carved there.
Anyway, back to covered bridges and the ride. The entire route was very pretty, although it was still rather overcast. I’m going to leave most of this blog to the pictures.
The covered bridges:
The last stretch of the ride offered us two options. The first was to return to town on paved roads, and the other was to ride on an unpaved section. We opted for the latter since we figured it would be quieter (it was, we saw only one person, sitting in a car). However, we didn’t anticipate how mucky it was. Given how wet it had been (being shoulder season–AKA mud season–after all), It was challenging and messy. I mainly followed Angie’s line, while trying not to get splattered in the face. There were some large puddles we had to negotiate and I must admit I increased the power on the bike to make it easier to get through. At one point I did almost lose control of the bike, though I’m happy to say I did not fall. We got back to the Inn fairly unscathed, but the bikes, well they were a bit of a mess. Pause here to note once again that we completely forgot to take a picture of the bikes we rode. Not major name brands is all I can say. Angie was riding a HAIBIKE but I have no idea what mine was. The link here is actually to the bike shop from which our rentals came, because Doon and his space were really cool and deserved being talked up!
After the ride and a lunch of leftover chicken from the night before (there had been so much food and the amazing chicken Marsala was not to be wasted!) and a scone each (and showers of course), we finalized our packing, loaded the car, and headed back to Albany.
Somehow, I’d gotten pre-check but Angie hadn’t, so I got through TSA faster than her. While I was waiting, I noticed that there were menus for the airport’s meager supply of restaurants sitting on an information table. It helped us whittle it down to two options. It’s hard to say if we made the right call picking Silks Saratoga Bistro. I had chicken strips and fries, and Angie had boneless “wings,” which of course are never actually wing meat! The meal was ok, and I think we had cocktails too, but it was pretty frustrating to get a bill that saw the charge for my meal higher than what was recorded on the printed menu. Efforts to get the situation rectified were not fruitful, since there was no management on duty at the time. A pretty sloppy way to run a restaurant. I’m pretty sure it’s not legal in many places to charge more than the price printed on the menu.
There was not much else to say about the rest of the day really. It was a long flight, but we’d upgraded to the exit row, so it was slightly less unbearable than the flight out. The seats were still hard (thanks Frontier Airlines, not sure what you think the gain is here) but at least we had some legroom. We’d only chosen Frontier because a direct flight to Albany seemed like the most logical way to get ourselves close to Vermont. Not our airline of choice ever since they got sold.
Once we were on the ground and had our baggage, we found our way back to the car (in the distant Mt. Elbert lot since Pikes Peak had been closed when we departed, and other options are much more expensive) and drove as far as the hotel we’d booked for the night along I-225. This was on the way home but still close to 90 minutes away from Pueblo. It was late and we didn’t want to drive all the way to Pueblo when we were both pretty tired. Having each prepped a duffel of overnight clothes for the Denver stops on both ends, we didn’t need much from our suitcases, so we soon collapsed into bed and fell asleep.