Three days into my East Coast Trip 2017 – Jay Mountain to the Groton Forest – it starts to get hot, muggy, and rainy! Join me ahead of the jump for some pictures and video of my journey down from the top of Jay Mountain, across Lake Champlain by Ferry from New York to the old Rail Trails of Vermont.
East Coast Trip 2017
What: Day 3 of a 5,000km Grand Bike Tour
When: July 31, 2017
Day 3 Stats: 127.6km and 1,346m of elevation
Total Trip Stats: 415.6km and 3,370m of elevation
Day 3 – Jay Mountain to the Groton Forest
Day 3 starts rockily, with a steady downhill on dirty, rocky roads. The 5 to 10 kilometres of Service Road leading from the top of Jay Mountain down to the main paved highway were long, and tested the durability of my equipment. Thankfully there were no failures – for the rest of the trip whenever I saw some difficult road, I would just think “Well, I made it down the Jay Mountain Service Road, so how hard could this be?”
The sights along the Jay Mountain Service Road were quite nice – it was a heavily forested trail and there was NO ONE in sight at all – it felt like I had the entire mountain to myself. The trail conditions of course were much more suited to a mountain bike, but somehow I managed with my MEC National totally loaded up (300+ pounds including myself!)
Once on the paved highway I was rewarded with some spectacular smooth, sweeping downhills through the forest. There was one particular stretch of highway right off the Jay Mountain Service Road where I hit 68km/h! Woohoo! Of course, with downhills, comes uphills, but generally the morning was an absolute blast to bike. I made it into the city of Essex literally moments before the ferry took its last customer, so I was very fortunate with the timing.
Speaking of the Ferry – I took it from Essex across Lake Champlain to the town of Charlotte. Welcome to Vermont! By this time of the day the sun was starting to shine fully – it was HOT – I mean like 30 degrees Celsius, 80% humidity, and absolutely not even a breath of wind. I was getting thirsty, tired, grumpy, and the hills were certainly not letting up.
I found a really wonderful little store called the Old Brick Store where I met an older gentleman who told me all about his trip across North America on his bike when he was 17, and a pair of ladies who were interested in my gear, who happened to visit the Rideau Canal in Ottawa yearly! One of the things that never stopped surprising me on this trip was just how small the world really is – I met literally, in every single place I stopped, someone who either used to live in Ottawa, or has regularly visited Ottawa. At the Old Brick Store I filled up on water and had a phenomenal home made turkey, cranberry, cheese sandwich. Recharged, I hit the hills again.
As the day wore on, the heat was really taking it out of me. Having a buff to wrap around my head under my cap really, really helped with keeping sweat out of my eyes. I enjoyed a swim on the Winooski River, and saw a couple floating down the river on tubes, and was crazy jealous!
Towards the end of the day a pretty big thunderstorm rolled into the area and it started to rain quite heavily. Thankfully the thunder and lightning were quite far from me. I was pretty happy with the temperature change, and honestly didn’t mind getting too wet by that time of the day.
Somewhere a little after Plainfield, I got a bit turned around on an old railway trail and ended up biking several extra kilometres on what turned out to by an extremely long, and very forested driveway! The people that lived there were outside doing some gardening.
This ended up being a very fortunate situation for me – it turns out that the rail trail I was following had been washed out and the maps had never been updated. The people that lived in this little house in the middle of nowhere had actually had many bike tourists end up on their front lawn before! They were incredibly hospitable and I shared some food. drink, and stories with them before setting up camp at the corner of their expansive yard in the middle of the forest for the night.
Oh boy, was it ever hot on Day 3. Sweltering, muggy, still kind of hot. I’m pretty sure I drank at least 10 litres of fluids that day. Between my water bottles being filled up at every possible moment, and the extra litres of lemonade, soda, and energy drinks – it was hot ok? You can see below – 1,300m of elevation and 130 kilometres – a pretty tough day on the bike as well! I was so thankful to meet those kind folks at the end of that rail trail.