Chambly, Quebec to Grand Isle, Vermont - The Andersons at one - CycleBlaze

June 16, 1989

Chambly, Quebec to Grand Isle, Vermont

We enjoyed a long, solid sleep, enough for two days - so this morning we were well rested and raring to go.  Happily, it did not rain on us for the entire day; but it was constantly overcast and menacing.  We spent the whole day pedaling up the Richleau valley and have ended up on an island in the middle of Lake Champlain.  We saw no hills to speak of at all, and had no noticeable wind or ill weather to contend with - so even though we took our time, we covered at least sixty miles.

We had our breakfast in a restaurant in St Jean-sur-Richleau, about fifteen miles up the canal from Chambly.  There is apparently a quiet route we could have followed, but we found the freeway instead and had another heavily trafficked hour to begin our day with.

Breakfast was interesting.  It is silly, but I keep being surprised by the difficulties involved from not knowing the language.  The menu was in French, and it took some work to determine what to order.

I am delighted to be in a foreign speaking land.  Ever since we left Montreal the language is overwhelmingly French.  Based on random encounters, it appears that most residents speak either little or no English at all.  I'm hearing the language spoken and seeing it written everywhere.  Every new word I pick up feels like a small new possession.  It feels as though it would not take long to pick up enough to get by.

(Later) Phooey.  I've stalled off until the next afternoon, and already some of the details of the day are fading.  After breakfast we continued south along the river, but this time on the right road.  This is the first stretch we have ridden so far that has not included heavy traffic.  For the next thirty miles we enjoyed flat, relaxed travel under grey skies which threatened constantly but never quite succeeded in getting us wet.

At the US boarder we had a brief chat with the customs officer, who cheerfully warned us of the steep climbs ahead in Kancamagus Pass in New Hampshire's White Mountains.  It is odd to be back so abruptly in English-speaking territory again.  One feature missing in Quebec was the occasional brief conversations with strangers whose reserve is broken down by the oddity of our travel style.

After crossing the border we turned eastward into Vermont, and then south along Highway 2 into the Grand Isle region in Lake Champlain.   The country here is lovely - peaceful, green, filled with birds and few automobiles.  We ended our ride in the village of Grand Isle, where we bought a couple of deli sandwiches and drinks and then continued on to the nearby state park to pitch camp.  There we quickly lotioned ourselves for protection from a legion of mosquitoes and then walked down to the lake to eat and watch the water until dusk.

Crossing Lake Champlain
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At Lake Champlain
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At Grand Isle State Park
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Today's ride: 67 miles (108 km)
Total: 122 miles (196 km)

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