Brattleboro, Vermont: Today was nearly a perfect day of cycling, the kind of day that makes me sad this journey is nearing the end. It’s a day when we crossed the entire state of Vermont (albeit the skinny part) in a day. Brattleboro is just one mile from the New Hampshire border, and is “close to Vermont,” says Vermont native and trip mechanic Jim.
The morning began in Eastern New York, when we crossed the Hudson and passed through the city of Troy, which was founded in 1789 and happens to be the birthplace of Uncle Sam. We then pedaled through three quintessentially New England towns in Vermont: the college town of Bennington; Wilmington; and easy-going Brattleboro.
The weather was ideal, with amazing blue skies and fluffy clouds. It was ideal terrain too, with some good hills courtesy of the Green Mountains of the Appalachian Range, and plenty of trees, including the Green Mountain National Forest. But most of all it was an unrushed day with some excellent company. I cycled with Margot from the first SAG stop to Brattleboro and though we attacked the hills at a good pace, we also stopped in all the important places, such as a chocolate shop in Bennington, an antique flea market, and we enjoyed a picnic lunch from a gourmet deli next to a covered bridge. I certainly don’t get to do that very often. The hills reminded me of the good ole’ days earlier in the trip climbing in Oregon and in the Tetons.
In Brattleboro I had some yummy chocolate orange ice cream (imported from Massachusetts, unfortunately) with Sarah, Renny and Leo. It was very good. I then stopped by Brattstock, Brattleboro’s three-year old charity music festival. It was a real treat to listen to some great music in the park. Alex and I had a good chat with the emcee — who was very intrigued about our ride — and introduced us to a fantastic chanteuse, Samirah Evans, who gave a fine performance. Samirah relocated to Vermont from New Orleans after Katrina. It’s refreshing to unexpectedly come across such a talented and energetic performer.
Entering Vermont was a watershed moment for me. I finally realized that I am on the East Coast. For some riders, reaching the Mississippi or the Great Lakes was the watershed moment. Tomorrow is where the bubble world of this group and this cycling journey collide with my real world. In New Hampshire I meet my family tomorrow — my son, Patrick, my folks and a cousin — and thus begins the process of re-adapting back to reality, a process that begins in earnest on Monday when we reach the ocean’s edge.
Day 48 Summary:
Day 48 route: Latham, NY to Brattleboro, VT
Day 48 mileage: 79.2 miles
Cumulative mileage: 3,559.14 miles
Day 48 climbing: 5,050 feet
Cumulative Climbing: 98,295 feet of climbing