Even the gale-force winds that kept us pinned to the dock without shore power in Burlington couldn’t dampen our spirits, because Brent and Karen showed up on Tuesday.
We did about 2,000 miles of Misty Pearl’s Loop with Second Wave, which means we’re damn near family no matter what they might think. Maybe we’ll make it to Montreal for their flight back to San Antonio. Maybe we won’t. Either way we’ll have a great time while they’re here.
Now some stuff about Burlington, where we sat in the wind until Friday morning. First, Burlington is home to the University of Vermont, which was established in 1791. The university apparently spent the last 231 years working up to its current spot atop the list of schools where students smoke the most marijuana. Students, alumni, and Catamount fans sport shirts that say “UVM,” which seemed nonsensical but then we looked it up and found that “Universitas Viridis Montis”—which is Latin for “University of the Green Mountains” is on the official seal. So UVM kind of makes sense, especially for people who are are high on pot. Doug went by the pretty campus on his trips to West Marine, but took no photos, so the shirt in the window of the Church Street gear shop—which was closed because of unspecified “system issues”—is all we can offer.
Burlington is an artsy place, where galleries and murals and sculptures abound. This joint had a distinctive Jumanji vibe.
We passed the rhinoceros on our way to what some sources call “The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet.” Other sources say it’s “The Filing Cabinet Erroneously Called the World’s Tallest.” Either way, the filing cabinet is at least ten Karens tall, if you count the plinth.
The best part is its technical name: “File Under So. Co., Waiting for.” Many years later, the artist and the rest of Burlington still are waiting for the Southern Connector, a promised roadway between the city and I-89.
Then on to the beach. Wait! Vermont has a beach? Yup. One with a nearly-full moon on it.
Lake Champlain is an awesome lake, with awesome sunsets.
As great as Lake Champlain may be, however, it isn’t a Great Lake. Although actually for a hot minute in 1998 Lake Champlain indeed was a Great Lake after Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy snuck the designation into a funding bill, which the President then signed into law. The uproar—mostly by people from states that border lakes they consider better than Lake Champlain—caused the legislature to rescind it eighteen days later.
Lake Champlain may lack status, but it more than compensates by having a lake monster. People have reported sightings for hundreds of years, so obviously Champ is a real thing. There’s even a very disappointing monument that we went out of our way to see because we expected something more impressive.
Another thing about Burlington is that at least for one month every year it’s really green.
On Thursday we braved 35-knot winds to hike along the second photo, past the cemetery and down to our second Burlington beach. The wind pushed up surf that would be fun to ride on a boogie board, although the chance that anyone in Vermont owns a boogie board approaches zero.
Google Maps suggested that the Burlington Vault in the Lakeview Cemetery was of some importance, so of course we stopped by. Meh. Just a big monstrosity holding three families-worth of remains. However, here’s what will be Chuck and Jann Perkins’ final resting place when they pass away, which hasn’t yet occurred even though they’ve already built the coolest mausoleum we’ve encountered.
The cemetery also had a tree that was four Dana/Karens in circumference.
Finally, Burlington has what we first thought was a replica Stonehenge but turned out to be the Burlington Earth Clock.
Which was cool and all, but if it was Stonehenge we could’ve worked in a line or two from This is Spinal Tap, in which the band commissioned an eighteen-foot Stonehenge stone but mistakenly showed the dimensions as 18” on the napkin.*
On Thursday, sustained winds of 25 knots and gusts of nearly 40 knots drove the folks aboard the Camano Troll to a hotel. We rode it out, but ain’t no way we were traveling. Friday looked bad, but better. We agreed to head out, with the secondary plan to turn and run back if things were rough. As we were leaving the marina the Coast Guard marine weather update came across the VHF: “25-knot winds from the south. Three- to five-foot waves on Lake Champlain. Mariners urged to use caution,” Hmmm.
Big pile of nothing. The first hour or so was slightly lumpy, but otherwise we had a gorgeous travel day.
First stop was the border station.
The dudes made quick work of the boat inspection, undoubtedly because of our honest faces and cute dog.
Pop up the Maple Leaf, and let’s get to the marina and tie up while it’s only pretty windy and not crazy windy.
We landed in time for a meal that stretched from late lunch to late dinner, but up here the days are long enough that there still was time for a quick drone flight before the rain started.
Today, it’s damn cold. And rainy. The heater is blasting.
Venturing out requires bundling up like we’re summiting Mt. Everest. Of course, Brent and Karen are from Texas and we’re from Arizona, so mostly we’re all weenies.
We’re back where everyone speaks French, but Karen has a translation app and Brent has a theory that our English will work just fine as long as we speak very loudly, so we’re getting by so far. Hopefully Top Gun: Maverick—showing just down the river walk—won’t be dubbed in French.
*What the hell. “I think that the problem may have been that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.” Shame on anyone who hasn’t seen This is Spinal Tap at least five times.