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My trip to Burlington VT on eclipse day

Started by hotdogPi, March 09, 2024, 01:03:03 PM

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hotdogPi

I don't drive, so I'm doing it differently. I'm taking a Greyhound, sleeping both on the way there and on the way back to avoid a hotel. Here is what I have planned:

11:50 PM - 4:00 AM: Greyhound from South Station in Boston to Burlington.
6:45 AM - 8:30 AM: Bus 46 to the endpoint and back, clinching I-189 and getting some mileage on other routes.
3:26 PM - 3:29 PM: The eclipse itself.
4:50 PM - 6:40 PM: Bus 96 to the endpoint and back, getting more mileage on I-89 north.
2:50 AM - 7:40 AM: Greyhound back to Boston.

Now in between these times, I have a lot of free time. I have to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can usually walk about 10 miles per day, which can be used to get some of US 2 or US 7, but I'll also be walking some by necessity (to get from one business to another, to the university to charge my phone, walking back to the Greyhound stop at the end, etc.)

The long-distance buses only run during rush hour, which is why I can't get more mileage at e.g. 11 AM. There appears to be a $4 day pass, but since fares don't start until April 1, the smart cards aren't finalized yet.

I may be working. If I get the job I'm having an interview for right now, it's a hybrid job, and I can ask for a remote day for April 8. My current job (which only gets a few hours a week) is remote all the time.

I already have eclipse glasses and a cool T-shirt. Other things to pack are my reflective vest and a flashlight, which I have whenever I'm planning on walking in the dark, both my home and work computers, and my computer and phone chargers.

I am not worried about being on the side of the road in the middle of the night (note the bus back is 2:50 AM). Most crime is targeted, not directed at random people on the street, and this is Vermont. The library at the university appears to be open until midnight, which will last me a lot of the way. Maybe after that I should still be on campus until just before it's time to take the Greyhound back (which is a 1-mile walk)?

I don't see any easy state route clinches.

If anyone else is going to be in Burlington on eclipse day, I can meet you there!

I still have some questions.

1. What else is there to do in the city with the extra time I have? Maybe something on the lake or a museum or two? I understand it will be crowded for the eclipse, but I'll be there long before the crowd arrives and long after the crowd leaves.
2. I'll be sleeping on the Greyhound in both directions. If Google Maps is accurate, I'll clinch I-293 in New Hampshire and get some of NH 120. However, the Vermont portion of Greyhound's route shows a straight line that doesn't even follow the roads. Is there any way for me to know which roads I was actually on while I was sleeping?
Clinched

Traveled, plus
US 13, 44, 50
MA 22, 35, 40, 107, 109, 126, 141, 159
NH 27, 111A(E); CA 133; NY 366; GA 42, 140; FL A1A, 7; CT 32; VT 2A, 5A; PA 3, 51, 60, QC 162, 165, 263; 🇬🇧A100, A3211, A3213, A3215, A4222; 🇫🇷95 D316

Lowest untraveled: 25


webny99

Quote from: 1 on March 09, 2024, 01:03:03 PM
...
2. I'll be sleeping on the Greyhound in both directions. If Google Maps is accurate, I'll clinch I-293 in New Hampshire and get some of NH 120. However, the Vermont portion of Greyhound's route shows a straight line that doesn't even follow the roads. Is there any way for me to know which roads I was actually on while I was sleeping?

Yes, if you install an app like Life360 that tracks your live location. However, the app runs constantly in the background, so it will drain your phone's battery faster than usual, and it will not work if you're using power saving mode (at least on Android).

On occasion, I have logged segments in TM that I clinched as a passenger while asleep, but I try to avoid this situation. I tend not to sleep well on trips, so it's rare for me to go more than 2 hours of a journey without waking up. I also don't have any full route clinches where I was asleep for the whole route.

