Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23--Day 41--I Can Almost Smell the Atlantic

Actually, I'm just a few miles away. I'm still two days from Bar Harbor, but I will lay eyes on the Atlantic for a bit tomorrow.

 

I had a nice evening with Alicia and Mike, and slept like a baby in a comfy bed. I got up at 6:00, and was my usual stealthy quiet. Alicia didn't realize I was up, until I had already packed my panniers back on Tilmann out in the barn. She made a wonderful breakfast, and we took photos in front of the chicken coop. I told Mike he should be holding a chicken, so he did!

Alicia, Mike, and the girls

 

 

I headed out just a little after 8:00. I thought that was pretty good for having slept in a house. Alicia and Mike are bikey people, so they understand the need to get on the road.

 

I rode through Bath, which was a quaint little town. The route up and onto the bridge over the Kennebec River was awesome. Mike had told me about a stealth ship they are building in the shipyard. I could see it from the bridge. Apparently, it will only appear on radar as being 27 feet long, when really it is much much larger.

The bridge over the Kennebec River

The stealth ship

 

 

I was on and off Highway 1 several times today. One of the cool things about being on a highway is that, occasionally, there are Rest Stops. That was the case today. I pulled in, used the restroom, and had a snack. 

A nice rest stop

 

 

I came in to Damariscotta around 10:30. It was a very busy little town on the water. I went in to a little deli/general store that looked interesting. They had homemade whoopie pies, so I had to have one. Getting out of town was a little challenging because it was a steep hill with no shoulder, and a bazillion cars behind me. I just cranked it as fast as I could to at least look like I was making an effort to get out of the way as quickly as possible.

Harbor in Damariscotta

Damariscotta

 

 

Getting out of Damariscotta wasn't nearly as bad as Waldoboro (no, I did not see anyone in a red and white stripped shirt, glasses, and a stocking hat). I came down down down, and then virtually straight up. It didn't help that I had to stop at an intersection to check my map, then continue going up. I'm sure the whoopie pie helped.

 

Shortly after returning to Hwy 1, I was almost out of water, so I stopped at a restaurant that appeared quite popular. It was a seafood place, and their claim to fame was their lobster roll. They had a 4 oz roll or a 7 oz one. I had a crab salad. I just wasn't sure about eating lobster when I still had several miles to go. Besides, I will have plenty of opportunity to eat lobster in a couple of days. 

 

I hadn't quite decided whether to go all the way to Camden Hills State Park, or stay at a somewhat closer campground (curiously, also called Camden Hills). When I got to the campground, I decided to call it a day. I'd gone 50 miles, and I was tired of the hills. 

 

The camping continues to be wildly expensive (in my opinion). Tonight was $36.00. However, Judy, the manager, is very nice. Not only did she put me on a hookup site (for the price of a tent site) near the showers and restrooms and in not so buggy of an area, but she also brought me a big bowl of corn chowder. So, for the third night in a row, I have not had to cook dinner. It was perfect, because I had a big late lunch.

 

 

I looked at my map. I think I will get to Bar Harbor day after tomorrow. That means I'll be a day earlier than I planned. I hope to take a day off.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22--Day 40--I've Been Making New Friends, All the Live Long Day

Well, and last evening too. I had the most hilarious evening with the Hemlock community of campers. I've learned a new concept of camping, or "Camp" as they call it. As in, "We are going to Camp." Camp is where they park their RVs for the season (some leave them year round). Most of the people live really close by, like less than an hour away. They all know each other, and even get together in the winter for dinner. I guess it's like having a summer place, only it's really close to their rest of the year place. 

 

Anyway, I was invited to dinner by Nancy and her husband Parker. Nancy told me to have Barbara and Doug bring me with them (in the golf cart, of course) down the 100 feet or so to their campsite. So, I hopped on the back along with Gabby, Barbara and Doug's 11 year old granddaughter. We had stir-fry and leftover homemade chicken pot pie. The next night, it was Barbara's turn to cook. 

