2016 BAC VT Northeast Kingdom Fall Foliage
October 2 - Stowe to Burlington
The last day of a bicycle tour should be one to remember.
After a good breakfast, I checked out of the Green Mountain Inn and snuck out of the parking lot to ride alone. I wanted to ride at my own pace because the major climb of the day was going to be difficult and I didn't want to embarrass myself with anyone looking. One of our riders who has climbed it in the past, decided to do the shorter ride. He warned us about the narrow road with no shoulder and the steep switchbacks. He was right. I have renamed Smugglers' Notch as Strugglers' Notch.
Half way up the climb a road sign read "No Center Line". When cyclists see a sign like that it means "Danger". Although the road was beautiful with evergreens and hardwoods hanging over it, the switchbacks were extremely steep - 20% steep - with no relief. In addition, it was raining lightly. I had to get off of my bike and walk for about it 100 yards. This was the moment that would have been embarrassing. (I found out later that only two of our riders completed the climb without dismounting).
The notch is aptly named. There is an S curve at the top that has huge boulders on the side of the road making a modified V-formation. That is why it is called a notch. The smugglers must have had really good driving skills that they used to elude the authorities through the notch.
I took a quick rest at the top and then rode down the other side of the hill with light rain beating my face.
The rest of the ride was uneventful although I stopped at an old gas station/grocery store for a ham on rye sandwich. It wasn't very good but it gave me enough fuel to get to the Best Western Windjammer in South Burlington. Misty rain followed me along the way.
I checked into the hotel, took apart my bicycle and packed it, took a shower, joined John Beland in the Windjammer Pub for beer and food, and printed my boarding pass for tomorrow's flights home. I ran into Sandy Emerson, a Berkeley friend, in the lobby. She is going on the Leevers' next tour that starts tomorrow.
We had an informal Happy Hour after which some of the group went to dinner. I didn't go because I was full from earlier.