Monday, May 29, 2017

Cycling in Burlington, VT

Heading north

Staying on task can be difficult when there are so many places to see along the way.
We made a stop in Belton Hills, NY that overlooks a golf course in the Catskills. Even in the rain, the golfers were out there.

Lake George, NY

Lake George is a beautiful lake and town in the Adirondacks of the Upstate of New York. The rain continued to follow us as we headed north. We did manage to get a bike ride to Glen Falls along the bike path that runs along the old Military Road, the path the soldiers took in the Revolutionary War. The mosquitos were out in full force.
 Lake George is a tourist town but arriving before the holiday weekend, it was more of a ghost town. We stopped at the local Outlet stores and found everything I needed plus a few extras at 40% off. The Memorial Day sales were already marked down.
Rachael Ray is from this area and promotes the Warrensburg's Oscar's Smokehouse on her show. We thought about heading over but remembered how small our fridge is.  

Lake George, NY

Burlington, VT

The drive from Lake George, NY in the Adirondacks was less than 100 miles but the narrow country roads and more rain
made it feel like 200.

We had visited Burlington, VT several years ago to see the change of the leaves in the fall. Our visit was too short and the rain was heavy. We did get a bike ride in and found the city campground located downtown and on the bike path running along the shore of Lake Champlain. We hoped to return someday and do more exploring.
 While checking campgrounds for a place to stay over Memorial Day weekend, we found one site left for the weekend and booked it for the week. The mosquitos were even bigger here
Our site Sunday morning
What a difference a day makes. Our site on Monday. Guess they wanted to beat the crowds.
Church Street Marketplace
Yep, that's the church the street is named after.
We were at mile 25 of the marathon to cheer on the runners. They looked happy to hear the cheers with a thumbs up or thank you as they passed. I did call an EMT for one young lady that was struggling and had to lie down. I hope that she made that last 1/2 mile once she recovered. It takes 1700 volunteers to pull off the marathon for 8,000 runners.
View from Battery Park
A great place by the totem for a geocache that we found in Battery Park.

North Beach,  just outside of the campground.
Yep, another bike path.
Heading north on the causeway.

Ever since the first time we put our truck on the ferry to Alaska, riding ferries has become almost an obsession for us. We have ridden ferries on Lake Superior, the San Juan Islands and Italy to name a few. We heard about the bike ferry and I knew we would have to check it out even if the short ride was $8 each for a round trip ticket.
The bike ferry had just started running on the weekends until the middle of June. Taking in to consideration the marathon on Sunday and rainy forecast for Monday, we took a chance and left early on Saturday for our ride on the Champlain Islands. Riding the causeway the 2.5 miles to the ferry on a beautiful sunny morning and then a short ferry ride, 100 feet across the opening for heavy boat traffic. We were the only people, other than a crew of 3, on the 5 minute ride. It was still a chilly 59 degrees.

One of the ferry's crew members told us about the sunken horse ferry and the Champlain Maritime Museum. I had never heard of a horse powered ferry.
The horse-powered ferry in Burlington Bay is the only archaeologically studied example of a turntable "team-boat," a once common North American vessel type. Animal powered vessels were introduced into North America in 1814. They became a popular form of transportation for short-distance river and lake crossing, until the middle of the 19th century, when they were surpassed by the increasing use of steam power.
Lake Champlain's long, narrow shape created the need for many ferry crossings between Vermont and New York,  crossings that were ideally suited to horse ferries. The use of horse ferries on the Lake appears to have peaked in the 1830s and 1840s.
Divers certified in SCUBA can dive at this and one of the many other sunken ships.

The boat passage that we ferried around.
The north side of the causeway was full of potholes and mud for a mile. We turned off and the ride along the lake was peaceful with very little traffic.


South Hero, VT in the Champlain Islands

Someone loves birdhouses in South Hero. There were brightly colored houses all through the woods with dinosaurs thrown in. It made a pleasant bike ride even better and a few less bugs.

Some of the little castles on Grand Isle.

A patriotic street on Memorial weekend
Returning on the 2pm bike ferry was another story.  Since it warmed up, we dodged people all along the southern causeway. It's just part of traveling on a holiday. We were ok with sharing the beautiful day.
Heading back home.
This is a good stop for us. We were getting pretty tired after all we have been doing on this journey. Staying in one place where we can walk to town or ride our bikes to Colchester and Shelburne between rain storms was just what we needed for this week. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cycling in the countryside

Cycling in the Countryside

Our previous day of bike riding made us realize we needed expert help to ride these backroads. The map we had showed the busiest routes and the back roads wind so much, we would get confused as to which direction we were going.
We stopped in at Bikeworks Bike Shop which had some very nice ride sheets with good directions and sights to see along the way. I mentioned that I did not want to ride more than 30 miles since  I had no idea how hilly the route would be. He suggested the 28 mile "Camels and Cravings" route which we enjoyed very much.
We decided to do this ride on Sunday. Everything in town would be closed. And there should be much less traffic with the Rhubarb Festival over and most of the people would be in church in the morning.

There were lots of carriages on the roads and many families walking to church.

