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Mad Wikkid Bike Toouah Day 02

Mad Wikkid Bike Toouah Day 02

06/10/2016 | Hoosac Tunnel MA, to Merck Forest, VT

We felt alive. The rain had stopped, the temperature was up and all we had to do was make it to this magical cabin/castle situated in the middle of a syrup planation. We had all day to get there. Everything was going to be fine, we could take our time.

Mad Wikkid Bike Toouah Day 02

I II III IV V VI VII

I Day 02 Intro & Stats

START – STOP: Hoosac Tunnel, MA – Merck Forest, VT

 

DISTANCE: 64. 8mi

 

ELEVATION GAIN: 5993 ft

 

RIDING TIME: 7:00

 

TIME AWAKE SPENT IN PURSUIT OF THE TRIP, ROUGHLY: 10:00

 

POINTS OF INTEREST / OBJECTIVES: Leave Massachusetts. Stare in wonder at some stately Vermont homes. Find Zoar. Reach the Nenorod Cabin aka Nimrod’s Palace in the Merck Forest.

 

CUE SHEET: KML DOWNLOAD

 

WEATHER: No rain, but oh boy did we have wind. Wind all day, the kind of wind that turns you into the windsock. The kind of wind that always looks you straight in the eye, the kind of wind that needs to face you Mano a Mano. There is no ducking this wind. No matter where you turn, it is there confronting you. At least it wasn’t a cold wind, but then again Chinese Water Torture doesn’t depend on the temperature of the water.

 


 

MAJOR SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
We wake up in the morning and we are still alive. That might sound like an absurd statement, but with all the supernatural hubbub going on in this area is it really? Especially when you consider our run in with Barefoot Brad. Maybe Barefoot Brad was a real dude, with real problems, who really just had too much to drink and ingest and maybe later in the night after ranting about the sonorous merits of Glostik Willy he quietly passed out. Maybe he did get on that Greyhound bus back to Ohio and maybe he’ll get his life back together (or just together). There’s also the possibility that he was a figment of our collective imagination, a manifested tapestry of our conjoined id, the feral human that lives inside all of us, twisted and tortured by the psychic torment of the fractured excess of modern living. Why not? Everyone knows the Hoosac Tunnel is haunted AF. Who knows what kind of maladies would have befallen our troupe had one of our members taken BFB up on his offer to “pass the Kool-Aid around.” The imagination can’t help but conjure the stuff of horror movies: limitless gore and high pressure fountains of blood.

 

To this day we can’t say for sure who or what BFB was, but we can all agree that the chattering trill of songbirds and the gentle rush of a river is a better alarm clock than an axe through your chest. Needless to say, we looked forward to today. We felt alive. The rain had stopped, the temperature was up and all we had to do was make it to this magical cabin/castle situated in the middle of a syrup planation. We had all day to get there. Everything was going to be fine, we could take our time.

 

Our plan called for a reprovisioning at the Yankee Pantry in Dorset. You all should know that Dorset is real nice. How nice? We’re talking about houses set back from the road in the midst of expansive and well-manicured estates—sure, you’ve seen nice houses before, but have you seen marble sidewalks? Dorset has em. MARBLE SIDEWALKS. Same material as all those selfie-worthy statues in Europe, same material that you save up for your whole life just to have a few pithy words about your existence immortalized in a lawn of other marble totems.

This is high dollar stuff, yet in Dorset even the common man can just up and walk upon it, the common man. You, me, us. We can just stroll around on their marble sidewalks. What a world!”- YJ

Anyway we had to call ahead to the Yankee Pantry to see if they would stay open late for us—I am not not saying that we spent considerable time in awe of those sidewalks—to our relief they were happy to oblige. I believe they call it noblesse oblige. Anyway the staff was perfectly civil, going so far as to point out the finer home-baked cookies available in their market. With their help we were able to outfit ourselves for the night and make our way up syrup mountain to the Nenorod Cabin in Merck Forest.

II The Morning After the Hoosac Haunting
We've survived the night so we make breakfast and go for a bike ride.

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Benedict's bicycle comfortably at rest in a tick dungeon.
Mile 40
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I am pretty sure that the sun has already been up for a while. We've been lounging. What's the rush?

