Guide to The Northeast Backcountry Discover Route Section 5 NEBDR
This is part-2 of Motorcycle-Vermont’s guide to the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route - Vermont (NEBDR). This is a living document that will be updated regularly as we ride the trail, so continue to check for updates. It is also a good idea to read our guide to riding class-4 roads in Vermont for general information about class-4 roads. Section NE5 Barnard to Woodsville, NH features single-lane dirt roads, gravel forest service roads, challenging class-4 off-road sections and some great pavement. You’ll pass the Robert Frost cabins, and ride the Middlebury, Lincoln and Roxbury gaps, and travel some remote roads. The section begins at the Barnard General Store. The store has a great deli, delectable baked goods, and gas for your bike. Silver Lake State Park is across from the store. The park has camping at tent and lean-to sites and coin-operated showers. If you choose to stay there, you can swim in their beautiful lake. Hunger Mountain Road Hunger Mountain Road runs from Barnard (southern end) to VT-107 in Stockbridge (Northern end). When traveling from the Barnard General Store ride north on VT-12. Ride .4 miles and bear left onto West Rd (TH-5). Ride 1.1 miles to a 4-way intersection. Turn right onto Chateauguay Rd. Ride .4 mile and then bear left onto Mt Hunger Rd (a.k.a. (Old Hunger Mtn Rd). You'll enter the woods just past the last house on a gravel road. There is a sign indicating that you're on a class-4 road and maintenance is no longer the town's responsibility. When traveling north to south, navigation is a bit of a challenge. Finding the beginning of the class-4 section can be confusing. After leaving VT-107, head steeply up a short gravel section. The road turns sharply right and then heads up a steep hill. When you come to a 3-way fork (good looking road on the left, little-used road in the middle, and even less used road on the right) take the middle road. The road is not overly technical, despite it's unimproved or primitive surface rating on town maps. For the most part, the road is two-track dirt, with a few ledge rolls. During wet seasons you may find mud holes, but for the most part, these should be short and shouldn't be much of a problem. You'll find the road is somewhat easier to traverse from south to north, because you will be traveling predominately downhill. Riding north to south is slightly more difficult because you are running uphill, but it is not overly technical. Wet weather would, of course, make things more challenging. Hunger Mountain Road to Liberty Hill Rd After Hunger Mountain Road, the NEBDR heads north on predominately gravel roads. You’ll have some spectacular views in the Stockbridge area as the route twists and turns specifically to get you great views. Although the official NEBDR route doesn’t include Pittsfield, there is gas, food, and hardware available there, only a few miles south the route. You can also find several lodging options there. Pittsfield was one of 13 towns isolated during Tropical Storm Irene. The town was cut off when VT-100 was ripped apart just north and just south of the town, making it impossible enter or leave via a car. I was trapped in the town during Irene and found it a pleasant place to be marooned for a couple of days. There is an Inn there that has nice accommodations. After a few days, it became apparent that the VT-100 would not be open any time soon. Since I was prepared with my backpacking gear, I drove to the end of Michigan Road and hiked north to meet my wife on VT-73, leaving my trusty Corrolla behind. It was just over a month before I could return and retrieve my car. Liberty Hill Road Liberty Hill Road in Pittsfield is a short class 4 at 1.24 miles long and is favorite on my mid-state dual-sport loop. Riding from the south, you’ll leave the pavement of VT-100 and turn onto a nice gravel road. As you head uphill, the surface stays gravel well past the intersection with Forsha Rd. As you pass the last house, the road turns to dirt and has some rutted sections. After about 3/4 of a mile, the road heads downhill and becomes rocky. If you pick your line carefully, you’ll have no problem navigating this section. When traveling south, you’ll leave the tarmac of VT-100 and travel up a gravel road. The class-4 section begins by climbing the rocky section, making it somewhat more difficult traveling from north to south. My preference is to ride the road from south to north, as it is somewhat easier to ride and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view to the southeast when you emerge from the woods. Liberty Hill Road to Green Road This section includes the longest stretch of pavement in the NE5 section. