Kate and Bill's Vermont Trip, July 2006
Saturday we drove the trailered bikes from Jackson to Middlebury, all the way in the rain. Its a long, boring slog even in nice weather, so I don't regret trailering to VT one bit.
We stayed Saturday night with friends in Middlebury, unpacked the bikes Sun AM in the rain, rode in light rain to Burlington, and met up with Glenn and Janet. The four of us rode in intermittent to occasionally heavy rain to Rangeley, Maine. Took the famous Route 17 over a Vt mountain pass -- nice twisties, and we stopped at the top for a photo-op. The Inn in Rangeley was lovely, lakeside, with canoes available for rent. Rangeley has a sign (for a defunct restaurant, actually) that states that it is half way from the Equator to the North Pole - 3107 miles each way, if memory serves. Dinner at a Thai place that was a short walk from the Inn.
Monday's weather was much better, we only hit one short but heavy shower on the way from Rangeley to Quebec. Nice two lane roads all the way up.
Checked into hotel in Quebec, parked bikes in municipal underground lot, walked around old city etc. The hotel desk clerk (possibly the most talkative man in the Northern Hemisphere) told us that motorcycles were banned from old-city Quebec, though it isn't posted, except for one subtle sign at the entrance to the city wall that indicates that motorcycles could/should turn left there.
The underground lot had a sign that had something to do with motorcycles, but since it was in French, like ALL the signs in the entire province, we had no idea what it meant. This includes Kate, who speaks enough French to get by in restaurants and shops. It also had an unfathomable interface on a box to get a time-stamped parking ticket, which we were only able to get to produce one ticket, so the other three of us just rode around the gate.
I understand that the Quebec government wants to prevent the French language from disappearing, but really, when 90% of your tourists speak English (coming from either the rest of Canada, or from the US), WOULD IT REALLY HURT THAT MUCH to put IMPORTANT SIGNS in French AND ENGLISH? I decided that since it was absurd to expect tourists to be fumbling with a French-English dictionary, trying to translate parking garage signs and road signs WHILST DRIVING, that if it was written in French, it couldn't be very important, since they obviously don't expect the tourists to read it.
Once back from the parking adventure, we walked around the old city, watching buskers, jugglers, magicians, painters and caricaturists trying to make a living from the throngs of tourists. We eventually had dinner at a Moroccan restaurant.
Monday night, we had heavy rains, and the forcast was for overcast with intermittent rain. Tuesday morning was indeed overcast with intermittent rain, so after getting the bikes from the garage (involving riding around the barrier again, too much like work to try to figure out how to pay the bill, plus the hotel didn't have the means for us to pay for parking) we packed up and left Quebec.
We rode south on interstate highways (mostly) out from under the rain back to Vermont. We hit one small rain squall just north of the US border, and then a bigger storm (with lightning!) as we entered Burlington. We came into Burlington via the Hero Islands, a nice ride except for the high winds (from the thunderstorm) trying to blow us off the causeway at the end.
The rest of the trip, we stayed at the Days Inn in Shelburne VT, just 10 min south of Burlington. Wednesday, we rode up to northeast VT to the museum of the Bread and Puppet Theatre, which is a political-activist theatre troupe who make large puppets with paper mache and cloth. The "museum" is a huge old barn on a farm in Vt, just stuffed with various of the puppets from past performances. I took a few pictures that you'll find links to below.
We spent all day riding there and back, and only had one brief rain shower that we rode through without stopping to "batten down the hatches" of our rain gear. Otherwise, weather was great, except that it got quite warm towards the end of the day. Got back to the hotel about 5-ish, spent a little time out at the pool, and then went to dinner (again) at the Italian place across the street from the motel.
Thursday morning, we rode the three miles south to the
then spent most of the day there looking at
stuff. Below find piccies of a small part of an amazing collection.