Two motorcycles—an orange Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX (L’Uccello Arrabbiato) and a red Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring (The Tomato)–are parked in downtown Stowe, VT …
“That’s it? They just leave us out here in the rain? They go into the cafe and get espresso and leave us here? I bet they won’t even bring us biscotti!”
“Don’t be such an angry bird, Tomato. They do give us premium unleaded, after all. And we are enjoying the trip here in Vermont, no?”
“Yes, it is very nice here. I love my new home. But it is easy for you to dismiss the rain, you have shaft drive. But look at me. I am chained!”
“Ah Tomato, don’t worry your oversquare heads. You will be taken care of.”
“Of course, L’Uccello. You are right. Look, they are coming back.”
“Ok, pipe down now or they’ll soften your suspension. I’ll race you to the hotel!”
And that is how it started. They had only met that morning in the hip New England city of Burlington, but L’Uccello Arrabbiato and The Tomato became fast friends and touring companions for a weekend getaway. They have many things in common–the same motherland, the same number of cylinders, and the same desire to see the world.
Escape to Northeast Vermont (Allegro Moderato)
Their day starts slowly by exploring the quaint and scenic islands of Lake Champlain: Grand Isle, North Hero, and Isle La Motte. They ride alongside farms one moment and cross bridges to fishing villages the next. But L’Uccello Arrabbiato and the The Tomato want more, so they leave Lake Champlain and head east toward the beckoning Green Mountains.
First, the riders take a lunch break in Richford, way up on the edge of Canada.
“Why do they have to eat so often?” L’Uccello muses. “Not everyone has a big tank like you,” offers The Tomato. L’Uccello has a good sense of humor for a motorcycle (better than most accountants, actually) and responds, “Are you calling me fat?” They share a laugh.
Finally, into the lush green summits they go, to Jay Peak and points south. L’Uccello and The Tomato are made for these paths. They inhale each apex and roar at every corner exit as the weathered pavement twists over the rounded crest.
“Ahhhhh,” sighs The Tomato. “This is more like it!”
“Yes,” responds L’Uccello. “Very nice. Go!”
“It is a bit bumpy though, no?”
“Just be glad you are not my cousin. He is a high-strung sportbike with a stiff suspension.”
“For sure. My brother would not like these roads either. On smooth blacktop and racetracks he is very strong. Here, not so good.”
“Such a shame, as there are many more trails like this in the world.”
“True, my friend. So true.”
Motorcycles & Gear
2012 Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX
2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S
Helmet: HJC CL-Max II, Icon Variant Construct
Jacket: Firstgear Teton, Dainese G. Newater
Pants: Aerostich Darien Light, uglyBROS Shovel
Boots: Alpinestars Alpha Touring, Spidi X-Ultra
Gloves: Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon and GP Pro
Cameras: ContourROAM, Pentax K-5, Pentax K-01, Pentax Q
They cross a picturesque valley dotted with small farms and head to Mt. Mansfield (the highest peak in Vermont) at Smuggler’s Notch. The pavement tightens as it pitches steeply upward, and the double-yellow disappears altogether, leaving just a lane and a half of asphalt. As L’Uccello and The Tomato twist and turn around blind corners and over the rocky, forested notch, they think of the topography back home in Northern Italy. L’Uccello feels a little home•sick. The Tomato has other things on his ECU.
“Did you see that Aprilia back there? I think she was looking at me.”
“Ah Tomato, you are too much. She just had her high beams on.”
“Be respectful, she could be my cousin!”
The ski town of Stowe sits on the southern side of Smuggler’s Notch, and it’s here, while the riders are inside having espresso, that it starts to rain. It doesn’t last long though, just enough to wet the ground and create a dramatic scene for the setting sun.
The drizzle stops, and in the waning hours of daylight they head east toward dinner and a good night’s rest.
“Hey Tomato, look in your mirrors. The sky!” “Che bello!”
Dark clouds hang overhead. But the sun, not seen since morning, is punching through a break near the western horizon and setting the atmosphere on fire with yellows and oranges against the majestic purple mountains.
“A great end to a great day.”
“Yes, Tomato, yes.”
It’s late. The small town of St. Johnsbury is rolling up the sidewalks.
“Okay, when they go to sleep we can escape.”
“Escape? Why would we escape, Tomato?”
“We are not far from the Canadian border. Once we cross, we can make our way back to Italy.”
There was an awkward pause.
“Ummm ... Tomato, you understand that we are motorcycles, no?”
Another awkward pause.
“I know, but I can dream. Can’t I?”
“Yes, you can. Goodnight, Tomato.”
“And goodnight to you too, L’Uccello Arrabbiato.
I hope you dream of beautiful passageways.”
“And I will dream of Italy.”