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of challenge left before you reach Woodsville at the NH border! The town of Rochester is another good stop for fuel and food. There is a well stocked hardware store, a small grocery store, and a beautiful town green with park benches and picnic tables, right on Route 100. The Rochester Cafe and Country Store has Vermont memorabilia, real milkshakes and classic sandwiches. Sandy’s Books and Bakery is a “hippie” bakery and bookstore where you can fill your belly with great food and your mind with big ideas (just make sure you have room in your saddlebags for an actual book). North of Rochester you hit Hancock, where you’ll find fuel at the intersection of VT-100 and VT-125. VT-125 is a great piece of pavement, with a smooth surface, twists, and views. You’ll pass by the Robert Frost interpretive trail, just before coming to forest road 59, Steam Mill Rd. The Natural Turnpike The Natural Turnpike (forest road 54) is, without doubt, the coolest name ever for a dirt road through the woods. The road was a stagecoach route in the early 1900s connecting Lincoln with Ripton. The Natural Turnpike is, like most forest service roads in Vermont, in excellent condition. It is more like a class-3 gravel road in terms of surface. The road does have two-way vehicle traffic and is used regularly by hikers to reach trailheads, so ride right and expect cars in the middle of the road. The road is open seasonally, which means it’s usually closed until early to mid-May each year. You can check this Forest Service page for the status of the road. If you look carefully, you can find free dispersed camping alongside the road. After completing the Natural Turnpike, follow the track through Lincoln and enjoy the scenic views. You’ll see the backside of the Sugarbush ski area and have beautiful views throughout Lincoln. Green Road Green road is a mile long class-4 section with a moderate amount of challenge when climbing from south to north, you’ll gain 284 feet in about a mile. When dry, your biggest challenge will be picking a good line. When wet, Green Rd can become a slippery, mud fest as you near the top of the climb. I’ve seen carnage on this road on a wet, early spring dual-sport ride, which made the climb muddy, slippery and rutted. In most years, though, this shouldn’t be an issue. The south entrance doesn’t always have a road sign. Look for the large orange triangle sign announcing that the road is a class-4 road, on your left, shortly after turning onto Ripton Rd. The road is a gravel two-track and looks like a driveway. If you miss the turn for Green Rd and continue straight, you’ll be on the NE5 ALT - Easier Green Road track. Continue straight to Browns Road, where you’ll take a right to continue on the main BDR track. The north entrance is off of the mild, gravel, class-3 Green Rd. When traveling south, the entrance to the class-4 section is straight ahead and easy to find. You’ll be traveling downhill on the most difficult section. After Green Rd, the NEBDR snakes around Lincoln and then descends to Lincoln center, where you’ll find the Lincoln General store (food, deli, no gas). The route continues with the Lincoln Gap road. The Lincoln Gap Road The road climbs steadily as you approach the gap and turns to dirt. Shortly after turning to dirt, you’ll pass a Forest Service Road on your right. The forest service road doesn’t connect anything, but it can make for an uncrowded side trip. The road is of good quality and is similar to a class 3 dirt road. After the dirt section, the road returns to pavement and climbs very steeply, with grades as steep as 24% at points. The gap itself does not offer a view, but you can get a western view if you're willing to take a short walk. The Lincoln Gap West Vista trail is just west of the peak. When traveling east, look for a pull-off on your left. The trail is a short hike to the vista. At the peak of the gap there is a large parking lot. Here the Long Trail crosses and it is usually busy with hikers and cars. The ride down to Warren is narrow and twisty. The road is shaded by trees and the surface can stay wet long after rain. The pavement can get moss-covered making it extra slippery. Lincoln Gap road ends on VT-100 in Warren. The Warren Store is across VT-100 and through a covered bridge. The store is a good spot for lunch with baked goods and deli sandwiches, and they have a beautiful deck overlooking the Mad River, making it a great rest stop. Roxbury Gap The BDR heads east out of Warren on paved roads. You'll have views of the Sugarbush ski area to your left as your turn onto Roxbury Gap road. Roxbury Gap climbs approximately 1,000 feet in about 2 miles. There are 25 mph hairpins and steep climbs on a paved surface. At the top of the gap the road turns to gravel and descends the Roxbury side with easterly views. Roxbury Gap to VT-110 After Roxbury Gap, the NEBDR snakes its way through Roxbury, Braintree, and Brookfield on narrow dirt roads and class-3 gravel roads. There are views of the Greens to the southeast, rows of old maple trees, lining dirt roads past colonial-era homes and barns. Approximately 15 miles after crossing VT-12, the NEBDR descends down the narrow dirt Davis Acre road. At the bottom of the hill, Cram Hill road continues on straight north, while the BDR takes a hard right turn and heads uphill. It is easy to mistake Cram Hill Rd as the route (it isn’t). If you need a break, you may want to venture up Cram Hill Rd for a short bit, as the road is easy (at least at the start) and winds along a pretty stream. There are plenty of places to sit and rest while taking in some nature before continuing on. The next tricky intersection is at Lamsom Pond Rd. Traveling “north” (you’re actually headed