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Sharon and I rode the route, except for the "sharp corner" down toward the start-finish at West Taghkanic (because we started somewhere else), and except for the section on 9G and Mt Merino and city of Hudson. Lots of pretty views + fine riding yet again.
Dirt . . . we didn't like so much this time Ostrander Rd for two reasons: First it had fresh coarse stone on some sections -- good for the long term, but bumpy on that day. Second because when we first included it in the route it had more horses visible, and this time (and the last time) there wasn't much to be seen. So we're thinking next time we'll skip Ostrander, and instead try riding Orchard + Tipple to Tishauer.
We combined this route with most of the Wandering Northwest Columbia route, and connected between them (in both directions) on Columbia county route 22 (between Letter S Rd and Orchard Rd). So that's a new long route for us in Columbia county, around 70-85 miles, more or less depending on which parts of Tour de Columbia West to cut out or leave in.
Since the TdCWest route most of easily allows "shortcuts" its southern and central sections, we found that it helped to start riding after the city of Hudson but before the connection to Wandering NW. That way we had completed all of Wandering NW before starting into the central and southern sections of TdCWest, so we knew how much time we had remaining and how our legs felt. We then decided to chop out two sections of the Tour de Columbia West route:
Sharon and I rode the route except for the section on CC Rt 25, West Ghent Rd, and Columbia County Rt 22. Lots of pretty farms, better than we remembered.
Instead of CC Rt 22, we took a long variation up north to Kinderhook, along the way exploring some quiet roads near the Hudson River. From Kinderhook we followed the "visit Chatham" variation of the Grand Tour of Columbia County, and visited Chatham and Ghent. From Ghent we went west on Garage Place, northwest on CC Rt 21, Left on CC Rt 22 West, then Left on Orchard Rd to rejoin the main route. Overall we liked that, but it added lots of miles. See Major Variation D on the cue sheet.
Ken Roberts, October 2001:
George, David, Sharon and I met at West Taghkanic on a cool fall day. We agreed that it was quicker to get there from Dutchess county than we would have thought. We headed out into farmland. Almost immediately we say two horses running around there pasture. We headed west toward the river with views of sun on the orange-leaved summits of the Catskill mountains. George and David climbed the hill up to the Olana view which Sharon and I rode about halfway out on the Rip Van Winkle bridge.
Just before climbing the Route 9G hill into the city of Hudson, David said he might know a way to avoid the hill, since he often works in Hudson. So broke off from the standard route, and he led us toward the river, first to a park at the river's edge and then to the renovated Hudson railroad station, where indeed an Amtrak train arrived just as we left. I had never seen this part of the city before, so it was great to have David along with us. Then we headed east along Warren Street and saw all the new renovations, and then stopped for coffee and a snack at a Stewarts.
After that we headed north onto Joslen Blvd, which had more traffic than I remembered -- and we felt that the wind was getting stronger as we were riding on Route 9. Then off onto quieter roads. The climb up George Rd was easier than I remembered, and the reward of a view of the whole Catskills east ridge with orange tops was fine. Ostrander Rd perhaps had some fresh gravel over the dirt in places.
When we got to Claverack, the Eskimo Bar was closed for the season, so we got some snacks at the Xtra convenience store. We had fun talking with David about skiing plans, but then we were cold from standing in the wind -- so it was good to head out and start using our muscles again to warm us up. More farms and views, and then we were all back to the cars.
Ken Roberts, August 2001:
Sharon and Tony and I explored most of the roads on this route on a cool summer afternoon. Tony did the hill climb to Olana and felt that the view was worth it. Meanwhile Sharon and I rode out halfway on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, and thought that was worth it. Many of the roads were new for us, so it was a pleasant surprise to find out how pretty and fun many of them were. (Ken had checked out the remaining roads at other times).
Story of this Route
Ken's story: Sharon and I wanted to lead a Mid-Hudson Bicycle Club ride in this area. But the good loops we knew from our own riding were longer than 50 miles, and we agreed with other club ride leaders that more more people would be able to enjoy the ride if we made it shorter. So we had to find lots more interesting roads to fill in the gaps, and also connect to a start point convenient to most club members who live to the south. It was great to explore some new roads -- and find out that Columbia County still has more fun roads yet to be discovered.
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