Sorties in the Socialist Syrup State

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by tomdubz, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

    Joined:
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    It’s been quite a ride. I left VT in July 2014, moving to AK on a lark with nothing but my 990 and a box in the mail. Read about that here if you like: https://advrider.com/f/threads/maniacal-meandering-moto-move-from-vt-to-ak.997255/

    Here are some more travails if you want to take some other trips with me:

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/from-new-mexico-to-old-mexico-baja-2018.1286705/
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/does...k-phat-wandering-alaska-yukon-nwt-bc.1070757/ I’m slowly fixing broken pics here.

    Alaska and then New Mexico were wonderful, and so were all the great trips launched from NM. Some favorites that I didn’t write up included 2 separate, 2 week long trips wandering around CO & UT with an old VT friend who has since moved to OR. Bill got me into gravel road riding when we lived in VT. If it weren’t for him I’d be on some horrible cruiser in traffic somewhere as that’s what I grew up around in RI. Thanks Bill.

    Burr Trail Bill

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    Anyway, I returned to VT in July 2020 having accrued a wife-friend (Emma), a dog-friend, and a WR. The 990 still lives and is approaching 92k miles. Some friends have died in the interim. When I left in 2014, if you’d asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, I would not have predicted returning to the land of Socialist syrup. Maybe I would have joined a yoga cult in Costa Rica, or perhaps just kept riding. I guess life has a funny way of figuring itself out.

    Thoughts of a NM doggo: Hooman, why is this big lake so angry?

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    When Emma and I left NM, we went on a long-lost honeymoon to Sweden and Finland. Then the world imploded, and we were back in RI - homeless and jobless - living with my mommy for the first time since I was 19 with fuckall to do. Thanks COVID. Emma, being a bit more resilient than I, lined up a travel nurse position tout suite and we were able to bank a fuckton of money. Thanks mommy. She then summarily lined up her dream job at a prestigious hospital just over the river in NH as a Nurse Practitioner and we headed back to where we started from. As a 200 pound white guy with +10 years of special ed. teaching experience, I’m pretty much able to work wherever I want so that was easy enough. The job is fine, it affords me a lifestyle I enjoy even if it does feel a little stagnant and regressed. What a year to return to public education.

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    We’ve been renting a small house in a horrible hollow for the last year, squirreling away the acorns and hiding from the sun. I slipped into a pretty depressive state once the dust settled and am still figuring out why exactly. It probably started when I felt like a failure having to crawl home to mommy at 39. Maybe it was also the feeling of having been so many places only to return to a place I thought was behind me. Maybe it’s the grind of teaching in the situation we’re all calling public “education” this year. Maybe it’s the dark winter, missing the green chili, or not having a garage. Whatever it was, it’s been rough. Just because you’re privileged as fuck doesn’t mean you can’t hate life. I’m working on it and am hopeful that I’ll get better.

    It certainly wasn’t all bad. Last summer, it was neat to re-explore the area that I learned how to really ride in. VT and NH have such an amazing network of well maintained gravel, goat paths, and everything in between. It’s possible to cook up countless loops that avoid pavement and the pavement is mostly all pretty great too. I forgot how accessible it all is. Sure, the west has some epic shit, but there’s a massive amount of straight, flat and relatively boring between the epicness. Day rides typically consisted of at least an hour in any direction before playing on what I wanted to be on. Which makes for some long days when you have to backtrack the same way to get home. Loops were usually multi-day productions. Lollipops were the best I could do for most day trips.

    Thanks to our frugality, we’re buying our dream home with airy mountain views in Vershire, VT. It’s on a dirt road and it connects to a veritable all-season multi-sport paradise of a network of other dirt roads, trails, and general greenery. Incidentally, it’s 10 minutes off the NEBDR if any of you FFs need a place to hang. Check the tent space here: Tent Space Sign-Up Thread Closing date is May 1 and it looks to be all lined up. Fingers crossed. This, combined with some exciting new job prospects have me looking forward to the future

    So, if you’re still with me, now we’re getting to the whole reason I’ve started this thread here. I’d like to start cataloging some local rides. I hope you enjoy the cathartic dumping of my brain and mediocre photos here. I’m still a bit of noob with the fancy GPS apps, but I’ll do my best to share. If you’re local or traveling through and looking for a riding buddy, don’t hesitate.