 

Then there was Bill. Bill was a character. He could not, to save his life, remember my name. It got to where he would look at me, and I would say, "Colleen". It didn't help that he was, shall we say...three, no make it ten sheets to the wind...if you know what I mean. His wife just rolled her eyes at him. However, remember that steep gravel road I mentioned in the previous post? Well, Bill needed to take his pickup in to get the tires rotated and the oil changed the next day. They would be leaving at 7:15, and offered to give me a ride to the top of the hill. Of course, I accepted!

 

The night was a blast with all of them, and the other neighbors that stopped by periodically. True to his word, Bill was ready to go at 7:15 this morning. We loaded Tilmann into the back of his pickup, and him, his wife (sadly, I did not catch her name), and I went to the top of the hill. It probably saved me 30 minutes of walking.

Bill and his wife
Cool clouds
You can tell there is no wind--Lake like glass
Yesterday, after I got Cam's mom's message, I called her and said I would stop by on my way to Bath. They really were just off the route a couple of miles. She said we would go to lunch at the Village House. I got to their B&B at 9:00. It was only 11 miles from the campground. There were some hills though, otherwise I would have arrived even earlier! I had a great time chatting with Shannon and Al, and a couple of their guests. They showed me a shorter, less busy way to get to Brunswick, and back on my route. Al even copied off the necessary pages from the atlas, highlighting the route I should take. He also copied off the pages to Bangor (after Bar Harbor), and gave me a road map of Maine. 

 

 

Before long, it was almost 11:00. We decided it wasn't too early to go eat. Al and I had second breakfast, Shannon had first lunch. It was delicious! After we got back, we took a couple of photos, and I headed on my way. I am so glad I stopped by. Their B&B (Chandler House) is really nice, and it would have been awesome to stay there, but I still had a great night with the Hemlock group.

Al and Shannon

Chandler House B&B

 

 

I followed my new route to Brunswick (it ended up cutting off about 10 miles). Coming into Brunswick, I met a couple cycling from Quebec City to Boston. I think they were following the Atlantic Coast Route.

 

In Brunswick I got on the Androscoggin River Bike Path. It was a nice bike path running parallel to the very busy Hwy 1. I will experience riding on Hwy 1 in places, but there will be a wide shoulder, so the map says.

Androscoggin River

 

 

At the end of the bike path I got onto Old Bath Rd. I was heading to my Warmshowers hosts for the night. Alicia and Mike are just a couple of miles off Old Bath Rd. I think I mentioned that I met their daughter, Rebecca, in Ohio. Rebecca has made it to Wyoming now (departing from the Northern Tier Route to get to Idaho in time to start her new job as a nurse). She is riding 100 mile days! Amazing!

 

Alicia and Mike are very nice. Alicia cooked a delicious dinner. I did my laundry, and Alicia hung it out on the line to dry for me! I thought I would be pitching my tent tonight, but instead I will sleep in a very comfy bed!

 

They have done the Great Divide. I told them they could do Idaho Hot Springs since Rebecca will be in Boise. They are totally awesome bikes people, and I'm so lucky to get to stay here with them. I'll probably take photos tomorrow.

 

 

So, counting last night, I've made so many new friends! I've said it again and again, this is what touring is all about for me! I love riding, for sure, but it's the people that make it the best!

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21--Day 39--One Should Not Underestimate the Hills of Maine

Oh my, the mosquitoes were so bad at Canal Bridge campground! This morning, after getting dressed in my tent, and packing everything up in my tent, I covered my skin in DEET. I don't think I got any more bites, but I got enough last night to last me forever!

 

I left mosquitoville at 7:10. Funny thing, yesterday when Mike took me the sly dog route, I was thinking we had overshot the campground, and the mile I rode to the campground after leaving Mike, I was going to have to do this morning. Upon closer inspection of the map, we came back to my route a mile SHORT of the campground. If I had gone the way I thought I should be heading, I would have ended up back in Fryeburg! 

 

Mike had told me a different, but longer way to go to Lovell. I didn't do it. It was early enough in the morning that there wasn't much traffic. The 5 miles to Lovell were fine.