south/east at this point) Lamsom Pond Rd is a narrow, dirt road that will be on your right. Lamsom Pond Rd is a class-4 road, but is non-technical and passable on a street bike. It’s class-4 designation is due to being only a single lane wide. The road is open to two-way traffic, so caution is needed. Shortly after Lamsom Pond Rd, the NEBDR becomes VT-66. VT-66 descends to the floating bridge in Brookfield VT. After crossing the bridge, the route takes a left and then bears right uphill on Ralph Rd, a narrow dirt road. After crossing VT-14 (pavement) the route takes a right onto Taylor Hill Drive, an easy class-4 dirt road. The route continues on a series of dirt and gravel roads with frequent turns. Watch your track carefully. Just before you come to VT-100, the route takes a left on a short class-4 section (rocks, some mud). You can continue straight on Bobbinshop Road to pass a cool barn with a lot of automotive memorabilia. Continuing straight leads to VT-100. Turn left to stay on the NEBDR. Pepper Rd/Clay Slide Road After crossing VT-110 in Chelsea, the NEBDR climbs to the height of land and rides along a ridge on Pepper Rd. Pepper Road is a pleasant, narrow, gravel and dirt, two-track lined with old maple trees. Pepper Road descends to a large turnaround area. Pepper Road continues straight, up a steep, muddy, rutted hill. Do not mistake this for the BDR (like I did). The BDR takes a hard left onto Clay Slide Road, which you might not see until you’re past it. Clay Slide Road is a flat, short (.71 mile), muddy road that I suspect was included in the BDR to enable riders to link the scenic Pepper Road with Hart Hollow Rd or to provide some challenge. While this section is fine in dry weather, in wet seasons less experienced riders on a fully loaded bike may want to skip this road. Riders heading south on the NEBDR should be aware that the entrance to Clay Slide Road is hard to see. Keep your eyes open for the sharp right-hand turn off of the gravel Hart Hollow Road. If you miss the turn, you can use the by-pass route (NE5 ALT - Easier Pepper Rd) to continue south on the BDR. Washington/Woodchuck Hollow Rd After emerging from the woods onto Hart Hollow Road, the NEBDR rides gravel roads into Washington. There is a store with basic supplies and gas in Washington. From Washington, the NEBDR travels a series of smaller class-3 and class-4 roads, starting with Woodchuck Hollow Road. Technically, Woodchuck Hollow Road is as class-3 road that is “below standard”. Despite the road’s classification, it is functionally a class-4 road. There are open ledges and rocky sections that will test your skid plate, especially if you choose your line poorly. The start of the class-4 section of Woodchuck Hollow Rd begins in an open turn-around. Take the left fork, uphill on a gravel/dirt two-track. Woodchuck Hollow climbs and descends several times on a dirt and rock surface. The class-4 section is approximately 2 miles long. Corinth/Maplewood Road The start of Maplewood Road is easily missed (I did). Look for a hard right turn, past the Corinth Historical Society building. Maplewood Road is a narrow dirt road that runs past a series of camps. The road isn’t overly technical but is a narrow, dirt road with two-way traffic. Approximately 1.4 miles from the Historical Society building, the NEBDR reaches an intersection where it appears to go straight; the route takes a left and heads uphill. Another tricky intersection is at the 3-mile mark, when Maplewood Road continues to the left and the NEBDR heads down a smaller, rockier route. See the waypoints in the GPX file. Corinth The NEBDR emerges from the Maplewood Road section onto the pavement. Watch carefully for the left turn in Corinth center at the Corinth Academy building (Corinth Historical Society). The NEBDR takes a left at the Corinth Academy build and, after a short distance, takes a hard left-hand turn uphill onto a narrow class-4 road (Coppermine Road). This turn is very easy to miss, as it is behind you! Coppermine Road twists through the woods on a fun, class-4 dirt track. Watch for low hanging branches! After Coppermine Road, the NEBDR travels some gravel down to the paved VT-25. The East Corinth General Store (gas; deli; supplies) is at the intersection of VT-25 and Village Rd. Tucker Mtn/Comigan Rd The NE5 Alt - Easier Tucker Mtn track cuts out the most difficult climb of the NE5 section and a significant mud pit. If you’re running late, have poor tires, a heavy bike, or just aren’t that skilled (or maybe all three of these!) you'll probably want to take the go-around. The next class-4 section is on Page Hill Road. The road is marked on the southern end with a sign indicating that there is no winter maintenance. The class-4 section is short and unremarkable. After Page Hill the route takes gravel roads to Old Stagecoach Road. Old Stagecoach Road is a two-lane dirt road that is heavily rutted. At the end of Old Stagecoach, the NEBDR makes a left onto Comigan Road. There is a large mud pit at the southern end of Comigan road. While the pit is fairly short, it is pretty deep and not easily avoided. A solo rider on a heavy bike with 50/50 tires may find the mud a significant challenge. When traveling from north to south, look for the Comigan