Over the past several days I’ve been right next to the AT. After my little stop in Bath, I headed to Thetford. The forecast was certain for rain and I was hoping to zero at a cheap hotel and wimp out.
The lady at the grocery store in Thetford laughed when I asked for any motels. It was a smaller town than I thought. I rode baci out of VT and over to Lyme, NH to stay at Dowd’s B&B.
It was a lovely little place, but more than I wanted to spend really. They also only had room for 1 night. Dartmouth had homecoming and everything was full for the weekend. I grabbed some lovely Italian at Stella’s next door. In the morning I got breakfast. I expected more since I was promised I wouldn’t go hungry. The meals were not hiker/biker sized. The solution? Just eat twice! I think the waiter was in disbelief.
I strapped on the fenders I bought in Littleton and braved the rain. My goal was Hanover or Norwich and I’d just try to get in at one of the AT trail angels. I’m pretty sure the Hanover road commission is trying to kill cyclists. They may even be working in collusion with NH DoT, though I remind myself that conspiracy implies competence and generally dismiss such notions. Coming in to town I come up to a round-a-bout where they planted a bunch of tall crap in the middle. I couldn’t see anything oncoming or in the circle. As I went through I realized it wasn’t even an intersection! They must have lots of U-Turns? Up next I was greeted with a bike lane. This was great until it disappeared a few blocks later and forced me out into traffic to avoid the granite curb. The lane came back later, but then feature sewer grates about 5″ below the road surface, effectively being a nasty pothole.
I survived the ride to make it to Salt Hill Pub, where I ate on my thru-hike. After some good food I made a desperate attempt to find a place to stay. I called the entire trail angel list and either got voicemail or they were out of town (at least 5 of them). I got a call back from Warren who saved my day. He was right next to Betsy where I stayed the first time. He had me pick up some other hikers in his car, who turned out to be Smoky Bear and his friend, Homegrown! I hadn’t seen Smoky since Trail Days. We also hung out with a SOBO, Huckleberry Finch.
I headed out in the morning and stopped in Quechee for some amazing chain saw carvings. This guy was a true artist.
I found a few more covered bridges. I don’t know why they are so fun to bike over.
I also found an apple festival. They had these waffle cones filled with apple crisp and topped with ice cream and whipped cream. It was SO good!
There were some cool glass balls too, witches balls I think they were.
I stayed at the Yellow Deli in Rutland. It’s an AT hiker hostel but had an array of colorful non-hikers. I can’t decide who was funnier, the Irish New Yorker (a SOBO) or the alcoholic minister. The conversations went on for hours. I also put this nice girl from Colorado on the spot and asked if she was going to thru-hike next year. She had just heard about the whole idea and after a second said yes! I hope she has a blast if she follows through.
All the fun there nearly made me forget about the hill at killington. It was miles of up, followed by 6 miles of down (6% grade). I sustained 30-38 mph for about 4 miles of that. Oh yeah, and the pub on the corner has the best soup.