 

Cam, a guy from home who works at Joy Ride, and leads the gravel rides, had told me his parents own a B&B in New Gloucester which is just barely off my route. I realized I could get to them today, so I called yesterday. I left a message, but didn't hear back. I texted Cam, but didn't hear back from him either. I also set up a Warmshowers stay with the parents of the gal I met way back in Ohio on my way to Gibsonburg for tomorrow night in the town of Bath. 

 

This morning, I checked my phone. Still no message from Cam or his parents. I decided I would stop in Bridgton for second breakfast, then check again there. If there was no message, I would go to Hemlock Campground, the last campground before Bath (still 47 miles away).

 

The hills getting to Bridgton, actually, the whole day, were quite steep. They were short...ish, but still leg busters. I was thinking it wouldn't be that bad, and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't easy either. I think I probably climbed as much elevation gain as I did yesterday on the Kanc.

Look! A moose!

Andy told me about this stop yesterday. Water and benches for cyclists.

Highland Lake--one of many in the area

 

 

In Bridgton, I ate at Ricky's Diner. It was classic diner fare. I checked my phone, and still no message, so I made my plan for Hemlock (kind of outside Poland--which is funny because I also went through Sweden today).

 

The hills kept coming. Oh, there were downhills, but in this case, they really did go by way too quickly! I finally reached the turn for the campground, only to be greeted with one of the steepest hills of the day. Then, to get to the campground itself, I had to go down a steep gravel road. That is totally going to suck tomorrow. There may be walking involved.

Tripp Pond from above--I'm camped on the pond

 

 

I got everything set up, and plugged my phone into the outlet so kindly provided for the tent sites. There was a message from Cam, and a phone message from his mom. Shannon said they had room, and I was welcome to stay...bummer...

 

 

Well, since they are not far off my route, I'm going to stop in tomorrow to say hello on my way to Bath. I'm hoping the hills will be a little kinder!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20--Day 38--Conquering the Kanc, and Making it to Maine

The climb to Kancamagus Pass wasn't too terrible, in large part because they had recently repaved the road, so it was nice and smooth. Funny thing happened when I was near the top. A guy went by me on a motorcycle. He pulls over, gets off his motorcycle, and proceeds to take a picture of me as I'm climbing up the road. Then, without waiting for me to catch up to him, he hops back on his bike, and roars off. However, when I pulled off at the lookout very near the top, lo and behold, he was there. He was walking back to his bike, planning to walk right by me, when I said, "What? You take my picture, and now you're just going to walk right by me without saying hello?" He laughed and said he couldn't believe I was riding a bicycle up that hill (9% grade for the last couple miles). He just had to stop and take a picture. His name was Joel, and he was from Massachusetts.

 

I rode the last little smidge to the Pass sign.

The Pass

As I was coming down, there was another lookout on the other side. I stopped there too.

Mountains aplenty

There were several road cyclists coming up the Pass. I was glad to be going down. The downslope was 4 miles of 7% grade. That means it was harder coming up from the other side. I think the side I came down was longer though. It leveled off some, but I continued to go down.

 

I saw a touring cyclist going up. He was Andy, originally from New Zealand, now living in Connecticut, but soon moving to New York. He was taking this time between jobs to ride Northern Tier. He is getting a late start if he hopes to make it over the Rockies. It was Andy who told me we weren't on the route. He was off route on purpose. I was off route because I missed a tiny turn. In hindsight, I know where it was, and it explains why I only went by one campground, instead of two like the map said. However, the new pavement was delightful, and I'm not sorry I missed the turn.

 

I came into the town of Conway. I stopped for lunch at a nice little cafe called Sweet Maple. They also had wifi, so I was able to upload yesterday's post.

 

Back on the route out of Conway, I headed to Maine (okay, I know, I've been heading to Maine all along). After Center Conway, I crossed into Maine, state number 11!

Maine!

Almost immediately I got onto a bike trail called the Mountain Division Trail.

