Adventures on Hwy 116

Categories: 2011

Vermont is one of the prettiest states to drive through. On any road you take, you will surely get a gorgeous view of the Adirondack mountains off in the distance; often you’ll have a view of mountains to both your left and right. In the summer is when it is most beautiful. The trees are luscious with green leaves, and the grass grows tall. It is in the summer that you truly begin to realize why we call ourselves the “Green Mountain State”.

This is what makes a one hour commute to work everyday a little less boring, and a little more enjoyable.

Not only is the scenery worth the drive, but you’ll never be bored driving on these streets. Normally on my way to work and back, I will pass by a series of farms. Vermont as a state has more cows than people, just another thing that makes it so interesting. So as  I drive by these farms, I will usually see cows out grazing, and sometimes even horses! It’s nice to see horses and cows as you drive along on a hot summery day, but turtles?

Around this time of year, I’ve noticed, sporadic groups of turtles start to come out. How do they get here? I have no idea! We aren’t nearby any ocean, that’s for sure. But regardless, it is not too uncommon to see a turtle, especially if you’re hanging out around the Waterfront, or somewhere with moisture. Where I saw this turtle however, was entirely unexpected.

As I was driving home from work yesterday, passing through my usual route of mountains, farms, and small towns, I saw a small bump in the road up ahead. At first I didn’t think it was anything, perhaps just something that had flown onto the road. Driving up towards it though, the closer I got, the more I began to realize that it was moving. Rather slowly, which was odd. What on earth? The wheels of my car kept turning, as I kept staring at this creature. Within moments I realized it also had a neck, and a shell, and …wait what? All these observations happened in about one second of time – the speed limit on this rather empty road was 50 mph. And before I could even slow down, I heard a quiet, but discreet “cracking” noise as my car tires bounced slightly up in the air.

It was then that I realized what I had done. A turtle. I had just run over a turtle. A turtle that, apparently like the cows and horses, liked to graze on farmland. Though I felt terrible for possibly having killed this poor thing, I was far more confused and completely frazzled. The rest of my way home,  I could not stop thinking about how I would phrase this story to my family, and just how they would react. Would they too be surprised? I couldn’t imagine how one would react as though this were a completely normal event, to see turtles on the road.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there was another fun adventure waiting for me as I drove into work this morning. Taking the same route again, I passed over a few hills, and through curvatures in the road. Trees on both my left and right. I then passed through Bristol, a cute little town on the way to Middlebury. Next came the “Vermont Bug Store”, which I have never stepped foot inside, but am, with good reason, very curious about. Once past the store, I drove through a series of farms.

At first all seemed normal, though I was driving behind an incredibly slow, and rather muddy, green pick-up truck.  So needless to say, I was getting a little bored on this drive, but that surely did not last long. All of a sudden the truck halted to a screeching stop, and I hit my breaks, a little alarmed. And before I even stretched my neck to see what was going on up ahead, the corner of my eye caught glimpse of a large brown object. When  I focused in, I saw that there was a cow running fast and in random directions. She seemed to be trying to escape a tractor that had persistently been following her. I assumed the woman driving the tractor owned the cow, and was just trying to get her back on the farm. I could not stop laughing at the scene. Here we were, about 10 cars, just stopped in the middle of the road, watching this frantic cow as it ran to and from both sides of the street.

And so we waited patiently for her to calm down…eventually this little cow did get back onto the farm. She still had a piece of hay in her mouth she’d been carrying around with her since her run started. Once all was quiet again, my old friend the pick up truck began his engine, and we continued on our drive down to the college.

As I sit here, summarizing my  past two commutes, I am reminded once again of why I chose Vermont, and Middlebury in particular. Though we are in a remote location, it never ceases to amaze me how many wonderful, funny, and amusing things can happen to a person here in just one week.

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