A Few Surprises!
~Saturday, October 23, 2021~
A little college football and breakfast burritos. What a great way to start the morning. It’s been driving Jeff insane not being able to watch the baseball playoff though. With it being dedicated to TBS, we’ve been unable to watch it. There’s been some discussion about subscribing to a few sports channels for streaming games, but we’re trying to justify the expense with the fact we’re not consistently in a service area. If there’s one thing he misses other than his family, it’s not getting to watch his sports (football, baseball and basketball) on a regular basis.
Got a few things done around camp, then proceeded to move the bikes from the back of the trailer to the back of the truck for our afternoon bike ride. We were all set to go, when the truck gave us a tire pressure warning. Oh, wow! The front right tire was 38 PSI as opposed to its optimum 60 PSI. There’s no way one tire could drop that much air pressure without a leak somewhere. Jeff and I both took a stab at trying to find the culprit rolling the tire forward and back, but we couldn’t see anything. Next, the bubble trick. We took some soapy water and poured it over and around the tire, and sure enough a bubble formed right above the “G” for Goodyear. Ugh!! But you know what, with all of the driving we’ve packed into a year and a half, (42,000 miles to be exact) we shouldn’t complain. We’ve only had 1 other incident in Colorado where we found a good size bolt in our tire, which was also repairable. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find a reputable repair service in Dorset. But Jeff found one in Bennington where he talked to our new friend, Jack. “Are you open on Sundays?” Jeff asked. Frank’s reply, “Well yes we are open 9 to 5, and we’d be happy to help you!”. Wow, what a friendly response and sadly one we don’t hear often enough these days. So I guess we know what we’ll be doing tomorrow.
Since there appeared to be a slow leak in the tire, we didn't think there was any harm in driving just a few miles away to our trailhead to the Historic Marble Rail Trail. The “Mud, Dirt and Gravel” as it was affectionately called back in the day, was a railroad line called the Manchester, Dorset & Granville Railroad Line, that transported marble from 1904 to 1925 from the quarries in Dorset to Manchester’s Depot (about 6-½ miles). That marble can be seen today at the New York Public Library, as just one of the many examples of what’s derived from that quarry. The plan was to have the railroad line extend to Granville, NY (another 30 miles) but never came to fruition. The rails were pulled up in 1934. Overgrown and somewhat forgotten, it wasn’t until 2009 that a few residents/cycling enthusiasts decided to purchase the land and transform the old railroad bed into a multi-use trail (you can see the transformation on the above link). What was so great about this 5.5 roundtrip trail, is that we didn’t know the historical significance of it, nor the beauty of it. Along the way, we saw horses grazing in fields, charming country homes,
belts of green, forests of maple, spruce and aspen, and a little antique booth on the back of someone’s property,
right on the trail. So adorable. Though we knew the length of the trail, we didn’t know that it drops you right into downtown Manchester. So that too, was a nice surprise. And what a cool town. Too bad we didn’t have more time to peruse the shops, so we will be back on one of the upcoming rainy days we’re here. We did, however, manage to pop into the family owned Northshire Bookstore, a cornerstone of the Manchester community. Quaint, delightful, and oh-so huge, this is a bookstore you could get lost in for hours. With its ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type entrance,
it draws you in where each turn in the store brings you to new genres to explore, rooms to shop, etc. We’re definitely coming back before the end of our stay in Dorset. And it’s so nice to see independent bookstores still thriving, despite the competition of Amazon and other big-box stores. Like so many things, it’s become kind of an endangered species in our country. Since 1976, the Morrow family had made the store what it is today, a cornerstone of the Manchester community. But with their son running the show for quite some time, he’s tearfully decided to sell. So, in April of 2021 he sold the shop to a local couple who were patrons for years and who share the same passion and vision for the company moving forward. And they’ve kept their 30-person staff intact. Yeh!!! Knowing sunset wasn’t too far off, we needed to head out and ride back to the car. And it was perfect timing.
The evening was consumed with finishing up the truck and dinner. While Jeff made his delicious spaghetti sauce which must have met many a camper drooling from the aroma, I finished up the interior of the truck in the dark, with temps in the mid-40’s. Not used to those conditions in the middle of October in California. It was crisp, but refreshing. I also had company. The mystery of the tall pyramid of stacked firewood near our campsite has been solved. All this time, we thought it was just a decoration. But while I was working on the truck, I suddenly heard what sounded like a blow torch nearby. Sure enough, the owner of the park was using his “big lighter” to ignite his pyramid stack. Jeff thought he’d go over to tell the guy just how much we appreciated the bonfire and found out that this has been a weekly tradition for years. What a great way to bring people together, even in the cold.