“If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” —Muhammad Ali
Today is the last day of our 9 day MotoVermont ride. Ben and Jerry’s was certainly not part of our planned itinerary but, the “must visit pickings” after riding through five states are now few. No trip to Vermont would be complete, according to Teri, without paying a visit to the graveyard of Tom and Jerry’s Vermont ice cream factory.
The factory churns out something like billions of pints yearly. Up a hill on the property, overlooking the factory, is a cemetery. The resting place for past retired flavors. Millions flock here to show their support for those long ago forgotten flavors.
All retired flavors are buried in a cemetery probably consecrated by Ben or Jerry. Maybe it’s also like Mexico, where the locals visit the cemetery on the day of the dead at midnight. Our man Kip, not being a fan of nostalgia, Maple Cream or Ben and Jerry’s bailed out on us earlier for MotoVermont HQ to turn in his BMW GS1250.
We came, we saw we rode, and some would say we conquered a few states but, because we didn’t have an online reservation at Ben and Jerry’s we were not allowed onto an ice cream tour.
In the parking lot are cars with plates from as far away as Florida, Georgia and New Hampshire. They are probably on the tour now. And the line to purchase Ben and Jerry’s, straight from the cow source, was unbearably long to wait so, we high tailed it out of there; after 9 riding days, we also officially ended our ride at MotoVermont HQ in Burlington, VT.
When the day is over and you are done with riding, sometimes people open up to one another and share past life experiences, stories of life successes, past travels and even low points in our lives. That’s how I see it. People bond on the road over amazingly small things. It’s the road that does it and it also doesn’t take much effort to even become lifelong friends.
Everything we need to survive we carried on our motorcycles except for the essentials like gas, food and nighttime lodging. Also, traveling by motorcycle doesn’t require as much effort as it does by car, truck or RV. When it comes time to stop, gas up, eat, pee, or take a few pictures we are much quicker. However, when the sun isn’t shining brightly and it’s cold and wet it’s best to hunker down somewhere and take in the local scene.
Nine days ago we landed in Burlington, Vermont from Southern California and rode the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maine and everyone but me, (on account of my accident with a deer) Massachusetts.
The lands that we traveled on are cultivated as such that they look so natural in every way, and are even perfectly balanced in a landscaping sort of way. The people that first arrived here must’ve had one hell of a time clearing the wild lands. The lands today look to wild to be tamed. I liked the no fence, no garbage on the road countryside that screams postcard at you.
MotoVermont dropped us and our luggage at the Airport Embassy Suites for our return flights home. To celebrate our successful ride the guys walked down a huge hill past the University of Vermont and straight into a cool open air mall right by Lake Champlain. The winds were whipping wildly off lake Champlain making it a cool 40-49 degrees outside.
We dined at Leunigs Bistro and Cafe. The place was full but, a young host escorted us up several flights of stairs, similar to stairs that lead you up into an attic. The upstairs dining room is also complete with a bar, antique tables and chairs with white linen. Tonight wealthy beautiful parents are dropping off their sons and daughters for homecoming.
For dinner Kip orders the salmon, while John ordered the pork loin and I the twenty year old house recipe of Beef Bourigon. An outstanding choice where your dish is the same pot it was cooked in.
John and I enjoyed a French house blend red wine while Kip stuck to Vermont water. Tonight we celebrate. The original trip was riding in Greece but, Putin invaded the Ukraine, Covid was still a pandemic and the euro shot up so the tour and flights started to dry up. Thank you John for picking up the tab for a memorable meal.
Plan B was quickly found and agreed upon. For Kip and I it was our first and possibly last time in Vermont in this lifetime. Two days ago I was completely spent and ready for the ride to be over.
Thankfully, no one died on this ride or you most certainly wouldn’t be reading about it here; though I came the closest. No one was seriously injured. The British made Triumph Tiger that the deer wrecked can be fixed. How fitting, here we are in one of the original British colonies and I get to wreck a British motorcycle.
For dessert on our last night we feasted on crème brûlée and custard, fruit and ice cream.
Our final ride day served us with 37 degree temperatures but, warmed right up to 41 degrees as we rode towards Richmond. We soon found a coffee and bakery house to warm up in, and then continued riding around cold and windy Lake Champlain. The lake was was not happy at times, whipping up both wind and cold. At times the gusts felt like we were on slippery roads.
On this day we were as close as two miles from Canada. The homes we rode by all carried US and Canadian flags and served as lakeside vacation homes. At some point the Kancamagus Highway was also ridden and yesterday we were as far away from here as Maine’s interior.
The cold climate muted the countryside air. Flowers, apples and pumpkins were visible everywhere. The beautiful Vermont green grass and fields of wild flowers still showed while the fall colors shined, nearly everywhere you look. Weather caused us to stop riding earlier in the day than intended.
Interaction with the locals would normally happen when you choose to interact however, this northeast part of the country is not of the interactive types. Except for dairy farmers, wood cutters and guys fixing metal roofs the rest of the population was mostly indoors and out of sight so, not much interaction with the locals took place.
The stories we will take home from this motorcycle ride adventure are perhaps as varied as the fall trees. There’s just too many places to discover in the USA or this earth to ever run out of roads or rides to travel on.
What happens to people who don’t go anywhere or do anything? And what happens to the ones that try to do everything? Somewhere in between is your answer.
I hope you also enjoyed our motorcycle riding journey as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. Next month we ride to Copper Canyon, Mexico. You are most welcome to come along for the ride, the food or the reading pleasure.
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and discover that they were the big things “ – K. Vonnegut