The skylight had nothing to block it, so my room got bright early Sunday morning. I fought it for a while, but eventually I gave in and got up earlier than intended. An early start means more time to cruise around while winding my way south toward home.
Here’s a helpful hint: always carry a small towel specifically for drying off your bike in the morning. Though it didn’t rain overnight this time, dew had dampened my seat and windshield. Though I had a towel for my own post-ride showers, I didn’t have to use it on the bike and get it dirty because I keep a small one in a saddlebag for this purpose. After a quick wipe, I headed north to Rt. 17, and had an even more fun trip than Saturday because the road was dry. Then I headed south on 116, and took Rt. 125 east back through the Green Mountain National Forest, back toward Rt. 100 a bit south of the hostel. Though a bit on the bumpy side, this was another fun and scenic ride. I caught up to another bike, and we caught up to another, and then another. Our unofficial group of four bikes turned south down 100 together. One pulled off for gas, and another kept going south while the remaining bike and I turned back west on Rt. 73. This cut back across the forest yet again, with more fun twists and turns and pleasant scenery. We continued together south on Rt. 30, but parted ways after a while.
I stayed on 30 all the way through Castleton. It was a mostly pleasant road, except for one two mile stretch where they decided it would be a great idea to tear out the pavement and leave dirt strips all the way across the road in the middle of a few 50mph turns. They did at least put up “Motorcycles use caution” signs so I was on the lookout for hazards, but I’m sure traffic behind me wasn’t too happy when I slowed to 20 in a 50 to cross these dirt strips. Other than that, Rt. 30 was long but mostly pleasant. After Castleton I then took 7A down to Bennington. Rt. 7 would’ve been faster, but clearly I wasn’t going for speed. As I entered Bennington I began to see some familiar sights from my college years, as we occasionally came up to Bennington. Rather than continue south toward North Adams, though, I headed east on Rt. 9 back toward Brattleboro. The first half of this journey was very pleasant. Though not as twisty or challenging as the roads further north, there was more beautiful scenery, plus frequent climbing lanes which made passing slower traffic safe and easy. The second half was ruined by someone who decided it would be a great idea to take his giant RV down this road at a speed significantly under the 50mph limit. There was nowhere to pull over for what seemed like the longest time, both for the RV to get out of the way or for me to get out of this line of traffic. It’s far less fun when you have to devote a great deal of your attention to making sure the people in front of you aren’t going to do something stupid, and that the people in back of you won’t plow into you if you have to suddenly stop because of the people in front of you. Finally I managed to pull off, and estimated no less than 50 cars and bikes stacked up behind me. Way to spoil a pleasant drive for so many people, Mr. RV Driver.
Soon I rolled into Brattleboro, and, after being stuck in construction traffic from the Rt. 119 bridge into New Hampshire being closed, I hopped on Rt. 142 and continued along the Connecticut River all the way back into Massachusetts. I had to force myself to get used to the much lower speed limits quickly, and this paid off when I soon found myself behind a local cop. No problem. I took Rt. 2 east, and since I needed gas and knew there was a gas station just off the highway in Gardner, I stayed on the superslab until then. Afterward, though, I continued on Rt. 68 south, then took Rt. 62 east the rest of the way home. I treated myself to an ice cream stop close to home at a place I’ve been past a million times but never stopped at before. It was quite good.
I didn’t take any photos today, mostly because the ones I already posted show you exactly what the scenery was like – twisty roads through bright green mountains. I was also rather tired when I got home. It was a much shorter mileage day than yesterday, but three full days in a row on the bike had caught up to me. Beyond general fatigue, it was my legs more than anything. The Silverwing is a relatively small bike, and I have long legs. I had to stop more often to stretch them than I’m used to. I’ve pondered looking into some highway pegs, and if my touring continues that’ll become a higher priority so that I can change leg position and stretch a bit while underway.
I’m still processing the trip, what went well, what could go better, so I can apply it to future trips. This is the longest one I’ve taken so far, so it was definitely a learning experience as well as a lot of fun. I’ll discuss those lessons more in another post.