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Around Lake Champlain - Day 4

07/02/2004 05:40:59 by Administrator

From: Chambly, Quebec
To: Plattsburgh, New York
Mileage: 63.4

Last night we put raincoats on and walked the town of Chambly. Found a bike store, and had some GREAT pizza at Marvis. Watched some of the boats go in and out of the locks. Got wet, but had a fun time. Some shops were closed, some were opened which was pretty normal for Quebec (so we were told). We had a semi good night sleep at the Mote Mon Repos hotel in Chambly. The Canadians were celebrating their Independence Day in the room next door until 2:00 am. Sounded like they were bowling and watching a bull fight at the same time. I watched a French movie dubbed in English at the bottom of the screen for us Americans. It was about a girl (woman of 28) who loved her bike and loved to ride. She kept her bike inside at night, in the bathtub. It was a great movie if you're a biking fan. Woke up around 8:00 and took Clyde out of the garage. He probably saw the movie also because he showed his displeasure of being in a cold garage with a flat rear tire. When I patched it yesterday, I knew it wouldn't last. I replaced the tube and at 9:00 went to the bike store, Velo Chambly, which is located near the canal. Had them fill the rear with air, purchased another spare tube and a couple of CO2 cartridges. They were very nice people (their prices were a tad high even in Canadian), but they are handy. I think the saying is "location, location, location". We asked them if many bikers come in the shop on their journey around the lake. They said that we were the first that they heard off. After we got our stuff, we put Clyde back together, apologized again for keeping him in the garage, and gave him a bath and some fresh chain lube. We were off, but after .2 miles we stopped and had a 45-minute leisurely breakfast. Our riding day began at 11:00 by going back down the canal bikeway. There was a crosswind today, all day. Sometimes it became a head wind, but the path was dry and the skies were blue. If you follow the instruction on page it tells you to pass through a Propriete Privee signs on the canal bikeway. There are none, so don't worry about them. We love the trail, and stopped and boat watched. Many people on the bike/canal trail. Half of Quebec took yesterday off for Independence Day, the other took today off. After the bikeway we traveled on route 223. This is both route 225 and 223 and they are not in the best of shapes. We took a couple of "hinny breaks". The difference between yesterday's rte 225 and today's 223 is there was a lot more traffic today, and 223 has very little shoulder. We stopped by a little cafe for a 'hinny break' and a cool drink. Mary ordered a cup of coffee to go, the waitress spoke little English, and the next thing we knew we were BOTH served with to mugs of regular coffee. So much for that cool drink. We didn't want to appear rude, so we drank the mugs and she did fill our water bottles up "to go". Traveled through the rest of Quebec with the same Midwest feel of yesterday. We pulled up to the border and were 15th in line to cross. It took a while, and when it was finally our turn; we were professionally grilled by a very serious lady guard. We didn't get our little USA pin or refrigerator magnet. The lady was so down to business that we didn't want to show her what the Canadians gave us the previous day. The rest of the ride to Plattsburgh was also flat. When we had the crosswind, we averaged about 15 miles an hour. With the head wind, we pushed about 10. This part of the ride (after the border crossing) brought us many views of the lake and freshly paved, hinny friendly, roads. We had a choice of camping at Champlain Bay State Park, or a semi-new Motel 8. I am sitting here at 5:00 after a nice shower in a big hotel room. Of coarse Clyde is right next to me. We might go swimming in the pool tonight.

