A 3-Brompton ride in Montreal

6/25/22

Today I got to experience some beautiful sights in this city, led by my fearless host Aurelie, and joined by new local friend Paulo… and all of us on our Bromptons!

First, Aurelie and I took a picnic lunch to nearby Parc Jarry. It is a beautiful big city park nearby with a lake, a swimming pool, and lots of greenspaces where families were hanging out, barbecuing, etc. We dined in a lovely gazebo, which happened to be uninhabited when we arrived.

After lunch, we went over to the ride meeting place of the Jean-Talon Market, an open-air market kind of similar to Seattle’s Pike Place. I saw some of the biggest rhubarb I had ever seen!

We met up with Paulo, and the three of us set out on our adventure.

First we visited St. Joseph’s Oratory of Montreal, a gorgeous cathedral which was unfortunately undergoing construction, but which still looked beautiful from the outside. (There are so many architecturally amazing churches here!)

Then we thought we would visit a large cemetery on Mount Royal, but after scaling a challenging hill (which appeared on the map to be a “shortcut”) we found ourselves at what seemed to be a dead end. But then Paulo went to investigate a bit, and found a narrow, leafy path into the woods. It was a very hot and sunny day, so although we weren’t sure what we would be getting into by following the path, we decided the shade and uncertainty would be a worthwhile adventure.

And it was! We ended up having to walk our bikes most of the way, since the path was narrow, steep, and/or full of roots at times, but before too long, we found ourselves at an incredible viewpoint, which amazingly neither of them had visited before.

We stood at the top and reveled for a while, enjoying the view, and then began a slow descent, also on a tricky path. Very shortly after the summit, we found another amazing view, just off to the left: we were now facing east rather than north.

The descent after that was pretty challenging. (See the photo of Aurelie carrying her bike with a full front pack.) But we all made it without injury, and reached the entrance to the cemetery. As it turned out, though, the cemetery was not really passable by bike, so we ended up turning around and heading instead for a lovely restaurant with a beautiful enclosed patio.

Some Americans who waited with us in line outside struck up a conversation about our “cool” bikes, which was fun.

Over the meal, we enjoyed some good conversation about traveling, and then Paulo had to say goodbye because he had to tend to his “ducklings”—the three 20-something American Warmshowers guests sleeping on his living room floor. They were planning to awaken at 4 am to bicycle all the way to Ottawa in one day(!!) so he wanted to have a chance to say goodbye before they went to bed.

Aurelie and I then meandered slowly back to her place, through perfectly golden-hour-lit streets. We have been relaxing on the balcony ever since.

I’m not sure yet what tomorrow will hold. I had been loosely planning to visit Quebec City, but between my concern about the cost and logistics of the train travel, the fact that English speakers are more scarce there than here, and not having been able to find a host, I’m thinking I may stay here in Montreal instead. I have several local friends I’m hoping to see, so perhaps I can meet up with one or more of them tomorrow.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Arriving in Montreal!

6/24/22

OK. I will start by acknowledging the Supreme Court decision. It is a devastating blow to my country, and especially to anyone there with a uterus. My Facebook feed is full of outrage and heartbreak. I share those feelings, and I know there is much cultural and political work to be done in the coming years. I don’t have much more to say about it here, though. On this journey I have been living as much as I can in the present moment and in the beauty of nature and of the human connections I’m making, and so I’m choosing to focus on that now.

So…

Today was another beautiful day. I said goodbye this morning to my wonderful Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Warmshowers host, Gaby, and headed out along the Richelieu River toward Chambly, before peeling off to the west to get to Montreal.

The rain had cleared up. The sun had come out. The bike paths were every bit as breathtaking as Gaby and Aurelie had told me they would be. Wow.

Later in the afternoon, I felt the heat and humidity increasing, and by the time I met up with Aurelie in the early evening, I was definitely ready for a rest! I had stopped just before meeting her (and just after crossing the unbelievable Jacques Cartier Bridge, over Ile de Sainte Helene—Saint Helen’s Island—where Expo 1967 was held and which I hope to explore later) for a late lunch at the all vegan Copper Branch restaurant along Rue Sainte Catherine. That bridge was one of the longest, and also most impressive-looking, I have ever crossed. (You can just get a glimpse of its peaks from afar, in the one photo.) But it was a haul! Lots of bike traffic in the narrow bike lane, two hills within the bridge… it was an experience. Off to the right, I could see the roller coasters of the La Ronde theme park. I wish I could have taken photos of them, but that bike path was clearly not the place to do so.

