Friday, August 30, 2019

Day 9, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Day 9, to ?, outside of Monroe, NH , 55 miles
Rain came right before dawn and slpitter-splattmered for about 4 hours. Able to crawl out of bivy tent to run the bathroom and make a thermos of tea with my probe. I ate a dry breakfast under the bathroom overhang. Packed and ready to go by 9:15—carrying so much sand and a wet tent.

The sky is massed with clouds, definitely a change in weather. More like a raw autumn morning. At maybe 4 miles from park on 114 began a 2-miles climb. Nothing horrible, just long. At 21.5 miles hit East Burke, where I ordered breakfast at a cafe. The area has a x-cycle track and attracts weekend cycle enthusiasts. The village has a great vibe. I see so many disparities in Vermont: perfect people with healthy, active lifestyles and those without, with meth scabs and missing teeth, overweight and smoking. The opioid epidemic has hit this region hard.

In Lyndon I stopped at Village Sports and asked the to check my chain. I put on a new one at The Recyclery and I think the guy I was working with wasn’t listening to me. Under so much stress and load it’s been skipping. The mechanic agreed and also replaced my rear derailleur cabling and housing--all for a fair price. Definitely check them out.

I continued on Route 5. Once my gearing and shifting were sorted, I felt golden. The temps were perfect for riding, and the gradients not crazy. So I made the fateful decision to keep going.  I thought I might make it to Fairlee.

I was in and out of intermittent showers. At Barnett I crossed over a river and into New Hampshire. On 135 I was making good time, but growing tired: How could I do 30 more miles?? There was no place to camp, so I was worried. I had just wished for a graveyard and the most perfect one suddenly appeared on my left at the top of a hill. There is no road access, so I wouldn’t be bothered. I pushed my bike up the hill and rested under a tree. I drank my tea and ate cookies, just relaxing in Vermont.

I’m loving this state: its mountains, pine trees, small roads, even changing weather. I loved the clouds and wild beauty. And, while loving all this a storm blew up. I quickly threw stuff into the tent and dove in. It was 5 pm, 55 miles.

Will have to come up with a plan for tomorrow. Until ten, listening to night fall and the cows bellowing.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Day 8, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Day 8, to Brighton State Park, Island Pond, VT, 33 miles
Last night it began to storm around 9 pm--a big draft proceeded, leaving my neighbor’s tent flapping. Thunder and lightning, but not a huge rain event. I stayed dry and slept.

This a.m. a bit cooler and less humid. Every day I’ve been swimming in sweat. I keep wearing the same clothes and washing them out at the end of the day.

Left camp @8 and, of course, the ACA maps took me up a hill, Darling Hill Rd. where I connected with Berber Rd. which should take me to Derbyshire Line—except I missed a turn, and that has made all the difference. The ACA maps profiled Twin Bridges Rd. which looked to be grueling. I missed it and took route 105 with gentle gradients, meandering by 2 lakes and a river. In East Charleston I bought a sandwich to eat later. I felt a love for the sublime beauty of the Vermont countryside—rolling hills, mountains of pine. Eventually I turned toward 114 and Island Pond.

That’s when I noticed the sky to the West ripening into a storm and a second later thunder. I cranked it. I felt a bit panicky, hoping to make it. I used my phone to map quest the route and kept typing in Long Island or Long Pond. I got the name sorted, but was peddling to beat the weather. I thought the state park was called Island Pond, but it is Brighton St. Park, so passed it and circled into from the North adding 2 extra miles.

By the time I pulled in it was a little after noon, and the storm had already scattered. There was only 3 campsites left, so I felt lucky.

I’m glad to have a short day, time to regroup and refresh. My body is craving food and a break from the heat. The lady at registration said temps tonight in the low 50s, tomorrow’s high in the 60s —wow!!! Good thing I did bring that sleeping bag and extra clothes.

I have a shaded spot in the woods, a minute from the beach and bathrooms. I’m taking advantage of one more day of warmth and swimming. Hoping someone invites me to their campfire tonight.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Day 7, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Day 7, to Prouty Beach Campground via Canada
First thing: I’m exhausted, simply put--there are very few (none) places to rest, eat, get out of the sun. I had no shops until Newport Center.

Tomorrow I want a short day so since I’m ahead of itinerary will break one of my days in two. There is a chance of thunderstorms tonight and all weekend.

