Glen Sutton August 10

Good morning! Lots of sunshine and, I fear, heat, predicted for the weather today. They even modified the route to something shorter and easier (I hope), and today we’re scheduled to do “Aaron’s Ride.”

The breakfast, ho-hum, was again a huge pot of fabulous gourmet oatmeal, purple with blueberries and crunchy with nuts. I took such a huge bowl of it (with but a moment’s concern about the folks behind me in line) that I didn’t have room for the other treat, a soft-boiled egg. But the tea was good, the company excellent, and we filled our water bottles and set off. I perhaps hadn’t mentioned that one of the participants, Ryan, is actually a plant by Road Scholar.  He’s a photographer and gets to ride some, but also spends time in the van tootling after us and taking photos. This has the added benefits of 1.) Knowing a spot he’s picked to photograph is way cool; 2.) I’m NOT going to walk the bike up a hill if there’s a chance he’ll immortalize it; and 3.) He’s a really nice guy, and expressed an interest in reading this blog. Hi Ryan!P1020273

So I started the ride in a spectacular fashion. I was the only one who wanted to visit an old cemetery on the hill about Freilghsberg near where we started. By the time I was done checking it out, everyone was gone, and I started out by myself in totally the wrong direction. I was cosmically lost! I checked my map (as if that ever makes any sense to me!) and figured I could take an alternate route to rejoin the group. And the scenery was lovely, and there were lots of downhills. I stopped at a little park and asked a charming young French-Canadian couple for directions, and they cheerfully provided me with detailed instructions, even mentioning that the health clinic I was to turn at was for sale. I’m not sure why their little toddler kept kicking my bike. So off I went again, made two correct turns, and was feeling good about it when lo! there’s the van, with Bob and Stephen. I was quickly escorted into the van, my bike (“Honey”) was tossed on the rack, and I was driven to join the group. We had to cross the border in Vermont, and the border guard gave Stephen quite a hard time (he thought it might be his Che Guevara t-shirt.). I even showed my revised route plan to Bob, and he had do admit it would have connected me with the group’s route, approximately two hours later. hahaha.

The group expressed something between delight and relief when we showed up. Though I’m often last, I’m usually not lost. But no one wanted my autograph. So off we went again, though I think Joy never quite let me out of her sight.

So. Except for different road signs, and a little more roadside trash, Vermont is as gorgeous as Quebec. Here are the obligatory contented cattle photos:

 

I asked Joy what the non-corn crop that I suddenly saw growing everywhere, and she said it was soybeans. She also mentioned that she want to plant lots of milkweed, which the butterflies love. That seems like an excellent idea, so I think that’s the featured photo.

Lunch, when we finally rolled in, was at a gracious winery called Domaine du Ridge. They had brought out lunch sandwiches (herbed tuna fish salad?) there in a cooler, to keep them fresh. And lunch, as always was great. Some folks purchased wine or ginger beer.  Here’s part of the group enjoying lunch:   P1020254

After lunch was the big decision, whether to hop in the van or pedal the rest of the way to (or in my case, back to) Freilghsburg. I opted for the latter, as I had already done part of the route in the van. Jean lead the route, and of course, we were delighted with more gorgeous scenery, wonderful old Victorian houses, two cute little black and yellow birds, which Joy later told me were probably finches.. We crossed back into Quebec; I was thrilled to make the crossing by bicycle. We cruised through Stanbridge East, and headed to Freilghsburg. No huge hills, thank heavens. Jean promised we wouldn’t need our granny gear front socket, and we didn’t, and I was so grateful.

In Freilghsburg, Jean asked if I had seen the “Three Pines” which I’ve been nagging everyone about. That’s the name of Louise Penny’s fictional town in her mysteries, and I was frantic to see the real trees. So he took me to them. YES! OUI! Here’s photos:

P1020258I tried to show their height in this photo, as that was part of the legend:

Freilghsburg is a lovely little town, so I took these photos, too:

I think we ended up at a restaurant there called Lyvano. More folks ordered wine, beer, anything cool and liquid. I had iced coffee, and Al didn’t find many takers for his calamari. But I’m sure it was great. Lisa started taking a photo of the group, so then Ryan took a photo, and everyone else wanted to. But me.

We spent a half-hour at Sutton on the way to the Lodge, not sure why. It might have had something to do with buying crackers for cheese. It’s pretty cute, but very touristy. I spent most of it in the parking lot talking to Jurn. Then home. I can’t remember needing a shower so badly, or enjoying one so much. And then it was time to think about dinner.

While needing some inspiration when facing a long uphill, I had asked Joy what was on the menu for dinner. “Chicken Satay.” I’m not a huge fan of Asian food, but I suspected it would be delicious when it emerged from the Lodge kitchen. And it was. We started with a creamy soup. Elaine and I couldn’t figure out the ingredients. We were told cayenne and peppers, but that didn’t help, as it was almost too spicy for me. The pita bread helped calm it down. Then the chicken arrived on a bed of fancy rice, some greens, a tomato so intriguingly altered that we had a discussion regarding its provenance, which turned out to be “plumato,” and carrots that had been through an equally intriguing process. yum. There were a lot of members of the Clean Plate Club at our table. Here are some photos:

We pondered what would be for dessert, thinking the fork across the top of the place setting was a clue. hah! It was a red herring! We were offered bowls of orange sorbet or Cherry Garcia ice cream, and of course we all took the latter. We did suggest they just give us some spoons and put the carton on the table. The ice cream arrived decorated with blueberries and tiny little blackberries that I’ve never seen before, despite all the blackberries growing in the Pacific Northwest. Joy said she calls them “thimbleberries.” And it all worked together beautifully. We were wondering if we could lick the bowls without getting caught. Here’s a photo:P1020264

How could there possibly be a better way to end an evening with friends? Notice the cider in my wine goblet. That helped, too. The speaker for the evening was a guy talking about climate change. I decided to skip it, though other group members found it informative, if a little too graph heavy. So I worked on this blog until it was time for yet another shower, and then bed. Good night.

 

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