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Old 10-31-2005, 06:37 PM   #1
Pantah OP
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Vermont's Bayley-Hazen Military Rd.

This is more of a teaser for those who live close enough to make its run. I attempted it yesterday, but didn't do a proper job and had to bail after only 2/3rds of it. It got late and I had to make the 220 mile slab run home.

Bayley-Hazen is an infiltration route commissioned in 1776 to support Benedict Arnold's assault on Quebec. As we know, the assault didn't go that well, but the road was worked on till abandoned in 1779. In the end, both sides used it and those who lived along it suffered. Go to this link for a history and detailed maps of the Bayley-Hazen Road:
http://www.nvda.net/transportation/pdf/BayleyHazenIntro.pdf#search='bayleyhazen'

The road runs about 90 miles northwest across Vermont from Wells River on the Connecticut River. Almost all of it is some level of graded dirt. Three short sections are missing on the maps, but they provide a detour. Also some of the road is renamed in the berg it serves. But the Bayley-Hazen is mostly there to explore.

This part of Vermont is known as the Northeast Kingdom. It is very rural...150 years ago rural. Locals speak a strong dialect, similar to 'Downeast' to my ears. When lost, two local farmers told me to keeupp along till the 'hot top'. I had to think a moment wtf hot top was...

In fact, there isn't much 'hot top' in these parts. Little bergs may have a couple in and out, with the rest maintained dirt. Power poles and tire tracks are pretty much the major signs of technology on the landscape.

Next season I will try for a proper job of the tour. I wanted to do this attempt for weeks, but the weather has been terrible. This weekend was looking to be my last decent shot at it...and then it snowed all day Saturday! I went anyway, but didn't expect to finish. The starting point was 180 miles away, and it was going to be mud. The mud turned out not a problem as it was firm, but snow and daylight closed in as I got further north.

The start here in Wells River. The actual beginning was just past that green roofed house lower right. Naturally, the road began on the bank of a stream.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

This rusted sign marked its start and that leafed path in front of it was the road. But it dead-ended in a few feet. You had to ride a half block to pick up another to join with the Hazen a quarter mile west.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

It looked like this:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

The road led to a typical berg crossroad with a farm as its principal marker and a hot top running thru:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

The country is all small farms, with little pastures along the road:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And then you'd come upon a little schoolhouse. There were lots of them, and very often they were the principal building in a berg.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And then you'd come upon a crossroads, and hope to pick the right track. My GPS helped there, because it named the road I was on.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And then you bump into historic markers. There are a zillion of these in New Englad. Basically they mark a moment of contact between people and an event Yankees call the Rebellion:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And the Bayley Hazen Road continues:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

We had no fall colors this year. The weather never put on that early hard freeze that gets it going, and then when it did. tailings from those darn hurricanes blew all the leaves off.

More bergs and no hot top in this one at all!
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And more little farms too. This doesn't show it but folks were working those farms on a Sunday afternoon. They were doing their pigs, cows and such.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

Every now and then I got a good vista, but I wasn't good taking pics of them. I was working so hard at following the maps on the link, I was always stopping. That meant I didn't stop for many pics. Such a shame, because that area of the country is loaded with grand vista's. And the Hazen road pretty much sticks to the high ground.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And then thru hill and dale:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

to another marker somewhere:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

Another farm along the way. Folks were out poking about in the sun. They were quick to toss me a wave as I putted by:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And since these paths are often to and from their homes, they were quick to clear storm timber:
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

And another little vista just before I bailed to the highway and headed the long slab home.
pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo

I'll try the road again next year. Now that I've run most of it, I should be able to follow it easily with a simple roll chart to help out. I am hoping others on this board will try the route to do it justice. We need somebody like Sodbuster. Heck, I bet he could even find some arrowheads!

-p
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:47 PM   #2
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Nice report, Pantah. There's something really cool about traveling a route with some history that has been overlooked for a time. I'll have to put that one on my list!
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:53 PM   #3
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Nice work!! Great pics and information. Thanks for forging the way and I look forward to doing it myself in the near future.