Last night when I checked in the college kids said it was going to rain A LOT and it did. Starting at 8:30 til midnight, then again til 4, then from about 6-10, it poured. I stayed dry in my miracle lean-to and packed up dry. Thank God not an electrical storm. I didn’t sleep well, I had weird dreams.

So gathered everything in faith it would stop raining and by 10:30 off. A big hill out of the park, a foretaste of what was to come.

There were so many steep, leg-sucking energy hills. I took the Quebec Alternative, which after being processed through the border turned down a steep gravel hill. With so much h rain, the surface was bullied. This was freaky for about 3 miles. After that more relentless hills. And no chances for water or potty. I did/got both at the U.S. border almost 2 hours later. Since I got such a late start, it was HOT, sauna-ish. Though there was a breeze and temps were not excessive, I still sweated a great deal--especially either riding or pushing a loaded bike uphill.

I crossed the U.S. border around 3 pm with 18 more miles to go. I was so tired, but handled it by stopping frequently to drink. I made it to Prouty Beach around 5:30. I noted a Wendy’s as I was riding in, but I don’t like the idea of riding back. After my shower I decided to buckle down and ride back--over slight hills. But on the way out of the campground I spy a bike path. That takes me all the way there!!! I ate like a starving person.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Day 6, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Day 6, Burlington to Lake Camri via Champlain Islands, 78 miles
I’m still waking up too early=eager to ride, except today, the bike ferry doesn’t leave until 10 a.m. It is 7 miles on the Burlington Island Trail and causeway to the ferry so left around 9. The causeway is cool; it extends out from a point off of North Burlington almost to South Hero or Grande Isle. A bike ferry takes about 2 minutes to deliver you to the other end of causeway.

After embarking I rode to Allenholm Farm for a maple creme, a local taste treat=soft serve ice cream that is maple flavored. Maple is very big in Vermont. Folks have signs in their yards advertising “maple stuff.”

Storms are in the forecast. Apparently last week a mighty storm came up and killed 2 kayakers on Lake Champlain.

At 12:30 in North Hero stopped for lunch at a general store. The sandwich I ordered was as big as a dinner plate. I finally met some cycle tourists. Very fresh, as they’d JUST started. I ate 1/2 the sandwich and, because the sky was darkening , took off.

Soon it began to rain and I had no idea what to do or how bad or for how long. So stopped at Allburgh Dunes State Park, but No Camping allowed. Thunder in the distance. So I did what one does: I put on a rain jacket and kept going. It did drip drip, but nothing big. I saw I was at the top of the islands so took 78 over to Swanton. Lots of truck traffic. By Swanton the sky had somewhat cleared so took off the jacket and let the ACA maps take over. I figured if I had the energy it would be 20 more miles to Lake Camri and I was at 57.

So I kept going.

The closer I got the more I knew I would take a lean-to just so I wouldn’t pack up wet tomorrow. I got on the Missisquoi Trail at Sheldon Springs. Somewhat undeveloped. I have hybrid tires, so exercised caution.

Turning off the trail was a 1 1/2 mile hill that I gutted up. I arrived at registration at 78 miles at 5:30 p.m.

The cute college boys upsold me a lean-to on the lake where I am surrounded by Canadians. I’m not too far from the border. This far north Vermonters speak French.

When I arrived at my lean-to named Spruce, I was pooped. I took my other half of my sandwich out to a boulder by the lake and ate. So relaxing.

Now after a shower, I write this little journal at a picnic table looking at the lake through pine trees. Once again there are rumbles of thunder and the sky south west of the lake is stormy.
Burlington Island Line

causeway is narrow

LocoMotion Bike Ferry

Missisquoi Trail

Lake Carmi

Chillin' at Lake Carmi

my lean-to as seen from the lake


lake at sunset

Monday, August 26, 2019

Day 5, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Day 5, Vermont!! 57.5 miles
Left CP Campground around 8 a.m. and crossed on the Champlain Bridge. Once in Vermont very bucolic. I bought an apple fritter at a general store and didn’t bother to see or fill up water waters because it’s a TV commercial or travel brochure. There are general stores in all the numerous small towns. Everywhere. Using a combo of ACA maps, signs for Champlain Bikeway, and Google, I rode north close to Champlain. I was on quiet Rhodes. Little to no traffic. And no more towns. No services. No stopping, no shade. It was HOT. I was running low on water and finally saw a pick your own blueberry and winery place and pulled in. The lady filled up my water bottles and said less than 2 miles to The Old Brick general store.

At 38 miles I took my first significant break. So hot. I couldn’t get enough liquids.

