We left the hotel at 11:14 after amusing the valet staff with our rudimentary French, heading for Stade Municipal, looking forward to what we were sure would be a strange pennant collection from the stadium of the independent-league Québec Capitales. After circling around the hotel and working through downtown Québec, we pulled into the parking lot. Armed with a cheat-sheet for the sentences we'd need in order to purchase a pennant exclusively in French, we headed in.
Fortunately for us, the lady at the front desk knew a little more English than we know of French, and so we were able to purchase a pennant and hat.
We left the stadium around noon and exited the city as we'd entered it, then headed southwest across the St. Lawrence Seaway and headed out more into the countryside. The rain was constant, and got worse the longer we stayed in Québec. The Québécois drivers never had their rear lights on, passed at incredible speeds on wet pavement, and generally just drove like crazy people.
Around 1:00 we got drinks, snacks, and gas at a service station, using up the last of our Canadian cash. We were well into Québec farmland at this point, and we got even further into it as we meandered our way southeast along provincial routes, including the infernally infested paved drainage ditch that was QC-235, a busy two-lane road through the middle of nowhere where more than one Québec driver passed farm equipment on blind hills.
The rain increased. Standing water was visible in the fields next to us, and every truck that was going north left behind a great plume of mist. We still got across Québec, and the rains eventually abated as we passed through the small communities of Bedford and Pike River.
The strangest thing about the region of southern Québec we traversed was the random two mountains that rose up out of the flat farmland, visible for miles around even through the mist.
It took fifteen minutes to get across the border. We accessed the trip odometer when we were stopped, switching away from the Metric system and writing down our current mileage: 3590 miles, or 5777.7 kilometers.
We then entered Vermont, completing my personal collection of the contiguous 48 states. The sun broke through the clouds and we could catch more glimpses of Lake Champlain. The rain turned to mist and finally stopped altogether as we reached the town of St. Albans, which has an interesting bit of history behind it - a raid on the town in 1864 by Confederates who came down from Montreal to rob banks and send supplies back south. Despite meticulous planning, their raid wasn't as much of a success as they'd originally thought, and the men who carried it out were eventually acquitted under the logic that the raid was an act of war.
There's not much now when it comes to the raid, but we still stopped in St. Albans. The adorable downtown was scouted for historical markers and food, and we found both - right across the street from each other. We ate at a little Italian restaurant called Mimmo's, where the service was slowed due to a change in shift and some sort of refrigerator problem in the kitchen, but was delicious. We later found out that they'd won some local awards for excellence, and we could see why - my baked ziti was excellent, and I got similar reports about the pizza and meatball spaghetti.
Afterwards, we walked around across the street, where we saw the second Sherman tank in two days as well as a series of monuments dedicated to veterans of conflicts scattered around a picturesque little park.
At 5:00 we got back on the Interstate and at 5:20 we got to our hotel, where, once we settled down, loads of laundry were put into the washer.
Around 6:30 we left for the stadium of the Vermont Lake Monsters, a single-A team who shares their historic ballpark with the University of Vermont. We went down the road five minutes to the stadium. Their season won't start until next Monday, but three or four guys were there, preparing for Opening Day. A fellow let us in to purchase a pennant and hat, as well as point out some bits of their quaint little ballpark.
We then drove out of there, saw the grave of Ethan Allen, then continued into downtown Winooski, where we parked and walked around towards the Winooski River, where, to our surprise, a boardwalk overlooked the rapids below. We followed this boardwalk up the river, where it petered out into a dirt trail paralleling the river, narrowing considerably the farther we got. We saw interesting plant life and about a dozen slugs on a downed tree - all of them burnt orange, very small, and squiggling around.
The trail continued on, but we turned back - there was nothing else to see under the bridge, and deep in the woods we wanted to have plenty of light to get out, which we did. We walked around a few blocks of Winooski and then headed back to the hotel, which is full of screaming kids. Thankfully it has died down, but it was a full-on racket there for a while.
Tomorrow: continuing southbound to Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga Springs.