Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 4. Bellows Falls to Brattleboro....

Antique shops, crafts shops, B&B's BMW's I'm riding into the megalopolises playground .
Wilderness no more! I feel a longing for what drew my brother to that wilderness at the north border. An intensity goes with all those things people must protect. The driving style changes. The foods even in the quick stops is special for the tastes of Southern Vermonters and their visitors. I've been on a green power diet of blended Kale, spinach and fruit. I have powdered versions that I mix with fruit juice. This morning when the world wasn't looking I pulled into a farm stand restaurant and had a chocolate croissant ...then I had a raspberry!

You drop into Brattleboro. I did an interview with the Reformer the second paper of VT and set off for downtown. Brattleboro is Berkley without the campus. It's tie-dye and Birkenstocks, It is so different from everything to the north that it is comical. Now it was time to buy a new sleeping bag and mat which I did . I then checked into a motel for the wi-fi and the night,

Day 3. St Johnsbury to Bellows Falls Vermont

Thoreau in the 1860's made his Connecticut River Expedition and wrote a naturalist's book of the same name. This is a popular cyclist route, particularly in the fall. I am surprised when a colorful young bird pulls up behind this slow moving codger and engages a conversation. She's escaping her medic job in Newton Mass post marathon Massacre. "The first few days we went around saying very little, but it's getting back to normal," she says.

You climb, you coast. You have a mile or two level and you repeat it again. The low volume of traffic, litter and absence of billboards is very appealing. Commercial distractions are very limited. This Vermont effect creates a space for calm and peace as a cyclist.

I sometimes forget that I have a BOOMER MISSION. The Caladonian in ST. J. did a piece on Boomers. I gave the boomer Sports writer a book and he told me about his cycling in VT. A postmaster, a pizza maker a social worker and boomer retirees all told me What Makes Them Happy. It's health and wellness, recreation, grandchildren, the garden and being outdoors. Not one Boomer has told me of a single material thing that makes them happy.

In this time of terrorist massacres, good news and happiness is very welcome. I spent one more night in Wilder and headed out from Bellows Falls towards Brattleboro Vermont at the southern border.

Day 2: St. Johnsbury to Wilder, Vermont

Cool is good on a bike; windy isn't. Fortunately the morning gusts blew away. With each mile this "Dolly Sod" like world slipped away. The MOOSE crossing signs begin to disappear. The Connecticut River is ahead.

This is post card and Calendar Vermont. This is maple syrup, covered bridges, round barns and very old churches and cemeteries. A early morning Vermonter gave me a hearty hello. I stopped and traded stories. Upon leaving I asked about the road ahead. "Oh, I'd say its mostly level or downhill...." then he added his Vermont humor..."except where its uphill."

Forrest green Subarus of the early 90's vintage with "Say NO to Wind" bumper stickers are giving way to New York and Connecticut Volvos and BMW's. Antique shops are opening for the season.

Round barns and livestock dot the landscape.

Wilder is is across the Connecticut River from Hanover where Dartmouth Sits. A childhood buddy is my host. We attend a cookout at his daughter and son-in-law's across the street from the campus. This is a rare world of privilege and opportunity for the successful and the fortunate.

My hosts are both young Medical Doctors at Dartmouth Medical Center. They have two young lovely daughters. It was mild and memorable low-key time with exceptionally good people.wt

Canadian Border. Norton, Vermont

My brother's cabin in Vermont.

28 degrees. "No photography" at this lonely little border crossing say two officials looking sleepy. Three Miles south is my brothers cabin built 15 years ago for the wilderness and for the snow. This is an arctic-tundra environment appealing to woodsmen, hunters,snowmobile enthusiasts and nature lovers. The few houses mostly hug the road. Snow is measured by the foot here. It's crisp and sunny, woodpeckers tap messages to their lovers. Loons and Canadian geese float over misty bog like ponds where Skeletons of trees stand guard.

A garish nightmare of homemade signs with quirky statements pollutes this natural wonderland. Goose egg 50 cents.

Beyond is Island Pond and Lyndonville Hardscrabble timber towns where the winters road sand is inches deep. Vermonters are out early scratching the thatch from their lawns with leaf rakes and sweeping sand in their shorts-radios set at 9 ....Spring is finally here! The blessing and the curse of cycling is that you see, hear and smell everything that you miss in your car bubble. In some class the evidence is of bad choices. The roadside report is says there is problem with hard drugs in this area.

A large granite marker with a brass plate sets off the road with an appealing bench.Recognizing revolutionary figures is commonplace in New England. This marker said in "1797 nothing happened here."

The town of St. Johnsbury was still ahead. My mantra was now "this will feel better next week." My longest ride in preparation for this trip was 30 miles. Preparing physically my first concern was being able to stay on the seat for five hours a day at the start... speed is not my concern.

The town of St. Johnsbury reminds me of Elkins. It is hilly. It has a noted Academy a few museums and antique shops and cafes. 50 down my brother shuttled me back to the cabin to celebrate his birthday with a dinner a good nights sleep and then a return to St. J. The next morning. I was on my way.

Monday, April 22, 2013

WV sausage gravy biscuit

Pack your passport...If you want to go to Stanhope, Canada and have French fries smothered in gravy...A Quebec comfort food... Fifty miles later its gone.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Neighbors" News

Here's the ad we ran in the Neighbors
section of the Charleston newspapers --
our open invitation to Boomers everywhere
to join us at tomorrow's launch.

The Kanawha Valley Neighbors section of the Charleston Gazette had all kinds of interesting things in it today. In addition to the ad we ran for the Boomers book launch party (Thursday, April 18, 2013 -- National Animal Crackers Day), they ran a nice long story about the event.

I'm honored that they gave me four columns of space!

On the front page!

Neighbors also ran a story about the Kanawha Valley Village People, a local senior group that is part of the Village to Village network and is near and dear to my heart. KVVP is slated to receive a portion of any profits earned from book sales, so if you are thinking of buying a copy of Boomers to keep or give as a gift, know that it will go for a good cause.

This looks like an interesting article!
Can't wait to see next week's "Neighbors."