Whenever I go to an event on the East Coast, every other comment I hear is usually along the lines of “This is great, but it’s no Moab, White Rim Trail, Canyonlands, or
Omni Hotel Colorado. Now in full disclosure, I’ve only been to the west coast for non off-road related trips, and the only time I’ve been to Arizona was to catch a connecting flight in Phoenix (I’ve also never smelled so much BENGAY in my life). As you can see, I’m obviously an expect, so now that we’ve got that cleared up, here’s why you should go to Vermont instead.
If you live in the Mid-Atlantic, driving to Denver and beyond is a pretty arduous proposition. It requires about 1,600 miles of driving which can be done in 2 days if you’re willing to pound pavement for 12 hours a day. Finally once you get to Denver, you’re still 350 miles short of Moab, White Rim, and the rest of the Utah parks. So unless you plan on team driving your rig out west Gumball Rally style, most of us would have to allot at least 5 days just for the round trip transit time.
In comparison, Vermont is a short 450 mile drive that takes about 7 hours as long as you don’t hit traffic going around New York City (which you always do). Now in all fairness, you do have to deal with the armpit of America, aka New Jersey. The good news is the drivers on the turnpike like to haul ass around 30 MPH over the speed limit so it’s a quick ride, and you don’t have to even get out of your car to pump your own gas. What’s the bad news? It’s still New Jersey.
“That’s great, but what about the terrain?” From all of the photos I’ve seen and stories I’ve heard, you would think the trails out west were exceptionally difficult. This is where I have to disagree, because while they do have some of the most epic views in the world, you don’t have to deal with mud, and there isn’t a tree every 5 feet looking to destroy a quarter panel. By now we’ve all seen the videos on YouTube of the Ford Crown Victoria hitting all of the trails in Moab, clearly it can’t be that hard. Obviously in Moab you can still get hurt, lost, and/or destroy your rig on some gnarly rocks. There’s also a severe lack of recovery options; so what’s the takeaway? Vermont is a different kind of off-road challenge that will still give you that pucker factor.
Contrary to what you may think, Vermont is more than just ski slopes and Birkenstock wearing Bernie Sanders voters. It’s actually home to some of the best off-road driving available in the continental United States. If you don’t believe me, check out our video from the Vermont Overland Trophy, or go attend the Vermont Overland Rally. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, go drinking with Peter Vollers and the rest of the Vermont Overland Team, because you’ll wake up feeling like you were involved in a head on collision.
Now Vermont isn’t perfect, because while it has awesome trails, beautiful scenery, great food, and the illustrious Maple Cremee, it also proves the age old adage of “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. So what’s the catch? Much like Canada gave us Justin Bieber, Vermont has given us Bernie Sanders. In all seriousness though, Vermont has some of the most technical terrain you’ll find anywhere and I’d put it’s trail network up against anything out west any day of the week. Now if you’re looking for great views, there’s no grand canyon here, but if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience, Vermont should make your short list.