Journey to the East: 2 August 2012


New England!

Cold Mountain Road’s a joke,
no cart track, no horse trail.
Creeks like veins, but still it’s hard to mark
the twists. Fields and fields of crags for crops,
it’s hard to say how many.
Tears of dew upon a thousand kinds of grasses;
the wind sings best in one kind of pine.
And now I’ve lost my way again:
Body asking shadow,
“Which way from here?”

-Han Shan

Can’t find my way home
A damp morning, everything wet from yesterday’s downpour. The humidity wasn’t helping – none of the dampness evaporating. I rode back to the route and through the historic town of Ticonderoga. An interesting looking town with the Fort just outside but I pretty much just rode through and down to the ferry on Lake Champlain. There you take a tiny ferry, operational since the 1750s, that is pulled by cable across the lake. There was only a couple cars on there besides myself and I talked to both drivers about the tour – there seems to be an increasing curiosity the further east I get. After the ferry I was in Vermont – New England and the true NE. Vermont was just how I always imagined: farms in valleys between hills and mountains. Very scenic though definitely hilly riding. The road quality at first was terrible as which was quite unwelcome as I was really babying that rear wheel. But finally I made it to Middlebury where I went to the The Bike Center and they fixed the spoke. Once again a great shop, super nice and competent wrenches with quick and reasonably priced service. I spent some time in Middlebury which is just a classic New England town with old bridges, towering churches, historical monuments dating back to the 18th century and so on. Also numerous coffees shops, bakeries and pubs – my kind of town.


White River

Back on the road I now did one of two remaining major climbs, this one in the Green Mountains. Not major by Washington State pass standards but Middlebury Gap which I was riding up to, is nearly 2000′. The road just outside of East Middlebury began to climb and it was steep: greater than 12%. After that section though it was pretty easy, generally trending upward but with some flat spots. It was along a river the whole way with which it’s low water level and exposed rocks was quite scenic and musical. One last super steep section which climbed for about a mile and I’d reached the Gap. No sign to mark it but the notice for the grade of the descent. So down I went on terrible roads (which the Bike Center wrenches had warned me about) into the valley along the White River. This river had flooded from Hurricane Irene last year and had cut of villages and destroyed much property. Including it turned out the campground I’d been planning to stay at. Well this was a problem, there wasn’t another campground for a while and I’d hoped for a normal days ride. Well that wasn’t to be and I rode first to Bethel where I was resigned to stay at the Inn but it turned out to be a B&B and of course no service on my cell to call them. So in the twilight I rode another 10 miles or so to just past South Royalton where I finally found a campground again along the White River: Hendersons Hide-Away. Not much here but a strip of land and seasonal RVs parked here with no-one in them. But any place to pitch my tent at this point.

the sun sets earlier each day now —
rings around the waning moon

3 thoughts on “Journey to the East: 2 August 2012”

  1. Welcome to the true New England, sort of! 😉 And welcome to steep grades, no markers when you top the summit, and not as many campgrounds as you would like. New England has some similarities to the NW, but not enough!

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