Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DROVES - Day 1

A few friends joined us in East Burke over Memorial Day weekend for the 2012 version of DROVES - Dirt Roads of Vermont Epic Sojourn. As noted in the previous blog entry, DROVES is an informal gathering of friends who like exploring Vermont's dirt roads. The crowd this year included several past participants, Jake Kassen, Emily O'Brien, Dominique Codere, Cristine Lamoureux, David Lafferty, Emily Searles Lafferty, David Wilcox, Ted Lapinski, and first-timers Matt Roy and Mo Bruno-Roy. Brian and Andreas joined us for half the day on Sunday.

Some folks stayed at the Village Inn, while the rest of the gang stayed at the Bike Barn. We met each morning in front of the general store for our rides.
The gang on Day 1

David and Emily

Emily and Jake

David Wilcox, pretending this is hard work!
Ted Lapinski

Mo Bruno-Roy and Dominique Codere

Cristine Lamoureux
Matt Roy

Brian and Andreas (joined in the fun on Sunday)

Our theme for this year was to explore parts of the Bayley Hazen Military Road. John is always thrilled to find the correct, as he calls it, spelling of his last name, and we have quite a few photos of him standing in front of road signs and monuments with the correct spelling. Many years ago, on a cycling trip in the Northeast Kingdom, we stumbled upon the Bayley Hazen store in Peacham and the Bayley Hazen Road. So we started doing some research and planned to someday do a group trip in the area. After Hurricane Irene damaged so many roads in Southern Vermont last summer, we decided the time was right, so we changed the DROVES format this year from a point to point ride, to a series of day rides based in one place. We booked the Bike Barn and reserved a few more rooms at the Village Inn, and then put the word out.

We've done a fair amount of exploring in the area, between our fall Vermont vacations and race weekends. We've done the Crafstbury ride a few times, and had ridden the military road from Wells River up to Peacham and back, as well as lots of exploring dirt roads all around East Burke. Using the Northeast Kingdom Cycling map, I plotted a route from East Burke down to Wells River to get to the monument at the start of the military road. The first day would include heading down to Wells River on this new section (to us) and then back up to Danville and over to Burke. The second day would head back over Stannard Mountain to take in the section up to Craftsbury. We'd have to save the upper section to Hazen Notch for another trip.

I headed up to Vermont a week before to check out our new section and determined that I had not sent us down any hiking trails and that the route was indeed glorious. I think our friends would agree with my assessment.

It started out a bit overcast on Saturday morning, but those clouds burned off my mid-day and it got quite toasty. Given all the climbing, everyone appreciated the cooler start.

Vermont dirt roads are often far smoother than paved roads in Massachusetts. Mo, David and Matt lead the charge up the climbs.
Our new baby. We literally finished building the new Seven Cycles 007, the day before. It performed flawlessly and has earned 4 thumbs up! We will post more about it.

Cameras got lots of use this weekend.

Our group split before reaching Wells River, as some opted for a shorter day to save something for the rest of the weekend. David and Emily led half the group back thru St Johnbury, where they stopped at a Farmer's Market.

Matt, Mo, David, Ted, John and I continued down to Wells River where we feasted on gas station hamburgers, burritos (well some of us) and drinks. Then we began the featured section on the Bayley Hazen Road.

Ted and the little people at the Bayley Hazen monument in Wells River. I seemed to have gotten a weird angle and perspective here, but this is my favorite photo from the weekend!

Mo has the reputation for not being able to resist petting cute dogs, but she seems to like petting cows too!

The sun came out and it got quite hot. We took another break for cold drinks in Danville, before making the final push back to East Burke.

The typical view of David Wilcox, as we chased him up yet another climb!

No ride in Vermont would be complete without a few covered bridges.

We had 4 covered bridges within a few miles

It was definitely hot by the end of the day. We hit the East Burke General Store to replace some lost salts, and the the local Ice Cream stand to get a few more calories.

It was a tough, but beautiful ride. We will definitely do this one again!


  1. Thanks for sharing .... great shots ... fun comments ... looks like lots of fun.
    diane goodwin

  2. Right on! Looks like a beautiful challenge. The tandem looks great. Glad to hear that it rode well, too!

  3. Look for a post about the new tandem soon!