Rothman

Good luck and fingers crossed that the itinerary proceeds as planned.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

vdeane

Personially, I wouldn't count clinches while asleep for exactly that reason - you don't really "experience" the route.  I even try to avoid clinching things at night these days.  But then, I think if there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that what counts for a clinch varies quite a bit person to person.

I'd be cautious regarding the bus to clinch more of I-89.  Traffic is expected to be very heavy after the eclipse (I believe the 2017 eclipse featured backups well into the night).  Granted, Vermont being small and the US/Canadian border being in the zone of totality complicates things.  If the Canadians stay on their side, there might not be much in the way of traffic to the north, so who knows.

If you can snag a spot in the downtown waterfront, you'll have a great view to the west, so I'd recommend that.

Also, FYI, I looked up the Greyhound station on Google Maps because I was curious and a lot of reviews note that the pickup location is in a poorly signed location and might not match where the pin in Google Maps or the Greyhound website says it is, so be careful on that front.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

Dougtone

Remembering the 2017 solar eclipse, I was dealing with traffic backup the day after the eclipse as well. I was in Oregon for the 2017 eclipse and I expect my knowledge of back roads to come in handy for the 2024 eclipse.

And yes, I'll second the suggestion of trying to find a spot along the waterfront. You'll want an unobstructed view, and what better than Lake Champlain.

Rothman

#5
I was in Crossville, TN for the 2017 eclipse and drove to Lexington, KY afterwards.  There was some heavier traffic, but besides an overly enthusiastic volunteer fire department screwing up traffic in their own particular town, the traffic wasn't horrible.

My silly parents, however, were at ground zero in Hopkinsville, KY and took 8 hours to get to Lexington to meet up with me.  We calculated that the benefit were single-digit seconds more in totality than where I was.
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.

webny99

I don't have much eclipse experience myself but I would think parks would be among the first places to get crowded?

In 2021 I went down to a local park on the lake for a partial eclipse at sunrise and was impressed by how crowded in was. It was busy as I'd ever seen it, and certainly busier than I'd ever seen it at that hour. This time that park might not be as desireable because the open views are to the north/northwest.

hotdogPi

I arrived to Burlington just fine (and 15 minutes early). I don't feel tired despite getting only 5 hours of sleep (1 on the commuter rail and 4 on the Greyhound).

5 AM: About 20 people from the Greyhound were waiting outside the Dunkin Donuts right there. It opened at about 5:15, even though it was supposed to open at 5. No bagels, so I got a croissant and a side of hash browns. It's the most expensive Dunkin I've been to; a single bagel (or croissant) was $2.59, $4.19 with cream cheese.

6:15 AM: I took bus 86 (rather than 46 as described above) to Montpelier and back. The driver said they don't normally do round trips, but he allowed me on. I clinched I-189, got some mileage of I-89 that I slept through and wasn't counting via Greyhound, and got my first mileage on US 7.

I then changed clothes at a restroom on campus, as the Dunkin there had none (and even had a sign meant for the employees explicitly saying not to let anyone other than staff use it). I have an eclipse T-shirt.

I am currently in the library on UVM campus waiting until 10 AM for one of the university's pre-eclipse events. I'll be back later, as my Greyhound back is at 2:50 AM (although I was told it would be an hour early) and the library is the latest non-bar place that's open (until midnight).

I'll be leaving campus at noon to get lunch and then walk to the lake for my eclipse spot.

Observations:
  • Both the Greyhound and the city bus had the bus itself (e.g. no passengers in front of yellow line; priority seating to those with disabilities) in English/Spanish/French, but for the city bus, the service-specific messages are in English only. Of note is that the Greyhound was crossing the border after I got off.
  • Greyhounds can leave stations early.
  • On I-89 at about 8 AM between Montpelier and Burlington, traffic was lopsided 4:1 in the direction you'd expect, but even the heavier direction was free-flowing.
  • Very surprisingly, more people were on the bus away from Burlington than toward it. That said, one was going to Waterbury and transferring to Stowe to visit friends, and one got off even before that.
  • The UVM campus is almost empty right now.
  • Somehow downtown Burlington only has one Dunkin.
  • On an overpass on I-89: "Gaza will not be eclipsed"
Clinched

