The tight, sweeping mountain roads in Vermont really do make this place a motorcyclist’s ride dream. There’s endless miles and miles of rolling mountainous, green and lush countryside that is full of trees, as you ride by creeks, lakes and rivers, with the occasional roadside wild turkeys, Moose crossing signs and unfortunately for me, a full on deer strike in day two that totaled the Triumph Tiger. There’s no pollution to speak of as far as the air is concerned; and the countryside is probably the least littered with human tossed garbage of any state I’ve ever been to.
This morning Kip and I look out the room window shortly after waking up. Suddenly the rain spigot went on; lots and lots of rain but, by around ten o’clock, seeing a break in the weather, we all made a run for it, to Newport, Vermont.
This corner of Vermont is referred to by signs as the Northeast Kingdom. A past governor or someone of some significant stature declared it such in describing its natural beauty, it’s picturesque farms and the natural landscapes.
Suddenly we start seeing clear skies up ahead and even some dry roads. By the time we arrive in Newport for our designated lunch stop (a converted Montgomery Ward store) that is now a cross between a Trader’s Joe and Whole Food; the sun was fully out.
We all visited their deli and Kip went directly for the self serve Jerk Chicken and Squash gumbo like soup. I couldn’t resist and also poured a cup. A panini and an iced Moroccan tea finished my lunch offerings.
There is something very special about travelling with friends. I believe it’s only when you travel alone that you start to truly get to know yourself. We need that familiarity and comfort of companions to be stripped away from us so that we may look to ourselves for our own inspiration and direction. When was the last time you traveled alone? It takes a bit more effort and it’s easier to get less motivated to explore or push your limits.
Our direction today was easy, travel to lunch and then back to Island Pond and our lodging. But, something different happened, the weather.
So, we climbed on our bikes and commenced to see more of the countryside. Then Kip and I left John and Teri and rode our designated tracks for today. We weaved and twisted our way through more Vermont countryside with town names like Eden, Belvidere, Greensboro, Albany and Irasburg. No one was outside and very little commerce was taking place. We didn’t get a chance to meet any other wonderful and inspiring travellers because, very few other people, besides the road scholars and Harley riders we met days ago were out.
The locals may not necessarily offer you the greetings of the day but, those outside that see you on a motorcycle oftentimes offer a wave.
Our days went by rather quickly as days turned into a week and we continued clocking on the miles. I wish I could say that the cuisine we ate was something special or worthy of mention but, sadly it was not except for that lobster roll or French onion soup. Except for our coastal visit to Maine this was not a trip where one could say we are experiencing the local culture through food.
Traveling opens different doors. Yesterday I wanted the trip to end and now; today, I feel like tomorrow is soon enough. It was real, it was fun, and at times it wasn’t real fun but, like Anthony Bourdain says about traveling; travel changes you, ….. you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small.
And in return, life – and travel- leave marks on you. Yea, I can relate and won’t be forgetting that deer strike on my second day anytime too soon; my hip still hurts and the scabs on my knee and elbow is slowly healing. The marks on my body were minor; on my helmet and motorcycle that’s a different story; plus I’ll likely be paying a $2500 deductible for the bike damages caused by an irresponsible deer.
“Plans should be ephemeral, (lasting for a very short time) so be prepared to move away from them.” – A. Bourdain