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    #1
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  2. greenmtndave

    greenmtndave Been here awhile

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    Elmore, Vermont
    I'm in for the ride :lurk. Colorado is my favorite place to visit, but Vermont is home.
    #2
  3. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    Word. I thought it was cute when them Coloradicans got excited for their version of monochromatic foliage.

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    Fun nonetheless

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    #3
  4. Geschift

    Geschift Long timer

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    well, that’s quite a story you’ve got there.
    Good to hear that the future is looking bright.

    I’d love to come over and enjoy some rides, but I just don’t see it happening to be honest.
    Thanks for sharing + the invite.
    And feel free to come over here to the Netherlands ... who knows, you might just like it even better haha!

    Take care!
    #4
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  5. CdnGS

    CdnGS Been here awhile

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    Great writing style and looking forward to you posting up your adventures. VT is a beautiful state - Its been a while but I was lucky enough to get there in ‘92 and again in ‘93 to the Mountain Warfare School in Jericho. No rat race, great scenery, fresh air, mountains, skiing and friendly people. What’s not to like!
    #5
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  6. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    For much of the year, the Green Mountains would be better named the Brown Mountains.

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    Last Saturday was my first ride-ride of the season. The weekend prior, I did go for a little, “does this thing still start and do I remember how to ride” rip for a ½ hour on pavement. It did and I do. For the first real ride, it took me almost 3 hours to do what I normally do in 1.5 because mud season. Vermont’s fifth season, mud, is not to be trifled with. Most of the roads will be mostly fine, but every road will have spots that are treacherous. Usually, the treachery is around a corner or over a hill so you can’t see it coming. The best is when the ruts freeze and pull you in like train tracks. If you're unfamiliar, google images of VT mud season. I couldn’t help but wonder at how many COVID refugees from the city moved up to an idyllic home off the beaten path last summer/fall and didn’t realize that they would have 10 miles of poopy quicksand soup to contend with for 1-2 months every spring. Maybe some of them will go away now. I might be an invasive flatlander too, but at least I married up.

    Hard to believe just 1 month ago we were knee deep in this action.

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    Note to self: don't bury motorcycles in a shed that gets buried in snow.

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    I went this way for a few reasons. Primarily, the Barnard general store has good cookies and ethanol free premium. As a bonus, Cloudland Rd is one of my favorites and I hadn't made the Royalton Tpk. to East Barnard connection yet - at least not in recent memory. So, a tiny adventure was had. While I did use the WR for this ride, it is totally big bike friendly and 90% dirt.

    For you Aunt Jemimah fools, maple season typically coincides with mud season. The sap from the sugar maple flows once the trees warm up a little. It's collected in a variety of means, ranging from slick stainless tank systems to cleanish coolers that were storing ice-fished perch a month ago. The collected maple water (sap is confusing) is then boiled down to make maple syrup. Roughly 40 gallons of sap makes one gallon of syrup, and it varies from season to season. A few of my students that make some bucks this way have been grumbling about this being a horrible year. "Last season I made almost 80 gallons, but this year I'll be lucky to make 30." That may be true, but I always take this grumbling with a grain of salt because there's some version of it almost every year. Fact remains this is a big money maker in the region, especially for the land-rich money-poor folk, and a good year is a good thing.

    It was dripping a little so a taste was had. Note the gravity lines.
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    Yup, that's an old one room schoolhouse and some old timey sap buckets.

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    The Cloudland Farm has a direct farm-to-table restaurant. Reservation only and it books a month out, but it's good and not too steep. You'll need to dodge some obnoxious Woodstock 3rd homers if you go in the summer.

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    This home is one of the most over photographed spots during foliage. There will be piles of asshats precariously parked on the road with their selfie sticks. Wedding parties, throngs of foreigners, minivan heroes. I don't know how the owners deal with it. I suspect it's a 3rd home. Nice stop for triumphant cookie consumption without anyone in sight this time a year. Once the leaves turn, you'd best slow down on Cloudland lest you run over an errant child while their dad takes pics with $5,000 worth of camera.

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    Give me the mf tracks already:

    Attached Files:

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  7. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams Supporter

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    vermont
    Love it! Moved to Vt a couple years ago. Winter is long, but at this point, there's nowhere I'd rather live.
    Subscribed!
    #7
  8. greenmtndave

    greenmtndave Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Elmore, Vermont
    My kind of adventure, love wandering the back roads in VT.

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    #8
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  9. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Appreciate your VT posts. The state has some of our favorite roads.

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    #9
  10. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    Nice! Where's that?

