Sugar Ridge Campground, VT

Tuesday, August 18: Short day today, cruising through the beautiful Adirondack Recreational area with all the ponds and lakes, forests and rivers. Really lovely.

2 hours in, we got to ride the Cumberland Head/Grand Isle Ferry from near Plattsburg NY to South Hero on Grand Isle, VT, across half of Lake Champlain. It was a 14 minute $25.75 crossing and quite nice today at 11AM. 

Conducted another (abbreviated) Roomba tour on the ferry, to someone who has an RV but who’s looked at the R-pods and T@Bs for the smaller, lighter trailers. Grand Isle is truly an island, so we crossed it on VT 314 and 2, then took a bridge to cross the rest of the Lake.

I really love Vermont. Every time I’ve been, I’ve been enchanted with the small villages, the beautiful terrain, and the friendly folks. Besides, they have turtle crossing signs. It’s a great place.

Passed an entrance to the Cabot Creamery along the way and Jack and I almost turned down the road to explore. But remembered Roomba (who, by the way, is pulling so beautifully that we nearly forget he’s there), and decided to pass this time. Maybe next time, because Cabot Creamery is one of our fave places from whom to get our cheeses. 

We arrived at Sugar Ridge Campground around 2PM (there’s no easy, direct route to get through VT horizontally, although a couple of big interstates heading N/S) and it’s quite a pretty and well-kept private camping area. Although we did not take advantage, there is an access trail to a Rails to Trails conversion ride that we need to put on our “to do” list.

Downside: you have to buy any wi-fi you want to use. Upside: great cell service, which we’ve already paid for. 

There are lots of folks who live here — at least during the summers — as you can see their sites are permanent. This place is a destination that many folks would sign up for, and stay a week or more — there are two pools, and lots of recreation areas for families and kids (basketball, volleyball, playgrounds, a “bouncy house,” hiking trails, and more). Happily, we’re off the beaten track a bit and have a nice site with good privacy and a shower house quite nearby. 

I haven’t spoken much so far about our meals — often a major highlight of our camping trips. Well, so far, we’ve elected to go the “cold dinner” route — and it’s been quite good, frankly. Every day, in a town nearby right before we head into camp, we stop at a grocery store and get food supplies. As it turns out, nearly every night so far, we’ve had chicken salad in various incarnations and with various go-withs.

They’ve been really quite good, on a bed of lettuce, with different crackers and/or spices/sauces to complement them. Bonus: we use the leftovers for making sandwiches to eat during the drive the next day.

But we exhausted our stores at our late arrival yesterday, and, knowing we’d have a short drive (relatively speaking) today, didn’t make sandwiches. So we stopped at a cute little family-run easy-stop cum gas station cum deli/pizza place today and had a pair of “chicken burgers” for lunch. Jack’s was “cordon bleu” style and mine had bacon and cheddar on top. Bag of chips and a couple of cold drinks, plus a good picnic table, and Jack commented we might be close to turning into chickens — not a welcome prospect in my mind, unless I was the chicken wrangler.

Still, after that stop we felt the grocery-like places at which we might be able to buy our dinner, might not easily accommodate a hitched trailer, so we passed many options along the way, and suddenly, we were at the Sugar Ridge Campground. So we unpacked the bikes and rode out no more than a mile or three to a “market” that was a cross between Meadows of Dan Market and a pretty high-end Kroger store. 
We found some fresh ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta, some “pesto” made with cashews and arugula, shaved parmesan cheese, a crusty loaf of bread (we picked up some crushed garlic to make garlic bread), and we had a wonderful repast. I also carried a bottle of nice red wine in my pannier back up a significant hill to our “home.”

Most stops on this trip, we have not been too interested in taking a great deal of time or effort on the meal front due to the one night stand effect. But today we got a bike ride in, and even did some laundry before dinner, and all was right with the world. First hot dinner we’d had in days and it was fun to fix and even more fun to eat. 

Life is good.

Last day, Åland

61 km day headed back to the bottom of the island group to the main city and port of Mariehamn. It is our first overcast, rainy day, although we only got sprinkles after about 10 AM. It stayed chilly all day, however.

As we say in our travels, “if it rains, leave town!”

Had grabbed some bread and cheese from breakfast, got stockpiles of water, and took the road far less traveled, with no services. Even the big dots on the map were devoid of cafes, stores, or parks. Sat in a hay or straw field on a stack of bales covered with the usual white plastic and ate a picnic for lunch.

We were both ready to get off our bikes by the time we got to Mariehamn. Got a coffee and sweet in the town center, then had to get back to the harbor to meet the taxi guy who brought our travel bags from Havs Vidden to Mariehamn. He arrived as scheduled right at 6PM.

