It was at breakfast this morning that we decided to do something unusual for us, which was to deviate from our itinerary quite a bit. Because there was a higher percent chance of rain and because of forecasted winds for Wednesday, we changed our Burlington ride on the Island Trail to sometime today. We spent at least 30 minutes debating the various options, which reminded me how nice it is to have a planned schedule. We finally agreed to head to Burlington via some side stops on the way.
So we started out going north to Smuggler’s Notch, which was supposed to have been an opportunity to do a hike, but that was ruled out in the plan changes. Of course I was disappointed because I love hiking, but I had to be realistic. As it turned out, what we did was more unique than hiking. After viewing the mountain area from the car window and listening to two different GPSs give slightly conflicting directions, we turned around and went back to Stowe and then on to Waterbury.
Our first stop was the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and store where we got to see apple cider in the making and buy some treats to ship home. Watching them smash the apples and squeeze out the juice was really interesting. They said it takes 12 pounds of apples to get one gallon of cider.
Had a cider donut and got back in the car for the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream factory. Good tour of this place and then had a lunch of high calorie ice cream. Yummy!
Went on to Burlington and had to do a little hunting for the bike trail head. Kay walked part of this trail for the scenery of Lake Champlain while Martha and I rode it.
Really pretty because it took us for several miles on a causeway out in the lake toward an island, which is why it’s called Island Trail. Champlain is a huge lake separating Vermont and upstate New York, having many large granite and marble-looking boulders along the sides of the causeway.
Much of the rest of the trail bordered the lake and went through some woodsy areas also. It was one of our favorites. Kay picked us up at the end of the trail, 16 miles later. She has been an excellent “chaser” for us.
Drove back to Stowe, glad that we had done the trail on Tuesday so that we wouldn’t be rushed on Wednesday. It was a good ride, except that Martha’s brakes continue to malfunction so that she has to drag her left foot a lot to come to a complete stop. (This experience just reinforces our knowledge that we need to enroll in a bike maintenance class.) We then drove back to Stowe to stay a second night (a nice change) in the same lodging and go to dinner. After waiting 40 minutes for our seat at the bar in Harrison’s, a choice restaurant in town, we had a delicious dinner, and then Kay and I walked a bit while Martha worked on her blog. We are so busy that it’s hard to keep up with the writing, plus she puts in all the pictures, so she has extra work to do. Obviously we wouldn’t have a blog if Martha weren’t posting it.
This time before we went to bed we agreed on Wednesday’s plans.
Martha and I were on our bikes on the Stowe Recreational Path before 7:30 this morning. After doing about nine miles we met Kay for a nice, full, complimentary breakfast at our lodging, the Golden Eagle Resort. Then we split up. Martha rode into town, Kay walked into town, and Joyce finished the other two miles of the trail and then did some backtracking of the earlier ride in order to take some pictures. While they shopped, I was able to swim in the heated pool. Nice. We packed up the car and headed back to Burlington to Earle’s Cyclery, where they were going to box up and FedEx our bikes back to Atlanta. As a side note, this bike shop has the sign that is true to our motives: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” In our case, and with reference to our 45 miles on the first day of this trip, the expression needs to be, “It’s about learning to bike in the rain.”
Then we turned the rental car in and shuttled to the airport. We’re almost at the end of our much appreciated itinerary.
We all flew to La Guardia airport in NYC, where Martha had reserved seats so that she could for sure be in class on Thursday morning, and we had standby. And standby we did. After not getting on the 5 0’clock, 6 o’clock, and 7 o’clock flights to Atlanta, we made it to the top of the stand-by list for the 8 o’clock non-stop to Atlanta, along with all the other standbys who had been waiting with us. I had brought a book to read and cards to play Canasta with, but waiting was not quite that laid back. We had to keep checking the monitor to see our status and then had to keep moving from gate to gate with each subsequent scheduled flight departure. Ah, but it only added to the adventure! Ron picked us up at the Atlanta airport, and we were each home around midnight. Long day.
And a close to a good journey. The 100 miles we did on this trip brings us up to having completed 18 of the 29 Hall of Fame Rails to Trails, and we are now planning our next trip, either to South Dakota or to the midwestern states. It was a treat having a friend along to do the driving to shuttle us to the beginning or from the end of the trail and to help us get all our stuff on and off the trains. Although Kay had some good walking excursions on parts of trails or in the small towns, we want her to also experience the pleasure of feeling the breeze on her face and seeing nature close up, knowing that it’s our own energy that is moving us along.