I’ve wanted to share my bikepacking / camping experiences with the girls for some time… and we finally made that happen last weekend. We planned a 2 night trip, but Ava was keen on not skipping out of her theater camp a couple of days early – so we did a 1 night trip to a nearby state park. We covered ~20 miles the first day from home to the state park. Most of the trip was on the Island Line trail, which is our local lakefront multi use path. The balance was on quiet dirt roads, with a couple sections of pavement.
We took the Local Motion Bike Ferry to continue on to Grand Isle, and stayed in Grand Isle State Park. Its a typical tent / lean to / camper / RV style park on Lake Champlain – so this was a ‘suburban’ style camping excursion. I picked a lean to / tent site that was isolated from the other sites. We used the lean to for cooking and hanging out, and slept in our tent.
We played in the park a bit before dinner, and while I cooked the girls ran back and forth to the drinking water spigot to top off our water and fill up the Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink (which worked great!!).
We ventured out after dark to take in the blue moon over the lake… and then tucked into bed for the night, where we had a good rain storm (my seam sealing worked!).
I attempted to make pancakes for breakfast while the girls played cards (hard to make pancakes in a tiny Ti pan… next time I’ll bring my older, larger cook kit). We then packed everything up, took a short swim in the lake, and headed home.
The trip home turned into a mini adventure. At our snack spot we heard thunder, and the girls asked me to ‘drop the hammer’ to get us home. I rode as hard as I could muster with 440 pounds of bike, gear, kids and dad rolling down the road… and we outran the storm by the time we got to the ferry….
…only to get stuck waiting for the next boat as the next wave of lightning and thunder rolled over us.
The girls were nervous and a bit scared, but we got away from the docks and few trees on the causeway, sat on our sleeping pads and hugged while snacking. The boat finally made it back and we all got on to sit out the wall of water and the front that blew through. Once the weather settled the ferry disembarked the original passengers, and we loaded up our bike for the final ~6 miles home. We were dry in our rain coats, but got splashed by the wind driven waves and lingering showers for a bit. After about 20 minutes the sun came out and I ditched my coat to cool off.
I’ll add another post with all the gear and bike geek stuff…
I snuck out on the IF for an overnight last weekend. Burlington to Shelburne and Charlotte on Spear, then dropping down to Vergennes and off to Middlebury on the backside route, staying to pavement most of the way down to Middlebury then up to Moosamaloo. Return route included Steam Mill and Natural Turnpike and some new (to me) dirt roads near Monkton.
I had a late lunch in Middlebury and then connected the TAM to skip some busy roads, only to find a construction detour that put me right back on Rt. 7 south out of town. In East Middlebury I hunted for a decent beer at the gas station / convenience store but nothing sounded good – so I topped off on a snack or two and water and headed up up up VT 125. The climb up 125 took forever. I was pretty cooked from the ride, and I walked the first steep pitch just out of town, pushing the bike uphill until I reached a pull off where I collected myself, hydrated, and then pushed on for camp.
At FR32, Goshen Ripton Rd. I turned onto dirt. This was about ~52 miles into my ride, and I found myself off the bike and pushing for a stretch to give the quads and lungs a break. FR32 is one of my move favorite places to get to on a bike.
My plan was to arrive around dinner time, setup camp, then make dinner while shooting a time-lapse sunset from the Voter Brook Overlook. I pulled into the Moosamaloo Campground at about 6:30, found an open site, dropped some $$ into the deposit box, and setup my Tarptent Moment.
The Voter Brook Overlook is a 5 minute ride further down the access road. It was a bit underwhelming with regards to getting a good sunset time-lapse – but I tried out the GoPro and made dinner.
After dinner I rolled back to camp, did some bike and gear adjustments, bear bagged my food and kitchen, and planned to turn in for the night. After I played with the long exposure settings on my Canon G12.
Morning found me up early, with the other campers still sound asleep. I made breakfast and broke camp, and headed for Steam Mill and Natural turnpike, 2 of my other favorite places to be in VT on a bicycle. Both of these roads are up up up… so I started the day with a good deal of climbing.
I stopped at the Robert Frost trail to adjust some clothing, and take advantage of the restrooms at the trailhead, from there I found Steam Mill Rd.
From high up on the Natural Turnpike I dropped into Lincoln, then Bristol for an early lunch / second breakfast at the Bristol Cafe and Bakery. A large group of GMBC cyclists congregated while I was enjoying my food. They were on a Sunday ‘touring’ ride. I chatted with a few before they left, then rolled out myself for home.
I picked a few new roads on the run back from Bristol… and the route pretty much did me in. I struggled from Monkton to home, but the roads I did choose are sure to be additions to future routes… especially if I route them to be downhill. Piney Woods Rd. is a lovely lane and a half (at most) of dirt… and it is steep as it follows the creek. Plank Rd., North Rd., Parks-Hurburt Rd. and Old Stage Rd. are also nice alternative routes (dirt) for going north / south and connecting into Bristol from Chittenden County.
From Monkton I followed familiar roads back into town, struggling with the heat, and feeling a bit dehydrated. I returned home about 30 hours after I left.
Pavement with a bit of dirt and trail
Dirt with pavement
Wil attempted the not quite ready for prime time XVT – a 300+ mile single track and dirt road route from Canada to Massachusetts a few weeks ago. He was carrying my SPOT and GPS, so Justin and I SPOT stalked him down in the Moosamaloo area…
I brought a thermos of coffee and a bagel for a very glad to see us Wil. Was fun riding with him – we met up with him on a trail above Goshen Dam and then rode with him into Silver Lake.
Wil headed south on Chandler Ridge and I took off down the Falls of Lana trail to find some food near Lake Dunmore. I rounded out my ride by having to ride back up VT 125 – I parked up at the Broadleaf Campus… so I had a long slog of a climb back to the car.
We had a great class at Heartwood for my spring ‘Introduction to SketchUp’. 12 students fill all the available seats and we covered a wide range of skills ranging from accurate modeling techniques, presentation, and compound timber joinery.
I took 3 courses here in 1999-2000 or so. That reinforced a love of building and design and set me on a path that I’ve been wandering and refining since.
I’ve been teaching here for about 6 years now. It’s a magical place that I truly love returning to every year.
Finally feels like spring is here to stay. Cool temps, some early sun, and the woods are drying out nicely for riding.
I’ve been spending more time on the IF now that I’ve got the brakes and tire selection dialed in for my dirt / pave style of riding. Last Sunday I did a common road loop from Burlington out to Mt. Philo. I usually loop around the ‘mountain’ on dirt and take in portions of the covered bridge loop – but I decided on the way out to climb the road and take in the view. I felt stronger than I thought I would – and surprised myself.
Its a short, but steep climb. ~44 miles round trip. And I felt good pulling into the headwind coming home.