Road turn just before a culvert (see photo). This turn is easy to miss. The Tucker Mountain hill climb is perhaps the most technical riding of section NE5. Throughout the Tucker Mountain Forest area, there are water bars lined with rocks. Proceed with caution as these water bars can be very rough. I never did find the right speed and found they slowed me down, just when I need speed for climbing. After the Tucker Mountain hill climb, you will descend to a kiosk. The NEBDR proceeds straight, into the woods. To left is a short sandy hill climb to the summit of Tucker Mountain, where you can get a full 360-degree view. End NE5 Section The NEBDR leaves the Tucker Mountain Forest and proceeds on a series of gravel roads until it reaches US-302. You follow US-302 as it crosses the Connecticut River, on an iron bridge, into NH and the end of the Vermont section of the NEBDR. Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Video Purchase the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route movie through our Amazon link and you'll support both the Official BDR organization and Motorcycle-Vermont.com Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route Trailer Related Ride Vermont Class-4 Roads with Respect Download Official NEBDR Tracks Motorcycle-Vermont NEBDR Section 5 Custom Waypoints The Delorme Gazetteers are detail maps that supplement the Offical Butler BDR map and GPX routes. Read our review of the New Hampshire/Vermont Atlas & Gazetteer
Americade 2020 is canceled, Christian Dutcher, CEO of Americade, announced on July 2nd in a Facebook message to the community. “Up until last week, we felt pretty good about the event. We had a full expo. We had motorcycle manufacturers. We had a safety plan that was very sound and that New York state had embraced.” Dutcher said. “When we rescheduled the event, our primary objective was to have a safe event,” Dutcher said. But, during the previous week, things have changed. “We have gone from feeling like we can comfortably run a safe event, to feeling like, ‘we’re not so sure’. And, that’s not a position we want to be in”, he said. Americade draws attendees from all over the country and this is a cause for concern. “It’s extremely disappointing,” Dutcher said. Americade is offering full refunds to all who have preregistered. If registrants put their 2020 registration fee towards Americade 2021, they will receive an extra $20 credit and be allowed to register a week before anyone else. Early registration allows attendees to register for high demand events before they sell out. The cancellation is a blow to Warren County, where the event is hosted. Estimates place the economic activity generated by the event between $20 million and $46 million. Lake George Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gina Mintzer said the cancellation meant a substantial loss of revenue for the county’s businesses. “It’s a big economic hit for the area, but it’s truly the right thing to do,” she said, noting that Dutcher was focusing on protecting the health and well-being of the area citizens as well as the rally’s participants and vendors, rather than seeking financial gain. Related Americade Web Site
T The Gifford Medical Center Last Mile Ride to raise money for end-of-life care is being held between August 1 and 15th, as a virtual event. The money raised helps patients seek alternative therapies like Reiki, massage, and music therapy. They also provide unique services to support families, like providing meals for those spending their last moments with loved ones and helping with transportation costs for far-away families. Unlike previous years, there is no group gathering or ride this year. “We decided to create LMR Home Edition to protect the health and safety of all in our community as we continue to adapt to the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said event organizer and Gifford Director of Development Ashley Lincoln. “LMR Home Edition reflects our new reality while supporting the same great cause. Now more than ever, we are counting on our community to join us, virtually, as we raise funds to support patients at the end of life and their families.” The 15-day event window honors that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the event. To participate, riders should register on the Last Mile Ride website and download a route sheet from a past ride (GPX files for routes). Riders can then ride anytime between August 1st and 15th. Registration fees are by donation. The suggested donation is $50 for an individual rider or $75 for a rider and passenger. Participants are encouraged to take photos and videos and post to social media with the hashtags #LastMileRide #LMRfromHome #15thLMR or tag them on Facebook with @LastMileRide or Instagram with @LastMileRide_VT. Organizers of the event regret they cannot properly celebrate the 15th-anniversary milestone, but promise to have a party at next year’s event. “While we are disappointed that we can’t come together in person to celebrate our 15th annual event, we encourage riding partners, friends, and families to celebrate this milestone, safely, and continue their tradition of giving,” said Lincoln. For additional details and to register, see the Last Mile Ride website.