After my meal, I climbed another short but steep hill (I walked the second half of it) to find Aurelie waiting for me at the top, cheering me on in the company of her own Brompton (named Archie!)

I met Aurelie within the past year, in a Facebook Brompton bicycling group. She is a very interesting and inspiring person! She moved to Montreal from her native land of France about ten years ago, and she lives a minimalist lifestyle. She works as a documentary filmmaker, specializing in short films about people in eastern Canada who live minimalist lifestyles, live in tiny houses, etc. (Take a look at her YouTube channel! Lots of very inspiring short films. They are all in French, but many have English subtitles.) She travels to these locations on her Brompton, often with the same Radical Design Chubby trailer that I use!

Tomorrow, she is organizing a Brompton ride here in Montreal in my honor! I don’t know how many people will be able to attend, but I’m excited to hopefully meet a new local or two.

Today is also the national holiday of Quebec, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. (It may seem odd to those outside of Quebec—including me—that a province would have a “national” holiday, but this is how people here refer to it. I don’t know too much about the history, culture, and politics of the province of Quebec, but I do know it is very deep for those who call this place home.) As I traveled today, I saw many large holiday celebrations in public parks, and lots of people in group rides on the bike paths (not sure if that was because of the holiday, but I guessed so?) and I noticed that many restaurants and shops were closed.

Aurelie led me on the final segment of my bike ride, from the “Gay Village” part of town (where the Marillion shows will be held next week, at the L’Olympia concert venue) back to her apartment, where we rested on the lovely balcony in perfect evening weather, and ate a wonderful tapas-style al fresco dinner she had prepared.

I’m excited for the rest of my time here in Montreal (and hopefully also Quebec City)!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

River walk after the rain

6/23/22

Wow. It did rain last night. And most of today. I am so glad I chose to stay here in St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu today instead of trying to bike to Montreal; I would have been absolutely miserable.

So I stayed indoors today, and worked on finding lodging for my next few places, as well as having two great Zoom conversations with two interesting women in—coincidence of coincidences—Kentucky. (I have scarcely ever talked to anyone in or even from Kentucky, but I happened to meet these two—who don’t know each other—recently through different Facebook groups.)

It felt cool to dip my toe back into the realm of “magical meetings.” I did so many of them during the year before I embarked on this journey, but since being on the road, it’s been all I can do to even keep up a semblance of communication with close friends and family. The constant moving around makes it difficult to block out times to talk when I can have sufficient comfort and privacy and mental/emotional presence to make it worthwhile for both parties.

As I dream into my next “chapter” after this year’s journey, I envision similar travel, but with more housesitting for a week or two at a stretch, rather than staying with different hosts every few nights. I’m loving meeting all these new hosts, but after a year I think I’ll be ready for a bit more privacy and downtime.

When my host Gaby returned from work this evening, he made us a delicious rice-and-dal dinner, and then since the rain had mostly stopped, he took me into the “old town” part of St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and we walked along the river and canal path. The river is not deep enough here for most boats to pass, so more than a century ago, they built the adjacent canal for that purpose. And just within the past few years, a new river bridge went in. I really liked the modern industrial style of the bridgehead.

The forecast shows clouds tomorrow, but no rain after 7 am, so my modified plan is in place to bike to Montreal and meet up with my Brompton friend Aurelie!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Made it to Canada!

6/22/22

Today was another bicycling day, 39 miles. (Or should I say, 63 kilometers! Gotta get used to this metric stuff for the next several weeks…)

The weather cooperated, with pleasant temps and even a tailwind for most of the way! Unfortunately I think I got a bit of sunburn on my arms; not enough sunscreen, I guess. Pretty mild, though.

I left the lodge just after 10:00 am, and pedaled through mile after mile of beautiful bucolic scenery, first in Vermont and then in Quebec.

Crossing the border went very smoothly. I only had to wait for one car ahead of me. I can now say that I have crossed into Canada by car, bus, train, boat, plane… and now, finally, by pedal power! Other than simply walking across, I think that is every possible way.