Mountain Division Trail

I rode along for a bit over a mile, and came to where I though I was to get off the trail, but the road wasn't the right name. As I was about to turn around and go back to the trail, thinking I'd gotten off too soon, another cyclist came by (perfect timing). Mike told me I needed to go back to the last street. I told him I needed to get groceries. He said he would just ride me to the grocery store, then show me a less traffic way to get to the campground I was headed for. I thought that was great! 

Mike and the gravel

 

 

 

Mike's route included a bit of gravel which didn't bother me in the least! Just before popping back out onto the road, he took some pictures of Tilmann, and I took a picture of him. Once on the road, I was just a mile from the campground, Canal Bridge Family Campground. It's on the Saco River. There have been many people canoeing and kayaking down the river.

Saco River boaters

The only really bad thing (besides the $30 cost) is the absolute hoard of mosquitoes. I have applied, and reapplied my friend Ben. They are driving me crazy! I think I must go apply more DEET!!!

July 19--Day 37--NH, AT, and the Beginning of the Kanc

I crossed into New Hampshire (state number 10) first thing this morning by crossing the Connecticut River. There was no Welcome to New Hampshire sign. I made my own (I know, the 'S' is missing). It was foggy again, but it burned off pretty quickly. Soon enough, I was riding in increasingly warm temps. I'm not complaining--it's far better than rain.

Welcome to New Hampshire

 

 

Another covered bridge

I knew I had a couple of back to back climbs today. The first one wasn't too bad, except when I got to the part where I was supposed to go down, there was a sign that said "Road Closed". It did say "Local Traffic Only". Well, in this case, I consider myself local traffic. There was a detour, but I had no idea where, or how far out of my way it would take me. I proceeded through the closed road. I did all the downhill, and was almost to where my next turn was, when I reached the construction. Hmmmm.....this was going to be tricky. First I asked the guy operating the front loader if I could squeeze through. He said probably not. He said there were two excavators on each side of the road. I asked if I could try. He shrugged his shoulders, and said, "I guess." I moved on ahead. While there were two excavators, only one was working. There was plenty of room to get by. Another guy walked up to me. I asked if I could just squeeze by. He said the road was closed and gave me all kinds of grief for not taking the detour (I explained my reasons). Finally, he asked his boss. The boss said yes, and I was waved through. I have no doubt if I had been a guy, I would have had to turn around. I'm sure the guy thought I was totally stupid, but I didn't care so long as I didn't have to go back.

 

The next climb was longer, and entirely in the sun which, by now was really hot. It was about 3 or 4 miles to the top. At the top, called Kinsman Ridge, the Appalachian Trail (AT) crossed the highway. Unfortunately, I didn't meet any hikers. I stopped at the trailhead parking and had a snack before heading down down down.

The AT crosses here

 

 

The bottom of the descent brought me into North Woodstock, just a few miles north of the Woodstock of 60s music fest. I stopped at a gift shop place to get a postcard for Grayson. As I was leaving, a couple from Montreal stopped to talk to me. They must have been staying in the next town (a mile away) of Lincoln. I followed them to Lincoln, and at a stop light, caught up to them. They asked to take my picture. I said yes, then took theirs too.

Caroline and John

 

 

I realized as I came into Lincoln (a good sized touristy sort of town) that I hadn't checked off a New Hampshire Subway. I didn't get a Vermont one, as I didn't go through any sizeable towns. I didn't see one, so I stopped at a market/deli and got a sandwich. Of course, as soon as I got back on my bike, up in the distance I could see the Subway sign. So, I stopped and got cookies. New Hampshire Subway has now been checked off!

NH Subway, CHECK!

 

 

My goal for the day was to get partway up the Kancamagus Hwy to the Pass (the locals call it "The Kanc". There were two Forest Service campgrounds. The first was 3 miles from Lincoln, and the second was 6 miles. As you might guess, I stopped at the first one. It was 3:00, and I had done enough climbing in the sun. Ironically, this campground is called Hancock. Why is that ironic you ask? Because yesterday I went from the town of Hancock to East Thetford. Today I went from East Thetford to the campground of Hancock! 

