October 10, 2021

Peak Foliage in Wells River, or just about.

Leaves are falling fast, sounds like radio static as they ricochet through the canopy to the ground. Might could shelter beneath handy mushroom umbrella, depending on your perspective.

And in Marshfield at Bailey Pond -

May 1, 2021

Green Up Day again.

I think, sometimes, of Lestoil Lady and Oilzum Man, and the years they spent, side by each, nested in the forest humus, watching the seasons pass, probably thinking they would rust away to nothing in that spot, always together, and I wonder if I should have cleaned them up after all. I don't know. I do know I'll be out there next year again.

April 23, 2021

Restoring original granite milemarkers.

Cool news from New Hampshire's Northern Rail Trail. One of the neat things to come across on old rail trails, including sections of the Cross Vermont Trail, is original old granite milemarkers. On our trail each is marked on one side with miles to Montpelier, and on the other with miles to Wells River. It's like a scavenger hunt to explore for and find the surviving stones. Volunteers on the Northern Rail Trail are taking the scavenger hunt to the next level. They are hunting for, and finding, stones that were taken from the railbed years ago and repurposed elsewhere. Once rediscovered, they are replacing the stones back in their original locations. Amazing! Read the full article at Rails to Trails Conservancy.

August 23, 2020

Last Wagon West on Old Fassett Road

What happens if you are driving down a town road right at the moment the Selectboard votes to throw it up? Must have happened at least once. As a part or our new trail easement on the Fairmont Farm "Haven" property, we are girding ourselves to refurbish a section of discontinued town road, but probably won't be refurbishing the Dodge that comes with it.

December 20, 2019

Homemade Rollercoaster!

March 24, 2019


In the back corner of the B&O Rail Museum, came across a little bicycle style hand car. Well now, I'd never heard of that before, but turns out the idea of biking along railbeds came to people right from the get go. And once you know to google "velocipede" or "handcar", let's just say it's one of the good searches. Lots of videos of people cranking along on abandoned railroads that still have their tracks. And some gadget funnery . . .

From www.railroadhandcar.com Velocipede: I also own an antique railroad bicycle type car known as a velocipede. The machine was a popular inspection device for one or two man crews between 1880 and World War II. The machine is propelled by the operator pulling the handle towards the chest. My velocipede is an original model circa 1900 and is available for rent.

The same guy also makes new handcars, and sells them as kits. He named the company Kalamazoo Manufacturing .

I feel like Kalamazoo is neverland type name, a land where you can handcrank through wide open spaces in a state of perfect flow . . .

Of course people are figuring out how to do this with actual bicycles. There are a lot of DIY builds demonstrated on youtube. I like this one because it seems the most realistic for those of us without machine shops or welding skills. Though it does require having an old skate board.

And as always, turns out everything we do that's cool, they were already doing back in the old days, plus bedecked in flowers, wearing white dresses. Great early days of bicycles articles at ridevintage.com.

September 28, 2018

Cyclocross looks like fun.

Our friends at Onion River Outdoors and Wrightsville Beach have posted up beaucoup photos from last weekends annual "Dam Wrightsville Cyclocross" events. Travel with me now down the rabbit hole of supergenic photo streams . . . from the ORO facebook page.

And, you know, with all the trail improvement projects we've got lined up on the XVT route, if you want this kind of experience on the Cross Vermont Trail, you should go out now and get it, before it's too late!

*Fast Track, a trampoline walkway in the woods, was installed in Nikola-Lenivets park in rural Russia for the Archstoyanie art festival back in July 2012. The installation was created by Estonian architecture firm Salto Architects. The trampoline walkway has proved so popular that the organisers have decided to leave it in place for visitors to the park to use. Fast track is now an integral part of the park infrastructure, described as, “…. a road and an installation at the same time”, and further as “… an attempt to create intelligent infrastructure that is emotional and corresponds to the local context. It gives the user a different experience of moving and perceiving the environment.”* There's an intelligent website that riffs on this idea - and much more urban design free thinking - PopUpCity.net.

June 17, 2018

Trampoline Bridges

Well, the famous one in Paris turns out to have been just CGI (or a conceptual design as we in the preliminary engineering business are wont to say). But the one in Russia was real - more a boardwalk than a bridge, but that's good too!

And in Copenhagen (always) they have trampolines built into the actual sidewalk.

But for a real trampoline bridge, need to go to the real experts.

May 28, 2018

The Run For Refuge team keeps on truckin!

After completing a Thru-Run of the Cross Vermont Trail last summer, they expanded their horizons and report that: "On May 12th, a Running for Refuge team of 12 students finished our 24-hour, 200-mile Ragnar race across Cape Cod from Hull to Provincetown to continue fundraising for refugees. We placed first in our division, finished 2 hours ahead of schedule, and raised nearly 500 dollars for refugee resettlement programs. Thank you for all who supported us!"

Learn more about their good efforts at runningforrefuge.com

April 6, 2018

The Longest Bike Path in the world.

Not the longest it's taking to build, surely we have that one in the bag, but the physically longest.

In South Korea of course a bike path separate from all motorized traffic runs the length of the country, with its own bridges, tunnels, traffic lights, not just toilets but full bathrooms with showers, and my favorite: "They seem to have thought of every single detail, there are even short curbs to place your feet so you don't have to get off the saddle when you stop for a rest."

From the travel blog of photographer Nicolas Marino.

Read the full original at: http://nicolonelytraveler.blogspot.my/2014/02/the-longest-bicycle-path-in-world.html.

Amidst all of the marvels he describes as "from the future" I will note he does include the fact that in Korea they wrap hay bales in white plastic. Well, there you go, we've tied them on one thing.

Let's tie on another:

December 20, 2017

Getting comfortable for the winter.

