I was up at 5:30AM and used the time to update the blog. Not long after I was up, Richard joined me and made coffee! Thanks so much Richard - and for finding the sugar!! Richard left for work and I puttered on the computer, writing and sending a few emails and on about 8:30AM Linda work and we chatted for a bit as I got ready to head out. We both remarked on how this CouchSurfing thing seems to connect people with similar values and the conversations quickly engage at deep and substantive levels! Thanks Linda! It was so great to meet you, share in some conversation and learn from you and of your life! All the best!
Now it was time to ride!!
First off I skirted around Burlignton, VT - pastoral farmland filled with abandoned farms! Ir is shockingly sad to see so many farms abandoned - one has to wonder how we are able to still feed a nation with all the farms boarded up! Once past Burlington I turned northward toward Cambridge and soon found myself just outside Snuggler's Notch at the Artful Cup. I enjoyed a delicious egg and sausage burrito and some excellent conversation with Keefe the owner! He shared with the story of how he and his wife met (in Scotland) and how they came to start the cafe in conjunction with their work as artist in theatre! Keefe was also kind enough to share some of the history of Smugglers Notch...
The view from the Artful Cup was worth the stop! Mountains all around with soft rolling hills and green as far as they eye could see! A wonderful place to raie a family! Enjoy Keefe and good luck on your ventures!! Breakfast was great! I wish I could have stayed for lunch too!
Before Keefe and I began our conversation I had been reading the paper. I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast in the headline to my experience on Tuesday. So sad and tragic on so many different levels!
Before leaving I had to take a picture of the Cafe. The bright yellow seems to be so fitting for the surroundings! Good food and good company. If you are in the area do stop in!!
Leaving the Cafe I headed toward the Notch! What a neat road. One lane littered with boulders and I could quickly see why it was used by smugglers: hard to get to and lots of hiding places!
A single lane weaving between the rocks with huge boulders right on the side of the road! Long trucks and campers and not allowed!!
Lots of folks were parked along side of the road and many looked as if they were going rock climbing and hiking! The skiing in this area would be world class in the winter time! If you are reading this Andrew, take note - its not far from your place!! Once through the notch there are three or four ski resorts and then you come into the village of Stowe followed by Morrisville... and things just kept getting better! More turns. More hills. More beautiful scenery!
In places the road was kind of rough - but the views more than made up for the odd harsh spot! At Colebroke I cross into New Hampshire and continued eastward.
At Dixville, I passed through another "notch" - not nearly as restricted as Smuggler's Notch - but interesting just the same.
Severe, tight radius turns with quick changes in elevation made for a thrilling trip... so thrilling, I went through once... then turned around and did it again so I could stop and get some pictures.
The picture to the left is looking east - my direction travel. Then, using the face-time camera on the iPhone I took a picture of the view from whence I had come - the one to the right. The picture does not in any way capture the grade of 12%!
Leaving Dixville I entered what is known locally as Mosse Alley. I frequently passed signs warning people that this was an area noted for a high collision rate with moose. There were signs everywhere! And along the side of the road it was not hard to see where the moose had been travelling - the mud was all churrned up and there were feeding places everywhere! Needless to say I heeded the sign!
On about Adamstown I saw a couple of bikes pulled over - and then I saw why they were pulled over - a young moose was feeding in the pond. I quickly stopped, turned around and went back and got some pictures!
Believe me - the picture is decieiving!! This guy was huge! I cannot imagine what it would be like to hit one of these on the motorcycle - and I don't want to find out.
At Rangley I just had to stop. What a beautiful view from the side of the road! The lake opens up and seems to go on for miles. This would be a great place for a get-a-way vacation. There seemed to me lots of cabins for rent and the silence was so complete!
The elderly man in the picture below was so involved in his painting - capturing the beauty of the day!
After a little break and a walk to stretch the legs it was back on the bike... I wasn't far from where I was planning to spend the night... unfortunately Bingham wasn't ready for me... there was not a motel in town!!!
Well... I figured there would be a place in the next town... no joy! At Lagrange, the young fella at the gas station told me that another hour would get me to a motel... I came to I95, got on it and headed north, thinking I'd just head to the border - but - then I saw the sign for Lincoln and my butt got sore! I was done for the day. I turned off at Lincoln and found myself a room at the Brierwood Motor Inn - not the cheapest room, but it was clean and the bed was soft and there was a restaurant across the street - just what I needed!
Well, the trip is almost over... it has been a joy, a memorable time filled with new experiences, new connections and new learning!