|Pausing on the bridge for a look at the Winooski River.|
|The smooth, stone dust causeway trail is 4 miles long.|
We left at 4 pm. and headed north. the only deadline was catching a ferry ride across The Cut (opening in the causeway to allow boat traffic) by the 6 pm scheduled closure.
The ferry crew rolled our loaded bikes on board for the 3 minute crossing.
The captain got a kick out of the fact that I was bringing Jiffy Pop - visible beneath my cargo netting - and joked that he'd meet us in our campsite for a few handfuls.
On the South Hero side, we dodged a potholed dirt road among late afternoon shadows - a tricky feat - then struggled through a construction zone riddled with chunky, rocky gravel, and were finally relieved to be pedaling on asphalt once again.
With a warm evening, we stopped at Keeler Bay Store - a haven for travelers - and bought sandwiches, micro-brews, and fruit, bread, and in my case, also an avocado for breakfast.
|Three tents fit easily onto the spacious, grassy site.|
The state park was half full and we had our pick of sites, but just in case I had called ahead to confirm their no-turn-away policy for bicycle travelers. In the busy season, the park will accept two-wheeled campers (as I experienced last August) and in the case of full campground, the rangers reserve group sites to handle the overflow cyclists.
We were hungry and tired by 7 pm arrival, we took their suggestion and set up on #84, close to water and bathhouse. Of special note, all of us were self contained travelers: carrying tent, sleeping gear, stove, pots, and food - by design - because all three of us were trying something new. Paula wished to be independent, hauling her own gear for the first time; Carmen is a veteran camper, but has only ever traveled by tandem - this was her initiation into being independent; and I was using a loaded front rack on my Clementine for her first camping trip. We ate dinner then set up tents, then munched on greasy, tasty Jiffy Pop until we retired around 10 pm.
On Sunday morning I woke by 5:30, well rested, but too early for Paula and Carmen, who had a restless night and crawled from their tents around 8 am. It's amusing to watch what other travelers have for breakfast. I drank tea because I hadn't located my coffee filter at home, while Carmen reheated yesterday's coffee and milk (great idea) and Paula brought instant coffee. Carmen ate oatmeal; (I forget what Paula had!); and I ate an apple and a roll smothered in avocado.
|New this year: three dinosaurs!|
One of our favorite stops was near the hundreds of crayon-colored birdhouses opposite White's Beach. Every year the birdhouses multiply, and according to Paula and Carmen I missed where the owners had a road side display stand where you could buy your own brightly painted birdhouse, payable by the honor system.
The birdhouse forest is taking on a life of its own, with the addition of dinosaurs roaming the woods.
At the public beach I just had to take my inaugural dip into frigid Lake Champlain. Paula and Carmen probably thought I was nuts and documented my "swim". It's the best way to cool off, wearing wet clothes and riding a bike!
We eat our hot dogs on the large swing, watch people putting together a dock, pet Charlie's new adopted three-legged beagle resting in the shade, admire overloaded boats unload passengers onto the sandy shore, and become a part of this unique summer community at the mouth of the Winooski River.
Would I do this trip again, even after the hot slog up the hill home? You betcha!