The 2020 Last Mile Ride -- Home Edition has provided 5 great options for riders looking to run route previously ridden for the Last Mile Ride. Below are routes from 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. You can find downloadable GPX tracks with waypoints linked below. The tracks can be downloaded and then loaded into your GPS unit so you can follow the track from the ride of your choice. Read more about the Last Mile Ride here. Last Mile Routes 2009 Last Mile Route GPX 2010 Last Mile Route GPX 2012 Last Mile Route GPX 2013 Last Mile Route GPX 2014 Last Mile Route GPX Last Mile Route Descriptions
Lincoln Gap Road: The highest vehicle accessible road in Vermont
Lincoln Gap road connects the Champlain Valley to the Mad River Valley via the highest vehicle-accessible mountain pass in Vermont (2,424 ft). On the west, is the town of Lincoln and on the east is Warren, VT. This road is also part of the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route (NEBDR). The road is predominately pavement, with the exception of a 2.72 mile gravel section in Lincoln and a 1 mile long section on the Warren side. Most of the road is steep, narrow, twisty pavement. Coming from the west, turn onto Lincoln Rd from VT-116 just north of the Rocky Dale Gardens. As you head up Lincoln Rd there is a great swimming spot known as Bartlett Falls on your right. There are multiple pull-offs where you can find a spot to get down to the river. The swimming hole features a large waterfall and a deep pool. Away from the main pool you can find multiple smaller pools where you can cool off. 3.4 miles up Lincoln Rd, you’ll come to the Lincoln General Store. The store doesn’t have any gas, but they do have a deli where you purchase a nice sandwich. The road climbs steadily as you approach the gap and turns to dirt. Shortly after turning to dirt, you’ll pass a Forest Service Road on your right. The forest service road doesn’t connect anything, but it can make for an uncrowded side trip. The road is good quality and is similar to a class 3 dirt road. After the dirt section, the road returns to pavement and climbs very steeply, with grades as steep as 24% at points. From the beginning of Lincoln Road you climb 1,800 feet to the height of the gap. The gap itself does not offer a view, but you can get a western view from the Lincoln Gap West Vista trail. The trail is just west of the peak. When traveling east, look for a pull-off on your left. The trail is a short hike to the vista. At the peak of the gap there is a large parking lot. Here the Long Trail crosses and it is usually busy with hikers. The ride down to Warren is narrow and twisty. The road is shaded by trees and the surface can stay wet long after a rain. The pavement can get moss-covered making it extra slippery. Lincoln Gap road ends on VT-100 in Warren. The Warren Store -- just across the street (almost) -- is a good spot for lunch with baked goods, deli sandwiches and a beautiful deck next to the Mad River. The road is closed seasonally, typically closing sometime between late October and mid-November and then reopening in May. See the NewEngland511.org site for the status of the road. Related Lincoln Gap Vista Trail Lincoln Gap GPX
Fresh pavement is to motorcyclists, as great surf is to surfers, or powder snow is to skiers. Here’s a local tip: Pumpkin Harbor Rd in Cambridge, VT is a curvy country road that runs from VT-15 to VT-36 in Fairfield, VT. At the Fairfield end, the road is named South Rd. In between, it’s known as Fairfield Rd. There is little traffic on this 14-mile roller-coaster road. There are farms and views and the smooth pavement just makes this an even better ride. To make a great loop, incorporate the section of VT-36 from VT-108 to Fairfield. If you’re staying at the Sunset Motor Inn in Morrisville, you can make a nice hour-plus long loop by heading east on VT-15 to VT-108. Then north on VT-108 to Bakersfield. From Bakersfield, head west on VT-36 to Fairfield, where you’ll find South Rd at a 4-way intersection. Head south on South Rd and follow the road back to the “wrong-way” bridge in Cambridge on VT-15. Related Sunset Motor Inn, Morrisville
If you are new to Vermont class-4 roads, please read this before proceeding. Liberty Hill Road in Pittsfield is a short class 4 at 1.24 miles long and is a favorite on my mid-state dual-sport loop. The road is also a section of the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route (NEBDR). Riding from the south, you’ll leave the pavement of VT-100 and turn onto a nice gravel road. As you head uphill, the surface stays gravel well past the intersection with Forsha Rd. As you pass the last house, the road turns to dirt and has some rutted sections. After about 3/4 of a mile, the road heads downhill and becomes rockier. If you pick your line carefully you should have no problem navigating this section. When traveling south, you’ll leave the tarmac of VT-100 and travel up a gravel road. The class-4 section begins by climbing the rocky section, making it somewhat more difficult traveling from north to south. My preference is to ride the road from south to north, as it is somewhat easier to ride and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view to the southeast when you emerge from the woods. Forsha Road is slightly longer (1.81 miles) and the technical difficulty is about the same as Liberty Hill. When riding from the south, you’ll split from Liberty Hill Road and head up a gravel road. The road narrows and you’ll enter the woods as the road turns to dirt. To ride Forsha Road south to north, start on Liberty Hill road and climb for about a 1/2 mile before Forsha Road forks off to your right. Forsha Road was a section of the Ridge Run ride of the DirtDaze Adventure bike rally in 2019. There are some really nice views on Forsha Road near the site of the A. Davis home, built in 1850. Pittsfield was one of 13 towns isolated during Tropical Storm Irene. The town was cut off when VT-100 was ripped apart just north and just south of the town, making it impossible to enter or leave via a car. I was trapped in the town during Irene and found it a pleasant place to be marooned for a couple of days. After a few days, it became apparent that VT-100 would not be open any time soon. Since I was prepared with my backpacking gear, I drove to the end of Michigan Road and hiked north to meet my wife on VT-73, leaving my trusty Corrolla behind. It was just over a month before I could return and retrieve my car. Related Ride Vermont Class-4 Roads With Respect Liberty Hill Rd. GPX file