I did have a bit of a snafu with my phone service. Although my Verizon plan promised unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada (at no extra charge!) I found that once I crossed the border, service got very spotty and shoddy, to the point that my phone was pretty much unusable for most of the day. I could have stressed out about it, but mostly chose not to: I still had access to my map (though not the directions, without internet) and the address of my new Warmshowers host Gaby here in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. I used this to navigate and find his place just fine, although unfortunately I wasn’t able to text him ahead of time as we had agreed, and therefore he also couldn’t text me the code to get in before he arrived. It was OK, though; I hung out in a nearby park until he got home from work. (And I eventually found that restarting the phone did seem to help, although I have WiFi here at the house now, too.)

Meanwhile, I enjoyed all the fun new signs in this country, although I admit I was intimidated by the language barrier. I’ve been a bit nervous about that for weeks. I have visited Quebec once before—in May of 2019, for the same Montreal Marillion Weekend I’ll be attending next week—and found it a bit challenging to be surrounded by spoken and written French everywhere, since I don’t speak it. At that time and place, I found that everyone I encountered could and would speak English with me if I replied to their “bonjour” greeting with a smile and a “hi,” and I’m trusting that will be the case this time, as well. But even so, it adds a bit of stress for me to be in a place where the language does not flow easily for me. I’m used to living a very verbal life, and also striking up conversations with strangers as I travel.

I did manage to navigate a natural-foods store, though, and pick up several vegan sweet treats. (All I needed to say was “Merci!” as I left the register.)

Gaby had prepared a vegan meal ahead of time for dinner; although he is not completely vegan himself—and I had not yet mentioned that I was, because I didn’t want to presume that he would provide meals—he said he had noticed that his Warmshowers guests seem to prefer vegan meals. Cool!

We ate on the back patio, overlooking his vegetable garden, and ended up talking culture and politics for hours. I learned a few things about Canada. It was all very interesting, and I was extra appreciative for his engagement and enthusiasm: he is Quebecois, so French is his native language and he struggled occasionally to find the right English words. It was a wonderfully warm welcome for me into this country, and this new chapter of my journey.

Tomorrow I had planned to make one more riding day, into Montreal. The forecast is not looking at all pleasant for that. Gaby has graciously offered to let me stay another night here if I need it. I’ll see how the weather shapes up in the morning, and decide then.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Hero Islands, on the summer solstice

6/21/22

Well, it’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. I notice that sunset here on North Hero Island is 8:42, which is significantly earlier than Portland’s 9:02. I hadn’t realized there were parts of the US where the solstice sunset was before 9:00. Still, it’s the longest day of the year.

The day wasn’t as sunny as I would have liked, and in fact I got sprinkled on a few times, but thankfully nothing more than a bit of drizzle. And the 35-mile journey from Burlington to North Hero Island, via the Colchester Causeway Trail, was as beautiful as everyone had told me it would be.

This is a rail-trail, and a long segment of it goes out into the lake, with water on both sides of the trail.

When they took out the train tracks to turn it into a bike and pedestrian trail, they also took out the short bridge in one section of it, in order to allow easier passage of boats. This means that the trail is impassable unless you take the Local Motion bike ferry. The ferry—which only covers about a 50-yard distance—runs on weekends during the cooler season of the year, but this week (perfect timing for me!) it resumed daily service.

I spoke to the gregarious ferry-dock volunteer, Dave (hi, Dave!) who loved hearing about my journey, as did the ferry operators once I boarded. Dave collected my $5 donation fare while sharing some tips on how to proceed up South Hero after the ferry.

The farmland there was beautiful. I stopped to eat my packed lunch at a winery along the way that designated itself as a bikeway rest stop, and met two women visiting the area from Seattle! They had grown up in Vermont and Massachusetts, respectively, and had flown back to visit their earlier homes, and rented bikes to do some touring together while they were here. (Hi, Becky and Alison!)

Before too much longer, I arrived at my motel on North Hero. After all my wonderful human connections with my hosts over the past few months, I admit I’m relishing the quiet downtime and privacy in the room tonight. (Amazingly, I think the last time I needed to get a hotel was in Savannah, back in early April. Which is a good thing, because this place cost me a pretty penny! But it was worth it to be able to take this particular route.)

