Day 1: Milton, VT to East Alburg, VT (36 miles)

Marsha and I have been looking for a vacation we could take together, and Marsha wanted to get her first taste of bicycle touring. We originally scheduled a trip to New York for a multi-day trip along the Erie Canal, but after weather scattered those plans, we settled on another option, a two day trip around Lake Champlain and through assorted islands in northern Vermont.

As coincidence would have it, the first day of our trip coincided with the one year anniversary of the last day of my cross-country trip last summer.

To prepare for this trip (her first tour), Marsha did some bike rides around Arlington of increasing distances. Her longest trip, on Saturday, was about 32 miles long, and at the end, she was exhausted. She recovered quickly, but at the time, her muscles were not happy with her.

So we settled on a plan — every 5 miles (or more often if necessary), we would stop the bikes, walk a little bit, and do some stretches.

We knew we would be camping overnight during our trip, so we thought we would camp the night before in Burlington, right on thee shore of Lake Champlain. Our campsite was nice, but our campsite was very small and the boisterous campers at the other sites kept us up late. So this morning we got up late, and by the time everything was packed up and we got breakfast and made our way to the starting point of the ride, it was just about noon. That was later than we wanted to get started, but we knew we didn’t have that far to go, so time wasn’t that big a factor.

The route itself was largely flat, but the first few miles had the hills of the day. After about three miles we crested one hill, and Marsha pulled off to the side of the road. She was questioning her choice to do this bike ride, but I assured her that after another few hills, we would make it to the shores of the lake and the course would ease considerably. I could tell that she had her doubts, but she got back on the bike like a trooper, and while there were some hills remaining, she handled them like she had been doing them forever.

Marsha modeling all our gear, at one of our early stops.

We kept to the plan of stopping every five miles, and that, combined with the much-awaited flattening of the course, made for a pleasant day. The weather was just perfect, sunny but not too hot, little wind, and all around nice conditions all day long.

A panoramic picture taken during one of our many stops. We’re just a stone’s throw from Lake Champlain!

After we stopped for dinner (pizza!) just about nine miles from our campsite, we travelled on Vermont route 78, as it passed through a wildlife preserve, then off the mainland and onto an island in Lake Champlain. We couldn’t enjoy the scenery much, however, because the road was the worst one of the day. The traffic was quite heavy, the posted speed limit was 50 mph, and when there was a shoulder, it was in pretty bad shape. Marsha was honked at when she had no choice but to swerve into the road, and for several miles the ride was very stressful.

Look at all that food!

We finally pulled in to our campsite just after 6, and we were happy to find that it was quite pretty, just steps away from the lake. It had free wi-fi, and we went for a swim in their onsite pool before settling in for the night. After the noise last night, we were pleased to find the place very quiet, with very few campers. We have the entire tent area all to ourselves!

This is the view just steps from our tent!

The frequent breaks seems to have made a huge difference, because Marsha felt great after going for the swim and walking around the campsite. I guess it is possible that she’ll wake up to sore legs tomorrow, but as of now, she feels remarkably good! We’re looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!

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