Vermont’s class-4 roads are a treasure for those seeking adventure in their adventure riding. They offer challenge, access to remote areas and a whole lot of fun for dual-sport and adventure bike riders. But, these areas are sensitive. They are frequently in residential areas, and despite being public, are subject to being taken away swiftly by annoyed locals. Excessive noise, speeding, and generally acting like an idiot can ruin it for everyone. If it has been rainy and the trails are wet and waterlogged, don’t ride muddy sections. Doing so ruins the trail, causes erosion, creates ruts and threatens access. These roads are not maintained and conditions change rapidly. What was an easy section can be much more difficult in wet weather. Trees fall down, holes appear and rocks move. Do not expect things to be exactly as they were the last time you saw them. Road descriptions on Motorcycle-Vermont reflect the condition of the road when we last road them. Your condition will likely vary. So…. When using a class-4 road, please ride respectfully. Use the “when-in-town-throttle-down” mantra as you approach. You may need to ride across someone’s lawn (seriously) to get to the public right of way access to the class-4 section. Children, chickens, dogs, old people or middle-aged men may be in the road. Someone might call the selectboard and complain. Local selectboards control whether these roads continue to exist and that annoyed farmer shaking his fist at you might be the selectboard chair -- you just don’t know. Ride respectfully. The state-wide speed limit on gravel roads -- unless otherwise posted -- is 35 mph. Frequently, it is lower than 35 and is likely to be 25 or 30 mph. Expect two-way traffic. The traffic traveling the other way could be another motorcycle, an ATV, a monster truck, a donkey, a hiker or a moose. You just don’t know, so expect it and ride slower than you can, so you can stop. If you encounter a horse, slow to a stop and turn off your motorcycle. Allow the horse rider to acknowledge you and follow their lead. Usually, they will thank you and pass-by thinking how wonderful motorcycle riders are. Related Class-4 Mount Hunger Rd
If you are new to Vermont's Class-4 roads, please read this post about class-4 roads Mount Hunger Road runs from VT-107 in Stockbridge to Barnard and is part of the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route(NEBDR) in Vermont. The road is not overly technical, despite it's unimproved or primitive surface rating on town maps. For the most part, the road is two-track dirt, with a few ledge rolls. During wet seasons you may find mud holes, but for the most part, these should be short and shouldn't be much of a problem. You'll find that it is somewhat easier to traverse from south to north because you will be traveling predominately downhill. When traveling north from the Barnard General Store ride north on VT-12. Ride .4 miles and bear left onto West Rd (TH-5). Ride 1.1 miles to a 4-way intersection. Turn right onto Chateauguay Rd. Ride .4 mile and then bear left onto Mt Hunger Rd (a.k.a. (Old Hunger Mtn Rd). You'll enter the woods just past the last house on a gravel road. There is a sign indicating that you're on a class-4 road and maintenance is no longer the town's responsibility. When traveling north to south, you’ll find navigation a bit of a challenge. Finding the beginning of the class-4 section is a challenge. After leaving VT-107, head steeply up a short gravel section. The road turns sharply right and then heads up a steep hill. When you come to a 3-way fork (good looking road on the left, little used road in the middle, and even less used road on the right) take the middle road. As you travel south, bear left to stay on Mount Hunger Rd. Riding north to south is slightly more difficult because you are running uphill, but it is not overly technical. Wet weather would, of course, make things more challenging. Related Ride Vermont Class-4 Roads With Respect Mount Hunger GPX
When you’re riding route 100 and need a break, check out Forest Road 55 in Granville, VT. The road runs along the White River and this is what makes the road such a nice place for a stop. Ride up the road and look for pull-offs on the river side. The pull-off usually comes with easy access to the river for lounging or a quick swim. You can find a shady, cool spot or a nice sunny one. Located just north of the Granville Country Store and just South of the Green Mountain Glassworks, nestled into a corner on VT-100, you’ll find an unassuming dirt road, West Hill Rd (also known as forest road 55). If you're headed north on 100, pick up lunch to-go in Hancock or Rochester or if you're heading south at the Granville General store. If you’re a street rider and have never ridden a forest road, you may find it intimidating. In reality, most forest roads are meant to be passable by regular passenger cards with a minimum of ground clearance and no 4-wheel drive. If you’re comfortable riding Vermont’s class-3 dirt roads (I.e. pretty much every dirt road in the state) you’ll be fine on this forest road. Forest roads are subject to closure during the “winter” months. After May 15th you will usually find it open and ready to ride, but if you’re planning a stop it’s always good to check with the Forest Service to make sure the road is open. Related Forest Service Road closures
