Thanksgiving weekend, mountain biking, and leaves. So many leaves!
On long weekends, the city empties. This is my buiding's parking garage, not during a Tuesday afternoon, but during the Saturday evening of the last long weekend:
It's not surprising because, from Montreal, there are so many great places to go for a weekend trip.
I've been to many of those places, but even after all this time living here, I still hadn't driven across the border into Vermont. So on Thanksgiving weekend, we crammed our stuff into the Beetle and headed for a mountain biking weekend.
Being on the road, I never got to have a proper Thanksgiving dinner, so I never got to say what I'm grateful for over turkey. It's a tradition I like because anything that reminds us to be grateful is a good thing.
I am grateful I got to experience the stunning countryside in Vermont, with some of the best roads I've ever driven on:
I should also be grateful for our AirBnb, but, um:
Okay, that's not actually where we stayed. It's a creepy old barn in the forest somewhere along one of the mountain biking trails. I had to stop mid-trail and take a picture because it was like something out of a Stephen King novel.
In fact, every time I'm in that area of the US I feel like I'm wandering though one of his novels. Or across the set of some true crime Netflix series. Or to be more positive, a coming-of-age movie where the main character returns home after living in New York City and finds the thing they left to find was in their hometown all along.
I'm glad we have all those types of art so easily available.
Gratitude doesn't always come naturally to me. So I have to take active steps to remind myself just how great things are. Take a trip like this. How lucky am I to be able to cross into another country, whenever I want, just to ride a bike up and down a mountain for fun.
I can get muddy on purpose and it's not a problem because I can wash my clothes and I have plenty of other shirts to wear in the meantime.
On this particular trip, I tried to consciously appreciate where I was. There's something so serene about being in a forest in the autumn on a bike. Especially the way it smells after a fresh rain, like when we were there. It probably reminds me of growing up on my wet rock of a homeland and riding on the old trails behind our childhood home.
It's so amazing that we have technology that'll map our rides. So amazing that we can choose to go old school with paper maps just for fun. (I rigged our paper map into the phone mount on my handlebars. It only flew off and went into the mud one time! Not too bad.)
On day two of riding, we were soaked by some very heavy rain showers. I don't have any pictures of that, but we was extra wet, y'all. When the rain stopped, we took a break for lunch and let our stuff dry in the sun:
But what if the sun never came? Well we had cars we could have escaped in. There was never any danger of pneumonia or any of those things that might happen when your feet stay wet for too long. (I'm not a doctor but I've heard bad things.)
How great was it that we could stop here for lunch, at a chapel on a hill:
With this incredible view:
And though I'm not posting any pictures here of anyone on the trip besides myself, I'm grateful for those who shared the trip with me.
So if you're lucky enough to live near Vermont or somewhere just as leafy during the fall season, take advantage!
And no matter where you are, take stock of what's around you and try to appreciate the great things you have.