Shoemaker's Mill built in 1766 which is now a B&B was our first stop.

Belmont Bridge had a candy dispenser with corn in it. For 25 cents, a person could buy treats for the ducks in the creek below the bridge. The bridge was constructed in 1845 at the cost of $933.

The Amish church had buggy parking and a place for the horses. We could hear the echo of the preacher as we rode by.

Miller's organic farm has a camel dairy. They are milked twice a day. If they get a new caretaker, they won't give milk until they build trust. The milk is sold for $10 a pint. Some claim the camel's milk is good for diabetes and autism.

These guys were mean, spitting and biting at each other. I guess that justifies the $10 a pint.
The tour buses were driving the same roads that we were riding.
These hardworking mules seemed happy that it was Sunday

 The cool overcast clouds made the day great for a ride even with the "essence of dairy farm" which was strong at times. We also had to be alert to the horse apples in the road. Slipping in horse poop could be hazardous.
 We hear the Mennonite owned Lapp Dairy has some great Black Walnut ice cream. Too bad it was Sunday.
We stopped by the Ridge Road Amish School where the students speak not only English but PA Dutch.  
 The phone booth where Detective John Book made a phone call in the movie Witness.

On to New York's Adirondacks

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pennsylvania's Dutch Country

Pennsylvania's Dutch Country

We needed a place to stay on our way to Vermont. Lancaster County's Dutch Country met the approximately 200 miles criteria we prefer to drive. New Holland, PA was experiencing a heatwave as we arrived. But the Amish people were hard at work in the fields bailing hay using Sperry New Holland balers that are horse drawn and clearing their fields as we turned on the air conditioner.
 Not a bad view from our campground.
 New Holland, PA
We woke to a hot air balloon floating over the farms. The people staying at this KOA have been so friendly and stop to visit when they see  where we are from (Colorado) and sitting outside. 

This weekend is the rhubarb festival and most of the campgrounds were totally booked. We found the local KOA with views overlooking the farms had room for us.  Does it seem wrong to sit and watch people working?
 The Amish arrived in Lancaster County in the 1600s and 1700s long before the Revolutionary War. Nearly all of the farms in this part of Pennsylvania are Pennsylvania Dutch. Most came from Switzerland and Germany.
We were glad when the wind was out of the north. any other direction would remind us that this is dairy country.  We got up at 6 am and out the door by 7:30 for a bike ride since it was already 76 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
This Amish family was putting their hay in the barn after bailing it.
Sitting by our trailer we could hear the sound of the horse's hooves and wheels of the carriage before watching them go by. Driving on the backroads was tight when passing at times.
This is a huge tourist area with most of the focus on food, shopping, covered bridges and watching the Amish. We decided to ride our road bikes on the narrow hilly roads often following a horse drawn carriage. 

Horse parking in front of the hardware store.
 Many of the horse trotting in from of the carriages are retired race horses.
I liked the teeter totters in front of the Amish school.

 We made a stop at the Mennonite/Amish Visitor's Center to learn more about their lifestyle, religion and  immigration. Many of the homes had their laundry out drying on clotheslines with a pulley system.
 Forge Poole Covered bridge

Intercourse, PA

The Rhubarb Festival ran on Friday and Saturday. Everything closes down on Sunday.

These ladies were canning the rhubarb preserves.

 With all of the bakeries and roadside farm stands, we had to make a conscious effort to avoid indulging too much.
By the way, according to Roadside America, Intercourse has the highest number of stolen town signs in the country.

Lititz, PA

The temperatures dropped 34 degrees to 60 with high winds. Rather than bike ride, we drove to the town of Lititz to visit three small museums. 
We toured the Lititz Museum. The historian there shared a good deal about the town and their religion. She is Moravian and was quite knowledgeable and pleasant to visit with.

The little town of Lititz was established in the 1750s. Only Moravians could live in Lititz, and the church owned the property on which a house could be built. Congregation members had to adhere to strict rules of living that were clearly defined by Moravian church leaders. This system lasted for just over one hundred years when the now-bustling town of Lititz was opened to all. Because Lititz was a tight-knit religious community, many early Moravian material goods remained here.
It was a closed community (providing everything they needed themselves) until the Revolutionary War. The Brethren's house was used by order of George Washington to take care of  injured and sick soldiers in 1778 from the local battles. This brought problems to the community. The people had not been exposed to many of the diseases and became sick themselves. The community remained closed until the era of the railroad.

We visited the Wilbur Chocolate Company for samples.
Since it was Saturday, all of the small museums were open and staffed. The railcar museum's docent was quite interesting. He grew up in this town as the trains started running through there. He talked about the effects of WWII on the trains and steel industry. 

A wheelchair from the Revolutionary War time in the Moravian museum.
We also toured the Moravian Church Archive Museum which had some great items and history. Across the street from the Moravian girl's preparatory school was the Sturgis Pretzel Company, the first commercial pretzel company in the US. We skipped the tour and went straight for a pretzel.
Moravian Church Square
There are rolling hills in Dutch County but the Amish just march their bikes up and over them. They are definitely a hard working people.

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