Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Vermonster - Day 3 - I'm not certain the road I mapped out is really a road

We woke to the sound of silence. This was a good thing. There was no noise from rain or icy sleet on the roof. After checking the morning forecast, it seemed that we might actually get lucky. A milder day was predicted. Of course at this stage, I didn't have a whole lot of faith in weather forecasts, so don't ask me why I trusted this one!

And while we might have a hope of milder weather, it would definitely not be an easier day. Our route planner, SadiB, had plenty of great dirt climbs mapped out for us, with one very special climb, planned for right after lunch, just in case we needed extra help warming up again!

We had been rather surprised to see so much color further north on Friday. The barren limbs and leaf covered ground we now cycled past was much more what I had expected for this time of year.

At least we could see the leaves on the ground. All the snow that fell on Thursday had now melted, as warmer temperatures and hints of sunshine teased us throughout the day.

We skirted around the backside of Mt. Ascutney, taking in some nice views of the surrounding hills. Maybe SadiB has a heart after all!

But the climb after our lunch in Springfield laid waste to that theory, as well as to our legs and stomachs. I can't speak for the others, but I struggled to keep lunch down while making my way up and out of town.

But aside from that legbuster of a climb, the day was proving to be decidedly non-epic.

♫ Dum - da- dum ♪

We stopped in Saxtons River for a quick snack and to say a sad farewell to David, as he headed off to catch a train back north.

As we munched on our snacks, I reviewed the upcoming route and casually commented that I wasn't sure about one of the upcoming roads. I had hoped to get up this way before the actual weekend to check it out, but hadn't managed to find time. We could stay on the main road and bypass it, and even take a shortcut to our B&B, skipping the leg into Putney village. While planning the trip, I had found and booked a B&B online and routed us there. However, I hadn't looked closely enough and didn't realize - until we were on it - that I had us on Route 5. It also turned out that the B&B was a bit farther from the village than I'd initially thought.

But I've skipped too far ahead.

We said our farewells to David, and aimed our bikes south. A fellow sitting on his porch called out that we were brave to take in the upcoming climb. Hmmm, I didn't remember a climb here, and sure enough, we took a right before the big climb. But then the road deteriorated into a trail. And we weren't even close to the section I had worried wasn't a real road. That was still miles away.

We stopped and re-checked the map and I noticed a short stretch of dotted line. Oh I remember questioning that little piece as well. Oops.

Still, John and Kait and Caleb seemed game to press on. If we had to walk, it would be short. And besides, the day had been almost boring so far. Time for some adventure...

Fortunately everyone had a good sense of humor about it and even seemed to relish it. The stream crossing was easy enough, and it made for good photos.

Of course, the hike-a-bike caused just enough of a delay that we got caught in a late day shower. So I made the executive decision to skip the original section where I had feared there might be more walking.

Also I really should have taken the time to map out the shortcut to the B&B in advance, as my GPS unit doesn't have panning and I couldn't figure out which turn to take on the fly. As mentioned above, we ended up on Route 5, which is not a bad road, unless you've spent the day riding on car-free roads and now it's raining and getting dark and there is one more climb to go... oh and you are getting farther and farther from town and, even more importantly, food.

Fortunately the crew continued to show strong spirit and sense of adventure. I got a bit stressed as I couldn't access the actual address on my phone without a data signal. Note to self, include house number on the GPS route!

There were a surprising number of homes on this little dirt road in the middle of nowhere, but we found the right one on the second try.

We were also quite lucky that our gracious host at the B&B even offered a lift into town to pick up groceries, so we didn't have to head back out into the rain to get food. Caleb and John did an awesome job, both with shopping and cooking, and we had another warm restful night with full bellies.


  1. AND gorgeous pictures! Especially no. 4, with a round hole in the clouds.

  2. I'm not sure I'd ever want to meet SadiB; I'll try to stick to dealing with Fixie Pixie.