Pedaling in the Snow

Sunday was raining almost the whole day, and at night it started snowing.
When we woke up Monday morning we could see through the window how snow was falling…
Monday we planned and needed to pedal back to Burlington for our flights back home on Tuesday.

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What do you do if it is snowing and you need to pedal and be somewhere else?
Yes, you are right! You bundle up and there you go!

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At the Inn there was poster hanging on the wall:

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When I saw the poster and took the picture I thought it said: “Tired of winter? Change your attitude”, but then I realized that what it really said was “Change your Altitude”, and as we changed our “Altitude” snow stopped falling.

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Skies were cloudy and we had to pedal against the wind, leaving the Green Mountains behind and carrying with us the memories of a rewarding experience…

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Now, you may think and still ask, “but why do you need to ride under the rain and snow, couldn’t you have had the same experiences in a more civilized way?

The answer is “Possibly yes”. When we were at the White Horse Inn I saw in a magazine an ad for an “Exerciser Elite”.
I share with you the picture below:

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The ad listed all the benefits of using it. You just lie down and that thing moves, and they claim it exercises your muscles without effort, and no need to get tired. You can see in the picture the broad smile that the model lady has…

So, the Exerciser Elite is s good alternative, no rain, no snow, no mud, no hunger, no thirst, and as you can see in the picture, you can still smile…

But what happens with the stories, the unexpected, the challenges, the dreams, the memories, the love and wonder?

It is possible that all of the above can also be found without the need of one or the other, and it only depends on your Attitude and Altitude…

May your attitude and Altitude allow you to enter all the Gateless Gates of dreams, stories, friendship, love, wisdom, health and well-being…

And may we be enlightened to see that many Gates obstructing our path are just Gateless Gates products of our imagination…

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A rest day

We intended to take one rest day at Hancock, but Saturday when we woke up, we found out that there were no restaurants nor grocery stores in town.
There was a sign in front of a nearby closed hotel saying that they will be opening a restaurant and the hotel in July… We thought that waiting until July to have something to eat was a very long wait (almost a month and a half), so we decided to transfer our rest day to the White Horse Inn in the Mad River ski area where we planned to stay Sunday.
It was just a 21 miles, very pleasant and relaxed ride. Skies were clear and we were glad that we pedaled Saturday because Sunday it rained the whole day…

Some pictures below:

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We stopped for a cup of coffee at a general store on the way. I enjoy taking pictures if “Wisdom Walls”, ideas, thoughts and opinions that people like to post on their walls. Like the one in the picture below:
“Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes” 🙂

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Then we saw “discovered” two waterfalls. One was on the side of the road:

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And the other one, required a short walk.

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Then after a long and steep climb we reached the summit and were close to our lodging for Saturday and Sunday.

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At the hotel we found a hose to give our bikes a very needed bath…

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And our cleaned bikes, as well as ourselves, had a very enjoyable two days rest at the White Horse Inn…

Pedaling in the rain

Is it fun pedaling in the rain? No, it is not, but surprisingly it can be enjoyable (mainly if you have no other choice and you need to reach your day’s destination.

After breakfast we took some pictures in front of the place where we didn’t the night and started pedaling the 60 miles towards Hancock.

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There were beautiful and colorful views along the way.

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Then it started raining and raining…

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And I could not take anymore pictures, until we were close to the overnight place in Hancock and the rain stopped.

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The two pictures below were taken from the backyard of the house where we stayed in Hancock.

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So, if it is not fun riding in the rain, how can it be enjoyable? The answer may be a lengthy one and use either words out silence to answer… A very difficult task… So instead I share with you below part of an article I read some time ago in The Newyorker Magazine, and whose Author I do remember who he or she is.

The article’s author wrote a comment on the book “The Philosophy of Walking” by Frederic Gros, and I feel that what the article’s author and Gros say about walking can be very well applied also to bicycling… You can decide…

“[Over time, though, things we do for a purpose, however obscure in origin, become things we do for pleasure, particularly when we no longer have to do them. As we do them for pleasure, they get attached either to a philosophy or to the pursuit of some profit.

The purpose of walking, he tells us, is not to find friends but to share solitude, “for solitude too can be shared, like bread and daylight”; the philosopher Kant’s life “was as exactly ruled as music manuscript paper”; when walking, the body “stops being in the landscape: it becomes the landscape.”

Gros’s larger theory of walking, abstracted from all the abstractions, is that there are three essential kinds. There is the root case of contemplative walking (what you do to clear your head). There is “cynical” walking (the term referring to the Cynics of ancient Greece, homeless hippies who scorned conventions, customs, clothes).

Contemplative walking is Gros’s favored kind: the walking of medieval pilgrims, of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Henry David Thoreau, of Kant’s daily life. It is the Western equivalent of what Asians accomplish by sitting. Walking is the Western form of meditation: “You’re doing nothing when you walk, nothing but walking. But having nothing to do but walk makes it possible to recover the pure sensation of being, to rediscover the simple joy of existing, the joy that permeates the whole of childhood.

The kind of modern city walking that we associate with the flâneur—the nineteenth-century city walking of Baudelaire and Manet, which Walter Benjamin later apotheosized—combines the contemplative walker’s escape from self-consciousness and inner noise with the Cynic’s attempted escape from social roles.

walking, even without companions, can still be an expression of companionship, of expansive connection; a happy opening out to an enlarged civic self rather than a narrowing down to a contemplative inner one;

We start walking outdoors to randomize our experience of the city, and then life comes in to randomize us. Children are the greatest of randomizers.]”

 

Simplicity

Today we pedaled from East Burke in Vermont to Lyme in New Hampshire…

It was an easy 60 miles ride on paved roads along the Connecticut river. As we pedaled stories and thoughts about “simplicity” and “meditation” popped up.

