For the last few years I have taken a long ride over Labor Day weekend since it was the last 3 day weekend in the warm riding season. In 2011 I had an ambitious ride through New England planned with a total distance of about 1300 or so and taking me up to Acadia National Park. Along the way I was planning on stopping at a bunch of National Parks. Unfortunately the weather gods and motorcycle gods had conspired against me this year.
Everything started off great. I launched at 6:15 am, just a few minutes later than planned. Just before I was to cross into NJ, I saw the sun rising which really looked cool.
From there it was mainly highway up to just shy of Albany NY, where I got off onto some smaller roads. First stop was Martin Van Buren’s house which is a National Historic Site. Really cool house and I thought about taking the tour but it was 45 minutes which I really didn’t have.
From there it was more smaller roads up into Vermont. This was US 7 just south of Manchester VT where I stopped for lunch
Along the way I saw a bunch of Moose Crossing signs. No moose though …
I had heard Vermont had gotten hit really bad by then Tropical Storm Irene but had hoped that the main roads would be clear. Started to see lots of damage when I was on VT 100. This is just one of over a dozen washed out roads and bridges, not to mention many places where the shoulder was gone.
Made the turn onto VT 100A, and saw a sign that the road was impassable past Plymouth VT. Not knowing where that was in relation to US 4 which was my next turn I kept going. Unfortunately about 5 miles up the road was a road block and I was told I could go no further. I was probably 2 – 3 miles from my turn. Turned around and played with the GPS until it gave me a route that looked like it would take me around the washed out road. Little did I know that there seem to be lots of unpaved roads in Vermont.
It was a cool scenic ride though. About a 100 feet from my turn and I believe 1 mile from getting back onto pavement I came to a washed out section.
Turned around and re-routed. Ended up on more stone roads and came to a cool bridge that I could not believe was not washed out.
Unfortunately I ended up back where I started on VT 100. Tried a few other roads and kept coming up on road closed signs with no detour signs, just “use alternate route”. I headed north for about 45 minutes until I found a likely road headed east. Most of the day I spent in the Green Mountain National Forrest.
By this point I had no idea what road I was on, and had given up trying to get to the national parks in VT and NH and was headed to Acadia. I stopped for a quick break when I saw a sign for a historic land mark. Turns out some guy named Robert Frost hung about in the area I was in. I have a vague recollection of reading something he wrote in high school or college or something
It was at this point that I got a good look at my rear tire. I knew it was getting long in the miles but when I left the tread wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately some of the stone roads I was on had repairs done on those roads with rather large sharp rocks. In two spots on my rear tire I had cuts in the tire that were pretty deep, and there wasn’t much meat left in those areas. Rather than add another 900 miles on a questionable rear tire through small back roads with little cell coverage I decided to call it a trip and head home. Somewhere between Leicester and Whiting VT I came to a few spots where the water had still not gone down.
Fortunately I had pavement to ride on. Near Whitehall NY the sun was going down so I stopped for a quick pic.
From there I was more interested in getting home so I did not stop for pics. At the end of the day I had put 745 miles on my bike and even though I cut the trip short I had seen some great sights. Certainly will be riding this route again in the spring when the roads are back (hopefully).