And that thing that in Vermont there will be so many long distance cyclists--nada, zero, so far.

I took 22A after lunch which crosses route 7 and proceeded to follow ACA maps. One word: Irish Hill Rd., this name has a word I don’t like and it’s not Irish and road. I tried riding up but eventually had to jump off and walk the bike. At the top I’m physically wrecked from the heat and lack of shade. I got on Spears Rd. And then the Burlington Bike Path System that is twisty, root-bumpy, and not well signed.

Made it to a City Market by Overledge Park and stopped to see if I could get WiFi. Saw that the ferry ran until 6 pm and thought to myself, I’ve got this. Straddled the bike ready for 20 more miles, turned to leave City Market and BAM dark threatening skies to my west. I peddled back to see if I could get a Warmshowers host.

I phoned the first name that came up and Tim and Anne Parsons took me. It started raining during the 5 miles it took me to get to their house, but I arrived before the worst of it. They ave me a bed and GREAT meal. About 57.5 miles to the day.
Champlain Bridge

quiet roads

Burlington Bike Path

Friday, August 23, 2019

Day 4, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Schroon River

Schroon Lake

Eagle Pond
Day 4, Hearthstone State Park to Crown Point State Park, 67.86 miles
Camping in the Adirondacks
Slowly night falls
On Route 9 traffic hums.

I pulled out antibody 9 and was soon at Diamond Point Rd. A big climb up from the lake. Good thing it was first, so I could do it in the cool of the morning. I took the Schroon River road, maybe a car every 10 minutes. It was so beautiful and relaxing. Twenty miles in stopped at a general store to buy a postcard and a patch! My lunch stop was in Schroon Lake at Stwarts which sells gas and ice cream. I decided to take 9 instead of following the east side of the lake. Gradients were gentle.

High in the Adirondacks—how do I know? All the bear knick knacks, gift shops, and t-shirts.
Route 74 was logging trucks and trucks in general, there was no bike lane or berm. It was steady up and down, more up. At 46 miles I needed a cooling break, so turned at Eagle Lake. I was so sick of hills. There were fishermen on the dock and a lady paddling a kayak with her dog. Both were wearing life vests. I was in the Pharoah Wilderness Area, Pitney and pristine. I had planned to hidey camp there but the spot I’d staked out at Google Earth had no trespassing signs posted.. plus I’d heard it is forecasted to rain, so kept going.

I took Corduroy Rd. which was actually great, minimal traffic, and, about halfway through, a llooonnggg downhill. Into Crown Point where I bought a Gatorade to power me into Crown Point Campground by the Champlain Bridge.

The Adirondack NY State Parks are a national treasure. I pulled in at 4:45 and there were several campsites open. I chose one by the water across from toilets and shower. Here we do not have to pay to shower. The water was HOT and the bathroom though rustic is clean.

I’m now 1/2 day ahead of schedule. I conquered the Adirondacks!!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Day 3, Adirondacks and Green Mountain Loop Bike Trip, 2019

Day 3, First actual day of riding, Clifton Park to Hearthstone Campground, 54.4 miles
Left Laura’s house at 8 a.m. because I want to beat the heat, also anxious. Yes, there were hills and I’m learning about planning ahead with shifting. You cannot wait to get into gear. Also I have to think: I’m heavy, thus I shift into overkill. I have three chainrings in the front and 7 in the back. I am all over the back gears and try to stay in 2, shifting to 3, the lowest, if I anticipate.

Route 9 is busy but with a wide margin,practically a whole lane for cyclists, not a problem. At Saratoga Spa State Park a bike path begins on the left. Outside of SS more rural. At 12 noon in South Glen Falls, 37.5 miles, I stop for lunch at a cute spot. Mr. Bills American Food. The Muzak plays top 40 from like the 60s. Temperature is about 75, but I’m sweating uphill. It looks like rain when I leave but no.

Once I pick up the Warren County Bike Trail it’s smooth sailing to Lake George—the Pigeon Forge of the Adirondacks. A guy rode with me into the town; he was very knowledgeable about the area. Gave me some great tips. 9N to Hearthstone is hilly, busy, and curvy. It’s like 3 pm!! I’m treating myself to more campgrounds and less miles this trip. So nice to pull in without being exhausted, sunburnt, or dehydrated. The guys camping next to me immediately fill up my cup with lemonade. It cost me $30. So a bit pricey, but I’m very happy to be here. I went swimming in the lake and am relaxed.