Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Goodbye to Loonies, Hello New York

Wait, did I get that right?

We slipped across the border at Johnstown/Ogdensburg with not a Looney in our pockets, having never entered the Province of Quebec. The nearest New York State Park happened to be Cole's Creek on the St Lawrence. We were awarded the last Electric site and, as a bonus, they somehow failed to fill a site next to ours. We had a large grassy spot with friendly neighbors and a view of the River. It was crowded with family fun in other parts of the park, but we were blissfully isolated. And Concierge service? Garbage pickup at the site and firewood delivery! These Americans really know how to live.

A few repairs were accomplished, stores replenished and a bit of Amish produce acquired. We played with our electronic gadgets like teenagers and got caught up with everyone online. Five days to Acadia; we better get back on those bikes soon.

We were blissfully without plan, but knew we must cross into Vermont near Rouses Point. The Vermont Tourist Information changed all that. There you find personable help and MAPS, beautiful MAPS. Maps of bike routes and a particularly gorgeous Guide to the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. The route follows the Milk Train through what was once modestly called the "Dairy Capitol of the World". This map has everything -- great graphics, history, services at each town, enticing photographs, road loops. These communities really want you to have a good time. Our personable advisor pointed us toward Lake Carmi State Park.

It's named for Carmi Marsh who owned the land. They used his first name 'cause Lake Marsh wasn't that appealing.

We settled in and soon were looking at this as we rode along the Missisquoi River.

The trail was hard packed and scenic and, don't forget, through the Dairy Capital of the World, which means...Dairy-Aire, that exquisite eye-watering, nasal-cleansing aroma of Methane, now produced and concentrated in huge covered arenas and directed toward you with fans the size of 747 engines. Each Dairy operation is proudly marked on the map, likely so you will remember to take a deep breath. Now we Southerners like our air mixed with paper mill and petrochemical accents and this just doesn't "smell like money" to us. But we endured. What unsettled us though were the multiple crossings of busy highway 105 on sharp oblique angles. It took both of us to STOP, watch for traffic and pick a safe moment to cross. It was as safely constructed as possible but made us wonder how traffic interlaced when the Milk Train was running.

We note for futher scientific inquiry that Dairy-aire may have some short term beneficial effects. As we rode away from the last dairy, we both noticed that we could sense the soap-clean scent of the young woman walking her dog 50 yards down the embankment, and the cigar smoke from a car speeding by, and, while climbing out of the valley toward the park, the aroma of pot roast near a farmhouse. We talked about returning the next day to ride the rest of the trail... Naaah!


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