Day 11 – Burlington, VT to South Hero Island, VT – 20 miles
After beating ourselves up on the New England hills for 10 days, we had considered taking a rest day. But we’re so excited to see what comes next! We thought the Lake Champlain Islands looked interesting, so we decided to do a short day, instead of a rest day. Now some of our fellow Michigan bicyclists might argue that we’ve been taking it easy all along based on the mileages we’ve done but we contend (based on how we feel at the end if the day) that 40 miles in the Vermont hills is equivalent to 75 in northern Michigan! Yeah yeah – lame excuses. We’re having a ball! It is interesting to see the country in a 30-foot wide swath – yeah, you can see the distant hills but we don’t generally veer too far off-route except for overnight stops and even those aren’t off route more than a mile, or so. But what we see has been amazing and the people along the way are so incredibly kind & helpful!
We said our goodbyes to Patrick this morning & headed off to a restaurant that was recommended to us by both he and Lea (the ferry boat captain who talked with us in Richmond the day before). Penny Cluse Cafe was the place and it certainly lived up to its recommendation! Shawn had one of the day’s specials – maple cornbread French toast with rhubarb compote. Jim’s breakfast was 2 eggs & sourdough French toast. Baby! Good stuff!
After breakfast, we took care of some business in Burlington – had to send a package out by certified mail. Then we explored Battery Park & the beautiful view of Lake Champlain. We got such a kick out of the vibrant colors that houses and buildings are painted in Burlington – reminded us of weird Portland (Oregon) except it was sunny.
We crossed the bridge over the Winooski River. This is the river that we followed thru much of our cross-Vermont trek and the same river that carved the valley that made our riding so much easier than it might have been otherwise. Thank you Winooski River!
We spent some time in the coffee shop in Winooski. It was nice to have an easy day to catch up on mail, banking and such. If you are interested, we do all our banking and bill paying on-line, so it’s easy to catch up on the iPad. We also signed up for a virtual mail box, so all our mail gets forwarded there, they take a picture of the front and email it to us. If we don’t need to see what’s inside, we do nothing, or they can scan the inside, or forward the mail for a fee. So far the only mail has been do nothing..So we got that going for us!
Stopped at the grocery store & stocked up, & also picked up picnic supplies. Had a picnic at Sand Bar State Park. This park is on Lake Champlain, which is a pretty good lake, but not a Great Lake! Jim has beaten that joke to death over the past two days! We were tempted to swim, but it was cool, both water and air temp, so we just pushed on to our host for the night on South Hero Island. There is a string of islands running north in Lake Champlain, all of them connected by bridges and causeways. It will be (pretty much) our route north into Quebec.
We arrived at our overnight stop just as Carol, our host was leaving to go to the post office. She showed us around & told us to make ourselves comfortable. They live on a beautiful piece of land with views of Lake Champlain thru the trees in the distance. We’re loving just hanging out on the deck, listening to the song birds and their chickens in the yard as we knitted.
When Carol was done with work, we went for a short walk with her, her daughter-in-law Sara & 2 little grandsons. Jack was on a bike and it seemed like he pedaled pretty far for a little guy! Later on, we helped Carol pick asparagus – that was fun, searching for the spears in the tall grass! We got a kick out of her fun-loving nature and the experiences she has had on her bike and on their family vacations. Roland came home a little later and he was a lot of fun too! They’ve raised 3 boys & some of their family road trips resulted in some funny stories! Spaghetti dinners, camping, tornadoes in the Midwest and camping in grizzly country! Fun fun fun!