Around Lake Champlain - Day 5

07/03/2004 05:42:07 by Administrator

From: Plattsburgh, New York
To: Port Henry, New York
Mileage: 54.10

Clyde, B.O.B., Mary, and I slept like rocks! I don't even think we made it to 8:30 pm last night. We had dinner down the road a bit, and came back and read and forgot about the pool. We were up early and out the doors at 7:00 am. We rode through Plattsburgh following route 9. It was under construction and really torn up while it passed the "old" Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Saw many beautiful houses. Outside of Plattsburgh was our first climb that brought us to the Ausable Chasm. We took a break and enjoyed the chasm and waterfalls. That hill was a sign of things to come. No more flat ground riding. With the hills, however, came more beauty. We stopped at McLeans in Keeseville for breakfast. The small parking lot was packed because they serve good food, hot, fast, and at a very good price. I saw peanut butter pie on the menu, and had a piece after my omelet. Both Mary and I were STUFFED! From Keeseville, we followed route 22 for the rest of the day. On the Vermont side, there were plenty of signs for Champlain bike route. However, in Quebec we used the webpage for guidance. In New York we just did what we felt like. We went through an eight-mile stretch that passed us through Lynch, Rattlesnake, and Sugarloaf mountains. On a long down hill Mary allowed Clyde and me to go free. We hit a top speed of over 41 mph. WHeeeeeeeee!!!! We had lunch at Westport at Ernie's (a little grocery store). We both had Italian cold cut wraps and shared half of a cookie; again, we were stuffed. It seems we have been eating very well on this trip. We decide to go beyond Westport to the next town of Port Henry. Port Henry has a wicked hill on both sides of the town, but the one on north side is a bear. We stopped at Bulwagga Bay Camground (I think they misspelled the name on the receipt). Called home and found out that our daughter Katelyn was sick. Sounded like strep throat. Dustin was going to take her to the walk in clinic. The private campground is located next to a waste treatment plant, but we are far away from it. As I sit here at the picnic table, I can see the lake. We plan on walking in to town for dinner, and waiting for phone calls with news. The campground is full, and it has no rhyme or reason to its layout. We are not fans of the campground, but we don't know how far the next stay might be so we are staying put.

Around Lake Champlain - Day 6

07/04/2004 05:43:30 by Administrator

From: Port Henry, New York
To: Whitehall, New York
Mileage: 44.10

Dustin called, and Kate does have strep. We got the news after coming back from Emil's for dinner. Emil's is an ice cream stand and we had the first really "unhealthy" meal of the trip. I had the Biggy Ziggy cheeseburger and Mary had the Michigan which is a combo of Sloppy Joe and hotdog. We shared curly fries and had milk shakes also! Broke camp early around 6:00 and was greeted to another pretty day. We knew we had a lot of hills left, but we also have a lot of beauty. Stayed on Route 22 most of the day, with only one ventures off to try route 2 and go through Putnam New York. Had breakfast at Jakes in Crown Point (there was a nice private campground there also). Mary had the lumberjack special. I had her ham and pancakes. Saw plenty of wildflowers, a large flock of wild turkeys with youngsters, heron, osprey, and other birds. Stopped for a Gatorade in Putnam at Wilbur's Grocery Store. As I sat in the rocking chair in front of the store, Mary asked me if I was "dogging it". I didn't answer her because the truth was "a little". The last day of a ride is always bitter sweet. We finished the last 17 miles back into Whitehall with hills and conversation.

Preface - Delaware

04/22/2005 05:51:00 by Administrator

Mary (the Rear Admiral) wanted me to be sure to provide the following advice for touring the state of Delaware on a bicycle. If you're new to bike touring, or are looking for a spring warm-up after a long winter, we suggest riding and touring Delaware. The bicycle maps you get from the state are fantastic. The route and the streets are well marked, and if you make a wrong turn, it is very easy to correct. You can ride on roads that are busy, but have wide breakdown lanes/bike lanes or you can just choose quiet country roads with little, very little, traffic on them. Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Campgrounds, Restaurants, and Food Stores are easily found if you are looking for them. There are numerous bike shops for repairs and such. Warning: Delaware is FLAT, you've been warned.

Delaware - Day 1

04/23/2005 05:54:10 by Administrator

From: Winterthur Gardens, DE
To: Glasglow, DE
Mileage: 0

We arrived in Northern Delaware around noon. Our original plan was to begin our ride in the very northern part of Delaware, around Winterthur Gardens. But the weather was overcast and gray, with rain here and there. So we decided to visit Winterthur Gardens, which was the country estate of Henry DuPont between 1920 - 1980 (roughly). The country estate is surrounded by 900+ acres of gardens, pastures and walking trails. You can visit the mansion and museum which holds Americana artifacts. The grounds were/are fantastic. Smells and colors were everywhere. You can also take a tour by tram around the estate but Mary and I just walked and walked. We had lunch at the cafeteria which was both yummy and priced correctly. It closed at 5:00 so we were 'forced' out. We got to Lums State Park about 6:00. Got everything out of the car, then it began to pour. We quickly made the Subaru into a camper. That night was full of buckets of rain with lighting and thunder added in for show, but we both had a great night sleep.

