The Crooked Canes Journal


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Sandgate bike ride ~ Sep 20, 2012

Journal entry by Ken Gericke



Hello Caners.

Some days just seem designed for outdoor activity, and the Canes have savored quite a few this summer. Hikers, kayakers, and bicycle enthusiasts have attended events in unprecedented numbers. Though we had only 9 pedalers for the Sandgate Vermont bike ride on Thursday, all agreed....a spectacular day. At about 18 miles RT, we have done longer rides, we have done harder, more challenging routes, and we have pedaled faster. But, this one is at the top of my favorites list.

We met at the Greenwich McDonald's and caravanned the 8-10 miles to our start at the canoe access site on the Battenkill River near the Vermont border. As we loaded our gear, the temps were rising, some outer shells and coats shed and left in the cars. Just a short pedal south on paved, wide-shouldered, rt 313, before turning west onto quiet, woodsy, Hickory Hill Rd, a narrow hard-packed dirt track; in fact , at least half of the 18 miles was on unpaved roads. We bounced and jounced along a few washboard sections.

Reaching paved Camden Valley Rd, we turned north and up a few hills...then 4-5 miles of mostly level road through a lovely secluded dell, tucked away in Washington County. A few farms and houses, sugar shacks, and barns, a winding brook, postcard settings everywhere one turned...we stopped often to admire a tree, or a crumbling old barn, so much to see. There were horse farms and cattle, sheep and goats, ponies, and a donkey, a friendly dog came out to greet us, and a couple dogs we were glad were tied up.

On a scout of this route on Wednesday, I saw about 50 turkeys. One flock of 20-25 were in a large open field, and as we approached, they sprinted off towards the tree line, hopping and bobbing, looking very much like their distant relatives, velociraptor, as in the movie Jurassic Park. No little dinosaurs in sight on our ride Thursday.

Camden Valley Rd becomes West Sandgate Rd as we enter Vermont. It also turns back to dirt and heads uphill. With a total elevation gain of approximately 700', we huff and puff our way to 'The Notch', find paved road again and prepare for the steep, winding, exhilirating, 2 mile descent to our lunch destination in Sandgate Vt.

Sandgate lies in the most picturesque Vt valley imaginable. A winding road nestled between steep forested mountains/hillsides, a handful of houses, a Townhall, a one car garage for a firehouse, a restored 'Schoolhouse #2', a white clapboard church, a one-time Inn...quaint hardly covers it.

In the past, the Canes, with permission, have picnicked by the Inn. It has been 2-3 years since this ride was last done (scheduled, but cancelled due to rain), and the Inn appears closed and the building now a private residence. Not wishing to trespass, we start looking around for a place to lunch. Some start to head back towards the Townhall, Ray and I push on a little farther down the road. There is a high hillside cemetery, The Sandgate Center Cemetery...can't see much from the road. The entrance is a part gravel track, heading up and around the hill...to...??! Well, Ray and I just have to find out, up we go, a short steep climb on our bikes. Amazing...a great lunch spot, sun, benches, a fabulous view of the little village of Sandgate and the surrounding mountains. And more..as all the Caners make their way up to the lower cemetery, I explore further up the hill to what appears to be the oldest section. There are tombstones dating to the mid 1700s, Capt Nathaniel Jones 1749-1796, the Hurd family plots spanning generations, some reaching old age, many passing in their youth. After lunch, the Canes wander and wonder among the stones...names so unfamiliar today..Zebadiah, Abram, Zora. Lunch, a self-guided cemetery tour/history lesson, striking Vermont vistas...our good fortune.

We lingered at our noon perch, enjoying the sun and conversation....and Jim's enormous cache of goodies from Trader Joes...salmon, pistachios, mangoes. Jim is like a magician pulling packages of food out of the panniers on his bike, a regular food pantry. Thanks Jim! Finally, turning for home, we set off down Sandgate Road, stopping for a photo-op by a private covered bridge. We reach rt 313, head south again about 1/4 mile to the Arlington Covered Bridge circa 1847, cross the Battenkill to East River Rd, another dirt side road for 2-3 miles, recross the river, 313 and NY State. We are back to the cars...what a day!!

Thanks to all for sharing a magnificent outing...Tom and friend Bob, new CC Mark, Joanne, Jim, Peter and Linda, and Ray.

ps...just to top it off, Mark and I stopped at The Ice Cream Man in Greenwich...Mark had chocolate/chocolate chip, and I had orange/pineapple....mmmm!

Ken

9/21/12 - Ray Bouchard added 8 photos.

9/30/12 - Wanderer . added 7 photos.

33 photos



In the woods on Hickory Hill Rd



Hey Tom, the flags up! You've got mail!



Jim's warehouse!...just a sampling.



Ponies...Shetlands, I think.



A friendly donkey.



Stately old white birch tree on Camden Valley Rd



Jim's a tree-hugger too!



Crooked old barn.



Sugar Shack!



Wonder what tribe this is?



Making friends along the way.



Entrance to our lunch stop.



Ray just crested the steep hill to the cemetery



Sandgate....church, schoolhouse on the right, CCs heading up to lunch.



Postcard?



Wispy flowers by the cemetery.



Beware! Bikers!



Happy Bikers! Ray, Bob, Tom, Jim, Joanne, Mark, Linda, and Peter.



How appropriate - by Ray



Vermont country side - by Ray



Photo by Ray



Photo by Ray



Fortunately Sandgate is a very small community. - by Ray



Schoolhouse No. 2 with a two seater. I doubt if there was much demand for the bathroom pass during the winter. - by Ray



I hope the inscription of her headstone means that Eleanor is still out there somewhere "Truckin". - by Ray



The amount and degree of swearing is probably inversely proportional to the amount of sand in the barrels during winter. - by Ray



At the Start - by Wanderer



Gravestones of the Old Moravian Cemetery - located on the Camden Valley Rd., Salem, NY - by Wanderer



Hill - what hill? - by Wanderer



Earliest Gravestone at the Sandgate Center Cemetery - Capt. Nathaniel Jones - died February 6th, 1794 at the age of 49 years. - by Wanderer



Sandgate, Vt. - by Wanderer



Charge! - by Wanderer



Yes - Norman Rockwell Lived Here - by Wanderer



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