38.2 mi / 11.4 mph / 1976 ft. climbing
Home: Cormac’s AirBNB
The bridge into Vermont that we’d camped next to was apparently a 2011 emergency replacement, so it had nice pedestrian pathways on both sides. I’d considered riding up them, just so that we could stop to get good pictures at the top, but since I’d taken those last night (under much better lighting!), we just stayed in the roadway, which also had good shoulders. And traffic was really light, which is kind of amazing for one of the few road crossings between New York and Vermont, but that was just our introduction to how weirdly unpopulated Vermont is.
So there we were, into US State #9! We had been in New York for five weeks, longer than any US state besides California. Partly because we stayed with Rett’s dad for such a long time, but also because New York is a wide-ass state, and we rode nearly the longest straight line that you can fit inside its boundaries, from the far southwestern corner to pretty far north on the eastern edge.
The forecasted morning rain held off long enough for us to get packed and on the road, while the gray cloud cover at least kept the temperatures down. And the Vermont countryside was beautiful, even in those clouds. We headed north on a string of quiet country roads, down in the valley of rolling farmland, with the Adirondacks rising to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. An entirely different world than the elevated forests we had just departed on the other side of Lake Champlain, and a much more-relaxed and bike-tour-y day of riding.
Some of the hills were a bit more than “rolling” though, and so amidst a stressful stretch for Rett we stopped for some pistachio-muffin 2nd breakfast at a gas station in the small town of Vergennes, whose 2500 residents are somehow enough to make it the 10th-largest city in Vermont. It was there that we also felt our first drops of rain, and we would end up getting caught a couple times by the showers chasing us northward.
It’s the first time we’ve gotten a soaking rain while riding since, somewhere in California? And it wasn’t too bad on the country roads, but once we got onto busy US-7 taking us into Burlington, the trucks flinging spray and grit at us as they roared by a foot off our elbows was a bit less than fun.
But despite that heavy traffic, we passed a field with cows in it 6 miles from the center of Burlington, which is the largest city in Vermont. Six miles from the center of the largest city in Illinois barely gets you to the Logan Square neighborhood! Again, it’s difficult to grasp how unpopulated Vermont is.
Once we got into Burlington proper, we hit some backed up traffic at an uphill stop sign, and at that point we just hopped off the bikes and walked them the final half mile to our downtown AirBNB. Rett was pretty blown out by this point, and no surprise, because we had just completed the toughest travel streak of our nomadcy by multiple measures: six consecutive days of significant riding, with five camping nights in between. So we were past-due for a rest, and would try to get one over three nights at our Burlington AirBNB, which….sits directly atop a 2am nightclub. Hmm…..