Rain is gone and it is a beautiful morning! Hard to say goodbye to Joan and Chris at The Chipman Inn!!! We had such a wonderful dinner last night, everyone in the kitchen contributing something to the meal!! I feel so at home, but we must move on! I was awake very early this morning as my mind started racing with all the things I have not found out while here in Ripton!! Robert Frost was recognized as "the first citizen of Ripton". We read that on a historical marker as we left this morning. He lived in Ripton and I realized in the wee hours of the morning in my sleeplessness that I have not even touched the subject of Robert Frost!! There were many books of his poetry on the bookshelf and no time to pick one up. I cannot confess to being knowledgeable regarding his poetry but always feel there is no time like the present to start learning! I also thought about the sap lines that are set up in the maple trees behind the house. A gravity system of tubing links together many tall and mature maple treesbehind the Chipman Inn. Green tubes zigzagging between trees as it works it way downhill. How does it not clog up in the summer?? How does it all work? I did not find that out! (Until this morning when I asked. The tubing is left up but the trees are still tapped each year and all tubes run downhill to the same gathering bucket! Simple!) Our host Chris was working at the Marriott Hotel in Times Square on 9-1-1. That would require a whole day in itself to hear more on that event, we only just grazed the surface of the topic. I could easily have stayed another few days. We have been invited back and we will most certainly have to work on a plan to make that happen!! And when the leaves are turning!!
On this beautiful, clear, sunny 60 degree morning we said farewell and set off. You all know by now what we were dreading! We easily made the climb to Bread Loaf, which I thought was the highest point but have since learned Middle Gap will be the highest. At Bread Loaf, the Middlebury College has its Nordic and alpine ski area. We first noticed the large multi storied inns and accommodations that lined the road. The area is wonderfully maintained and is as busy in the winter months as the area is in the summer. We pedaled on enjoying the ride and then it got a little more challenging as we approached the top, but we made it!! WE MADE IT!!! It was great and before you know it we were sailing down the 8 miles of downhill to Hancock on the other side. It was a 12% grade from the top as we carefully pumped our brakes to keep our speed under control. That grade reminded us of the mountains in Washington! Pumping our brakes quickly causes the rims to hear from the friction, we had to stop several times on the descent just to let them cool. Riding in Vermont so far has been picturesque and peaceful, passing thru small towns and today we followed the river for most of the morning. I get totally lost in my head attempting to visualize the masterpiece of color that will soon take over as the rich, deep green of the valleys and mountains that we see now give way to the bolder and richer colors of Autumn. I have to come back to witness it in person! Photographs simply don't satisfy my imagination, they only make me more determined to return!
Once over the gap, it was the exact sort of riding we love! Nothing like what we were expecting! We had made plans to stop for the night in Bethel, still feeling very cautious about how far we could actually ride and how difficult the roads were going to be. It is possible we could have gone further, but . . . We didn't. Bethel, VT was chartered in 1776!! The house we are staying in this evening is 115 years old! It is very difficult to find out anything interesting about the history here, no one seems to know, nothing printed, historical society closed. The town does lay claim to having the oldest lumber yard in the US, owned and operated by the same family since the 1700's, and that is all I was able to find out in our stroll around town!!
Hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day long weekend! Be safe and have fun! Thanks for taking the time to hang out with my blog!!!!