Posted by: hopsuz | June 4, 2012

Biking in the Laurentians, Quebec

We departed on May 27, 2012 from Ste Jerome, Quebec at the beginning of the P’tit Train du Nord 200 Km rail trail ending in Mont Laurier.

Ste Jerome, Quebec

The first day was about a 20 mile ride ending in Ste Adele at the Auberge de la Gare.  The cost was $198 for the room, dinner and breakfast for two.  The innkeeper drove us to a Greek restaurant in Ste Adele where we had an outstanding meal.

May 28, 2012

After an 8AM breakfast, we headed for Mont Tremblant (37 miles).  The weather forecast was for showers on and off all day, but we only had light sprinkles for about 25 minutes.

The path felt fairly flat, but we discovered on the return trip it had really been down hill all the way to St. Jovitz, where we stopped for lunch at a Bistro directly on the bike trail ($28).

We stayed in Mont Tremblant Village (at the bottom of the mountain and resort) at the Auberge de la Rouge on Lac de Mercier.  Our room overlooked the bike path and the lake and had a balcony.

$179 for the room, dinner, and breakfast. (Dinner:  Melon soup, spinach salad, duck confit, salmon mortared, creme caramel & fruit tarte.  Wine and tip were extra ($32).  The inn has a bicycle rating because it has a locked room for the bicycles.


The morning was crystal clear and we were on our way to Nominigue after breakfast.  We ran into a series of minor obstacles along the way:  the path was being resurfaced with about a 3″ coating of clay and steam rolled down, we had a detour onto rte 117 for four miles, and another detour around tree-cutting.  All uneventful.

In Labelle the path turned to asphalt and a very good surface.

It was 33.18 miles to Nominique we stayed at the Auberge I’le de France in the Moroccan Room.  $159 room, dinner, and breakfast.  It was a very pretty ride from Mont Tremblant to Nominigue.  We had cheese and fruit on the porch of the B & B for lunch ($14.80).  We were the only guests for an extraordinary dinner:  Seafood cassoulet, spinach/chevre salad, salmon, beef, tarte, frozen meringue.  Wine was $25.

5.30.12 Nominigue to Mont Laurier.  We decided to ride to Mont Laurier and back (114 Km or about 72 miles).  Without our luggage and on a paved path would be easier and quicker and we needed a long day.  The ride to Mont Laurier was mostly downhill, which we only discovered on the return trip and it was mostly a wooded path with little scenery.  The path ended adjacent to an IGA in Mont Laurier.

We had brought cheese and fruit for a picnic lunch on the return.  There are numerous picnic tables along the way as well as wooden porta-potties.

Before leaving we had moved our luggage to the Auberge au Villa Bellerive where we took the large room with a huge Jacuzzi tub (the room had its own hot water tank to accommodate the Jacuzzi).  The porch overlooked the lake.   Dinner was mediocre but the room was everything we wanted after a very long day.  Frank took a swim in the pool when we returned.  The weather was a perfect 70 degrees.  $255 for room, meals & wine.


We left for Mont Tremblant about 9:30 and the temp was 47 degrees, arriving at Auberge au Porte Rouge about 1PM. (30.97 miles)  We took the public bus up to Mont Tremblant and had lunch there.  Everything in the resort looks like it was built within the last 10-12 years and the housing looks excessivefor the size of the mountain.

We sat on our balcony in the sun for while before dinner.  Mont Tremblant was a wonderful stop.  Both the Auberge and the Villages were wonderful.  The bike shop with a cappuccino counter was the largest retail store in town.  The town is at the base of Mont Tremblant, has a beach on Lac Mercier, and the bike path.  How does it get any better??

Dinner:  salmon, moules & pommes frite.  ($32 wine and tip).  $189 room & meals.


The temp was 50 degrees and it was a beautiful day.

It turned colder and cloudy after Ste Jovitz and the trail went uphill until shortly before Val David.  We had lunch then checked into the Creux de Vente in Val David.  We were thinking about riding to Ste Jerome the next morning in a forecasted steady rain, wind, and 50 degree weather and opted for Frank to take the public bus ($5) to Ste Jerome and pick up the car.  It was a very good idea.

Dinner was extraordinary and the dining room fairly full.

June 2, 2012

We walked around Val David and the Farmers Market in the rain for a short time in the morning, then left for Keene, NY and a visit with my niece before heading home.

The trip  was everything we had hoped it would be.  Great biking, food, and B & B’s.

The electronics we carried were:  We each had our iPhones, Frank brought his iPad which we used to check the local weather every morning and night.  I had my iPod which i used to listen to Audible books which I had loaded.  Every place had WiFi so connecting was not an issue.

We carried all our luggage on the bike:

Posted by: hopsuz | January 21, 2012

How did we become so culturally divided?

