Glen Sutton August 8

Good morning! Both Elaine and I survived the night with having another human in the same area. Her white noise machine was soothing, the temperature was perfect, and I was so exhausted from the previous almost-sleepless night that we both got plenty of sleep for today’s adventures.

Deby was in charge of breakfast, and when I wandered in searching for a cup of tea, she told me that “gourmet oatmeal” and soft-boiled eggs would be today’s specials for breakfast. Wow. And were they. The oatmeal had lots of blueberries and chopped nuts. Mixed with yogurt, it was just perfect. I haven’t had a soft-boiled egg in years, and had to inquire regarding the process. It was so good on toast I had another piece of toast with jam for dessert.

After breakfast we were fitted with bicycles and helmets, which were then loaded onto the bike trailer, making this imposing photo:P1020221

There was the van pulling the trailer, and another van, both filled with bicyclists, so Elaine and I both got to ride shotgun. First stop was the border on the way into Vermont. Joy the driver knows the whole drill, and I assisted with opening the passports. No political troublemakers on board, though we did have to remove our sunglasses, and we were let in. Had an interesting conversation with Joy, since we were both in the front, about Louise Penny, when she lived in the area, and her books. I guess she’s getting ready to move to Manhattan. Pooh on that. Joy hasn’t read all her books, but I think she’s tempted.

First stop was Jay Peak. The website says the base elevation of the peak is 1,815 feet, and the drop from the top is 2,153 feet. And they let us out at the top, with a few cautions about speed and staying in the middle of the road. And we were off! It was an amazing trip, flying down the mountain (without having labored up it first). Stephen said the fastest self-reported speed from a traveler was 48 mph. It felt like I was doing that, but I’m sure my speed was much more modest. And no, I didn’t stop for photos. But a woman working in the Lodge kitchen just told me her husband had been biking down it once and there was a mama bear with two babies crossing the road while he was there. wow!

After that death-defying exhilaration was a longer ride through the Vermont countryside, hamlet, lots of big old houses, old white churches and lush, gorgeous countryside, though Joy reported the whole area needs a lot of rain. Here’s a few shots of scenes that caught my eye: (Though I must confess occasionally a photo-op was actually a well-disguised need for a break from pedaling up a hill.)  They had handed out a map with directions at the beginning. Mine might as well have been in Swahili. I was almost irretrievably lost several times, and was saved by the appearance of the van, or another bicyclist just at the crucial moment.

We had our lunch at the little village square in Enosburg Falls. Our lunches had been prepared in the Lodge kitchen, and we grabbed them on the way out to the van. More yum. Believe me on that. Enosburg Falls had a monument to some guy who in the early 20th Century was the best baseball player ever to come out of Vermont. I also found a little cemetery to wander through–the oldest birth dates were in the 18th Century. Way cool. A couple families had many graves with occupants of the same surname. Lisa and I had to check out a cabin we saw, and, of course, get a photo.The sign on it said “Abe’s Cabin 1830” and inside I was some fancy old-fashion children’s clothing on display. No idea, but here’s the photo:P1020226

Vermont (among other states) has something called “Rails to Trails” in which railroad routes were converted to bike paths. Beyond the original route, here were two optional loops for cyclists to take to expand their vision and appetite. I took the first, which was more saturation viewing of the gorgeous countryside. Folks not opting for the loop took the Rails to Trails route to the gathering place for lunch. Folks who weren’t doing the optional second long loop after lunch rode the trail to the Abbey restaurant. Only a few hardy souls did the second loop, though Ryan reported he did it, but “in a car.” Sounds like a plan. The lovely part about the Trail path is that once Lisa got me settled on the trail, it was impossible for me to get lost. There were many cornfields, but I think the hay had all been harvested. Other wild flora offerings included chamomile, dandelions, Queen Anne’s Lace, what looked like Filbert tree starts, and other unidentified gorgeous flowering plants. There were little hopping insects, crickets or grasshoppers, and tiny butterflies/moths that led me down the path.

This route was six miles long, and we ended up at the Abbey, which I had hoped was a really old abbey, but was actually a restaurant. So I got an iced coffee and a couple photos:

And I took the opportunity to ask Phoebe if I could get a photo of her “tat”–a perfect imprint of a bicycle chain, on her leg:P1020230

And now I’m on the porch, with Phoebe and Don and Elaine, chatting and wondering about dinner. To be continued…

And on to dinner. I had spied neatly constructed casseroles in the kitchen earlier in the day, and magically, they were served as truly outstanding spinach lasagna. I’ve made enough pans of lasagna to know it’s a complex operation, and these had been made by an expert. The portions were served with fresh corn and a big, very interesting green salad. I found one of my ciders, and it was the perfect accompaniment. Dessert was something else, too. Something called, I think opera cake. It doesn’t contain flour, so you can imagine what all these delicious layers consisted of. Kind of a confectionery lasagna.

I’m wondering about the decaf I had with the cake. I should have been more tired from all the sunshine and activity than I was. So Elaine and I stayed up for a while and had a wonderful discussion about Life. That covered it all. Good night.

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