Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cyclostravaganza 2007, Day 2: Frelighsburg QC to Island Pond VT

On the way from my campground back to Frelighsburg, I passed by a federal government installation for the Frelighsburg Experimental Farm, with barbed wire to keep out unwelcome visitors - squirrels? I wondered what they might experiment here, up in the hills abutting the US border. Organic apples? Or genetically modified goldenrod that can spy on your neighbour?

I cycled over Mount Pinnacle which was a surprisingly challenging climb, as in not impossible but harder than expected. It was worth the climb, as it offered magnificent views of Vermont's Green Mountains and New York's Adirondacks.

I stopped at the, er, pinnacle of my climb at the Pinnacle cider works for some refreshments (fudge, juice) before heading on...

...to Abercorn, Quebec. Part of the segment was, if memory serves correctly, unpaved, but not a problem. In Abercorn I was really looking forward to the bakery my former neighbours so raved about. To my dismay it was closed, but I did find a bike shop where I pumped my tires and chatted with a very friendly proprietor about my planned cycling itinerary. I'm glad to have met him - he gave me some good advice for cycling through the White Mountains (New Hampshire), steering me away from the busy hilly road I'd planned for, to a more gentle, quiet road I could take. He said that would be the best part of my entire trip.

After Abercorn came another more-than-respectable climb over one side of Mount Sutton past Glen Sutton into the Missisquoi Valley. This was the where I'd hoped to camp on my first night, but hadn't "quite" made it what with my late departure and heavy load. This valley is a very beautiful ride though the road is a bit bumpy.

After Glen Sutton, the rest of the day's ride ran mostly parallel to rail-lines, either Northern Vermont or the historic St. Lawrence & Atlantic, so there were no more serious mountains, though there were plenty of smaller hills.

I missed taking a picutre of the ridiculously attractive former train station in Highwater, Quebec, and then I crossed the border at North Troy, Vermont. I was really concerned I might have to unpack all my bags, not because I had anything to hide, but because everything just (barely) fit when packed just so. Fortunately the American border guard was extremely kind; in fact, we spent a lot of time chatting about McGill University, where he'd hoped his child would study. Said child chose Columbia, or some other expensive university in New York City.

My cell phone was supposed to work only in Canada, but I was able to send a few last text messages to Gillian C. while in northern Vermont. Isn't northern Vermont an honorary part of Canada anyway?

I kept seeing very lovely yellow lilies:

...growing wild in the ditch in Northern Vermont.

The road through Newport Center, Newport, Derby Center, Charleston, East Charleston, to Island Pond was very scenic in that typical New England way, mixing farms, villages, forest, and clapboard houses.

I'd hoped to make it to Maidstone State Park that night, but I wasn't going to make it that far, what with my shortfall on day 1 and a late departure on this my second day, so I camped instead at Island Pond. I wanted to camp in the state park, but it seemed to have closed before I arrived, so instead I camped at a private park on another part of the lake. It was very nice but a tad louder than I'd hoped for. All I can say is that jet-skis are the bane of modern civilization.

I left my campground in Frelighsburg around 11:30am (it's hard to get going in the mornings, between having breakfast and packing up your travelling domus) and arrived around 6:45pm in Island Pond, Vermont. My cyclometer tells me I was actually pedalling for 5 hours, 18 minutes, but I really didn't stop much more than to have lunch, cross the border, pump tires, and take a few pictures. Those stops do add up fast though.

MXS 58.7
AVS 21.7
DST 115.23
TIM 5:18:16

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