Vermont Department of Motor Vehicle’s Commissioner Wanda Minoli announced yesterday that automobile licensing and permit tests will resume, but motorcyclists will have to wait until the end of June or possibly July 1 before permit testing will be available. On the positive side, the DMV Basic Rider course will resume on June 5th. According to the Department’s online registration page, the Basic Rider class is filled until the July 24th class. Registration for the 7/24 classes ends July 16 and the site is showing availability at most locations. The DMV offers the Basic Rider course in Berlin, St. Johnsbury, Highgate, East Dorset, Pittsford, Colchester, and Dummerston. Classes this summer will run June to October. A motorcycle permit is not required to take the Basic Rider class. Riders who complete the Basic Rider class will earn their motorcycle endorsement. The Experienced Rider class is being offered three times this summer, once in June, July and August. Wilkins Harley Davidson is also offering a New Rider training class for people who want to learn to ride. No permit is required to take the class and you can earn your motorcycle license endorsement by taking the course. The Wilkins New Rider class has openings beginning in August. The class is run through September. Related Vermont Rider Training Classes Wilkins Harley New Rider Class
Here’s a local rider tip: If you’re looking for a convenient place to stop and eat your takeout lunch, consider the pond at the App-Gap on VT-17. I usually ride past the pond with only a quick glance. In the many years I’ve been riding by the pond, I had never gotten off my bike and walked around it -- until this weekend. I think this is because the water level is usually too high to make walking around the pond possible. This year, however, the water level is low and you can easily walk to the far side and get a very different view of this pretty pond. To visit the pond, park at one of the parking lots at the pond. There is one on each side of the road, making parking easy. Look for a path off of the parking on the pond side of the road, where you can find enough dry land to get to the water’s edge. With a bit of rock hopping you can make it all the way to the far side. Enjoy! Related Bristol App-Gap Middlebury Gap Ride
Vermont Thunder is always a solemn tribute to those who have served their country. This year was even more restrained than usual, as organizers modified the event to stay compliant with government restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The wreath laying ceremony was attended by only a few, many who were wearing masks. Most of the riders waited outside the Vietnam memorial to take part in the ride. There was no gathering in Richmond this year. Riders waited at I-89 rest areas along the route and join the ride in progress. Around 200 riders participated in this year's ride, according to event organizers. Motorcycle-Vermont is offering FREE social media sized photo downloads. Full sized downloads are only $4.99 and riders can order prints of their favorite photos. To see all photos from this year's ride and download images, see this gallery: Do you like "Free" photos? Purchase a full-size image or get a print to help offset costs to bring you free images!
Dana L. Sanderson, 60, of Colchester, died Sunday May 17 in a motorcycle crash on Lake Rd in Crown Point, NY. Sanderson was traveling north on his 2007 Harley Davidson when he went off the road on a sharp curve and struck a telephone pole. The accident happened at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sanderson was pronounced dead at the scene.
2020 Vermont Thunder Ride Modified For Covid-19 Safety
The 2020 Vermont Thunder Ride, scheduled for this coming Sunday, May 24th is going to be different from previous years. Organizers have made modifications to the traditional route and onsite vending to comply with Coronavirus safety precautions. A brief ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Sharon rest area on Interstate-89 northbound. The ride leaves the rest area at 11:30 and will follow an all-interstate route to St. Albans. This year, there will be no stop at Richmond. This year's ride is a direct ride to Enosburg, VT, where there will be another brief ceremony, concluding the event. The ride is approximately 125 miles, from Sharon to Enosburg VT and riders should be prepared with enough fuel. There will be no mid-ride fuel stop this year and no police escort. This year's ride route is mostly on I-89. The route begins at the Sharon rest area and will follow I-89 until exit 20 in St. Albans. Riders who wish to join the ride along route can do so. The route passes four rest areas: immediately after exit 10 (Waterbury); before exit 12, (Williston); the pull off between exits 16 & 17 (Before the Milton exit); and immediately after exit 18 (Georgia exit). Riders who would like to join the ride in progress can wait at a rest area and join when the ride come by. Changes from normal include: No mid-ride fuel stop No lunch at the American Legion No pre-ride staging No staging at Richmond There is no cost to participate in the ride. Vermont Thunder patches, pins and flags are sold to raise money. All donations and funds raised go to veterans and their families. If you cannot attend the ride, but would like to send a donation, send a check to: Vermont Thunder Inc. 9 Bushey St, Swanton, VT 05488. Families and spectators are encouraged.The Vermont Thunder ride honors Vermont’s veterans from all wars. All types of bikes are welcome. For official information and updates, see the Vermont Thunder Facebook group. Directions to the Sharon Rest Area from the north: Note: When riding south on I-89 (i.e. from the north) there is no off-ramp for the Sharon rest area. Ride I-89 south to exit 1 US-4/Woodstock/Quechee (thiere is gas at this exit!) Turn right at the end of the I-89 off ramp onto US-4/Woodstock Rd Ride back over the interstate Turn right onto the I-89 North on ramp Travel 4.8 miles on i-89 to the Sharon rest area The closest gas to the Sharon Rest area is off I-89 at exit 1.
The Vermont Department of Transportation (VTrans) announced today that VT-108 through Smuggler's Notch is now open for the summer season. VTrans closes the roads each year due to snow. For information on Vermont roads, follow the VTrans Facebook page or use the NewEngland511 website.
