• Burlington to Stowe, VT
  • 68.5 miles (4005 total
  • Smuggler’s Notch, 22% grade
  • Green Moountains

Last night we met up with my good Camp UKANDU friend Drool (James) Moore and his partner Frankie while we were in Burlington. We had a lovely Thai dinner, then they sprang for Coconut Bliss at the local green grocer. We took it down to Lake Champlain and ate it while the sun went down. It was a great evening getting to know them better. I keep forgetting that Drool is a fellow Saxon from South Salem High. That could explain a lot. We stayed the night at a dorm at the University of Vermont. For breakfast the cafeteria has 3 kinds of soy milk and wonder of wonders they had Oregon Chai.

Today’s ride was slated to be another short one, 42 miles to Stowe. It was gorgeous, rolling through the Green Mountains. We could tell it’ll be more beautiful when the colors change in another month or so. I was thinking the terrain here is the exact opposite of South Dakota. The plains are flat with long straight roads. A turn or a hill is so rare as to be worthy of a photo. These roads are all curvy, hilly, and lush looking. If we find a straight section of flat road, we’ll take a photo of it. Don’t hold your breath.

It was barely noon when we got to Stowe, so we decided to do one of the add-on options, a trip up to Smuggler’s Notch. This is the place where any kind of contraband moved north or south. This included liquor and runaway slaves. The Notch is at 2152′, high above the Stowe ski resorts and 1300′ above the town.

It was about a 5 mile climb to the top once we started the serious climbing. One early section kicked it off with a mile at 10%. Some ups and downs later and we began a steady ascent at 7%, which quickly shifted to over 10. The road, meantime, shrank from a two lane road with shoulder, to a two lane road with a fog line, to a two lane road with only a center line, then no lines, then only one lane wide. Somewhere in there the switchbacks started.

The switchbacks started at 15% and got increasingly steeper. I had to stand to power us through the inside corners. On the last one, I couldn’t even steer us around the corner it was so steep. I had to go straight across the road. We figured it was well above 20%. We didn’t stop until the top, though.

We didn’t know it was the top until it started going down. When we saw the truck on cheese sign, we knew we ought to stop and go back. We saw the Smyth-Osbornes there as well as many other riders on the way up and down. It felt like a big accomplishment. We celebrated at the bottom with a big can of Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Aaaah. The pause that refreshes.

Thunderstorms in the forecast tonight and everyone has to camp. It could be a wet tomorrow!

Hello, New England!
New Hampshire - 11th state