We've had over 19 inches of rain the past month, making a day-long bike ride a potentially wet and soggy slog. Saturday the skies were dark grey and overcast, but the forecast told us we had several hours without rain so we crossed our fingers and set out on the BMW.
It seems like the 4th of July celebrations are spread out over a few days. Manchester had fireworks on the 4th, and as we rode through Londonderry we saw people lining up on both sides of the road, waiting for their day-after-the-4th-of-July parade to start.
Parades in small Vermont towns are an opportunity to chat with neighbors, visit friends, and catch up on the latest local news, and no one minds that the main roads are closed for a few minutes.
We rode up Route 100, one of the state scenic byways and a twisting, curving road that hugs the Green Mountains and several rivers and lakes along its north/south route through the middle of the state. Headed toward Woodstock, we turned right up steep Route 100A, riding past the Calvin Coolidge Homestead. President Coolidge was born here on July 4th, 1872 and he took the presidential oath of office in the same house on August 3rd, 1923 when he became the 30th President of the United States.
Mike opted to turn north onto Route 12, where we enjoyed open roads with little traffic through Barnard and Bethel into Randolph. We stopped for lunch at Randolph Depot, the train station built in the 1870's for the Central Vermont Railroad that now houses a cafe/bakery/coffee house with a creative menu.
We continued north on Route 12 until we saw signs warning the road ahead was closed just north of East Braintree. We've had so much rain the past few weeks, and the torrential downpours have washed away several roads.
The only option was a dirt road to the left, and I was glad we ride a GS to handle the rough, bumpy, gravel road filled with ruts and bordered with steep wash outs.
It's always fun to take an unexpected detour, never knowing exactly where we'll end up. Mike likes to say that all roads lead someplace, and West Braintree Road turned into Steele Hill Road and ended up back on Route 12 in East Roxbury.
We continued on to Mike's parents' camp on Curtis Pond near Montpelier, the state capitol. The pond was busy with speed boats, kayaks, and swimmers (both human and canine) on this hot and surprisingly sunny July day.
We always like to ride back home on a different route, and this time Mike turned onto dirt roads that led back to East Montpelier where we picked up Route 14 through Barre and down to Bethel.
A sunny summer day on the motorycle isn't complete without a stop for ice cream, and our choice today was Tozier's, a Bethel institution for over 60 years. Mike had a maple creamee, a soft serve ice cream that relies on local maple syrup for it's sweet taste while I opted for a scoop of caramel ice cream. We sat at a wooden picnic table, watching a toddler attempt to eat a rapidly melting ice cream cone and young children running around the grass.
Back on the bike for the final miles south toward home, we rode along the White River, spotting people rafting on the swiftly running river. All of the rivers in the state are close to flood stage, making rafting and tubing challenging.
The rain held off until later in the evening, after we were home with the bike safely in the garage. Even though we've been on most of these roads more times than I can count, the day offered up surprises and the opportunity for new experiences. That and a ride without rain combined for a perfect day.