Everyone was upbeat with a lot of laughter, talk about motorcycles and motorycle trips, and the upcoming rally. The club motto: "Live to ride, ride to eat" was upheld in fine fashion with plenty of eggs, bacon, potatoes and pancakes. When folks ride over 100 miles for breakfast, you know it has to combine good food and fun. Pamela, the treasurer, received a tiara with a BMW logo on it from one of the club directors, much to the amusement of everyone present.
After breakfast we continued our ride to Calais where Mike's parents own a summer camp on Curtis Pond. It was another partly sunny end of summer day, with fluffy white clouds scattered across the robin's egg blue sky. Mike knows the best motorcycle roads, and we zoomed along Route 12 into Montpelier.
Montpelier, the smallest state capitol at just under 8000 people, is a mixture of stately government buildings including the capitol with a gleaming gold dome, and off-beat, funky stores. We ate lunch at Bagitos, an eclectic cafe that serves bagels, burritos, and tacos along with live music, a shelf full of children's books, and local artwork on the walls. Locally-sourced ingredients included kale, eggs, bacon, tempeh and beef. The quirky atmosphere both inside and out added to the fun.
The road from Montpelier to Calais winds through farmland and forests and up and down hills until we turn off at Curtis Pond onto the narrow dirt road that leads to the Ryan's camp. The R1200 GS handles both bumpy pavement and dirt/gravel roads with ease.
dirt road into the Ryan's camp
A "truck" built out of rocks and filled with flowers near Curtis Pond
Sticking to our goal of traveling different roads whenever possible, we rode south toward home on Route 2 and then on Route 100B along the Mad River, continuing south on scenic Route 100. It wouldn't be a summer day on the motorcycle without a stop for ice cream, and the maple/black raspberry twist dipped in chocolate didn't disappoint.
Route 100 took us into Rochester where we turned west to go over the Brandon Gap. Gap roads in Vermont wind up and over mountain passes, and the Brandon Gap is a favorite for both human-powered bikes and motorcycles. With a 9% grade on the east and a 12% grade on the west, the views as the paved road crests the mountain are amazing.
Brandon Gap looking east
Brandon Gap looking west
Once in Brandon we turned south on Route 7, riding through the valley with the Green Mountains to the west and the Taconics to the east. Late afternoon shadows spilled over the road, reminding us that summer is almost over and the cooler temperatures of autumn are on their way.