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Is that sweet potato a phaser? Is this being from one of Jupiter's moons? Does he come in peace? No, silly, it's Benedict! (But he does come in peace.)
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Moi was definitely not feeling good this morning. You can see the sadness in his eyes, he's sad for his body, for his throat, for his sinuses. ♫♫ Moi in blue, Moi in blue, what does this beautiful day hold forth for you? ♫♫
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When the water is too warm you should be concerned. Note Pat'z face, he's concerned.
9:15 am
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Sarah contemplates the meaning of things. So it goes.
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Turns out there was a nuclear plant on this river. Although it is no longer there, its zeitgeist remains in the form of unexpectedly warm river water, as if the cooling tower runoff is haunting the river. It should be noted that we filtered our water out of this nuclear ghost river and used it to make breakfast and to directly hydrate our bodies. Do I have a eye growing out of my back? Is this where they filmed Toxic Avenger?
R E C O N
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Our team organized in the road just 100 yards from our campsite. The change in temperature was astonishing: in the trees there was a chill, jackets were required, there was slight shivering. But on the road, a totally different story. It was warm and the wind had vanished. This didn’t make sense. Why would it be windy in the trees and not windy in the open space of the road? Why was the river so warm? Were we still alive? Is this heaven? Is this hell?
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III Readsboro, VT
We meet a puppy. Also we have lunch and stock up on candy.

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For all intents and purposes Moi was the keeper of those red, white, and blue Vaurnets. But when your kit is this TIGHT, those glasses belong on your face. No discussion.
11:36 am
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Poppi is a lensman in training, but he already understands that in order to get the best shot you sometimes have to put yourself in an awkward position. It's all part of the process. Photographers call this particular pose, "Peeping Tom at my bedroom window."
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Mile 49
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#bikepacking
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After the proprietress warns Bryan that we can’t drink beers in front of her store, we guilefully conceal our cans in paper bags or behind/tucked amongst our other food stuffs. A little cat-and-mouse makes beer taste better.
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ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!
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Today we introduced Mary to Corn Nuts. I think she loved them, at least she said she did. That's what we do here folks. We open doors and expand minds. We change lives. Those of you familiar with Corn Nuts understand. Those who aren't, congratulations. You've been living a broken life.
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It should be noted that Benedict does not approve of this store. His eyes are sad as he watches the team consume cheap, low-quality food. To be sure, it is far from artisanal. What have we become?
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IV On the long road to Dorset
In which we do a couple hours of really pleasant riding on some amazing gravel roads.

1:15 pm
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Here comes dat Moi!
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Benedict knows where the camera is at all times, and he knows how to get the most out of his lenswork. Case in point: this image says movement, it says enthusiasm, its says Future Heritage, its says tanned, its says Civil War Veteran.
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The gravel is sooo smooth.
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Vermont is a ghost state.
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3:23 pm
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Mile 79
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Only he knows.
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5:37pm
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It’s clear that given our current rate we are not going to make it to the Yankee pantry before they close. Fortunately Benedict is telecommunications-proficient and uses a mix of his fame and his sonorous voice to persuade the Yankee Pantry-ers to stay open a bit later. They agree. I am pretty sure Bene had to send a selfie to seal the deal. Bikepacking is all about doing what it takes.

"Hello, Dorset Yankee Pantry."

"Yes, it's me Benedict. Oh ha ha, that's kind of you. Yes we're running a little late... oh you don't mind waiting?... well you're sweet. Of course whatever you want me to sign... oh, your baby, sure never signed a baby before... ok then we'll see you soon."

V We arrive at Dorset
We provision for the night and marvel at Dorset's marble sidewalk

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Mile 98
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6:17pm
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The Yankee Pantry is an artisanal photo shoot. Homemade goods, freshly chopped meats, pickled goods with handwritten labels. Our troupe spends some time here. A local tells us, “Yes the cabin is very close, but the climb is very steep.” I look around the room after she says this, and all of a sudden we look like balloons three days after the party: deflated and wrinkled. (Addendum: No shit, that road is steep. We all pretty much relied on that that lowest-gear-standing-row-boat technique, you know the one where you pull back hard on the handlebars at every pedal stroke. Yeah, that one.)

VI Nenorod Cabin in Merck Forest
All stocked up from the Yankee Pantry. Let the feast begin!

Mile 105
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There was a distinct sense that we were riding directly into a deer tick trap. If you’ve seen Kung Fu movies, a common trope is a horde of ninja/assassins amassing in the treetops, lethal merc’s packed to the gills with blades. Well exchange those ninjas with deer ticks and replace those blades with Lyme’s disease and you’ll have a sense of what we were riding into.
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All stocked up with artisanal goods from the Yankee Pantry. What a delight.
7:56pm
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As it turns out, Nenorod Cabin was another 2.5 mi of steep gravel roads further than what we anticipated. It's really nice though, with a loft and a very effective stove.
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"In contemporary American English, the term is now commonly used to mean a dimwitted or a stupid person, a usage first recorded in 1932 and popularized by the cartoon character Bugs Bunny, who sarcastically refers to the hunter Elmer Fudd as "nimrod",[37][38] as an ironic connection between "mighty hunter" and "poor little Nimrod", i.e. Fudd."—Wikipedia
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VII Day 02 Route

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