Meg and I once again completed our longest self-supported bike tour yet: seven days of dirt roads, singletrack, surprisingly nice Vermont corner stores, and Heady Topper. I'm dividing this journey into seven posts, one for each day. This is day 6.
If you're trying to read these in backwards order (who am I to judge?), check out part 5 here:
If you somehow missed my post for day 1, check it out here:
We awaken at 7AM to the most condensation and fog we've seen all trip. It doesn't take us long to pack up our tent and sleeping supplies: at this point, we've had plenty of practice.
Our ride into Morristown is quick, but our small stint on 100 turns out to be very busy at 7:30AM. Black Cap Espresso turns out busy as well, but the breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and breakfast burrito are all highly competent.
At Black Cap, we meet a crew of bikepackers starting on their first day of the Gravel Growler. None of them have panniers (the big bags on the racks at the rear of our bikes). They're all riding lightweight bikes, wearing spandex, and rocking some serious dad vibes. Their bags are small enough that I don't know where they're packing their sleeping bags, much less their tents.
They seem very surprised that my 7-speed 90s mountain bike ascended the 20% grades of Lincoln Gap. Incredulous to the point of disbelief, actually. I quickly realize that despite the fact that we're riding (mostly) the same bike route, we are very, very different kinds of bicyclist. They have clearly fallen for The Efficiency Ruse. I wonder how many beers they allocate for themselves per day to maintain their racing pace.
After Black Cap, we ride through Morrisville, and nearly the minute we cross VT-15, the road turns to dirt.
There are a hell of a lot of hills, but they're gentle and rolling, and none overstay their welcome. At this point, it's hard not to notice that every mile north we ride, the trees get more and more red.
By the time we stop for second breakfast, the hills are ablaze with more fall foliage colors than I've ever seen.
A random field presents an opportunity to eat our first donut: a maple glaze. The donut is great, but the views are hard to beat.
A cemetery on a hill provides a perfect spot to leaf peep with a fresh Heady Topper and a chai spice donut.
My notes indicate that I should thank North Country Donuts of Morrisville for the perfectly textured donuts.
Not long after the cemetery, we spot Craftsbury, located right at the top of a big hill.
After a lengthy hill climb, we spot a general store, and immediately step inside for a calzone. By the time we finish the calzone, we realize that there are actually two general stores in town... and the fancy one we meant to stop at is just down the street. So naturally we swing by the fancier store for a to-go sandwich, a fancy bottle of pét-nat, and some longing gazes at cheese. Next time, cheese!
The last leg of today's journey takes us through a windy, hilly, foliage-y stretch of dirt roads that eventually lead to Hill Farmstead, one of the finest breweries on the planet.
At one point, the trail disintegrates into a puddle-y ATV trail. But the cows and foliage provide all the motivation we need, and at 2:50, we arrive at Hill. Just 5 minutes after our reservation -- not half bad for a complete guesstimate we made 7 days and 250 miles of biking ago!
After Hill, it's a short downhill ride to our campsite, coincidentally the same place we stayed almost a year ago for our New England Tour. There's a baby cow. I hand-saw some branches from a downed tree for a fire. We eat a whole basket of cherry tomatoes. We don't get eaten by any coyotes.
We fall asleep to the gentle crackle of our dying campfire.
Check out part 7 (whenever I finish writing it -- maybe I already have?) at Day 7 (Greensboro to Littleton).