Moto-Touring In the Land of the Green Mountain Boys – Part 1

 

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The Green Mountain Boys. Some say they were American Revolutionary War heroes. Others condemn them as a raucous band of drunkards, outlaws and ne’er-do-well’s looking for another adventure to sink their fists and muskets into. Here in Vermont, Ethan Allen and his merry band are worshipped with religious fervor. Hero or vagabond, no one really knows, but at the very least ol’ Ethan got his name on an American furniture outlet company.

Our adventure, or more appropriately, misadventure, got started before we ever left the ground. Our 8:40 Thursday eve flight to Vermont was delayed, delayed again, delayed again, until being cancelled at 1:30 AM Friday morning. Having arrived at the airport at 6:00 PM Thursday, we have just spent seven hours in the stinkin’ Charlotte, North Carolina airport, and the next flight to Vermont was not until early Saturday AM. One day of vacation shot to hell just like that. Ethan and his boys would have probably sat down to drinking pints of ale. We should have headed for the airport bar.

Thanks to Roo’s sister, who lives in Vermont and has some big pull with Hilton Hotels, we procured a room at the Hilton by the airport, complete with shuttle service and airport parking! Thanks Tommie!

Saturday had us landing in Burlington, Vermont about 1:00 PM. Roo’s sis picked us up and drove us directly to our motorcycle rental at MotoVermont, a mere one-half mile from the airport.

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An unassuming place, quite not what one would expect, if one had any expectations. But these guys have been doing moto rentals and guided tours of Vermont for six years, and were a real pleasure to work with.

This is it, MotoVermont. One garage, two guys, but hey, it works.

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Having never rented a motorbike before, Spencer, of MotoVermont, talked me through the entire process over the phone. Everything was taken care of and explained in detail, right down to shipping our gear to them. Upon arriving and meeting Spencer and Eric, it was time to do a walk-through of the motorbike, a BMW R1200RT.

Our RT for the week

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Spencer showed me how to access everything on this bike, and left it up to me what I would use. He was very patient and professional, answering all the questions I threw at him. At this point it was time to get on the bike and run it up and down the parking lot, getting acquainted with the clutch and brake engagement. A feeling of uneasiness was beginning to creep over me as the unfamiliarity of this motorcycle made itself apparent. Even though the BMW and my Honda ST1300 are the same class of motorcycle, they are very, very different machines.

If you are traveling to Vermont and need to rent a motorbike, do check these guys out. You will not be disappointed!

Due to the airport debacle on Thursday/Friday, Roo and I decided that she would stay in Burlington visiting with her sister, while I rode the BMW 130 miles south to Stratton Mountain Resort where our moto event, STAR (Sport Touring Association Rendezvous) was being held. This would give me and my German partner plenty of time to get intimately acquainted. Roo’s sister would then drive her to Brattleboro on Sunday, where I would make the 45 minute trip on beautiful Vermont back roads to pick her up. It all worked out very well.

My trip from Burlington to Stratton Mountain took me down iconic Vermont 100 (VT100), probably Vermont’s most beautiful scenic by-way, approximately 150 miles long. More on VT100 later, but here is a small sampling of the beautiful Green Mountains and valleys that I passed through along the route.

Ethan Allen’s Green Mountains; where the boy’s were……

Arriving at the Stratton Mountain Resort about 5:00 PM, I parked the RT, checked into the host hotel, The Black Bear Lodge, unloaded the bike, then proceeded to check in for the event. Our club, the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association hosts our annual gathering in different locales throughout the country. This year was the eastern half of the country’s turn, so we took advantage of the location and made the trip.

The Black Bear Lodge

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 Black Bear’s parking lot is loaded with motorcycles, a beautiful sight………..

…….. and the only spot to park the RT was in a no parking zone, which to my mind, pertains only to cars.

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After getting the road grime off my body, I hooked up with some old friends for dinner at Stratton Village. Stratton Mountain Resort is a ski resort, and Stratton Village caters to vacationers with high end shops and resort priced restaurants. We were a captive audience, and we payed the price. But hey, we’re on vacation, in Vermont, on motorcycles! Doesn’t get any better than that!

Evening in Stratton Village

By 9:00 PM I was knackered. After the three day flight here (ha!) and riding the unfamiliar RT 140 curvy miles to Stratton, I was ready to crash (into bed!) Having had dinner and a beer or two, I officially said goodnight! Tomorrow I get re-united with Roo and STAR 2016 officially begins!

Next post: Battling traffic in Brattleboro; American Honda Demo Team at STAR!; Official start of STAR 2016!

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