 

 

I'll get an early start (or just my usual start, which is pretty early) tomorrow while it's cooler, and less traffic to finish the climb up the Kanc.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18--Day 36--The Big News For Today

It didn't rain! Besides that, it was an uneventful day. But, here's some photos from last night.

Kathleen feeding her chickens

Mama hen and her chicks

Fancy pants

 

 

I actually left pretty early this morning. Having slept on a loveseat couch that was pretty comfortable, if not a little short, I decided upon Mary's recommendation, that I would have breakfast at a place called Sandy's. It was in Hancock. She said they open pretty early. As I was saying goodbye to Kathleen at 6:30, I told her I was going to go to this cafe. She said they didn't open until 7:30. Okay, I guess I won't do that. Instead, I stopped at the gas station/minimart, and had the equivalent of my usual breakfast, minus the banana. I had hot chocolate, an oatmeal cookie, and a chocolate donut. Okay, it wasn't quite my usual breakfast, but it was enough calories to get going.

 

As I said, it wasn't raining, but the fog was hanging in the trees.

Foggy Vermont

For the first time, I wore my arm warmers. I rode through Rochester, Stockbridge, Gaysville, to Bethel. That was a little over 20 miles of my 50 mile day. In Bethel, I stopped at a cafe for second, but kind of really first breakfast. My table overlooked a waterfall. Here's a photo of the waterfall from outside.

Bethel waterfall

 

 

Having filled up on French toast with real Vermont maple syrup, I got back on the route. By now, all the fog had burned off, and it was turning into a pretty warm day.

 

I stopped in Royalton to get a Vermont postcard for Grayson at a gift shop, then mailed it in South Royalton. 

 

In Sharon, I was at the beginning of a long climb, similar to the Middlebury Gap. I fortified with a bottle of Gatorade, then started up. Just like yesterday, the first part was killer steep. I was a huffin' and a puffin'. As it was now quite warm and humid, the sweat was dripping off my bare arms. Now I know how much sweat my sunsleeves absorb when I'm wearing them (usually I do). Again, there was no sign that I'd reached the top, other than the road going down. 

 

I came to South Strafford, but cruised on through. On the way to Thetford Center, there was a little road called Tucker Hill Rd. I was hoping I would be at the top and just get to cruise down. Nope, that was not the case. It was another leg buster, just not as long.

 

After Thetford Center, came another big climb to the second of the Thetford collection of towns, Thetford Hill. It was an appropriate name for a town, as it sat at the top of the hill. I descended to the turn to the campground which is just before the third town of the Thetford collection, East Thetford (the fourth Thetford town is North Thetford, but I will not go through it).

Look! A covered bridge!

 

 

I'm camped at a campground called "Rest n' Nest". You'd maybe think there would be a bird theme, but there is not. At $27, it's rather expensive, but I didn't have to pay anything for last night, so it's not too bad. Interestingly, just like yesterday, it had rained really hard just before I got here. I did not get any rain. Lucky me!

Campsite

 

 

 

Tomorrow I will finish my brief time in Vermont, and cross into New Hampshire for, likely, an equally brief time.

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17--Day 35--An Awesome Stroke of Good Luck

The weather is back to its less than greatness. Thundershowers in the forecast for where I was headed. My hope was to get over the Middlebury Gap, and to a campsite before they let loose. 

 

I caught the ferry across Lake Champlain this morning. When I got to the dock, the boat wasn't there. There was a sign that said, "Pull to call ferry". I pulled it, but I don't know if it really did anything. All it did was flip up a faded rectangle. However, not long after I pulled it, the boat started coming across. I think it was just coincidence.

Here comes the boat!

Ticonderoga Ferry

Tilmann on the boat

 

 

There were two vehicles, and myself on the ferry. It cost me $2.00. Once I disembarked from the ferry, I was in state number 9, Vermont! I took the obligatory photo. 

Vermont!

 

 

On my map it showed an alternate called Covered Bridge Alternate. It avoided Middlebury.  Although Middlebury is said to be a classic New England town, I'm sure I will go through other classic New England towns, but I might not see any covered bridges. I took the alternate. Another very good reason to do the alternate was the traffic. The main route had quite a bit of traffic--the alternate had virtually none.