On Friday, Christian Dutcher, President of Americade, announce via a Facebook message that the 2020 DirtDaze Adventure Bike Rally in North Haverhill, NH is on for August 20th-23rd. "We're watching the virus very closely and taking it very seriously, but the trend lines are going in the right direction and we feel pretty good about the event happening in August," Dutcher said. Dutcher said the event is working with state and local officials to monitor the situation and ensure that event can be held safely. "The theme this year is going to be 'head out and spread out'," Dutcher said. Camping, rides, dining will all be spread out. Dutcher said that there will be more vendors this year and demo rides will be offered, just like in previous years. On line registration will begin on June 1 on the DirtDaze website. Complete Message from Christian Dutcher 2018 DirtDaze Rally Video Related DirtDaze website Video: DirtDaze Adventure Bike Rally Recaps
Vermont’s motorcycle dealerships are adapting and hoping to survive the Covid-19 pandemic by doing things a bit differently. From service to sales, things have changed and the thin margins that rule motorcycle dealerships have gotten a bit thinner. “We’re still here, we’re still open, we just have to do things a bit differently”, said Tamara Boise Dealer Principle of Cyclewise Ducati/Triumph Vermont. Cyclewise is offering pick-up and delivery for service and part orders and hoping that they can keep customers happy. “We’re just trying to meet customer demands”, said Boise. Wilkins Harley-Davidson is offering loaner bikes and pickup and delivery for service. Roadside Motorsports is providing curbside drop-off of motorcycles for service. Sales of motorcycles haven’t taken a big hit -- at least not yet -- but the work involved in each sale has increased. John Lyon of Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Barre said the dealership sold 26 bikes in April, but is delivering motorcycles to the buyer’s homes to complete the sale. Cyclewise has had a similar experience. “Unit sales are not far off”, Boise said. “But, it takes two or three times as long to do each sale”. Exchanging paperwork has become a major chore. The Ducati factory in Italy shutdown in March creating back orders for popular models like the Ducati Streetfighter. Harley Davidson, Yamaha and other also shutdown due to the pandemic. Accessories and apparel have taken the biggest hit, since dealership have had to close their showrooms. Shoppers have turned to online sales -- a trend that dealers have been fighting for years -- and the impulse buy is no longer an option. The closures were a factor in Wilkins closing their newly purchased Essex store. “We just didn’t have the runway to turn around an under performing dealership”, Lyon said. “We want to be here for the customer for the long-term. When a customer buys a bike from us -- new or used -- we make a long-term commitment to be there for them.” “We’re making decisions to preserve the long-term viability of the business,” Lyon said. Wilkins has been in business for 73 years. Cyclewise and Wilkins are both known for running community events for their customers, but both are taking a wait-and-see approach before committing to running events this summer. Both dealerships canceled their March and April events. Cyclewise is looking for creative ways to run events this summer and hopes to still do demo rides. “It’s going to be more of a VIP experience,” said Boise. Rides will be by-appointment, groups will be small and bikes will need to be disinfected in between riders. Cyclewise hopes to do their traditional Father’s Day weekend track day at New York Safety track. Additional rider registrations are needed to make the event happen, though. Currently, New York Safety track is planning to open. When dealerships are given the green light to open their showrooms customers should expect a different experience. There will likely be limits on the number of people allowed into the store and masks will be required. “We’ll do our best to size customers before trying on apparel,” Boise said. Unsold gear will likely need to be quarantined after a fitting session. So the new normal will be different than before: let’s do our part to keep Vermont dealerships in business by buying local and supporting Vermont businesses and the people who run them.
Natural Turnpike, Forest Service Roads Open; Smugglers Notch, others still closed.
The Natural Turnpike and Steam Mill Road opened this past weekend, along with other roads in the Green Mountain National Forest. The Forest Service maintains 21 roads in the Green Mountain National Forest. Most are opened on May 1st, but local conditions can effect openings. To learn if a specific road is open, contact the ranger station responsible for road maintenance or check the seasonal roads closures page on the Green Mountain National Forest website. The following roads are maintained by the northern ranger station: FR 61 (Smith Brook), FR 62 (Thresher Hill), FR 24, 24A, 24B (Moosalamoo Campground and Voter Brook), FR 224 (Romance Header), FR 54 (Natural Turnpike), FR 59 (Steam Mill), FR 412 (Lefferts Pond Access), FR 68 (Cobb Hill), FR 202 (French Settlement), FR 95 (Dragon Brook), FR 45 (Chittenden Brook Rd), FR 25 (Austin Brook), Warren Falls Parking Lot. The following roads are maintained by the southern ranger station: White Rocks Picnic Area), FR6 (Kelley Stand), FR10 (Tabor-Landgrove), FR71 (Somerset Res.), FR273 (Prospect Mtn), FR72 (Red Mill), FR74 (Aiken), FR73 (Camp Casino). Users should contact the Middlebury Ranger Station at 802-767-4261 for northern roads and the Manchester ranger station at 802-362-2307 for up to date information. Smugglers Notch (VT-108) and the Lincoln Gap road between Lincoln and Warren remain closed. All of Vermont’s welcome centers and rest areas are currently closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The parking areas at these rest areas are open. Related New England 511 Road Closures Map National Forest Road closures