Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Two Loops North of the Border - Along the Richelieu & Saint-Armand

Riding the farm roads on the return trip to Auberge Harris.
On the heels of riding with Adele near Sherbrooke, my husband and I staged a bike getaway from Auberge Harris in Saint Jean sur Richelieu. Most of the rain showers had passed by the time we made it through a 30 minute wait at the border and arrived in St. Jean and checked into a cramped hotel room (next time we'll spring for the suite). Auberge Harris is familiar from years passed, riding VerMontreal trips, plus the hotel welcomes cyclists, has safe bicycle storage, and provides maps of potential riding loops.

My husband wanted to ride on the Chambly Canal path again, a beautiful, crushed stone dust towpath beside a canal that once saw barges, but now allows pleasure craft, run by Parcs Canada. It had been several years for both of us but the scenery was still lovely as waterfowl from both canal and river nearby squawk and flap wings. We were even privy to a large fish leaping beside us, creating a big splash.

In Chambly we sat outside a health food store, enjoying panini and salad then began our return journey on the other side of the Richelieu River on new roads to us, through flat farming country, a nice loop mapped for us on Auberge Harris's free map.

By late afternoon we returned to the hotel and enjoyed the outdoor, warm, salt-water pool as showers sprinkled our heads, the sky clearing to reveal a rainbow.

We checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning and headed south, close to the Vermont border to explore the region around Saint Armand. We began our ride from the village green in a parking lot, surprisingly beside two other Canadian groups who were also setting off on bikes.

The horizontal line is the border with Vermont. The dark mass is Lake Champlain's extension into Canada.
We followed back roads on a vineyard map, eventually passing through Bedford then looping southward by Dumaine du Ridge where my husband snagged a vineyard map for a neighbor. We also paused for an extensive exploration of the same cemetery I stopped at a few years ago because of Corey family graves that were relocated to the Ridge Cemetery. I had no idea there were 50+/- stones with the Corey surname. 

We took a side road to ride through a covered bridge, the Guthrie Covered Bridge, built in the 1880's. I never thought about Quebec having covered bridges, but I realize Vermont doesn't hold a monopoly on this architecture and living so close to the border, we have lots of things in common, like maple syrup production and beautiful foliage season.

After dancing near another border crossing, Morses Line, we ended our ride back in Saint Armand, picnicking near a Pentaque court (that I later discovered is what we call Bocce). It was a lovely two days away from home and a chance to reconnect with my wonderful and favorite travelling companion.

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