As you pedal, all your earthly belongings fit into the panniers, two small bags hanging from a rack in the back of your bike. Your needs are simply to find water, something to eat and shelter for the night in addition to being able to find your way and to navigate and arrive to wherever your day’s destination is.

Simple things make you glad and bring you happiness, as Confucius says:

“Analects – 16. 子曰:「飯疏食飲水,曲肱而枕之,樂亦在其中矣。不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲。」

16. The Master said, “With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow; I have still joy in the midst of these things.”

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As you pedal towards lunch and towards shelter you look for for a nice place where to eat… But as you are pedaling out there, your requirements are a little bit simpler than the ones you have when at home, and the stairs of the Monroe Town Hall building looked like a very attractive place.

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Our delicacy lunch was a banana with yogurt. When was the last time that you felt happy because you could have a banana for lunch?

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The stairs were good, and there were also some benches in the front of the Monroe Town Hall building, but there was too much Sun. So we decided to move across the street to the stairs of a closed store where we were able to enjoy our lunch in the shade.

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After lunch we chiffonier pedaling and enjoying the views sling the way.

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We pedaled along the Connecticut River Scenic Byway.

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We followed a secluded road to our shelter for the night.

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And we arrived to the “Breakfast on the Connecticut” where we found a shower, a bed and breakfast.

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Why?

Has someone ever asked you why you do, or don’t do, something you like to do, or not to do?

Several times I have heard people asking: “Why do you do a long distance bike ride?”, or “why are you walking the Inca trail to Machu Pichu when you could get there by train?”…
Maybe some times you have wondered why do people ask “Why”. May be, people desire to share, to experience, to know… Each one knows, or does not know, why he or she asks why…

Each journey has a story. When you are out in touch with nature, it is like going through a Gateless Gate, and you enter in a world where you can see as far as your eyes can see.
In the mountains, river’s, oceans, fields, forests, and even Parks, there are no boundaries for how far your eyes can see, and there are no boundaries to where your imagination can go…

Today we pedaled from Richford to East Burke following literally the ” Less Traveled road” as you will be able to see in the pictures below:

We pedal today from Richford to b Ready Burke. Below we are standing in front of the B&B where we stayed the previous night.

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The route follows a fruit through b Canada to avoid a lengthy and steep climb.

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However you can not avoid going uphill in Vermont.

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Scenic mountain views

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The mountain views

Massage your neurons

You lose the sense of self,

No matter whether you are an elf,

Or one of Snowhite’s midgets twelve.

With nature you merge as one,

Mountains, river’s clouds,

Trees, birds, flowers and wildlife,

Joining all together as one,

Each one telling you stories,

All blooming as fragrant and lovely memories.

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Mailboxes sec as a practical table to place your food as you enjoy a nutritious lunch (left over pancakes from breakfast).

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Then you expect and are prepared to face the unexpected. The trail, which in winter is a snowmobile trail, is rocky, bumpy and wet as a river bed… So you are unable to ride and need to walk…

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After walking uphill for a while we arrived to a rideable road.

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Then we reached a small town where we were able to buy something to drink and a nourishing banana and yogurt to regain energy and strength.

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The we had a short distance of paved road and then again a steep dirt road.

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And we arrived to East Burke after a Wow day…

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Paradox

Can you simultaneously be cold and hot?

Is it possible to find yourself at both extremes of the temperature spectrum at the same time?

It is a paradox because most sensible people are likely to say: “you cannot be and not be at the same time.”

But life is full of paradoxes…

And this is exactly what happened during our journey to nowhere after we went through the Gateless gate… It was cold, and a cold wind was blowing. Our ears felt as being about to freeze and so was the nose, but with a thick wind-breaker and vigorous pedaling we started to sweat, you feel like removing your wind breaker, buy you can’t because it is very cold, and the result is that you exist simultaneously in the world of being cold because the outside temperature while sweating and being hot because of inner processes… It seems that despite of being exposed to cold wind the body was able to generate enough energy to warm up and sweat…. Paradoxes of life….

But let’s return to our story.
Do you remember? We are in a journey to nowhere, but usually every “nowhere” can be found between two “somewheres”, and today these were St Albans, our starting “where” and Richford, our overnight one.

Below I share with you some pictures of today’s “Nowheres”…

The picture below is in St Albans downtown, on the way to the supermarket and the Missisquoi Trail.

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The above pictures and the ones below are of views that you could see anywhere, or somewhere… But these are of “nowhere”. Can you tell why?
A possible answer is that most of people like to be always somewhere. People tend to feel uncomfortable being nowhere, and some people tend to fear the “void” and/or the “unknown”.

So if nobody is there, you can assume that you are “nowhere”, and if you see somebody else there, then you can assume that you are entering somewhere…

You can see in the picture below that we had lunch “somewhere”

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And then again, after lunch we continued pedaling “nowhere” and enjoying the views…

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We saw somebody else on the trail, so we knew that we were arriving somewhere.

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And we arrived to our lodging for tonight.

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In there we found another Gateless gate…

 

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Through The Gateless Gate

We entered through the Gateless Gate
For our journey to nowhere

Following the Less Traveled road

Into the wilderness, breathing fresh and cool air, surrounded by trees, water, clouds, Mountains and wildlife…

In the Green Mountains

We did not know where we were
Just followed the stars
To find nourishment during the day
And a shelter for overnight…

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The joy of finding a place where to eat when you are hungry…

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Crossroads…
Not knowing where we were, but staying unlost…

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Crossroads

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Riding through nowhere…

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Climbing and climbing, following the stars towards tonight’s shelter…

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Arrived to St Albans, took a shower and walked to town for dinner…

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