I expect I will sleep soundly tonight. Tomorrow, it will be another 39 miles in the saddle, including crossing the border into Canada, before arriving at the home of my Warmshowers host in the town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

Happy solstice to all!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Sunset boat ride, on my last day in Burlington

6/20/22

On this, the eve of the summer solstice, my Servas host family treated me to a wonderful and rare experience: a dinner boat ride on the lake, right in time for sunset!

More on that in a moment, but it was a full day overall, so I’ll share the rest first.

To start the day, I pedaled a few blocks away to check out a hidden neighborhood gem: an old quarry, now mostly grown over. It is tucked into the neighborhood on a dead-end street, and if my last two hosts hadn’t told me about it, I never would have known to seek it out. But it was a really cool little greenspace, with little paths in several directions.

After that, I went back to the co-op to buy a few provisions for the road tomorrow: the Hero Islands are not known for vegan-friendly restaurants and shops. (In fact, the hotel I have booked seems to have a strong fishing theme.) Both at the co-op and shortly before and afterward, I saw some cool colorful murals.

That last one is on Church Street, the brick-paved pedestrian plaza in the middle of town. While there, I dipped into the Ben & Jerry’s shop—just a few doors down from their original 1978 location, I believe—to sample their new vegan flavor, strawberry marshmallow. (I added a scoop of the Colin Kaepernick-inspired Change the Whirled, too.)

After Church Street, I meandered back home via the UVM campus. It was quiet during the summer, but during school months, its 10,000 students make up about twenty percent of the city of Burlington’s population.

My next adventure was to bike over to the lakeshore park to meet up with my new friend Kim, a fellow Marillion fan who will be attending the Marillion Weekend in Montreal with me in a couple of weeks. We took a beautiful stroll down the boardwalk (where I saw many swinging benches that reminded me of those in St. Petersburg, Florida) and then the bike path where I had ridden yesterday to get to Rock Point. We stopped to admire a sandy beach where many people and dogs were enjoying the sun.

After Kim and I exchanged numbers, we parted ways and I continued down to the dock, where my hosts Valerie and Michael and their 16-year-old son Isaac were waiting on the boat for me. Shortly after we set “sail” (not really—it’s a motor boat) we made a quick stop to pick up their amazing friend and neighbor Melanie, who waded out into 58-degree water to meet us, like a superhuman! (After dinner, Michael and Isaac also each took a dip in that water, from the boat. My hat is off to all three of them, who are clearly true-blue Vermonters!)

With Melanie on board, Valerie unpacked an extensive, homemade vegan spread for us all to enjoy, including quiche, two kinds of salad, local bread and butter, chips and salsa, and watermelon and strawberries, the latter of which she picked today. It was a wonderful repast.

Melanie is spending a week sleeping at a retreat center on Rock Point, where I hiked yesterday and where we sailed around today. It was cool to see the forest and rock formations from a different perspective. And watching Melanie wade back out to her island home for the night, after we dropped her off, made me think of the magical selkie from John Sayles’ classic film The Secret of Roan Inish.

On the boat, we talked about life and human connections, as well as the amazing work that Michael and Valerie do as founders and leaders of the Vermont online community Front Porch Forum. They began this venture in 2000. On the surface, it  bears much similarity to Nextdoor.com, but it predates it by a number of years, and is a grassroots-based neighborly site rather than one founded by venture capitalists and often mired in controversy. I was very inspired to hear about all the work they have done with the site over the years—including now—and how successful it has been within the state of Vermont.

We capped off the voyage by watching the sun set over the lake.

Wow.

I’ve had such a thoroughly wonderful time here in Burlington. I’m so glad I was able to add Vermont to my itinerary after all.

Now I’ve got one day of spring left before summer officially begins, and one more day in the United States, for about the next month. I’ve got three solid days of cycling ahead of me now, 30+ miles per day.

I’m really looking forward to experiencing the Hero islands tomorrow!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Rock Point

6/19/22

Another beautiful couple of days here in Burlington. Yesterday was mostly kind of windy and rainy, so I stayed in for much of the day, but my hosts and I did attend a Juneteenth event downtown in the evening, including some great musical and poetry performances, and even a panel discussion featuring Dr. Angela Davis! (I took photos, but the lighting made them not turn out, unfortunately.) I couldn’t believe she was in town and that I got the chance to see such a living legend.

Today I said goodbye to Heather, Ben, and Jesse, and biked only a few short blocks away to my new (and final Burlington) Servas host family: Valerie, Michael, their sons Henry and Isaac, their dog Jake, and their parrot Kiwi!

