Rolling into Burlington, with a bit of magic


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.


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!


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.

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