The weather is back to its less than greatness. Thundershowers in the forecast for where I was headed. My hope was to get over the Middlebury Gap, and to a campsite before they let loose.
I caught the ferry across Lake Champlain this morning. When I got to the dock, the boat wasn't there. There was a sign that said, "Pull to call ferry". I pulled it, but I don't know if it really did anything. All it did was flip up a faded rectangle. However, not long after I pulled it, the boat started coming across. I think it was just coincidence.
|Here comes the boat!|
|Tilmann on the boat|
There were two vehicles, and myself on the ferry. It cost me $2.00. Once I disembarked from the ferry, I was in state number 9, Vermont! I took the obligatory photo.
On my map it showed an alternate called Covered Bridge Alternate. It avoided Middlebury. Although Middlebury is said to be a classic New England town, I'm sure I will go through other classic New England towns, but I might not see any covered bridges. I took the alternate. Another very good reason to do the alternate was the traffic. The main route had quite a bit of traffic--the alternate had virtually none.
There was only one problem with the Covered Bridge Alternate. There was no covered bridge. There was this one lane bridge that may or may not have been a covered bridge at one time, but there is no covered bridge. At least it was shorter, and maybe less hilly.
|Passed this place called Shard Villa. It's a home for the elderly. Looks like, in the right light, it could be a home for the Adams Family!|
Besides the no traffic, there was one other really good reason to do the alternate. Middlebury Sweets, the largest candy shop in Vermont, just happened to be right on the alternate route! Of course I had to stop. I probably got way too much sugar!
The Alternate rejoined the main route in East Middlebury. I found the Post Office, and mailed a flat rate box to Minneapolis of the souvenirs I've been carrying, and the maps I no longer need. As I left the Post Office, a gal rode up on her bike. Her name was Heather, and she's a massage therapist in Middlebury. She was really nice, and offered me food, water, a place to stay, anything I needed. If I had gone further for the day, I definitely would have taken her up on her offer. As it was, I really wanted to get over the gap before the storm.
The climb out of East Middlebury to Ripton was really something! The first bit had me wheezing like a donkey, and having to stop to catch my breath. I stopped in Ripton for another Gatorade (I'd gotten one in East Middlebury). I was sweating out as much as I was taking in.
|Ripton Country Store|
The climbing continued toward the Middlebury Gap. Most of it wasn't as hard as the first section, but there were a few spots. I went through Breadloaf (named after the mountain, I'm sure). The whole place appears to be the Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College. It's a number of buildings. I took this photo, not so much for the building, but to show the nasty black cloud.
|That does not look good!|
As I continued my way up, I could hear thunder in the distance. It still wasn't raining, but I had put my rain gear under the bungy on the rack just in case.
I finally reached the top. There was no sign except this one to indicate I was at the Gap. I suppose it's a pretty good indicator.
I rode down, keeping my eyes open for "Little Emma's Cabins" where I was going to camp for the night. I never saw a sign. What I did notice was that, although it was just barely raining, it had recently rained quite a bit. I certainly just missed that one!
Next thing I knew I was in Hancock. I thought, well, fine. There is supposed to be a hotel here. Sure enough, there is the Hancock Hotel. But, she had no rooms available. She suggested I go to The Gathering Inn just across the street. I did, and found Kathleen. She too is full, but I asked if I could pitch my tent. She said go for it, but then said I could sleep in the porch if I wanted. She showed me the kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. She gave me a towel, and said have at it! I asked her what I could pay her. She said, "Sheesh, you are sleeping on the porch, you don't need to pay me anything!"
|The Gathering Inn|
|Tilmann safely inside|
It's awesome here! The chickens wander around (one hen has chicks), and there are two cats. Lucy is keeping me company on the porch. Another couple, Mary and David, are staying here while they look for a place to live in the area. They are from Pennsylvania. Nice people. Kathleen keeps asking if I need anything. I have everything I could possibly want, especially since it looks like another storm is going to roll through.