I rode into New Hampshire and back into Vermont today! It was a beautiful ride up Middlebury gap and along the White River into New Hampshire, and up the Connecticut River back into Vermont. It was a steep climb (12% grade at times!) up the gap as the sun rose over the Green Mountains. I guess they call mountain passes “gaps” in this part of the country. Middlebury Gap was only about 2,000 feet, but the climbing was spread out over only six miles. This made it one of the steepest climbs of the trip so far. As I passed through the rest of Vermont, I made an effort to stop at the country stores. In Vermont, the country store serves as the center of the community. They offer far more than just maple candies and Red Bull. Folks hang out on the porches and come together as neighbors and friends. At my first store in the town of Rochester, I met some very kind locals. They told me of their hopes of their future and how they believe in the power of people and nature. I also enjoyed a really good bagel. I went out on a limb and got the one with dill and onion. It was a pleasant surprise. While going down the White River, I stopped for some fantastic maple ice cream in the middle of the forest. If you didn’t know by now, ice cream makes excellent biking fuel! At lunch, I stopped at the country store in Sharon to get another Gatorade. I ended up getting much more than just some electrolytes. After chatting with some locals there, I learned they had completely opposite views from the folks in Rochester. They were extremely worried about our nation’s future and are fearful of the growing effects of climate change. I love finding opposite perspectives in just one day and in the same state! I then crossed over into New Hampshire, only to turn back into Vermont. I had a few more small climbs into town and arrived just ahead of a large storm. I’m excited to knock off New Hampshire tomorrow!