|Date||July 17, 2010|
|Hosts||Sue Nicolich and Dave Snope, Karen and Cam Witt|
|Where||Califon, Hunterdon County|
|Who (else)||Barb Flint/Neil McPhee, Steve Gray-single bike, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Allison and Tab Noble, Kelley and Jim Odorisio, Cheryl Prudhomme/Mark Cook|
The 2nd annual Garden Tour was again notable for the weather we encountered. Last year it rained, so we toured four beautiful gardens in Somerset County using motorized transportation (although one brave team did the entire tour on their bike). This year it didn't rain, but it was hotter than blazes and we toured one very interesting garden, nestled in the hills of Hunterdon County. The 7 1/2 team group left Califon right on time at 11 AM and we all decided to do the longer of two rides, about 30 miles. As it turned out, the ride length was just about right considering the hilly terrain and the 90+ degree temps.
We arrived at the garden located in Glen Gardner shortly after noon, turned in our tickets, and started exploring the mostly-wooded grounds on pathways that meandered throughout the six acre property. All of the plants and flowers we saw were well-suited for the shady environment. There was even a little stream running through the property which did not go unnoticed by the group of hot, sweaty cyclists. The property owner also provided some treats for the visitors: wine, cookies, and beverages.
Back on our bikes after about an hour of exploring, we headed a little further down towards the Musconetcong River valley on the return portion of the ride. Then we climbed away from the river valley and were rewarded by a nice downhill finish on Sliker Road. By that time, everyone had worked up a good sweat so we immediately proceeded to swap our cycling gear for bathing gear and jumped in the pool for a very refreshing cool-down. We managed to find enough snacks to satisfy our immediate hunger without having an "official" lunch. Jim and Kelley brought their Gelato machine with them all the way from Vermont and treated the group to two batches of wonderfully restorative fresh-made lemon-lime sorbetto.
The group made the ride enjoyable by staying together and riding at a moderate pace. A lot of the climbs were in the shade, so the heat was not unbearable. And, of course, the more climbs we did the more cooling downhills we were able to enjoy.
Look for this ride again next year and discover some new roads and enjoy a private garden or two open to the public only one day a year.