Shortly after my arrival, Valerie took me on a walk with Jake, to see her community garden plot as well as walk down to the lakeshore beach.

They are a very busy family, so although we got some good interaction time via walks, a homemade dinner of vegan tacos, and the viewing of a couple of Seinfeld episodes, I spent most of the afternoon exploring Rock Point while the parents attended Henry’s baseball game in Montpelier.

I biked north on the bike path a couple of miles to reach it, and then spent about an hour and a half hiking the incredible lakeside trail.

Along the bike trail on the way there, I passed the Burlington Amtrak station. I’m sad that the timing was just slightly off for me, because no Amtrak trains come through here now, but on July 29th they will resume service from New York City to Burlington (first time since 1953!) This is great news, and I hope I can take that line at some point in the not-too-distant future.

Heather had raved about Rock Point, and strongly recommended I visit it, and I’m so glad I did. The trees were incredible. The lake views were incredible. The sky and clouds were incredible.

I could have spent easily another hour on continuations of the trail, but I needed to get back in time for dinner, so I turned around.

One extra cool feature of the trail was a beach with a wooden xylophone and two mallets suspended from a fallen tree. I was the only one there when I descended the staircase, so I spent a bit of time hammering out “Doe a Deer” and making up a few of my own tunes, before I turned around and noticed a family of three on the steps behind me, awaiting their own turn with the music. I relinquished the spot and continued hiking, while their music floated through the forest after me.

Tomorrow is my last full day in Burlington. I plan to explore downtown’s Church Street—the brick-paved pedestrian plaza where the flagship Ben & Jerry’s shop is situated—and hopefully also meet up with a local Marillion fan.

Life is good.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

So much cool stuff in Burlington

6/17/22

Wow. This place is so cool, in so many ways. Incredible natural beauty, whimsical art, cool architecture and industrial remnants, two big co-ops… it’s a wonderland!

Yesterday I went walking again in Red Rocks Park with my hosts and their dog. The forest is large and amazing. This morning, I went out into it again to savor it a bit more.

Then I biked north along the bike path, toward downtown Burlington. I visited the gorgeous treehouse in Oakledge Park (it’s even wheelchair-accessible) as well as the Stonehenge-like Earth Clock in the same park.

Then I went to visit the south co-op again for a snack (the building with the moose mural) and right next to it was the world’s tallest filing cabinet!

After that, I visited nearby Lake Champlain Chocolates, where I picked up a few vegan truffles. (I didn’t spring for the “chocolate bar library,” but I delighted in the concept!)

Then I made my way back to Lauren and Doug’s house to bid them farewell and pick up my trailer. I hopped back onto the bike trail to get to my next Servas hosts, Heather and Ben and their son Jesse and Greyhound Emmy. (I am their first Servas guest!) We had homemade pizzas for dinner, and then took an evening walk through the art district and down to the waterfront, where a brewing storm made the sky surreal.

I’m loving this town so far.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Rolling into Burlington, with a bit of magic

6/15/22

This state continues to be gorgeous.

I meandered my way very slowly today from Essex to South Burlington, which was less than ten miles. I stretched it out over several hours, stopping to soak in the views in many parks and beautiful spaces.

But first, I encountered a bit of “travel magic!”

Around 10:00 I said goodbye to my Essex host Melissa, and lugged all the pieces of my rig out her front door to assemble on the sidewalk. This is generally a straightforward procedure.

But I ran into mechanical trouble with the trailer hitch. It seemed kind of stuck, as if nearly invisible debris was keeping the movable part from moving. I had not encountered this problem before. It seemed like there should be an easy fix, but I kept trying to slide the movable piece down far enough to attach the trailer to the hitch, and I could not get it to do so.

I tried to remain calm. I considered my options.

Maybe I could call a local bike shop? Maybe Melissa could give me a ride over there, with the trailer…? Or maybe they could somehow help me over the phone?

Or maybe I could call Freedom Folding Bikes again, the shop in Boulder where I purchased the trailer. They are the only US distributor for this Dutch product, and when I had had some mechanical trouble before, the owner provided superlative service over the phone.

But then I realized it was before 9:00 in Boulder. They were unlikely to be open.