 

There was only one problem with the Covered Bridge Alternate. There was no covered bridge. There was this one lane bridge that may or may not have been a covered bridge at one time, but there is no covered bridge. At least it was shorter, and maybe less hilly.

Uncovered bridge

Passed this place called Shard Villa. It's a home for the elderly. Looks like, in the right light, it could be a home for the Adams Family!

 

Besides the no traffic, there was one other really good reason to do the alternate. Middlebury Sweets, the largest candy shop in Vermont, just happened to be right on the alternate route! Of course I had to stop. I probably got way too much sugar!

CANDY!!!

 

 

The Alternate rejoined the main route in East Middlebury. I found the Post Office, and mailed a flat rate box to Minneapolis of the souvenirs I've been carrying, and the maps I no longer need. As I left the Post Office, a gal rode up on her bike. Her name was Heather, and she's a massage therapist in Middlebury. She was really nice, and offered me food, water, a place to stay, anything I needed. If I had gone further for the day, I definitely would have taken her up on her offer. As it was, I really wanted to get over the gap before the storm. 

 

The climb out of East Middlebury to Ripton was really something! The first bit had me wheezing like a donkey, and having to stop to catch my breath. I stopped in Ripton for another Gatorade (I'd gotten one in East Middlebury). I was sweating out as much as I was taking in.

Ripton Country Store

 

 

The climbing continued toward the Middlebury Gap. Most of it wasn't as hard as the first section, but there were a few spots. I went through Breadloaf (named after the mountain, I'm sure). The whole place appears to be the Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College. It's a number of buildings. I took this photo, not so much for the building, but to show the nasty black cloud. 

That does not look good!

 

 

As I continued my way up, I could hear thunder in the distance. It still wasn't raining, but I had put my rain gear under the bungy on the rack just in case.

 

I finally reached the top. There was no sign except this one to indicate I was at the Gap. I suppose it's a pretty good indicator.

12% grade!

 

 

I rode down, keeping my eyes open for "Little Emma's Cabins" where I was going to camp for the night. I never saw a sign. What I did notice was that, although it was just barely raining, it had recently rained quite a bit. I certainly just missed that one!

 

Next thing I knew I was in Hancock. I thought, well, fine. There is supposed to be a hotel here. Sure enough, there is the Hancock Hotel. But, she had no rooms available. She suggested I go to The Gathering Inn just across the street. I did, and found Kathleen. She too is full, but I asked if I could pitch my tent. She said go for it, but then said I could sleep in the porch if I wanted. She showed me the kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. She gave me a towel, and said have at it! I asked her what I could pay her. She said, "Sheesh, you are sleeping on the porch, you don't need to pay me anything!" 

The Gathering Inn

Tilmann safely inside

 

 

 

It's awesome here! The chickens wander around (one hen has chicks), and there are two cats. Lucy is keeping me company on the porch. Another couple, Mary and David, are staying here while they look for a place to live in the area. They are from Pennsylvania. Nice people. Kathleen keeps asking if I need anything. I have everything I could possibly want, especially since it looks like another storm is going to roll through.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16--Day 34--What About the Pencils?

For my first day off, I rode 13.5 miles, quite a bit of it uphill. Oh well, it's still a day off in my book.

 

I took the bags off Tilmann, and rode to Fort Ticonderoga this morning.

Tilmann Fort Ticonderoga photo op

It was called Fort Carillon when the French first built it in 1755. It was part of the French and Indian War, and the Revolutionary War. It was the site of 5 major battles. When the British seized the Fort from the French, they renamed the Fort Ticonderoga. In 1783, General George Washington decommissioned the Fort. In 1820, William Ferris Pell purchased the Fort property for $11,000. He built a summer house that later became a hotel and a desirable vacation destination. In 1909, Pell's grandson took interest in the property and initiated one of America's earliest restoration projects. For a place with such an important history, you would think it would be a part of the National Park System. It is not. It continues to be run as a non-profit educational organization. It receives no state or federal money. It costs $23 for an adult, but the hotel had a coupon for 10% off.

