Category Archives: Vermont

2 Days 190 miles – Portland Maine to Townshend, Vermont

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Back on the road again, and this time solo.

First I wanted to see what it was like to ride alone, and second I wanted to visit my friend, Tyler who I originally took the train to the East Coast with.

The plan: Ride 2 days to ride to West Townshend, Vermont from Portland, Maine to see Meadow Bee Farm where Tyler and friends were working and staying.

       

The first day I cycled 100 miles to a town outside of Manchester, New Hampshire to a warm shower host, Art and Sarah who welcomed me at the end of the bike trail. They gave me a bed and a wonderful comforter and a beer and in the morning catered to my every need and made me fruit and yogurt and PB&J snacks for the road. I felt like a daughter it was beautiful! They had a wonderful garden and two lovely dogs and a great home.

   
  

The ride was intense as it was my first trip riding 100 miles and the last 15 miles was on dirt road with tons of large rocks and roots exposed. I had some difficult time with my google maps biking directions that took me into strangers back yard, sand roads that are impossible to bike on, and large up rill dirt roads that were ridiculous and absurd to take a touring bike on. Part of me thinks that the directions are for mountain biking and not road touring.

  

   

I was fortunate enough to learn about the history of my mothers side of the family from my grandfather Bruce. He told me that in the early 1600’s that my family was located in Maine in what is now called Saco its just south or Portland. I couldn’t believe it was on my way so I took some time to get a coffee and enjoy the town. Unfortunately most of the information in the historical libraries only dated back to 1750’s so I wasn’t able to find information on the Libby’s, who owned a market in town. Pretty amazing history and special for me to visit the town.

  

The next day I was up early and headed to Goffstown and road a good 90 miles to Brattleboro, Vermont where I met Tyler and we swam in the lake and headed to the Farmers market where we met all the Farm friends! I got to see the farm and then we headed to Chabot at a friend bakery “Earth, Sky and Time” where we sang beautiful songs and had a potluck. More about the farm soon, just wanted to send a update about my riding solo time! What a beautiful life this is!

   
    

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Portland, Maine 

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Back to the city! Portland Maine is nestled beside the Atlantic Ocean in a cove and is the largest city in Maine! It is a state known for lobster, it has 3,500 miles of coastline, has many haunted inns and light houses, 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 1.3 million people living in Maine, it has a summer average temp of 70 degrees and a winter average temp of 20! What a beautiful place!

    

Back to Portland, the largest city in Maine….the population? Only 66,318 people! Ian I rode to Portland in about 2 days from Burlington. Camping, waterfalls, beautiful rivers and lakes to swim in of course. We usually eat berries, apples, peanut butter, grits and cheese (once we get riding we stop and cook), and we drink mate! It is always nice to split up the day with breaks and to split up the cities with nature.

  

I checked out the different Farmers Markets of Portland on Wednesday in their town center and in a big park there was one as well, Saturday. I decided to paint faces and do it for trade of veggies, cookies, or dancing and singing. Here is a look at some of the different faces that turned out. I had a lot of fun doing it, and for sure will develop the face painting skills.

  
     

      

        

    

We did a lot of “Bicycle Benefits” work while in Portland. Speaking to businesses, getting in touch with local people and encouraging people to ride bikes, and just getting people excited about making more of their shopping trips by bicycle. Above is the flyer we had for a “Bike In” which was a drive in but for bicycles! We watched a movie and it was a potluck as well!

  

     

  

While in Portland we decided to do a little project called “Get Pumped Up Portland” where we painted some pumps around town and here is a little mural on a hand rail that I painted outside of Arcadia National Bar which is a bar that has video games, pin ball machines, and other arcade games as well as a bar. The owners Ben and Dave are lovely, Ben is from Seattle and Dave is into Camp like I am. It was a great experience sitting outside the bar downtown Portland and hearing everyones reaction to the piece and to me painting. It was all positive.

    

 

I love Warmshowers, I talk about it all the time but its an organization that helps touring cyclists with a warm shower, bed or yard to sleep in, and typically they are the most amazing people I have ever met. Many of them have toured and its a tight community of really accepting and trusting people. Here we had the bike in movie and our hosts, Luke and Emily are getting married in 3 weeks but still agreed to host us for 1 week! What an amazing couple, they commute to work and are really into cycling. Emily toured from Vermont to Louisiana and actually wrote a book about the experience. Really amazing couple that took us under their wing for a long time there with delicious dinners and a beautiful garden!

  

Biking from Vermont to New Hampshire

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Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.07.21 AMHere is the map of the bike trip so far. We are going to call this tour the “North East Tour” which so far has included New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and currently I am in Maine. Many people talk about how I am in “New England” and just to clarify that means a tour through six states. Can you guess them all? Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont! I didn’t know all 6 so if you didn’t guess them no worries. Anyways the journey has been full of mountains and green beautiful land.

  

Vermont and New Hampshire do not have any lack of lakes and rivers for swimming! Waterfalls galore and beautiful people to meet! I think there was not one night that we didn’t camp next to the water. What a wonderful way to go to bed and to wake up in the morning. These day we are averaging anywhere from 25-50 miles a day, swimming wherever we get the chance, and just enjoying the local people and surroundings!

  
    

New Hampshire is one of the founding 13 states and actually the first to technically declare independence from British North American Colonies and the first U.S. state to have its own constitution. The license plate motto here is “Live Free or Die”. So humorous to see that on plates. It is also nicknamed “The Granite State” for its granite and quarries.

 
  

Here are the typical roads and the green highways. We typically have a shoulder and it is quite the contrast from Mexico. I enjoy the roads here and relax quite a bit. The hills, even the mountain passes are nice and gradual.

