Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Syrup Run, Day 1

We're out of syrup.  Wife is watching a friends dog, moto trip approved.   I took off Monday to have a Sat, Sun night instead of a busier Fri, Sat night.

9AM, packed and ready to go:  small camping stuff in left pannier, riding stuff in right pannier, big/ long camping stuff in duffle, food/ everything else in top case.

Good weather and smooth sailing up rt 329E - 512N - 33N - 209N (next time take "Mountain Road" which parallels 209) to Kingston, where I stopped at McD's for lunch and to plot a course to the Taconic State Parkway.  Wanting to avoid the giant PITA that is paying tolls, I diverted from the toll bridge at rt199, heading north looking for free passage.  The next crossing is at Catskill, Kinston-Catskill is not a fun trip.  The oddly-named "Rip Van Winkle Bridge" is also a toll, but at this point I'll endure some PITA to cross the river to the TSP.  Having to stop before and after the toll both affords a photo op, to remind me to charge the Easy Pass.

42.224755, -73.855964

The TSP was as advertised: no commercial traffic, no tolls, meandering.  Next time I'll catch it further south, because it ends at rt 90 - a toll road - so another bail.  Memory says it was then 295 to 22N to 7/9 (GPS may prove otherwise).  Finally, closing on the syrup:

42.873928, -73.276856

Vermont rt 9 thru to Bennington, where I stopped briefly to GPS Woodford State Park.  The portion of Bennington that is rt 9 is very artsy-hippy, like New Hope, or even the triangle in Emmaus.  Instead of artsy, decorated canal mules they have artsy, decorated moose.  If time permitted, I'd have stopped to walk around, but finding a place to sleep was the priority.
I vaguely remember hearing about New England taking a beating during Irene.  Much of rt 9 - and therefor the houses, business, etc along it - parallels a stream bed which is precipitously close to the road bed.  It cuts back and forth towards the road, and the stream bed seams at points to be only a few feet lower in elevation than the roadbed.  It's not hard to picture torrential rain bursting the banks (a rockpile, really) and rinsing everything away.  It engendered the same feelings as those for people who build their house on an fault line.  You can't hide from fire in the tall, dry, grass.

A little further east I found Woodford State Park, with a "no vacancy" sign hanging in front.  Rather than ride aimlessly, I thought the parks might be networked like in PA so stopped to see if they could help find me a site.  Turns out their "no vacancy" sign is a lie - they always have a few spots open for desperate late-comers like me.  A few dollars later, I was relieved to be set up at site #54.

42.885846, -73.036407

Much lighter and with room in the luggage, I looked for a grocery store.  GPS directed me 10 miles east to Willmington, VT - past a few National Forest access points, a few "Moose Crossing" signs, and more dangerous-looking stream bed.  The main drag thru Willmington is also quaint, artsy.  I bought a few groceries I didn't want to haul around all day (cream, an onion, rolls, etc.).  A few blocks away was a dollar store - I'd forgotten a can opener and a small knife.
Back at camp I ate well, cleaned up and secured gear, and took a walk around the park.  It must have been around 7 or 8PM.

Pretty road weary, I tented up before dark.  Some woman a few sites over was intermittently cackling.   I woke up around 4AM to the sound of canine howling in the distance.  Google suggests it was coyotes.

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