Cannon overlooking Lake Champlain

 

 

I got to the Fort in time for the first tour. The young man, dressed as a French soldier (each year the Fort chooses a particular year in the Fort's history to focus on--this year it is 1757, when the Fort was occupied by the French), gave a brief history lesson on the Fort.

Our French Soldier tour guide

He led us into the Fort Parade Grounds, finished his talk, then let us explore the various exhibits.

The craftsmen building

Small weapons exhibits

More exhibits--this building was recently built. The original powder building was burned and blown up twice.

I looked at everything, but really enjoyed watching the cobblers (shoemakers--they make all the shoes the employees wear--very authentic), and the tailors (they make all the clothing the employees wear). Emma, one of three tailors/seamstresses, said the hardest part is obtaining the fabrics. She said if she could go back to the time period of the Fort, she would go shopping for fabric. The undergarments are made of linen, but linen is processed differently now. The breeches and coats are, of course, made of a slightly felted wool. Emma was sewing, by hand, an officers coat for a reenactment coming up this next weekend. She had a lot of work to do.

 

I wandered a bit more around the Fort building itself, then returned to the front gate just in time for the Fife and Drum Corps to lead a group down to the King's Garden for the tour there. A bunch of us followed, in step, down to the gardens. 

Fife, Drum, and Flag

Following the Corps to the gardens

Single file now

 

 

Our tour guide for the gardens told us about the various plots. Because they are depicting the year 1757, there was a soldiers garden with the veggies that would have been grown in that time--cabbage and greens. The plot is smaller now, but in 1757 it would have been 6 acres of cabbage and greens. That's a lot of cabbage!

Garden tour guide

 

 

There was a children's garden, including an alphabet garden. I took photos of the plant letters of Grayson and Harper. 

 

The walled King's Garden was built by Sarah Pell (the wife of William Pell's grandson). This being July, it was in full bloom.

The Pell Pavillion

Inside the walled garden

Day Lilly

Poppies

More flower pretties

 

 

After the gardens, it was about 12:30, so I took myself back up to the Welcome Center at the Fort, and the Fort Cafe for some lunch. As much as possible, the veggies for the cafe come from the gardens, but they also make food that the soldiers would have eaten. In this case, split pea soup. I fully intended to have the soldiers' special of split pea soup and grilled cheese sandwich (made with bread baked in the brick ovens of the Fort), except I don't really like split pea soup. I had the tuna melt and apple pie.

The view from my table at lunch

 

 

Having completed my tour, I returned to Tilmann and headed out. Along the road to the exit, I passed the Carillon Battlefield. Now it is a pleasant grove of trees and grass. 

Carillon Battlefield

 

 

Next I wanted to go up to the top of Mount Defiance. I rode into the old part of Ticonderoga, then followed the road to the gate of the road up to Mount Defiance. There was supposed to be a hiking trail to the top, but I didn't see it. I thought maybe it was through the gate (my admission to the Fort included Mount Defiance). I started riding up the road. There was no parking area or signage for a trail. I kept riding up the hill. The hill was steep...very steep. It was a leg and lung buster for sure! I would have been walking if I'd had any gear on my bike!

 

I finally reached the top in a good sweat. The view was, admittedly, worth the climb. I could see the Fort, and much of Lake Champlain. The ride down was not as fun as would think. In addition to the steepness, the road surface was not the greatest. It was still better than going up!

The Fort and Lake Champlain

 

 

I continued through town to work my way back to the hotel. The route goes through the town to get to the ferry across the lake, but tomorrow I'll take the shorter route since I've seen the town now. 

 

I'm really glad I took the day off to see Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Defiance. I would not have been able to do it justice if I still had to ride.

 

 

As for the pencils, it turns out Ticonderoga pencils were not invented in Ticonderoga, but the graphite used in the pencil lead was mined near Ticonderoga. I did see these examples of Ticonderoga pencils in the gift shop.

Ticonderoga pencils!
Heres a parting shot...
Flat Will, can't you read? It says stay off the cannons!