Then I thought maybe I could use some of the cleaner/degreaser I had bought at the bike shop in Charlottesville. That would probably be my best bet to start with, at least.

I opened up the trailer and located the bright yellow bottle. I shook it up well, and drizzled some product onto the affected area.

Didn’t seem to do the trick.

Tried it again. Hmmm, still no.

Argh!

And then the magic happened:

Right at that moment, a pickup truck with decals pulled into the apartment parking spot right next to me. The man who got out asked if I lived in that unit. I said no, and he proceeded to the door to knock… but not before asking, jokingly, if I had a baby inside the trailer. (“It might be kinda hot by now!” Indeed, the sun was beating down.) I laughed and told him I was having a challenge.

“Oh, do you need some WD-40?”

“Hmmm… I’m not sure if it would help, because this product isn’t working. But I can try; thanks!”

He swiftly produced a can from the truck, as well as a paper towel to wipe down the excess and grime.

I tried it… and it worked!

Wow.

What are the odds? On so many levels…

(He had come to repair Melissa’s refrigerator, which she had told me was broken.)

I thanked him profusely, cleaned up and packed up, and was on my merry way!

Before long, I was startled to pass a whimsical stick sculpture on the side of the bike path, in the shape of a ball of yarn with knitting needles in it!

When I arrived in the small midpoint town of Winooski, I stopped for lunch at one of the few all-vegan restaurants in the Burlington area, Pingala. Their menu was extensive, and everything looked great. After some deliberation, I settled on the Caesar salad wrap.

Outside the restaurant, at the bike rack, I saw another bike trailer. It was locked to a tree! I had never seen a lockable trailer before. When I returned for my rig after lunch, I saw the cyclist emerging from the building—where he told me he works—with his dog, who was to ride home with him in the trailer.

Adorable. This is Vermont, I guess. (I had actually been noticing a dearth of bike trailers in many recent cities I’ve visited. But in my short time here near Burlington, I saw this one with the dog, and another one later in the evening.)

I ate my lunch on a picnic table overlooking the nearby waterfall. The building where the restaurant is situated is an old mill. (And, as I later learned, tonight’s host Lauren teaches yoga in that building too!)

After lunch, I continued along a scenic riverfront bikeway for a while, then found myself entering the city of Burlington.

I saw some creatively painted industrial silos on the side of a building, and later, as I headed into South Burlington, noticed lots of beautiful greenspace.

Right before I arrived at my Servas hosts’ place, I passed the incredible Red Rocks nature park, where I then stopped and walked among the trees in awe.

When I did meet up with Lauren and her husband Doug, they served me a delicious home-cooked pasta meal, and then we headed out around sunset with their cute elder dog, Mia, for a walk down to the waterfront, right at the end of their street.

The sunset views from the street, and then right down on the bay of Lake Champlain, were mesmerizing.

What a beautiful place. Tomorrow, I hope to explore a local 12-mile bike path.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)

Glorious Vermont

6/14/22

Wow. This state is indeed incredible.

I spent the most of the daylight hours exploring the small town of Brattleboro (population 12,000) with its historic buildings, cute pocket parks and old-time common, incredible green-mountain views, and one of the largest grocery co-ops I’ve visited, despite the size of the town.

After I had spent some time “downtown,” I decided to do some hiking in the forested trails right on the edge of town. (Literally within a couple blocks of my hosts’ house.) I had noticed that there was a castle-looking thing peeking through the trees near the top of a hill, so I made it a mission to go and see it up close. It felt enchanting.

Then it was time to begin heading to the train station, so I made my way back past a picturesque reservoir near a solar-paneled red barn, and bade a fond farewell to my Warmshowers hosts.

I headed down the hill to one of the most diminutive Amtrak stations I’ve seen, enjoying the green views along the way. Boarding the train with the rig was once again a bit tricky—the taciturn conductor muttered “this shouldn’t be allowed on board” as he helped me to heft it up the stairs—but the train itself was rather empty, which felt luxurious after all the packed Northeast Corridor trains I’ve taken recently. And the evening-light views out the window were once again spectacular.

I arrived in Essex Junction, about ten miles east of Burlington (no Amtrak station in Burlington) at about 8:30 pm, and biked the easy half mile to my new hosts’ home. Tomorrow I will make my way in to the fabled Burlington!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!

Want to be notified of future blog posts? Use the green “sign up” button to subscribe!

Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)