Traveled, plus
US 13, 44, 50
MA 22, 35, 40, 107, 109, 126, 141, 159
NH 27, 111A(E); CA 133; NY 366; GA 42, 140; FL A1A, 7; CT 32; VT 2A, 5A; PA 3, 51, 60, QC 162, 165, 263; 🇬🇧A100, A3211, A3213, A3215, A4222; 🇫🇷95 D316

Lowest untraveled: 25

hotdogPi

Surprising change!

I viewed the eclipse in a spot that wasn't too crowded. About 20 minutes after totality ended, I got a text saying my Greyhound on the way back was canceled. I asked a few people with Massachusetts plates if they were driving to the Boston area. One was willing to take me but lived in western Massachusetts, so I decided to split the difference and go to Worcester. (This was later changed to the Wachusett terminus of the MBTA Fitchburg Line.)

My route, the beginning of which was very clearly intended to avoid eclipse traffic: US 2/7 north → VT 15 → I-89 → US 2 east → Shunpike Rd. → Kimball/Marshall Ave. → S. Brownell Rd. → Walker Hill Rd. → VT 2A → Old Creamery Rd. → Oak Hill Rd. → Pond Brook Rd. →  Richmond/North Rd. → VT 116 → VT 125 (I'm remember this but it doesn't really make sense, so I'm not sure if I actually traveled 125) → US 7 → VT 103 → Church St. in Chester (this prevented a clinch, but it wasn't my choice) → VT 11 → VT 103 → US 5 → Arch Bridge → NH/MA 12 → MA 140 → MA 2 → MA 2A → MA 31 → Old Turnpike Rd. (these last few were because the destination pin was for some reason at the Wachusett Animal Hospital and Pet Treatment instead of the MBTA station until it was fixed).

I'm taking the train to Litleton/Route 495 and an Uber from there.
Clinched

Traveled, plus
US 13, 44, 50
MA 22, 35, 40, 107, 109, 126, 141, 159
NH 27, 111A(E); CA 133; NY 366; GA 42, 140; FL A1A, 7; CT 32; VT 2A, 5A; PA 3, 51, 60, QC 162, 165, 263; 🇬🇧A100, A3211, A3213, A3215, A4222; 🇫🇷95 D316

Lowest untraveled: 25

froggie

Quote from: hotdogPi on April 08, 2024, 08:45:24 AMIt's the most expensive Dunkin I've been to; a single bagel (or croissant) was $2.59, $4.19 with cream cheese.

Sounds about right...not just for that Dunkin but for Vermont in general.


Quote
  • The UVM campus is almost empty right now.

Many colleges (including both UVM and VTSU) were on spring break the week of the eclipse.

Quote
  • Somehow downtown Burlington only has one Dunkin.

Two reasons for that.  First, we're not Dunkaholics up here like Boston is.  Second, Vermont has numerous mom-and-pop shops (not to mention Green Mountain Coffee) that locals are fiercely protective of.  You should have seen the stink Stowe raised when Starbucks moved in there.

webny99

Quote from: froggie on April 20, 2024, 08:01:16 AM
Quote from: hotdogPi on April 08, 2024, 08:45:24 AM
  • Somehow downtown Burlington only has one Dunkin.

Two reasons for that.  First, we're not Dunkaholics up here like Boston is.  Second, Vermont has numerous mom-and-pop shops (not to mention Green Mountain Coffee) that locals are fiercely protective of.  You should have seen the stink Stowe raised when Starbucks moved in there.

Makes sense, considering that those small local businesses are a big part of what make Vermont what it is as a tourist destination. It's even noticeable how well-preserved most old buildings are in Vermont relative to other states; most rural crossings from NY into VT bring a notable vibe shift from "rundown" to "quaint".



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