Delaware - Day 2

04/24/2005 05:55:08 by Administrator

From: Glasglow, DE
To: Dover, DE
Mileage: 49.7

Our plan was to leave the car parked at the state park ranger's office but he said it would be a liability, so we went to the State Police barracks in Glasgow and were allowed to park it there. This was our first tour with "SeeMore" (our Rans recumbent tandem). So after we loaded up the panniers, backpack and stuff sack, we spent a couple of minutes taking laps around the parking lot. Everything felt good, so we headed out for breakfast on route 40. Within a mile or so, we found a Friendly's where the Rear Admiral had her usual Lumberjack special (2 pancakes, 2 eggs, sausages or bacon strips). Mary is only 5'4'' and maybe 112 pounds. So watching her put this away is amazing! After our breakfast, we started our ride at 44 degrees F and it only reached 52 for that day. Normal temperatures for April in Delaware is about 65 degrees. We had either headwinds or crosswinds of 20 mph all day long. It was overcast, and threaten rain, but that threat held off until we were safely in our hotel room in Dover, Delaware. Even with the wind, we had a great day of riding. The highlight was downtown Odessa, a small quaint town of different architectural style buildings. We followed mostly RTE 9, which runs along the eastern side of Delaware. We stopped at the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area and took the trail into the marsh. Saw Egrets, muskrats, hawks, blue herons, sand pipers, turkey vultures, red wing Black birds, and cardinals to name a few. SeeMore, our Ran's tandem behaved himself for the most part, but towards the end of the day we had an argument about who would control of the rear V brakes. He won, so I disconnected them for the last 5 miles. I fixed them when we got to the hotel. We really didn't need them, I have front V brakes and the Rear Admiral has a rear disc brake; add to that the flatness of Delaware and you can see we were not in any trouble. I will replace the brake cable when I get home. We held up at the Red Roof Inn tonight because of the rain. We just came back from the family diner next door which had a piece of chocolate three layer cake that had my name on it.

Delaware - Day 3

04/25/2005 05:56:40 by Administrator

From: Dover, DE
To: Lewes, DE
Mileage: 69.5

Had a good night sleep, didn't even hear the highway that was right out our door. We went next door to the family diner. The Rear Admiral had her usual LumberJack special and I settled for a 3 egg omelet. After breakfast I 'practised' with our new tire pump. I figured that the Bike shop was down the next block, and I should have tested it out at home. It worked great, which we later appreciated because we would be needing it outside of Wyoming Delaware. We be travelled southeast today, and yes you guessed it, the wind was coming out of the southeast at 20 to 25 mph. When we were in the headwind we averaged about 9 mph, in the crosswind about 11. On the rare occasion when we had the wind behind us we sailed at 18 mph with no effort. We had our first flat tire with SeeMore in front of a cement mixing company. They filled a bucket of water for me to find the leak, and offered their tools and shop if I needed anything. People are so generous! After patching the hole, and using their rest rooms we were off again. Did I mention that the roads in Delaware are flat and perfect for riding? We followed Bicycle route 1 most of the day and stopped in Milford Delaware to see if we could find the bike shop.The Superintendent of Schools and the Chairman of the School Board stopped to see if we needed help. When I saw the Milford School District badge on the Superintendent I told him that I work for the Milford School District also! We had some laughs, and shared some 'war' stories, and they were kind enough to direct us to the best subs in Milford at Mills Bros. Mary and I spilt a large steak and cheese sub while sitting in the park in Down town Milford, uh Delaware. Even though it was cloudy in the lower 50s, we had another great day of cycling. Most of the United States was 'suffering' from a cold spell, and Delaware was no exception. In Milton we met a couple from Northern New Jersey on a purple Burley tandem. Paul and Jane were heading west, while we were heading southeast. We had done a lot of the same rides, so it was so fun to share stories. After saying our goodbyes, we headed to Lewes Delaware (first town in the first state) and set up our tent at Henlopen State park. Setting up our tent in the wind was equivalent of watching a Laurel and Hardy movie. After tying everything down, we headed back into Lewes for dinner at the Lighthouse Restaurant (yummy) and topped off the night with a Peanut Butter Parfait at Dairy Queen, while sitting by the Atlantic Ocean. It's really not about the riding, it's about the eating!