Today was one of those "normal" days when we got caught up on some administrative aspects of daily life. It was also laundry day.
I did get out for my run and the exercises I've been doing on my little yoga mat, which doubles as a mat for crawling under the rig when necessary - good to have items that serve multiple purposes. :)
It is during that time after my run when I'm lying on my mat looking up at the shapes of the individual leaves on the trees and watching the clouds move by that I have this really peaceful, "zen" feeling. I feel like I could take a nap right there on the ground and, though exhausted, I am very content. I need to channel that feeling when those days come when I really dread getting out there and working out.
While Linda was doing laundry, I drove the two miles to the nearest post office to pick up some mail. I had called to make sure they accept "general delivery", and had a couple of things sent here. Our items arrived, and they just handed me the packages. They didn't even ask to see an I.D. - apparently they don't get much "general delivery" here.
In the evening, I grilled some pork chops and Linda made baked potatoes for dinner. That was about it. Just a day in the life.
We are moving on tomorrow, and I feel like we haven't really seen much of Vermont yet. I considered paddling on the Connecticut River yesterday, but a flat water paddle on the wide river didn't really get my juices going.
I've struggled to find those one or two "must see" natural attractions in Vermont. The appeal of Vermont seems to be more of an overall thing rather than a few spectacular highlights. There are the Green Mountains, there are lots of hiking trails, there are farms and historical places and rivers and streams and lots of the things we love, but with our limited timeframe I just haven't been drawn in any particular direction.
So, today, I decided we would do a drive around the southern Green Mountains, take in the scenic beauty, and just see what happens.
We took the interstates to U.S. 4 and proceeded east to Vermont Hwy 100, which is a primary north-south scenic highway that runs along the eastern edge of the Green Mountains. Then we took VT Hwy 9 (the Molly Stark Byway) across the mountains to U.S. 7 heading north out of Bennington. Then it was east back to Ludlow and then I-91 before heading back to Rest N Nest Campground.
Riding south along the eastern edge of the mountains, we passed by pretty lakes and made a couple of stops. We heard that Vermont has great farm products, and I learned that they also have a Cheese Trail.
We followed the signs to Plymouth Artisan Cheese .....
next to the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site.
After sampling several cheeses, we made a purchase and moved on.
Before long we stumbled upon Crowley Cheese.
Again, we sampled cheese and then watched a little of the cheese-making process .....
before making another purchase and continuing south.
We passed through small, pretty towns like Weston, Londonderry, Jamaica and more.
We stopped by the Winhall Brook COE Campground to check it out. We almost stayed at Winhall Brook. It has 20 or so electric sites, but the rest are no hook-ups. There are several sites that would be nice for solar if you can't get an electric site. Also, there is a narrow one-lane bridge to get to the south side of the campground (where the electric sites are). It would take patience and some skill to cross the bridge and get turned with a big rig. Though the Verizon coverage map shows coverage, we only got a signal at the office. Once down in the campground, we got nothing.
We were getting hungry and started looking for something quaint along Hwy 100. We weren't starving and were quite picky, which got us all the way down to Hwy 9 and the town of Wilmington. By then, it was getting late in the day, and our pickiness had gone by the wayside. We opted for Anchor Seafood.
The food there was pretty good, but a little pricey. The clam chowder was excellent, but they burned my crab cake. However, they graciously cooked me another one - much better.
Heading west on Hwy 9, we passed through Woodford and started a long, steep downgrade with a runaway truck ramp. Caution is recommended for RVers on that section coming from either direction.
As the road flattened, the Appalachian Trail crossed Hwy 9. There was a parking area, and we pulled in to take a look. There was a hiker there looking at his guidebook, so we asked if he needed a ride.
"Moose" is a north-bound thru hiker on the AT. He had some friends coming through Vermont, and he was hoping to meet them later today. He was going to hitch a ride to Bennington and then take a bus north to Wallingford. We were going through Wallingford, so we offered to give him a ride all the way. Of course that required rolling all the windows down. :)
We took U.S. 7 north and it was a fast, pretty drive that gave us a better view of the Green Mountains.
The AT crosses VT Hwy 140 east of Wallingford, and there is a hiker-friendly restaurant there where Moose was going to hang out until his friends arrived. Unfortunately, it was closed. Ultimately, we ended up at the Rustic Rooster.
We got a table with Moose. We just wanted some ice cream and he ordered a huge burger topped with a fried egg and pulled pork. Hiker hunger.
He devoured that thing in a couple of minutes. We were glad to have found the Rustic Rooster, and the owner happened to be a hiker as well.
Moose had started out with a large backpack carrying about 35 pounds. Having met some ultra-light hikers, he adopted many of their tips and now was carrying a smaller pack and only about 20 pounds. I asked him numerous questions, and bought his meal as a "thank you".
He was so appreciative of the ride and the food. We probably saved him a few hours, and satisfied his hunger .... at least for now. He has a somewhat small frame, but said he's lost 27 pounds on the trail. We were trying to figure out where he possibly could have carried that weight.
Eventually, we parted ways and headed back home.
Our drive was very pretty, and we got a good feel for the laid-back, small-town feel of southern Vermont. Tomorrow, we're heading north and we're going to check out some of the northern Green Mountains before moving into New Hampshire.
In the next few days, I hope to hike to the top of Vermont's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield. And we'll see what else we get into. Stay tuned. :)