Turned in the bikes to the rental place, and had to simply hang out at the ferry terminal and take only short walks dragging the bags around for 6 hours while we awaited the boarding of our ferry to Tallinn. It’s an overnighter, so I took a Dramamine at about midnight for our 1AM departure, and went straight to a berth and to sleep.

For a few pictures, go to:


Havs Vidden, Baltic Sea

Relatively uneventful ride north from Kvarnbo to the resort on the Baltic Sea called Havs Vidden. Quite a special place, rocky and isolated.


Our route took us a round-about path north as shown here: direct route would be about 25 kilometers; our ride was about 45.


Some random thoughts I had along the way, that I call “things I should not forget.”

Brackish water better preserves wood because it has no salt water worms, which eat the wood of sunken ships.

Christian at the brewery saying “jeest” for yeast. Wonder if the word is spelled with a Y and the Swedish letter is pronounced like a j (or soft g), or whether it is spelled with a j (or g) and his interpretation of English converted it to a j-sound.

Plowing fields in alternating left and right rows (not circles) by using a plow attachment that lifts and rotates to reverse direction.

Riding through a beautiful fir wood and smelling balsam that was so energizing that I felt I was lunching on the aroma.

Heather or heath blooming – another sign of fall, like the aspen (?) leaves turning yellow and blowing in the breeze across the road. I think they are aspens because on many occasions, their voices have sounded like a hidden stream falling into a quiet pool; or the warning of oncoming traffic.

First rooster crowing I have heard since leaving home.

First tour bus we’ve seen since leaving Mariehamn (we did, indeed reach my goal, stated as we neared departure from Stockholm, of finding a place with fewer tourists like ourselves).

Saw our first road kill: a little vole – additional road kills next day, two badgers and a fledgling bird. No other road kills or debris that we’ve seen at all.

Saw our first maple tree among all these firs and aspens: a hybrid/decorative tree, deep deep red leaves (plum colored), in a beautiful yard.

Many, many dragon flies everywhere. Very few butterflies.

Saw a soaring bird, either a fishing hawk/eagle or a vulture (haven’t seen too many vultures at all) – then saw a definite hawk, flying into the wind over the road. it took it a while, so I got out my binocs and I am 90% sure it was a goshawk, although it could have been a European kestrel, but I think it was too big. Very long tail, but little striping. It was backlit by the sun, however, so difficult to id by coloration.

Ate lunch in Getta (pronounced Yetta) — horrid sandwiches but good crisps and doughnuts. A retired Swedish steel worker and his wife sat to have lunch with us at the picnic table in the grocery store parking lot (when I say everything is remote up here, it’s not a joke). He had some English, she had little. He explained that it was just too expensive to eat in a restaurant, so they had chosen one of the entrees from the grocery store, and used the store microwave to heat it (possibly better than our sandwiches, but I doubt it). He said, “not like she fixes” indicating his wife. We had some more discussion, with the Mrs. being mostly silent. Then we took our leave. He wished us safe travels and then said, “Take it easy!” After some discussion amongst themselves the Mrs. said, “Have a nice day. Take it easy!” They were very cute. Waved at us as they drove away.

This area north of Kvarnbo is serious apple country.

Lovely rock scramble along the shore once we arrived in HavsVidden.

Sunset over the Baltic Sea as we ate our late dinner in the dining room made of triple-paned glass windows.













Seen from the train

En route to Copenhagen for our connection to Malmo, our stop for the night, and our first “official” night of our Baltic Adventure. We should arrive in the early afternoon, and be able to rent a bike for a bit of touring.

Seen fr the train:

Four cranes in a dewy pasture – gray with (I think) a strip of red on the heads
Went thru Lubeck (w/an umlat over the ‘u’), Germany, for which Lubbock, TX is named; thought about Bob & Bretza Mooty
8:21: first sighting of the Baltic Sea
A buteo (buzzard? redtail?) sitting on a fence post)
A thatched-roof house
HUGE wind turbines
Crows in the stubblefields: I’m looking forward to flying CJ again
A deer in a stubblefield
Puttgarden, last stop in Germany; next, we ride the train onto the ferry, leave the train for the 45 min. crossing (hoping I don’t get seasick), then re-enter the train for the rest of the ride to Copenhagen
Re-board the train and exit the ferry at Rodby, Denmark (there’s a Danish slash thru the ‘o’ in Rodby) – should be lots of water to be seen during the 2-hour ride to Copenhagen
A half-buried building, like a bunker, with the sea-facing side totally underground, and the train-facing side half-exposed
Acres and acres of small greenhouses, or maybe big greenhouses with small roofs – covering rows and rows of plants, reminiscent of Netherlands