     

I love to ride my bike. I ride because I utilize my body in ways that I didn’t know it could function. I ride for the challenge, for the sweaty and hot uncomfortable feeling. I ride because I realize my privilege and resources available to me and want to take advantage of it. I ride because I know I wont always be able to take on this many miles and this many weeks camping. I ride because it is meditation and frees my mind and soul and lets my heart sing. I love to ride. It gives me power, clears my mind and gives me a beautiful perspective on life. When you ride a bike it takes you longer to get places. It makes you really mindful about who and where you spend your time and the life tends to slow down. I cant stop!

   

 

Riding through some of these small towns is really crazy because many of the buildings are over 100 years old with beautiful architecture and stunning farms and landscapes. This small town had a pharmacy that also had a diner. I guess its been open 75 years and the gentleman in the lower right hand pictures name is Jon and he owned the last gas station in town and now is a banker. He is 80 years old and was quite knowledgable about the area.

     

One night we stumbled upon Bethlehem Flower Farm that had flowers, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and a garden. The woman that worked and owned the farm for the last two years was my age and we got to chatting with her about the possibility of doing some work trade for sleeping in the back yard (full moon) and getting some eggs from her chickens as well as some zucchini. It was a great trade we worked in the garden weeding some onion plants and feeding the baby goat! What a great time we had, we made popcorn and had some wonderful conversation. This farm was settled in at the top of the White Mountains and was picturesque.

 
  

 

Here below is Ian in the onion patch at the farm.

    
 

I love the landscape and could bike across this part of the country any day!

    

 A Mural in Burlington, Vermont

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Vermont is a beautiful and magnificent place! It is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, it has forests that cover over 75% of the state! The green mountains are located within the state and the state is bordered by Massachusetts, New York, Quebec Canada and New Hampshire.  I ran into old friends, and made new ones. I never could of imagined it would of been this green and luscious, I am still in awe of the beauty and how friendly people were. Billboards are outlawed and there was no sign of cooperation’s, just tons of farm and local businesses.

I made my way to Burlington, Vermont after New York. We took a ferry about 20-30 minutes across Lake Champlain. I met with my friend, Cody that I met on a bike tour of the west coast and he actually met us on the other side of the ferry. He took us swimming and showed us around town. We got caught in a storm that was so intense but short. We met a woman who let us stay in her garage until it past.

It was great to catch up with Cody, to swap some bike touring stories and he hosted us for two nights. It was such a blessing. We also met wonderful people through warmshowers.org and turns out Ian knew them! Dan and Christine were their names and they help run a community bike shop and a bike shop in town. We ended up staying 1 week with them and so thankful for their hospitality. Their project is called Burlington Bike Project and if you click the name you can check out their project and website.

Their website also features me in their blog. You can click this link to check it out.

Who: Essentially the Old Spokes home is run as shop for just about anyone who needs help with their bike and then Bike Recycle Vermont helps create access to affordable education, job training opportunities, and a supportive and encouraging environment for people who need it!

Where: Burlington,Vermont

  

  

How long did it take: Only 3 full days of painting! This also included a day where many cyclists came through for a celebration of the North neighborhood called “The Ramble”. This included a community BBQ, displaying of the mural and tons of kids and adults asking about the mural. It was a pretty incredible space.

Dan and Christine introduced us to some beautiful people and we were able to plug into the Burlington scene pretty easily with their help. Potlucks, cooking, music listening and making, hair cutting and just hanging out I would move to Burlington because of the people and bike culture. They had a lovely co-op that we hung out at quite a bit speaking with cyclists about bicycle benefits, which Ian helps promote and run where you get benefits for riding bikes! It is as simple as that, empowering more cyclists to get moving and start commuting, touring, or just getting out there and riding. The program is amazing and I feel excited about helping out.

 

The mural was so much fun to create. I really enjoyed it, although its an older style I felt that it was the best thing for the Bike Shop and the community. I was able to paint certain local businesses and community organizations that the clients could relate to.

  
  
  

Here is the mural in detail, this was also one of the first times that I drew people in my painting. It was fun, I met some amazing people and wanted to include them. Ian is also pictured here with doughnuts as he handed out doughnuts to cyclists a couple mornings in the street. I drew Dan and Christine of course, and then I am meeting RJ and his children who helps organize Bike Party Burlington.


     

Here is more on the mural!

  

 I love to ride my bike. It makes me feel the true sense of the word free. I feel alive, I feel free, I feel strong and I feel like I can do anything in the world that I set my mind to. It is a beautiful feeling and a wonderful way to see the world.


  
  

We left Burlington after a week and headed to the state capital, Montpelier which is actually the smallest capital according to population in the United States. There our goal was to check in with all the businesses that supported Bicycle Benefits and make sure that they were still accepting cyclists and just promoting the cause. We tabled at the local co-op again and met some amazing people just encouraging people to get on their bikes. Bicycle benefits program is great it allows cyclists in many cities throughout the U.S. to buy a sticker for their helmet for only $5. Then they can go online and see the different local businesses where they get a discount. Discounts range from 5-20% off purchases, free cookies, free chocolate, free coffee, and more. It is allowing local businesses to support cyclists and cyclists getting rewards for cycling.

  
   

We got to ride through a lot of green beautiful mountains, I felt like I was back in Washington State. I am still in awe of the State.

   

   

Rain, rainbows, libraries, meeting new people!

              

I would absolutely live in Vermont, I loved it there. I think that I would have to live through a winter to actually understand what the state is all about. But either way I would be open. Thank you to all the people and friends that we met and spoke with. What a beautiful life! The plan now is to head east! New Hampshire and Maine!