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Old 10-31-2005, 07:33 PM   #4
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Thanks!
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Old 11-01-2005, 11:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for your kind remarks. Like I said, I hope more ADVriders try the road and post here. The Bayley-Hazen is an interesting oddity. I read it had a following of mountain bike tourers, but a farmer in Peacham told me that in 40 years he'd never seen a bicyclist on 'his' road... and I was his first motorcyclist!

-p
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Old 11-01-2005, 11:33 AM   #6
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That link has some interesting details: "Ticklenaked Pond"? And barely 5 miles from "Mosquitoville Road". I guess they were pretty tough back in the old days.
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

I rode the Hazen's Notch part of that road from Montgommery Center to US100 last summer, two-up on the V-Strom.

It was a nice enough narrow dirt road that seemed a shortcut on the map. We were on our way to the Kancamagus and Mt-Washington, after entering the US in Richford. It was raining so we didn't go too fast and we met a couple of cars and cyclists going the other way. Had no clue of the history behind that road.
Dang, you make me homesick. I grew up in Richford, 15 miles west of Jay Peak; used to take summer drives with Dad up over Hazen's notch. Spent many a summer day around Montgomery and Montgomery Center. Some wonderful swimming holes hidden back in there.

There's a fun book about more recent history. Think it's titled "Rumrunners and Revenuers", or maybe the other way around. Lots of stories from both sides (bad guys and LE types) about hootch smuggling down from Canada on those roads in the 30's.
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:58 PM   #8
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Nice report! Just when I think I've travelled most of the interesting roads around here, another good one makes itself known. Spirits from the past clammering for attention.
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Old 11-01-2005, 03:15 PM   #9
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I had a DeLorme Atlas and Gazateer for Vermont that was great. All those back roads were there, even a bunch that are abandoned. I bought one for Kansas expecting the same, and have been disappointed in the lack of detail. Anyway, I recommend the VT one for finding those obscure rides through the woods.
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Old 11-01-2005, 05:57 PM   #10
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Great ride report! However, the shots with snow looks more like spring mud season than fall.

This picture has a major snowmobile trail intersection right near the covered bridge. I ride through there in the winter and the views are impressive. Mt Mansfield can be seen off to the west.


Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-02-2005, 01:26 PM   #11
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Awesome! This one will be going on the list for next summer...
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Old 11-03-2005, 09:59 AM   #12
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Nice report. This is a ride I would like to do next year.
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Old 11-03-2005, 10:08 AM   #13
McB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagman
A cool section to do if you go to Montgommery Center is to loop around Jay Peak using Old Richford Rd (accessible through a covered bridge on a side street), 105 East, Cemetery Road to Jay, then 242 back to Montgommery, or the other way around. I call that loop my private Nurburgring! Coming from a province with very few interesting roads, bad pavement and inconsiderate cage drivers, Vermont is like a theme park for motorcycles.
When I was in high school I mowed the grass one summer in the cemetery at the top of that Old Richford road (also know as South Richford road).

Lots of great dirt roads, too, in all directions off the Montgomery/Jay roads.

Of course, when I was 16, I was just as interested in going north to your province, because the hotel bars would serve you beer if you could see over the bar.
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Old 11-03-2005, 10:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nice_Rumble
Great ride report! However, the shots with snow looks more like spring mud season than fall.
I was wondering the same thing. Were the photos all taken during the same ride? If so, exactly when did you take it? My Mom's place is East across the border in N.H., and she hasn't mentioned any snowfall in the region yet, so I was surprised to see all that white (especially coupled with the other photos that look much more like fall.)

Did you do include photos from the region that came from other rides to provide a fuller picture? Just curious.

GREAT write up! Looks like I'll be planning a summertime visit to Mom's place and will make Bayley-Hazen a part of that trip. Thanks for the heads-up!
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:12 AM   #15
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Welcome to Vermont!!!

Yeah, its snowed. Some spots got well over a foot a little over a week ago.
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