Aug 30 Ticonderoga to Ripton (30ish miles)
Aug 31, 2016
|Ready to go and get started on these hills we have heard so much about and causing us to be so apprehensive and cautious!!
But why not start the day with a beautiful ferry ride across Lake Champlain first?? Start easy?? The ferry is privately run and crosses the river on demand, needless to say it was quiet enough that we had a private ferry ride across the Lake!! Getting off in Vermont was so exciting! It's the simple things in life that give me so much joy, and stepping off into the state of Vermont was so exciting!! State number 12! It never ceases to amaze me how everything changes, just because it is a different state! The first and most noticeable difference (because we are on bikes of course) is the road! New black asphalt, smooth as silk (and uphill) the stone buildings and houses built on the lakeshore already showing off their historic beginnings. Once up and around the first hill, the countryside opened up to big swooping valleys and views that reached out to the gray blue shadows of the rolling mountains beyond. Everything is so lush and green right now, and I quickly try to imagine it as the richly colored reds, golds and yellows that Vermont is famous for and will soon take over. Already I know I want to come back here and be here for that magical transition! And we have only been in Vermont for 30 min, I know I need to come back!
The first town we come to is Middlebury, a small college town that is so quaint and lovely. Sidewalk cafe's, umbrellas and tables becoming us and almost lunch time (somewhere!) one doesn't need too many more reasons to stop at the inviting bakery!! The busy doorway as people arrived and departed with bags of goodies sort of told us it must be a great place to eat and oh my gosh it was true!! We used the nutritious lunch break as a time to plot out the rest of the day. The map profile clearly showed us we were at the edge of the challenging elevation gain (mountains!) that we know we have to tackle. How far could we get today? Should we book ahead? What if we book and can't make it? What if . . .
Made a decision, made a booking and set off. I can't really tell you why we are so worried about these mountains. Perhaps it is because so many people have made comments about their steepness, the short sharp climbs. But then lots of people have said lots of things about lots of things that just have not panned out to be as bad as we let ourselves believe. So why these mountains??
And then we found out. Everything everyone said is true. It started slowly, as slow as the Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. But that lasted for maybe a mile and then reality hit and before you know it, we were pushing up hill . . . On foot!! Unbelievable!! It's true . . . We both had to get off and walk. People say there is no shame in walking, but I don't know, I can't help but feel a little disappointed in myself! There is no way I could get to the top! And we are not even near the top yet! Sometimes these little tricky bits happen at the very beginning, who knows, maybe it will get easier. I guess we will continue to find out!
We are in the land of "no campgrounds and no motels". Well, let me say the last campground for the next 73 miles is 3 miles south of here on a dirt road, in the mountains, don't really think that is an option and there is a small motel on the other side of Bread Loaf, that is the small mountain we have to get over first. Bread Loaf is only 2,000+ ft compared to the 6,600 ft of the passes we successfully crossed in the State of Washington!! Even Logan's Pass in Glacier was easier!! I know, I will stop going on about the stupid hills.
The bottom line is no campground only B&B's!! We pedaled ourselves to the last B&B before we had to commit to going over the top of Bread Loaf and decided we had enough for the day. We checked in to The Chipman Inn and that is where we still are!!
What could be more ideal than a B&B in the woods of Vermont?? Quiet, peaceful, comforting, welcoming and beautiful! It is almost like coming home! Chris and his mother do a wonderful job and we have made ourselves right at home!! Chris was going in to town to meet friends (back to Middlebury) for dinner so we took advantage of the trip to town and had our own dinner. The road we struggled up to get here and had to walk up (gasp) was nothing by car!!
Yesterday quickly rolled in to today, August 31. The rain predicted for 8pm tonight arrived at 8am! It looked like it was here to stay, or at least rain again this afternoon. And even when and if it did stop, would it dry up?? Once again we needed to make a decision! We knew the road ahead, once we crossed the Bread Loaf had a huge downhill on the other side and the thought of fighting the road and the rain for very little gain in distance just did not make sense! Especially since we were so happy and comfortable here! So we decided to stay here and make it all up tomorrow when the weather fined up!
What a perfect setting . . . Vermont woods, rain, an amazing breakfast by our B&B hosts and peace and quiet.
Enter Tony from the neighboring B&B and a very interesting fellow!! With Chris following behind,we piled into Tony's car and took an excursion to the local campground Moosamaloo Recreational Area. So glad we did not attempt to get to this campground on our bicycles, can't even imagine why it is on our maps as it is not a bicycle destination sort of campground!! Tony was the idea guy behind this recreation area and got the ball rolling with the petition to Congress to make it a recreation area. It is such a peaceful setting buried in the Vermont woods with access to camping, lake canoeing, fishing, cross country skiing, hiking and just plain old peace and quiet! Gorgeous! After that Tony took us to his B&B, Blueberry Hill Inn. We were treated to an opportunity to graze while we picked blueberries and filled our bucket with fresh ripe blueberries! Tony maintains a cross country ski trail, hosts a wedding venue and offers the perfect place to recharge. Felt like we were a gazillion miles from any hustle and bustle. Would love to be here in the winter and experience the sauna built in the woods!! We had such a wonderful afternoon, returning to our accomodation for the evening and relaxing with the wonderful company of our hosts, some wine, nibbles and a communal dinner where I was able to live my dream, get in the kitchen and help make things come together for dinner! Made myself right at home!
We will be leaving in the morning . . . With Labor Day weekend only a few days away and the threat of a building hurricane developing and working its way in our direction, we will have to plan carefully so we are not left to fend for ourselves and set up camp in the bear inhabited woods!!!! Once we get past Labor Day, we should be able to complete our trip in the lull between the end of summer and the "leafers" coming out in droves to witness the fall foliage!! Still can't believe we are so close to the end!! Looks like B&B's are the only choice of accommodation we have for the next many miles, at least till we get thru Vermont. Oh darn! The only problem with B&B's would be if they are even half as wonderful and accommodating as Chris and Joan at the Chipman Inn . . . I may never leave Vermont!!!!
So good night everyone! We are off in the morning and I will update again as soon as we get some more internet! Thanks for hanging in there!