This picture is part “What am I doing out here??? It’s so hot!” and part “Wow! Look at the tree carnage behind me! Storms are crazy powerful!”
The first day back after my rest day proved challenging but enjoyable. I’ve come to the realization that I much prefer riding with a friend than by myself. This is a difficult realization to have one week into a solo trip. Hopefully that means I’ll be inspired to find friends to ride with me… but I digress. Laris decided she enjoyed Wednesday’s ride so much she wanted to join for another leg. My goal was ambitious but not impossible. What we didn’t really account for was the heat. We left Orford around 9:30am and by the time we navigated around a closed-bridge-detour, the temperature was already dangerously high. We stopped for water, lemonade, chocolate milk, grapefruit, PB&J, and general rest breaks, but that was still almost not enough. Climbing a particularly long hill into Thetford, VT I thought I might keel over. I think we both realized rather early on that Middlebury was no longer a reasonable goal. I had taken the time to find alternate camping spots before the last big leg (from Hancock over the Middlebury gap and Bread Loaf) but it was all suboptimal. One camping spot was a ranger station listed as a camping spot but unreachable by any form of communication I had available. The most promising spot was a campground/farm that was well reviewed but fell far too early in the day. The final option would probably have panned out… Goldilocks.
Last night I contacted Sean (a Middlebury alum) to find out if he knew of anyone at whose house I could pitch my tent for a night. By the time I called from Sharon, VT this afternoon, he’d set up everything with his father’s college roommate’s family. How awesome is that??? Only one question lingered: how in the world to get to Middlebury! It turned out that having Laris on the ride was imperative in this regard as well (she was also an amazing navigator, without whom I’d probably still be just outside of Orford staring longingly at the demolished bridge…). Raphael and his kids came to pick up Laris after we finished our ride, and they offered to take me to Middlebury by car! At first I was hesitant – it seemed a bit of a faux pas, driving your bike to a destination. As I thought about it though, I decided to run with my good fortune and accept the offer. As it is, I am writing from the house of Sean’s father’s college roommate in Middlebury! For those keeping tabs, Laris and I made it to Stockbridge before pulling off to the side of the road to watch people swimming in the river and to wait for Raphael. Still a solid 50+ mile day, despite the extreme heat.
I wanted to go swimming alllllll during today’s ride. I had to settle for watching other people on the river.
Upon arrival in Middlebury, we went to dinner at Flatbread’s. The dinner was delicious and very energy-giving. Just as amazing as the fortuitousness of today’s events was the sign I saw as we arrived at the restaurant. I didn’t know there could possibly be more than one Noonie! I didn’t have a chance to visit the Noonie Deli myself, but if I ever visit Middlebury with my sister, we’ll make a point to stop in. 🙂
So, what do the next days hold? Tomorrow I am hoping to get an earlier start to my ride. I crossed into VT today, and will cross into NY tomorrow. From Ticonderoga I head for the Adirondacks where I’ll be largely without cell/computer capabilities for a few days. If I can find internet, I’ll say hi, but for now I’m hoping to post again on Tuesday from Pulaski!