    We'll get to Class 4 season soon enough. My 2 favorite goat path diversions in the route above are at the tops of Wild Apple and Session Meadows. They were still snowy.
    #10
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  11. greenmtndave

    greenmtndave Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Elmore, Vermont
    Churchill Road in Elmore, VT. Just a couple of miles from my house. Sold the KLR this past Fall. Looking to add a WR250R or DRZ400S to continue the dirt ramblings.
    #11
  12. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    Whelp, I had warned myself that it’s not exactly Class IV season yet.

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    Last Friday, I left school early and took the 990 for a nice long ride up to Barre to get my second Pfizer dose. I picked my way home on a combination of some back roads that I haven’t been on before, a failed trail attempt, and then a blast down the interstate to the car wash.

    The back roads between Barre and Williamstown were nice. I stopped at an ethanol free premium Valero on Quarry Hill Rd. that was a trip. No credit card reader at the pumps, but you were actually allowed to pump first. Talk about a time warp. The signs indicating that you’re not on camera but you might be in the sights, and the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Problem” were a good reminder that this state is not all populated by granola loving liberals. Despite our famous octogenarian transplanted Socialist Senator, most people not from here are surprised to learn that VT has quite the culture of Take Back Vermont Republicanism coursing through its veins. After nearly a century of staunch Republican domination of the governorship, the compromised rhythm worked out since the 70’s has been D/R/D/R… I suppose it’s good to clean out the executive pipes every so often.

    Anyway, after somehow picking my way down to VT-110 via some mildly muddy dirt roads and sun reckoning, I wound my way through Chelsea and went up to the Vershire Heights to go by the soon to be new house. I took McIver to the end, turned left, but then got foiled by the muddy waterfall that is the Chelsea “Road” before I could make it to the top of the hill. Maybe I would have made it on the WR, but I wound up giving up and scurrying back to the pavement. While this hill is never really big bike friendly, I have done it when it’s dry and I will do it again in a month or so. I neglected to snap a pic of the carnage.

    That was Friday, and Saturday I woke up a little sore from my Pfizer fingering. Nothing like a blood pumping dual sport challenge to work out the kinks. Earlier in the week I had fun helping out in a Science class, teaching kids how to read old fashioned paper USGS topo maps. I noticed that the Kings Hwy. in Hartford used to connect US-4 to US-5, so I asked the boy with the biggest truck if he knew anything about that, and he said, “yep, it’s a mess but you can make it on a dirt bike.”

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    He wasn’t wrong. It’s short, but it’s a challenge. Pics never really do justice to the grade and they never show the running water. I probably should have slid down the hill instead of trying to go up. I had a hard fall that broke my cute little windshield and bruised my ankle despite the Tech-6 protection. Aside from having to wrestle the bike through a downed tree, it was all easy after that.

    Should've brought a saw

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    Old River Rd. was nice, and I hadn’t made the connection out to the Quechee-Hartford Rd. yet. Yes, some do call it Queefee. Joe Ranger is always delightful and the little Old King’s Hwy. Class IV section was pleasant. I suspect the farmers maintain this road because there’s a little pasture action up there. I’m not sure if this Old King’s Hwy in Pomfret and the Kings Hwy in Hartford are part of the same old grade. I’ll have to do some historical map research. More on those resources later.

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    After that it was Galaxy, to Cloudland, to Session Meadows. There’s no sign for Session Meadows on Cloudland, and it looks like the jeep trail that it is, but it was dry enough and easy going. If you were going in the other direction, you’d come to a Dead End sign at the top of Session Meadows and feel like you’re going up someone’s driveway. It’s not dead. It goes through just fine. A zip down through Taftsville and that’s that.

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    She calls it my mid-life crisis outfit.

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    Attached Files:

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  13. NHBoz

    NHBoz Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Above the notches, NH
    Subscribed. Enjoy the commentary and beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing your tracks. Hopefully I'll get down that way this season.
    #13
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  14. ifstewart

    ifstewart Adventurer

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    31
    We're moving up there this summer. Back home for my wife, I'm a straight up flatlander...lol. I'm enjoying your thread!
    #14
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  15. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    April break week started with two sunny high 60s days and today we just got a little snow dumping. So it goes.

    At least I had the 990 out for a nice 200 mile, mostly paved, burn up to St. J. on the New Hampster side and back down through Danville & Peacham.

    Good stop for a smoke break

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    Anytime you see something remotely called "River Rd." just take it.

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    A Budding Feminist's Graffiti Attempt

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    Hooray for technicolor bruises

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    #15
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