Day 100: (48 miles) Camp was much cooler this morning than we had anticipated. We had just commented that we should send our ‘cold clothes’ home since it had been so warm. Thankfully we hadn’t because they all came out this morning and we were layered up. Today would be our last day in Adirondack Park. We soaked in the pines, rivers, and lakes as we passed them. The terrain was a bit more challenging today than yesterday, but the cool weather seemed to help. It was a good 20 miles before there was a gas station and coffee. We snagged some microwavable breakfast sandwiches too before continuing to make our way to Ticonderoga. The land was much more agreeable the second part of the day and we enjoyed some coasting. We couldn’t help but notice during our time in the ADKs, that many of the small towns are struggling, lots of businesses have closed, and there’s a good amount of real estate for sale. Not sure when it turned, but its’ sad to see a place abundant with beauty lack the daily investment needed from the community and travelers. About five or so miles outside of Ticonderoga we were in a construction zone. They were repaving the road and only had one lane open for traffic. We sat and waited as the workers struggled to communicate and the line of cars continued to pile up. We were last to go. The worker said she would let the other side know we were coming, but to be careful. Sure enough, halfway through we were facing cars head on with no place to go. We tucked in between the cones as best we could and bee lined it when we had an opening. We made it through safely with no help from the flaggers. There was a small climb that crested a big hill with a 2 mile decent that would carry us into Ticonderoga. At the top we saw a group of touring cyclists. We cheered each other on, although they were the real champions for ascending the 2 mile climb we were about to coast. And at the bottom we rolled right into Dunkin Donuts for a snack and coffee. We had made a reservation at the Super 8 across the street so we checked in and relaxed for the remainder of the day while the rain came and went.
Day 101 : (21 Miles) It was still raining when we woke up this morning. The weather report didn’t show it stopping until late afternoon, so we knew it would be a wet day. We bundled up in our rain gear and made sure our bags were closed tight. We hopped on the Ticonderoga ferry for $4 which would carry us to the Green Mountain State. It would have been more enjoyable if it wasn’t raining, but we did get to meet a nice guy from Kentucky who would be spending the next three weeks with his wife traveling through New England. After arriving in Vermont, the rain seemed to become a bit steadier. Our rain coats and pants weren’t really able to do their job anymore- we were completely saturated. We arrived in Middlebury around 10:30/11:00ish. We had already discussed calling a short day due to the rain. Its not that fun to ride in after all. It hurts your face if you go too fast, its slippery, cars tend to kick up dirty water, and the constant wetness that seeps through your clothes to your body is just plain uncomfortable. We stopped at Sama’s Café for lunch and a hot chocolate. We had planned to poke around Middlebury a bit because its on our list of potential places to live sometime in the future. We decided with the weather, we may as well call it a day and really get a feel for the town. The cheapest lodging in town was $150, so we were rethinking our decision when Chris checked Air B&B and was able to find a spot right downtown for $95, DONE! Meg and Rachel said no problem and we were soon on our way. We checked out another coffee shop and the bike shop first. We went to the bike shop with hopes of finding Chris a new tire. They only had Shayna’s size. We were about to leave when we thought we’d better check to be sure Shayna didn’t need one. Well, good thing we did, because the tire innards were peeking out. Way over due. We purchased the tire and headed to our Air B&B. Meg greeted us and showed us to our room for the night. We laid out our things to dry and showered so we could go exploring. With a few tips from Meg, we were off. We poked around a few small shops in town before making the 1.6 mile walk to Stone Cutter- a Gin & Whiskey distillery where we met Sass. She offered us some tastings and we ordered a few mixed drinks. We chatted about the area and commented that it was odd they closed at 8:00 pm on a Friday. She proceeded to tell us that’s how most places are in the area, which seemed extra odd since it’s a college town. She told us that the college kids don’t seem to leave campus very often. We enjoyed our drinks and Sass talked us into trying to catch Woodchuck Cidery, down the street, before they closed at 6:00 pm. We made it in time and found out they were doing trivia until 7:00 pm (late night for them). We played a few rounds and tasted some cider. We had planned to stop in and eat at Otter Creek Brewery, but they were already closed. We instead checked out Flatbread where we ordered their specialty along with asparagus soup and sweet potato puree. All was tasty. Our last stop of the night was Two Brothers Tavern, which is the spot that stays open the latest. They had some live music down stairs and a full bar and kitchen upstairs. A mellow, but fun joint. After our beers we headed back to our room where we easily fell asleep.
Day 102: (55 miles) we hit the road around 7:00 am and stopped at a bagel shop on the way out of town. Fueled and ready to tackle the Middlebury Gap, we were off. About 5 miles in, the climb started. The first two and the last three of the ten mile climb were the hardest. Steep, long, inclines. Although going down the other side was 12% grades, so I think we had it better than any west bound riders. We cruised down the mountain and the remainder of the day seemed to go quite smoothly. We stopped in Rochester to replenish food and have some lunch. Our next stop was in Bethle for ice cream where we met some locals and told them about our trip. We stopped in South Royalton so Chris could see Vermont Law School (where he’s completing his graduate work) in person. It was a small, quiet, beautiful campus. We started to look for places to stay- very limited. There were only 3 B&B’s to choose from, we made some calls and Ken answered and said he had space available about six miles away. We headed that way and found Ken and Nancy in their picturesque home just outside of Sharon, VT. We found out they have led numerous cycling trips across the country. No wonder they had said “ya gotta come here!” when we had called earlier and mentioned we were cycling through. We received a tour of the house and got settled into our room another early night for another early, long mountainous day ahead.
Day 103: (61 miles) We were up bright and early to beat the heat. Ken agreed to serve breakfast at 6:15. We came down promptly to a table full of treats! Muffins, yogurt, fruit, juice, coffee, and Ken was making a large omelet with toast for the grand finale. It was all scrumptious. As we ate we chatted with Ken about places to live and future plans. He also suggested a route that would avoid a good amount of climbing, but would add more miles. His wife too, suggested following the river rather than the mountain route. We decided that would be best so we packed up and made our way to the river. It was pretty flat and we were able to maintain a good speed. Before we knew it we had crossed into New Hampshire. We planned on reconnecting with our route here, but the alternative kept the climbing down. Knowing we had some business to take care of, we wanted to get to the hotel as soon as possible so we continued the detour. We soon found ourselves in a race! The new route took us on a New Hampshire bike path, which was also being used by 100 or so runners. Thankfully, all of them were super supportive as we pedaled past them, cramping their lane. We stayed on the bike path for about 12 miles and then rolling hills kept us busy for the remainder of the day. We found a tiny homemade ice cream shop and stopped for our bagged lunch and dessert. We only had about 20 miles from there to Plymouth NH and 40 to Lincoln where we planned to reconnect to the ACA route. The day was quickly slipping away from us and we decided Plymouth would be the smarter option. The 60 miles of the day was already over our needed daily mileage. We made it to Plymouth and checked into the hotel. Our friends Amy and Cory planned to come visit that night. They wouldn’t get there until 11, so we took a nap. Soon enough hey had arrived and we had a great time catching up and sharing stories till the wee hours of the morning.