Day 41--Holden, MA, to Upton, MA

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Great breakfast of bagels & cream cheese, blueberries, strawberries, and good coffee this a.m. Yes, I drank a cup of coffee since I had a very short day ahead of me--ended the day with only 17 miles on the computer. Thank you for your hospitality Hugh, Beth, and Lewis! My stay with you was very relaxing: I felt like part of the family. Thank you Lewis for showing me your Lego village and the Lego movies you have developed. I have a feeling that you will be a famous person when you are an adult.

Hugh and Beth's house in Holden

After breakfast, Beth, Hugh and Lewis drove me to the southeast edge of Worcester and off I glided. Today was a dream day, particularly when compared with yesterday. Effortless cycling that felt like heaven. Hills were nothing. There was quite a bit of traffic and a bit of a headwind, but the traffic was polite and the wind was cooling on this very humid day.

I stopped to get a doubleshot coffee and fill my water bottles, and then stopped again in a little park called Ekblaw Landing a boat launch for Quinsigamond River and Lake Ripple. A guy was just coming back from a kayak paddle (see below).

Took a left in Grafton, an old fashioned, small town with a commons, wonderful old inn (see below) and large stately old houses.

Grafton commons

In no time I was in Upton. I called Jeanne Cunningham to get specific directions. Jeanne is a Hospice Nurse Case manager at Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston. Her house is at the top of a steep hill. I could not manage to pedal the hill, so arrived soaked to the skin from the heat, humidity, and effort of pushing B.O.B. up the grade. B.O.B. is mad at me because I yelled at him not to drag his (w)heel.

Jack and Jeanne Cunningham's old farmhouse

After lunch, Jeanne drove me to River Bend Visitor Center and Heritage Area on the Blackstone Canal, and we walked a short distance on the Towpath Trail. On the way back, we passed the Stanley Woolen Mill, famous for the blue of the Union Army uniforms. This particular blue is called Uxbridge Blue.

Jeanne looking down the Blackstone Canal near River Bend Farm; that's the towpath to the right of the canal

Presently Jeanne is showering, and her daughter Becky is getting ready for a graduation party. Becky just graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Husband Jack is off kayaking on Cape Cod, so I will not get to meet him. Both Jeanne and Jack are cyclists, and Jack is a kayak and canoe competitor. Jeanne and Becky have turned the old farmhouse, three cats--one a Maine coon cat--and small greyhound dog (Vanessa), over me this evening while they celebrate Becky's graduation.

Tomorrow is the last day of the ride. It seems hardly possible. I do not feel as though I've been on the road for 41 days. Because of the last two days' route changes, I will ride 47 rather than 32 miles tomorrow. I will meet brother Phil at the beginning of the East Bay Trail south of Providence and he  will ride the last 10 miles with me.

Tune in tomorrow evening for the final report.

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