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Trip planning help: Middlebury, VT to Amherst, MA

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Trip planning help: Middlebury, VT to Amherst, MA

Old 04-07-12, 11:20 AM
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akahn
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Trip planning help: Middlebury, VT to Amherst, MA

Hi,

I'm going on a three day, two night ride with some friends next week, with one friend driving a van to support us. We're leaving from Middlebury on Wednesday morning and need to get to Amherst by Friday evening. I would love some help with planning the route because I'm not very familiar with riding in Vermont.

From read on these forums that Route 30 (along the border with New York) is a good route and Route 5 (going along the Connecticut River) is also good. So here is the tentative route I've come up with:

Day 1: Ride south on 30, sleep in a motel Manchester.

Day 2: Continue south using Route 7A (which I also read is a good bike route) and take Route 9 East to cut across the Green Mountains. We can stay in a motel in Wilmington or Marlboro. Key question: is 9 a remotely okay road to ride on here?

Day 3: we more or less know the roads in the hill towns of Massachusetts (I have a D2R2 DNF under my belt ), so we should be fine coming up with something to get to Amherst.

Does this route generally make sense? Should we organize it differently (e.g. cut east first and ride south along the CT river)?

We were also considering camping, but it may be too late for that since you're supposed to get offseason confirmation from a regional office (https://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/off_season_daycamp.htm) by mail. Anyone know if you can get away with camping without submitting that form? Other downsides are cold, and no water and no toilets.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Last edited by akahn; 04-07-12 at 11:21 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-07-12, 12:14 PM
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akahn
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Also, can anyone recommend a good cycling map of Vermont? If not I guess even a highway map might be better than Google Maps.
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Old 04-07-12, 02:21 PM
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I've camped off season without a permit, I just call the general number and asked for permission. Never have had anything in writting, so if someone came by it might be dificult to prove. As you noted, no services or facilities, so please treat the parks accordingly.

Route 7a south is the major traffic route, though at this time of year it won't be heavy. Likewise, route 9 is the major east/west truck route between Brattlebore &Bennington. Haven't been down in that corner riding in quite some time, so no info on road conditions. But generally early spring the roads are cracked and covered with lots of sand/salt along the edges. The roads in northern Vt. Are just now flattening out from all the froast heaves. Suppose to be a rainy week coming up
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Old 04-07-12, 06:07 PM
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Thanks for the response! Do you think it would make more sense to make my route continue on 30 to go southeast on Day 2?
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Old 04-07-12, 06:20 PM
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Rt 30 is a beautiful road, especially along Lake Bomoseen and Lakt St. Catherine. Unless you need lodging or supplies, I'd skip going down to Bennington, and just head east from Dorest/Manchester along rt 30 to Brattleboro. Then head south toward Mass.
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Old 04-08-12, 04:59 PM
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Thanks, that's very helpful.

One of the folks I'm riding with suggested this route, which uses 103, 155 and 100 to graze the eastern edge of Green Mountain National Forest before meeting up with 30. Does this route make any sense? I'm concerned about this being more difficult to navigate and these being more-trafficked roads.
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Old 04-09-12, 05:10 AM
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Not really familiar with those roads, but the route looks nice from the standpoint of being in the mountains. However, the weather will be your biggest issue. There is snow/sleet occurring in the mountains today. That route will have you in the higher elevations more then am west/east traverse. I was out riding both Sat & Sun and the wind was howling and I was covered with warm gloves & hats, 2 wool shirts & a Showers Pass Event jacket. My feet got cold even with heavy wool socks. I was only out for a little over an hour and I was in the foothill of the mountains. Use this site to get an accurate idea of weather here in Vermont. It was raining and 40 at my house this morning, but the radar showed mix snow/sleet in the mountains.

https://www.fairbanksmuseum.org/forecasts

uesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with scattered rain showers mixing or changing to snow showers in the north and mountains, spotty showers south. Lows in the 30s. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of scattered snow or rain showers in the morning, mainly rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 40s to low 50s.
Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with scattered rain showers mixing or changing to snow showers in the north and mountains, spotty showers south. Lows in the 30s.
Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of scattered snow or rain showers in the morning, mainly rain showers in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 40s to low 50s.
Thursday Night: Scattered rain or snow showers ending, with partial clearing. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s.
Friday: Partly sunny. Highs in the 50s.
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Old 04-09-12, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by akahn View Post
(I have a D2R2 DNF under my belt ),
The GF and I are planning to do D2R2 (one of the shorter routes) this year. I am a four-year "Deerfield Boy." Class of '83. Haven't been back to visit since '91. I may ride up there from Philly next year for my 30th reunion.
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Old 04-09-12, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by akahn View Post
Thanks, that's very helpful.

One of the folks I'm riding with suggested this route, which uses 103, 155 and 100 to graze the eastern edge of Green Mountain National Forest before meeting up with 30. Does this route make any sense? I'm concerned about this being more difficult to navigate and these being more-trafficked roads.
I notice on your Google plotted route you are following a "bike trail" along the West River. A word of caution: the Google bike trails are sometimes not much more than proposed routes. I suspect the West River trail is part of the same route that is used for the paddler's shuttle during the West River release. It's a pretty well rutted and bumpy dirt double track so be prepared for that or avoid it by following the highway. You will have some climbing to do on the route you are proposing. If that's not a problem it should be a nice way to go.
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Old 04-10-12, 08:51 AM
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Jay Peak, Mt. Mansfield, Killington all had a foot of snow yesterday. More light snow today/tonight, so the passes will be interesting if you still plan to leave tomorrow.
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