Should we live in high-income neighborhoods with people “just like us” who have similar educational, work, and income backgrounds…. or are we contributing to the great cultural divide we’re seeing in our country today? Charles Murray has written a great piece for the WSJ discussing this great divide. He has stripped out race and compared two towns from 1960-2008 to compare the evolution of who we ALL were in 1960 to how divided we’ve become and the myriad reasons for those changes.
What particularly pleased me about this article was confirming a long-term sense of living in downtown Hartford. A mix of cultures, income levels, ages, interests, backgrounds and experiences only adds to the richness of who we are, rather than isolating us the way some very affluent (mostly around the major cities) suburbs are doing.
I think this is a particularly important article for boards to read as our customer and employee base has become more culturally diverse, it’s important for boards to be in tune with those changes and with that diversity.

Posted by: hopsuz | December 7, 2011

My Father, A Silent Films Pioneer

My Dad, George McAvoy, at 91 just published his third book, My Father, A Silent Films Pioneer. Dad’s father was a Special Effects Manager (in other words he blew stuff up) and he also found locations for the filming to be done. He traveled extensively and wrote regularly to my grandmother, updating her on the progress of the filming. He also left thousands of photographs behind from his time working for Fox Films from 1915-1920. Unfortunately, he may not have known how unstable dynamite is. His garage blew up when he opened the door and he died in 1920 shortly after Dad was born. This has been a very personal experience for Dad writing about a parent he never knew and learning about his experiences in the silent film industry when it was located in Ft. Lee, NJ.
The website includes an interview of Dad.
His other two books: “A Citizen Soldier Remembers” concerns his experiences in WWII and “And Then There Was One” is the history of the magnificent old resort hotels in Northern New Hampshire.

Posted by: hopsuz | October 31, 2011


When arguably the greatest visionary of our generation utters as his last words: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”, it feels like we have more to look forward to than we might have thought. In Mona Simpson’s eloquent eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, she shares these last words…. and certainly leaves us curious as to what else he saw in his future.
Frank and I have shared my mother’s last breath and Frank’s Dad’s last breath with each of them. Neither were being kept alive by artificial means and they were both ready to leave us. It’s a remarkable and loving experience and I hope we all get over our fear of death and can utter OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW. as our final words as well. As with so much else, Steve Jobs has changed my perspective on what comes next.

We crave certain foods so much that they seem addictive. Just thinking about cinnamon buns or pizza stimulates the release of the neural chemical dopamine, which can cause the brain to override the biological brakes that try to prevent overeating. According to “Why Humans Like Junk Food,” by a former Nestlé scientist named Steven A. Witherly, the brain especially loves mixtures of salt, sugar and fat and the emulsive textures of butter, mayonnaise and chocolate. Witherly has developed what he calls the food-pleasure equation, in which Pleasure = Sensation + Calories. When we eat a combination of sugar, fat and salt, he says, we get a huge synergistic bang, first in the parts of the brain that register pleasure and then in the gut, which detects and responds more favorably to the high calories in sugar and fat. It’s caveman stuff, going back to when we learned to eat big-calorie foods to survive.

What a fabulous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and it was worth re-reading. It conveys all the excitement, importance, and heroism of the moment.

Posted by: hopsuz | May 14, 2011

Biking 101- The SEAT

I never think to check the seat, even though I carefully etched a line in the seat post showing where the ideal height is. After several trips out with the seat 1-2″ lower than it should be, which is a PAINFUL experience, I finally figure it out. Then, of course, it feels way too high, but makes biking soooo much easier and more efficient. We biked 46 miles today. After 10 miles I adjusted the seat and the rest of the ride was faster and easier. It’s biking 101, but not always top of mind.

Posted by: hopsuz | April 14, 2011

News from Dad’s

What a trip to Dad’s! Mike and Mike from Whiting Trash Removal efficiently removed the commercial freezers and refrigerator with only one comment: “Glad they don’t make them like this any more”. $60+tip. Amazing. Thank you Mike and Mike!!

We had lunch and dinner with nieces and nephews and tried, but couldn’t solve all the world’s problems.
I sent Dad’s manuscript to the publisher by way of a “cloud” file sharing. The book is about his Dad, who worked for Fox films during the silent film era as location manager and special effects expert, died when Dad was born, but left thousands of photos from the silent film era. Dad has included 200 photos in the manuscript.
His other book that’s available now is: A Citizen-Soldier Remembers, 1942-1946, which can be found on Amazon (or at George McAvoy, PO Box 262, Littleton, NH 03561 or for $12.95 + $4 shipping). It’s about his WWII Army service at the Battle of the Bulge.

Tuesday we were off to the VA hospital with a stop for snacks at the King Arthur Flour Cafe and Bakery in Norwich, VT…Ummmmm!

Then on to an appointment with Dr. S, who I adore. When we were preparing for our trip to Dublin and the U2 concert two years ago for Dad’s 89th and Dad was having medical issues, Dr. S reduced his medications by half. That dramatically improved Dad’s quality of life and he is MUCH better today than he was two years ago… Amazing. I accompany Dad for his appointments (at his request).

