Bicycle Travel > General Discussion

Recent Vermont Trip

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BikeliciousBabe:
Here is a writeup of my trip that I posted on Bikeforums.net.

"Did a short tour of Vermont earlier this month. Drove up to Brattleboro on June 5th and camped just outside of town at Ft. Dummer S.P. Brattleboro (smartly) allows long-term parking in a garage in town for $5/night, with Sunday’s being free. Started riding on the 6th. The trip ended in St. Albans on June 14th. Got a room for the night. The next morning I hopped Amtrak’s Vermonter with my bike for a 3 hr.+ ride back to my car. Drove down to S. Deerfield for the night then returned home to Philly on the 16th. Seven days of riding with two off days. Nights at Jamaica S.P., Mt. Ascutney S.P., Silver Lake S.P. (2), Stillwater S.P., Brighton S.P. (2) and Prouty Beach municipal campground. Daily mileage ranged from around 28 to 61.

Here is a route map:

Ride with GPS | Bike Route Planner and Cycling Navigation App

Mileage inside the parks and local errand mileage is not shown. The compressed profile makes it difficult to appreciate the steep grades (some double digit) in places, especially on some of the dirt sections. A couple of mornings I had climbs right out of camp, which is never fun for me. The trail mileage (12) between Plainfield and Stillwater was horrendous at first. There was rain/flood damage a couple of places. One spot was required walking as it was steep and rocky. The 26 mile Missisquoi Valley Rail-Trail was also tougher than I expected. Much of the surface consisted of two narrow tracks with a hump in the middle and high weeds. It also had noticeable grades both up and down. But the real pain was the numerous road crossings. Fourteen of VT 105 alone. But it beat riding the highway.

The weather was, for the most part, pleasant. Around 6 a.m. on the morning of the fourth day at Silver Lake S.P. it started to rain pretty heavily, and rain was predicted through most of the afternoon. The original plan was to ride to Stillwater S.P. that day for a two night stay and some paddling during the day off. In light of the weather, I traded my off day at Stillwater for an off day at Silver Lake. Other than that day, and a short period of rain at night at Mt. Ascutney S.P. after Day 2, skies were mostly sunny and highs were in the mid-70s, although most days were a tad humid for my liking. Nightly lows ranged between the low to upper 50s, although I think one night dipped below 50. I also seemed to have a noticeable to strong headwind each day.

The Vermont state parks were quite nice. I had a lean to each night. No need to stake out the tent or fly, and I stayed dry during the two days/nights with rain. Prouty Beach municipal campground in Newport was also nice. The three tent sites are down by the lake, close the public paths and away from the numerous RV sites, which are up on a hill. I could hear no noise from them at all. The bathroom/shower facilities are old but are close to the tent site and kept very clean by park staff. Bug spray was a must and the mosquitoes were ever present in camp.

I lost some respect for Vermont drivers during this trip. I had previously ridden south from St. Albans twice both before and during the pandemic. (In 2018 and 2021.) My 2018 trip was actually right around the same time as this one, while the 2021 trip started the Sunday after Labor Day. I experienced a lot of needless close passes. Instances where there was no oncoming traffic and good sight lines. One of my favorites was pulled off by a woman who said hello to me as I rode by her house. She was preparing to get into her car and had a large, reusable grocery bag. I assumed she was heading to the same large grocery store I was going to about 4 miles up the road. I actually wondered if she would come too close if she passed me. She didn’t disappoint. But in defense of Vermont drivers in that case, she had Massachusetts plates. (Many of you have probably heard the term “M*******.”) I have to wonder if the explanation is my route. My previous two trips had me go down the far west side of the state after leaving Burlington until I headed southeast at Manchester to Brattleboro. This trip’s route came closer to larger population centers such as St. Johnsbury, Woodstock, Barre, Montpelier and Newport.

Not too many “exotic” creature sightings. There had been recent bear activity at Stillwater, but I didn’t see one. I did see about a 3’ long ribbon snake at Brighton. Either a beaver or muskrat made its way across Silver Lake. At Silver Lake, Stillwater, Brighton and Prouty Beach I heard loons at night and in the morning. At Brighton and Prouty Beach I got to see them. Roadkill-wise I saw what looked like a member of the weasel family and a porcupine. One thing that was not as common as I expected were cows. I think I only passed 3 herds and heard one other in a field behind some trees. Guess I just wasn’t in parts of the state where dairy farming is widespread.

The lens of my Sony camera froze up early in the trip so I had to rely on my iPhone. I am having trouble figuring out how to get images from the phone to my home computer because most of them are too large to email to myself for download. I guess I will edit this post and add them using my phone."

If you want to see the photos you will have to visit the thread using the link below.  I think you can view it even if you are not a member.

https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1253807-vermont-trip-report.html

Starting to think about another week or so trip in PA this September.  I have a couple in the can already that I can choose from, including one I had to abort after three days back in 2018 due to crazy weather.  I am reluctant to book a flight somewhere because I don't trust airlines to keep schedules.

ray b:

--- Quote from: BikeliciousBabe on June 24, 2022, 01:38:58 pm ---I lost some respect for Vermont drivers during this trip.

--- End quote ---
Even when the plates are not NY or Mass. - the area you are riding has been over-run with narcissistic urbanites, who always wonder why they are not accepted by the natives....

BikeliciousBabe:

--- Quote from: ray b on June 24, 2022, 03:34:08 pm ---
--- Quote from: BikeliciousBabe on June 24, 2022, 01:38:58 pm ---I lost some respect for Vermont drivers during this trip.

--- End quote ---
Even when the plates are not NY or Mass. - the area you are riding has been over-run with narcissistic urbanites, who always wonder why they are not accepted by the natives....

--- End quote ---

Many of them were clearly locals as they were driving business-related vehicles.  One young woman told me I was riding on the wrong side of the road, calling me a "dip****" to boot.  (I was riding on the right/correct side of the road.)  That was not too far outside of Island Pond.  Judging from her vehicle and lack of intelligence, I don't think she was an urbanite.

HikeBikeCook:
Living in Massachusetts the plate we fear the most is the "wave" plate from Rhode Island. You have to pass an unsafe driving test there where they teach left hand turns from the right run only lane and how to travel in the highspeed lane on I95 until your exit, then jam on the breaks and move across 3 lanes with no signal, cutting off drivers on the way, to make you exit. I have lived all over the US and driven in all but three states and the worst drivers that I have encountered are around Washington DC, followed closely by Rhode Island, and then New York City area.

Westinghouse:
Could any of the above-mentioned incidents in this thread come even close to the willful indifference drivers in New Orleans show toward a person on a bicycle? Maybe so, but so far I have not heard of it or read of it.

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