The previous days threaten rain only showed up after we had retired and the next day dawned cooler, but bright. It looked like a perfect day. This had me singing parts of the theme from the musical Camelot:
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
The description for the day’s ride also heartened us, only three hills at the beginning of the ride, then just rolling hills and then flats. As it turned out although the weather was gorgeous, this was probably the hilliest ride of the week.
We drove into Vermont again and everyone started biking from beside the millpond in Enosburg Falls. We started with a big climb, one hill down and two to go, or so we thought. I had counted four or five hills by the time we made it to Sheldon. In Vermont, place names are often used by multiple locals. For example in the environs of Sheldon are the towns of Sheldon Springs, Sheldon Junction, North Sheldon and East Sheldon. In Sheldon there is an old cemetery that is chucked full of, you guessed it, Sheldons.
The town of Fairfield, President Chester Arthur’s birthplace, was our next stop. Arthur was the twenty-first president and took office upon the death of assassinated President Garfield. Our current president is being assailed by right wing-nut critics, known as birthers, for not being a legally elected president. They claim that he was born in Kenya. President Arthur faced similar critics. They claimed that he was actually born in Canada.
Fairfield also boast a fine pastry shop, where the women who work there was very friendly, “I’m working on peanut butter cookies, so let me know when you are ready to order.” After climbing out of town, followed by a long decent, I stopped at Fairfield Swamp, a wildlife management area. Immediately after stopping I scared off a pair of great blue herons. I didn’t get a very good shot of them, but while still looking for them I stumbled upon probably the best picture of the trip, a pair of juvenile osprey. Their nest was huge and was situated on top of a telephone pole.
After several more killer climbs, we crested the last hill and could see Lake Champlain in the distance. After that it was all downhill to Saint Albans and then flat to the lake. Saint Albans’ claim to fame is that of the northern most civil war battle site. In October of 1864 twenty-two Confederate raiders descended from Canada upon Saint Alban. They robbed three banks and then stole horses and fled back to Canada, where they received a trial and then freed. The banks only recovered a portion of the money.
We lunched in the park and watched firemen painting the flagpole. While coming into town, Anne saw a sign advertising Michigans, which turned out to be a hot dog with spicy hamburger (not chili) on top. The other interesting thing about Saint Albans was that in the city hall, where you would expect the council chambers to be there was a basketball court.
Onward we rode to Killkare State Park, on the shores of Lake Champlain, the aixth Great Lake, or maybe the first. The beach was paved with flat black rocks. We could not decide whether they were slate or shale. Is there a geologist in the house? Stephen, our guide, said that the mountains across the lake in New York contain the oldest rock on earth. We got thirty-two miles. We got back to the lodge late and our dinner was already waiting, Chicken Mirabelle. So we ate dinner in our bike clothes. No entertainment that night. We were all too tired. I had brought the movie, 2 Seconds, a movie about the Montreal bike scene. It turns out that our hosts, Stephen and Joy, had seen it at its debut at Sundance.