. . . Now that the annoying culverts and metal grates of the beaver baffles have been successfully counterattacked, and the rail trail at Lanesboro is well and flooded, it's time to groom and relax and store up some twigs for the long winter evenings . . .

I like best the beaver baffle culvert that they pushed mud under bit by bit until it lifted up enough that water won't run through it. Not just hard working, also insightful. Anyway, here is a very cool peek into an unguarded moment at the pond . . .

October 26, 2017

More about the old days.

Working out on the railtrail lately, been hearing stories from passers by about various epochs of old days.

New one this past weekend - "Ayup, you know I learned how to drive on the railbed in Plainfield, when the trestle was still there. 1971 going back and forth in my Mom's VW bug." (You'd never hear a story like that happening today, no one makes their kid learn on a stick any more.)

June 14, 2017

Mad Max Trucks IV: Dubois Dozer

On the Cross Vt Trail route in Middlesex, on Three Mile Bridge Rd. When you are there look also for someone being clever with old cranes (harder to photograph).

April 30, 2017

Painted Lines III: Spring Sprung

Montpelier's Valentine's Day Bandit gets all the press, but that's just one day a year. The sidewalk chalk bandit strikes throughout the warm season.

November 15, 2016

OK when historic.

Cool old graffiti along the rail trail in East Montpelier.

October 6, 2016

About time.

Finally getting the CVTA GIS re-set. The set up tutorial comes with a nice little reminder that some great things take time.

(Don't even get me started on setting snap guides.)

September 16, 2016

Trail blaze, blooming.

September 1, 2016

Up to 15 Quarters.

If you spend any amount of time in Vermont state parks, like I spend any amount of during the XVT August volunteer trail crew, you start to wonder - Has any one ever gone for the 15 quarter shower? Maybe once just to say you did?

August 4, 2016

To go boldy.

Scale model of the solar system is appearing along the railbed in Marshfield. Only made it as far as Earth (convenient pausing point). But we can get to Mars, with determination and off the shelf technology. I'm sure of it.

June 5, 2016

Bee #9893 is ready for her close up.

The sport of bee watching has come to the Cross Vermont Trail! As seen on bumblebeewatch.org.
Looks like these are behind the Waterbury State Office Complex, the little natural area that could in the center of the village, like we always say.

March 15, 2016

Painted Lines II.

Old blue box car on the siding by the Montpelier bike path now with more fancy.

December 27, 2015

In to the light.

Pike to Bike - of course! (But you could tell me anything about the Pennsylvania turnpike and I'd believe it.) Here's the story of an old highway turned into a bike trail at "http://www.thirdwave-websites.com/bike/PA-turnpike-bike-trail.cfm".

Good work if you can get it, will keep eyes open.

October 20, 2015

Chinese bikes.

Of course, now that utility bikes have been taken over by hipsters, regular Chinese people have switched to Mercedes. From the LA Times: "Elderly Chinese will say, 'We certainly haven't seen one of these in a while,'" said Adam, 38, an Alhambra resident whose day job is selling residential real estate. "They look at it as a blast from the past."
Full article, the real Chinese "flying pigeon" bikes finally making it to America.

Just the tip of the iceberg, or perhaps the base? - as per this blog with extensive reviews of utility bikes.

Technically - Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

August 31, 2015

The Chinese Wheelbarrow.

Been feeling kinship with the sort of amazing history of the chinese wheelbarrow, and the wheelbarrow roads to go with.

July 15, 2015

Busman's Holiday: The Telephone Line Trail.

Finally made it all the way around the T Line, in shafts of sunlight. Rolling, swooping trail through the more "middle earth esque" part of Groton State Forest; birches and boulder caves, menacing daisies and proud destriers.

As seen in the Journal Opinion.

May 28, 2015

The Wheel Craze Has Reached our Little Island

Early days 1900 bicycle boom saw people proud of their wheels from Bradford Vt to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. We hear from the Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand: "On Saturday afternoon our friend Mr George Crummer had quite a busy time. On the lawn fronting Mr Scard’s residence all the members of the Rarotonga Cycling Club had assembled for the purpose of being photoised. The sight of the circling cyclists inspired the reporter to proclaim 'the wheel craze has reached our little island'. Local trading house Factorie Societe Commercial de L’Oceanie also capitalised on this craze offering cash discounts and lowered prices for 'good strong bicycles with solid rubber tyres'."

Room for all.

April 25, 2015

Belts and suspenders,

and crossed wires, for strength. On the new Long Trail Winooski River Bridge in Bolton.

April 4, 2015

Snow blind,

and wolf pine.

March 2, 2015

Mad Max trucks III.

Spring around corner, could be.

As seen in the Journal Opinion.

February 8, 2015

Cool old grader, perhaps nicely trail sized.

Seeks two men and a pony.

December 22, 2014


December 1, 2014

Horsedrawn Sidewalk Snowplow.

The plow is horse drawn, not the sidewalk.

November 2, 2014

Busman's Holiday: Wildlife Viewing on the Delaware and Hudson

Times-Argus hunting/fishing writer Dennis Jensen did a nice write up on a rail trail excursion.

October 8, 2014

Busman's Holiday: East Montpelier Trail

Spent a pleasant Sunday last summer strolling around the entire East Montpelier Trail. Most of all, I liked the pencil sharpeners.

September 10, 2014


Volunteer Crew alumni Daniel and Jana from 2013 crew sent in some pics of trailbuilding they're doing back home in Gijon, Spain.

Clinometering the grade, getting the duff out, making it go "whoosh" - looks like they've put together the complete package!

September 4, 2014

Caledonia County Fair

This summer's volunteer trail crew took a day off at the fair. They said they liked riding the rides at the fair better than wheelbarrowing gravel, but I think they were just joshing me.