September 8th ride
On Friday mornings I usually teach a swim lesson at 8:30. Late in the evening of September 8th I got an email canceling the Friday lesson. This meant that I had the day off. I decided to take the commuter bus to Saint Albans and start a ride from there. Usually I get all my gear ready the night before but it was so late in the day when I got the cancelation that I decided to wait until the morning to get ready. I got up at five, had a bagel with a mixture of peanut butter, cream cheese, and strawberry jam, and then got ready to go. The commuter bus to Saint Albans stops in Winooski at 5:45 AM and 6:45 AM. I decided to take the 6:45 bus. I took a map along because there were a few route details that I was not sure of.
Every day, on my phone, I read 1text 1jour, 1text 1femme, and a text a day, the Poem Of the Day from the Poetry Foundation, a couple of pages from the Complete Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson and an episode from a novel by Eric Kraft along with a topical guide to that episode.
1text 1jour, 1text 1femme and a text a day all drop during the night. I have the Tennyson on my Kindle. The poem of the day arrives midmorning and Eric Kraft’s episodes come around 12:15 PM. 1text 1jour and 1text 1femme are in French. Gradually I am improving my French reading comprehension.
On the bus to Saint Albans I read 1text 1jour, 1text 1 femme and a text a day. I also read some of The Complete Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Alfred Lord Tennyson was the most famous Victorian Poet. In the 19th Century in England the best know poets held a position that is hard to imagine today. They were like our rock stars or famous actors. I downloaded the Complete Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson in March. As of today I have read 16 percent of the text. He was a prolific poet! A text a day was about the Irish Poet W. B. Yeats. English is not the first language of the three authors of a text a day. Sometimes the writing is a little awkward although not incorrect. I have offered to edit their texts and the authors said that they might accept my offer for future posts. They also welcomed any comments I have about the current posts. Every couple of weeks I send them something. Writers tend to fall into patterns and these writers often start a sentence with ‘if’. That morning there was a text about W. B. Yeats. The last sentence of the post reads: “If he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923, he was also much involved in politics and became a Senator in the Irish Parliament”. I wrote and suggested removing the ‘If’ and dividing the sentence into two shorter ones.
As we pulled into Saint Albans the bus driver asked me where I was going. I told him my plans and he wished me good luck. I used the bathroom at a nearby convenience store and headed north on Route 7 toward Swanton. The wind was at my back but it was not blowing too strongly. I always check wind direction and speed when planning a ride. I like to ride into the wind on my way out and with the wind on my way back, but only when the wind is really strong. As I rode to Swanton I felt happy. I did a similar ride last year and felt the same happiness between Saint Albans and Swanton. Most of my rides are repetitions of rides I have done in the past, and certain places along the way evoke specific emotions and memories. I don’t know why Route 7 between Saint Albans and Swanton makes me happy. Maybe it is the feeling of riding further north than usual.
When I got to Swanton I had to check my map. My plan was to ride along the lake back to Saint Albans. I had done the ride before, but not since 2008. Once I left Swanton the traffic eased off a great deal. On a weekday in Franklin County, the side roads are very quiet. The last time I rode this route many houses by the lake were for sale. This time I did not see any for sale signs and I saw some new and expensive houses.
I stopped just north of Saint Albans Bay and took a pano shot of the fields beside the road. The landscape is much flatter and more open than the landscape in Chittenden County. I also took a photo of an abandoned house. I saw lots of new construction but also evidence of poverty.
I stopped at Saint Albans Bay Park. I went inside the main building, which was deserted. For many years the water in Saint Albans Bay has been unsafe for swimming. The main building had lots of changing rooms and a bathroom. It was sad to such an impressive building fall into disuse and disrepair. I used the bathroom and took a photo of two green windows.
I headed out on Georgia Shore Road and stopped to take a photo of the sign for Montcalm Road. Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grazon died in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in September of 1759. He lost to the English General James Wolf. When I was 17 I worked at the locker desk at the Providence YMCA in Providence, Rhode Island. I had plenty of down time so I read Francis Parkman’s seven volume ‘France and England in North America’. My father recommended it to me. I was plunged into the world of the Jesuits, the Iroquois, English trappers and French settlers. I read about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in ‘France and England in North America’. Reading Parkman was my first long reading project. That time at the Providence YMCA flooded back when I saw the sign.
Just down the road from the sign I discovered an apple tree right next to the road. I picked up an apple and put it in my pocket.
I took Georgia Shore Road to Georgia Plains where I got some water at the community center. I took a photo of the Baptist Church across from the community center.
Next stop was Fairfax and then on to Westford. I went to the library to use the bathroom and get some water. I like to stop at libraries. They are familiar places and even though I usually just stop briefly, I know that if I were to browse the shelves I would find many familiar friends among the books.
I set out from Westford to Essex on Route 128. On weekends I stop at the Essex Elementary School to take a break and eat a snack, but with school in session I knew that would not be a good plan. I took my break in a little park across the street. I ate the apple I found in Georgia. By that time I was tired, it had been a long ride.
I took Route 15 into Essex Junction and then a detour through the High School to Pinecrest Drive. I rode through Saint Mikes and back home to Winooski.