A Day on the Trans-Mass Trail with the Northeast Dual-Sport Riders

Jul 29, 2017 View Comments by

Trans-Mass TrailSeveral years ago, while on Blue Rim Tours’ Five-Country Tour, I met Victoria Zandonella. Although we were on paved routes on that trip, I quickly learned that she was an avid dual-sport rider who founded the Northeast Dual-Sport Riders (NDR) club. During much of the year, the club, of well over 200 members, hosts a ride almost every weekend. She’s asked me to join them on a ride for a couple of years now. I finally made the trip north for the July 23, 2017 ride, which was billed as the Trans-Mass Trail Endurance Loop.

My wingman Bob Brown and I met up with Victoria and her group of 12 riders in Winsted, CT, which is not far south of the Massachusetts border. The ride began with temperatures in the low 70-degree range and mostly clear skies. A nice change from the 90-degree, 90-percent-humidity days we’d been experiencing farther south. Pavement initially took us north, but it was soon replaced by graveled forest roads, winding up, down, and all around the Berkshire Mountains. Victoria set a quick pace and Bob and I, who have much, much less off-road experience, tried to keep her in sight. We were mostly unsuccessful.

The villages, with their town greens, general stores, and white steepled churches, farms with their signature red barns, and other classic New England scenery, created a feast for the eyes. Late in the morning we stopped for a breather at Elmer’s Store, built in 1835. From there we headed generally west, before stopping for a gander at Hoosac Tunnel near North Adams, MA. The spooky-looking, nearly five-mile-long tunnel dates back to 1877. Since the rails running through it are still active, venturing inside wasn’t an option.

Trans-Mass Trail

We broke for lunch at the Golden Eagle Restaurant, which is adjacent to a well-known high-elevation hairpin curve on the Mohawk Trail. Our upstairs table afforded a panoramic view of Mount Greylock, which, at 3,489 feet, is the highest peak in Massachusetts. After lunch, we headed to Savoy Mountain State Forest, for more technically challenging roads—at least they were for Bob and me.

It was getting dark when we arrived back in Winsted, but none too late for an ice cream stop at the Dairy Queen. My odometer recorded that, from the time Bob and I had left our hotel, we’d ridden some-250 miles, mostly off-road. We said our goodbyes, skipped dinner, and looked forward to some much-deserved slumber. We very much appreciate Victoria and the Northeast Dual-Sport Riders taking us on such a gorgeous ride through a quintessential New England landscape.

If you’re curious about riding the Trans-Mass Trail, check out this video!

Text and Photography: James T. Parks

 

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