From: South Hero, Vermont
To: Chambly, Quebec
Last night we had dinner at the Sand Bar Inn, which was packed! The food was pretty good, and we understand why it was packed. Well rested, we got on the road at 7:00. During the morning packing, we watch the local news (only got 3 channels on the TV) and they were forecasting severe thunderstorms for the afternoon, with wind gust of over 25 miles an hour. We don't like rushing, but thought we could make it to St Jean sur Richelieu by the time it hit. After following the instruction on www.champlainbikeways.org
until North Hero, we decide to stay on Route 2 in search of breakfast. We found another excellent restaurant, named Shore Acres, with a beautiful view of Lake Champlain under blue skies. We were met by the real owner of the place, a gentle aged chocolate lab named Cooper. Mary ordered 1 egg, side of bacon, and 1 pancake which came to 9 dollars. If she just ordered the Champlain breakfast (2 eggs. 2 pancakes, toast, bacon or sausage) we would have paid 4.95. The view of the lake, atmosphere, and Cooper made it all worth paying the extra few dollars. After breakfast we continued on route 2 until we joined 225 and the Border. Prior to the border is a little information/welcome center that we stopped at. The young lady was full of energy, and treat us nicely. We continued up to the customs and were welcomed to Canada by the very friendly boarder guard. Since it was Independence Day in Canada, we got Canadian flag pins and Canadian flag refrigerator magnets. He logged us in as two U.S. citizens and one bike. He thought the people reading the log would ask him about the entry. I think we were one of the few people he saw that day. On the 18 miles we rode on route 225, only 7 cars passed us and they all had Quebec plates. If you have been in the Midwest of the US or Canada, where there are no hills and miles and miles of farmland; then you know what this section of Quebec looks like. It was flat flat flat, and we had a tail wind. We cruised at 18 mph without thinking about it. We stopped at a small cafe at the intersection of route 133 and 225. Had great lunch for fewer than 9 dollars, Canadian. After lunch, we stepped out and looked up. There were very nasty looking clouds in the southwestern skies, and they were heading our way! As we rode the back streets of St Jean sur Richelieu, it started to sprinkle, but soon stopped. We found the entrance of the canal bikeway and began to ride with our eyes looking for a hotel. Exactly 3 pedal strokes from passing under a bridge, the heavens opened up, and it rained extremely hard. We sat under the bridge, at a picnic table, dry, next to the canal and lake, for about 1/2 hour as rain came pouring down. When it finished, we continued up the bikeway looking for a hotel, we knew we were in between downpours. Clyde, B.O.B. and Mary were covered with mud. We couldn't find a hotel in our view of the path, so we kept going. About 2 miles outside of Chambly we got a flat on our rear tire. I used the canal water to locate the leak. It was located on the stem seam, which is not the ideal place to use a patch. I debated on just replacing it, or using the patch. Decided to use the patch. We were under a bridge, again, when we fixed the tire. Again, the skies opened up, and rain. By the time I was finished, the rain again stopped. About a mile up the bikeway, we asked for directions to a hotel from the owner of the cafe that was located next to the bikeway. He did not speak English, but a young couple on bikes helped translate that he knew of one in Chambly, not quite sure where. So we rode on. At the end of the bikeway, in front the lock, we were stopped waiting for boats to go through the locks; the same young couple rode up to us, and asked a fellow biker for directions to the hotel for us. We meet so many great fellow bikers!!! With many thanks to all, we turned around and headed for the Motel which was only a block away from the canal. As we were putting Clyde in the garage for the night it started to really rain again. As I sit in the hotel room, I can't help to reflect back on the great ride we had today, even with a flat.