Dirt Maggots Ride the VT Puppy Dog Route – Day 1 Friday June 14th: NJ to Killington VT

I’ve been so busy since we got home from this trip last Monday I really haven’t had the time to write anything up. So I figured before the memories start to fade I should force myself to get something down. The truth is nothing really crazy or to funny went down on this trip, which is always something great to build a ride report around. So I’ll take a just the facts approach with this one.

The Plan:

The plan was to ride Winsted, CT after work on Thursday and spend the night. Then start what is known as the Trans Mass Trail (TMAT) on Friday morning. The TMAT is an 80 mile mixed surface route some local riders in northern Mass put together and put out on the internet for free. Unfortunately Mother Nature had different plans for us in the form of over 3 inches of rain Thursday into Friday morning and we were forced to scrap the TMAT. We’ll get it next time!

The following two days we would ride the VT BMW clubs “Puppy Dog Route” (PDR) south to north. It starts in Greenfield Mass and ends in Troy VT. The entire route is 385 miles and it’s approximately 80 to 90% dirt. Once we got to the top of VT the plan was to run another route from the VT BMW club that follows an old military road called the Baley-Hazen road, which was another 80 miles of dirt. Then finally finish the last night of our trip in Lake George and head for home on the slab the next morning.

We covered 1200+ miles in 4 days. We had no wrecks or mechanical failures. The routes were great. The weather conditions were nearly perfect and we had 4 riders equally matched with equipment and intent. But of course the star of the show as always was Vermont!

The Riders:

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The Shogun Named Marcus 

2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC (the superior Green model, not the Orange model with over ventilated engine)

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Safety Man

2006 Suzuki “Wee” Strom 650 (formerly owned by The Shogun, currently owned by our friend Oliver and on loan for the weekend with the promise of being returned spotless and in good nick)

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New Guy Nick

2006 Suzuki “Wee” Strom 650 (formerly belonging to Safety Man, currently owned by a friend of Nick’s and also on loan for the weekend with the same return criteria)

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Konrad Urban

2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC (the fast Black one)

Day 1 Friday June 14th: NJ to Killington VT – 411 miles.

Three of us coming from North Jersey decided to meet up at my house and get on the road from Sussex County at 7 am. The meet up point would be Plattekill rest area on Rt 87, which is pretty much the standard meet up point for any ride heading north of the tri-state area these days. We would be meeting up with the Shogun who was headed up from NYC. We showed up and to no surprise to anyone the Shogun had his bike in pieces for yet another road side adjustment.

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What? You don’t completely remove your handlebars at the first rest stop of a 4 day road trip? Pussy!

Shortly after, we were on our way. The clouds cleared up and we decided to slab our way up to Greenfield Mass via 87 and 91. My thinking was we would get there a few hours after lunch stop and regroup. Maybe get on the southern section of the PDR and ride the 30 to 40 miles up to Brattleboro VT and find a hotel there for the night. At the time this seemed like all I should be asking of the guys. But man I was wrong on all accounts. We did the 230 miles of slab up to Greenfield in what felt like 15 minutes and before I knew it I was finding myself looking for a place for lunch at lunchtime. My trusty old GPS pointed me to an Evil Bill approved Cracker Barrel, and one big plate of chicken and dumplings and some self-congratulating we were on our first dirt of the day!

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Just like Homemade…if your home was a kitschy chain restaurant favored by blue hairs and hillbillies.

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First of a whole lot of dirt to come.

The Southern section of the PDR was hardly a mystery for most of us. Safety Man and I and Shogun have ridden small sections of it on multiple VT trips. We had never ridden the whole of it though. It starts following the Green River through northern Mass, over the ubiquitous covered bridge and you then cross the border into VT on a dirt road with none of the usual state to state border crossing hullabaloo. I can truly say that crossing a state line in the woods on a dirt road on your bike is one of the best experiences in moto travel you can have.

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Over the bridge and into VT we go!

At this point I still was planning on stopping at Brattleboro which was quickly approaching. It was almost 4 pm so I stopped and to a man everyone voted to keep going.  It seems somewhere along that Green River everyone hit their third wind. We were already over 300 miles, but the boys were smiling like little kids. Let’s ride they said. So ride we did.  I next set sights on calling it a day at one of my favorite spots in VT the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners VT. Unfortunately Long Trail has the poor taste of closing their bar at 6 pm, even on a Friday! Of course we pulled into town at 6:05. Without much hand ringing I made the executive decision we would spend the night in close by Killington. I had designs on swilling beers and chowing on pizza at Outback pizza on the access road to the mountain. I bungeed a 12 pack of Long Trail Belgium Wheat to the Tigers pillion and we booked in at the Killington Inn. It’s the type of motel we love on these types of trips. You park your bike in front of your room and hang out on the front porch. It gave me a very satisfied feeling inside when the inn keeper stuck us in the building in the back, away from the road, despite the fact that the road facing building had maybe 2 other guests. Gotta keep that biker trash out of sight.

P1010472_zps569ec5f4Off with the gear, and an hour or so of bench racing and general bragging on the day’s events and off we were to Outback pizza. Many pizzas of varying toppings were consumed and much beer was guzzled. A very intellectual conversation was had concerning our waitress’s um, assets. I requested a Little Feat song from the house band and they proceeded to listen to Spanish Moon play on my phone, then go back up and bang it out flawlessly (very cool!). And a very serious war of attrition with a life size set of Jenga was about to go down! It was a hell of a first day to start the trip.

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The new Jenga, a contact sport?

Coming up next Day 2: Killington VT to Troy VT……