The day was overcast and not particularly beautiful, but it was dry, so I was happy. I really love getting onto the smaller 2-lane roads after being on the Interstate. The speeds are relaxed, the riding is comfortable, and you really get to SEE what you came to see. It’s on these back roads that you get to experience (or at least catch a glimpse of) towns, and communities that make up the real soul of America. I love to see these rural places, that time’s nearly forgot, and feel like I’m cruising through the story in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Vermont instantly delivered. Everything is the most deep, luscious shade of GREEN. The fields, the hills, the forests, the lawns, it’s breathtaking. The small towns look like movie sets, everything is just right, and very New England. And I noticed even on the Interstates, you don’t see billboards or tacky signs everywhere screaming at you to buy, buy, buy…it’s a very classical, timeless state. It’s like riding through an enormous, well-kept park, but still wild.
I headed up VT-100, enjoying all of these beautiful sights and smells (that lovely wood-fire stove smell fills much of the state….total nose-gasm), until I reached Gifford Woods State Park, where I would camp for the night. This park was beautiful. There were only 2 other campsites occupied. The nice, slightly awkward and nerdy teenage kid at the counter assigned me my spot (and warned of moose and bear in the area) and I was off to set up camp.
I cheerily unpacked my tent, got it up quickly, hearkening back to my days in the Boy Scouts. I’ve always loved camping (weather cooperating). Once I got all my gear unpacked, I hopped back on the bike and headed out to hunt some dinner. In the next town (Pittsfield?) I found a little deli and hoovered one of the best turkey bacon club sandwiches I ever have in my life. Fantastic. Then I headed back to camp and not a minute after I got all situated in my tent, the sky opened up and rains came down.
The sound of the rain on the tent was very hypnotic and before too long I was dozing like a baby. The next morning was…well…crappy. It had rained all night, and was STILL raining. Breaking camp, packing a tent, and then packing a motorcycle in the pouring rain is, as I now have learned, a huge pain in the ass.
Everything was muddy, soggy, and cold. (It was in the 50s). I had bought some Tourmaster rainproof gloves, which actually held up really well – once you got them on. The problem was, if your hands were the least bit moist or clammy, as they are when you’re packing, getting gas, or anything else in the rain…then it’s near impossible to get your hands/fingers into the glove. They just stick to the inner lining. Very irritating. Once the whole packing debacle was over though, the rest of the day was pretty fantastic, even with the rain.