Dr. S and Dad CHATTED for much of the half hour (Dr. S was EARLY – did I mention how much I love the VA Hospital in WRJ, VT). They chatted about: living in Washington Heights, where Dad grew up and Dr. S went to Columbia Medical School, about Yankees games – the game where Mickey Mantle did a “cycle”, about Tom Mix making films on the north shore on Long Island, about Ft Lee which was the headquarters of the silent film industry and Dad’s grandfather was Mayor, about Dad’s new book, about Dr. S’s dad who is also 90, and on and on and on.. After some medical stuff, (does he have chest pains/shortness of breathe walking the mile home from the PO straight UP hill? No.) The result to Dad: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!
Off to Opthalmology and new glasses. We needed a nurse, the technician and Frank to decide on frames after I announced we have “Fashion Police” in our family. Same result in Optho: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!!
Wed was my presentation to Rotary, which was really high pressure!!! Dad introduced me. Dad seemed pleased and that’s all that matters!! Photo left to right: Mary (Dad’s GF), Dad, niece Cheryl McAfee, Frank, me at Rotary.

Posted by: hopsuz | April 10, 2011

A visit to Dad’s

We have a long list for this visit: We’ll check Dad’s house to be certain everything is working, especially the garage doors into the heated garage — very important to his safety in the winter, and lighting in the house.
The manuscript for the third book he’s written is ready to go to the publisher. The other two are: A Citizen-Soldier Remembers, 1942-1946, which can be found on Amazon (or at George McAvoy, PO Box 262, Littleton, NH 03561), and And Then There Was One is out of print. Dad needs help in organizing and formatting so I’ll do that.
Next, I’ve engaged Whiting Trash Removal to remove two freezers and a refrigerator from the basement for $20 each.. I’M NOT JOKING.. It’s Littleton,NH AND they were recommended by the re-cycling center. I have no idea how they make money.
Next I’ll exchange a hard drive. I keep three backup drives and one stays at Dad’s, which I exchange every trip, so I have one located off-site. I use it to back up his computer as well.
Tuesday we take him to the VA hospital in White River Junction, VT for a check-up. It is the best functioning health system imaginable and he has a doctor who has seriously prolonged his quality of life. We all so appreciate his doctor. It’s an hour drive every six months and we all take turns.
On Wednesday I’ll be giving a presentation to the Littleton Rotary Club, at Dad’s request. That will be fun, but in spite of being in front of crowds of 500+ prominent business people, being in front of Dad is always intimidating. 🙂
In between all of the above, we’ll get together with Dad’s GF, Mary, and my nieces and nephews and grand-niece and nephew to catch up on all that’s going on with them. Polly’s Pancake Parlor isn’t open yet so we won’t have breakfast yet at our favorite spot, but there many really good restaurants in the north country. Amazingly, everyone always wants to get together and there are always plenty of laughs to go around.
We’re off shortly for the next couple of days.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 22, 2011

Choosing food at the airport

is a skill. 1. Watch for adherence to food safety. Plastic gloves should not be worn when making change then making sandwiches/salads. RUN when you see that. 2. Sushi is not an airport food. (how could it possibly be FRESH fish?) 3. Don’t touch meat, dairy, or mayo that is not being properly refrigerated. 4. Take food from the back of the refrigerator case where it’s been colder. Bananas and oranges are good. They come in their own wrapping. I usually opt for salads because I don’t eat processed meats and that’s about all a there is. I carry Kashi bars for those I’m-so-hungry-I’m-going-to-get-ugly times. I’ve had toilet-hugging food poisoning twice from airport food. That will make you more careful!

Posted by: hopsuz | December 18, 2010

How’s the Air Quality in your hotel?

Recently I stayed at a 5-star hotel. I had a severe allergic reaction when I was in the hotel, but not when I was outside.  I told the General Manager his hotel had an air quality problem. The air filters were changed and within hours my symptoms were gone.  Another good reason to only stay in hotels where the windows open and you can get fresh air!!

The large hotel chains regularly check the air quality in their hotels. Good idea!

Posted by: hopsuz | November 17, 2010

Bike basket for the new bike

The very cool black wire basket for the front of the new bike in Florida had one serious drawback. It was lightweight and cute, UNTIL I picked up the hardware to attach it to the bike. The hardware was designed to insure that I could carry a load of cement in my very cool wire basket, instead of my jacket and a spare tube. The hardware weighed as much as my new bike….. So no wire basket for the new bike. 😦

Posted by: hopsuz | October 31, 2010

Bike basket, trade-in, & wet shoes

The bike shop (Bikes Plus in Pensacola) is delivering a basket for my bike… HOW COOL IS THAT!!! They are also taking the old 12-ton Gary Fisher and giving me a trade-in value (as yet to be determined).  Imagine.  I will post a photo of the new accessory when it arrives.

Here’s a tip on drying bike shoes, for those of us who hate wet feet.  Stuff the shoes with newspapers, which serve draw out the moisture.  Replace the paper about every 15 minutes until there is much less moisture and they should be dry by the next morning.  Start with a hefty newspaper if you have big shoes!  🙂

Posted by: hopsuz | October 28, 2010

Bike ride to breakfast

Incredible headwind, then driving, pelting, stinging, in-your-face rain for last 5 miles.  Luckily you can only get so wet…Then hot breakfast AND THEN  the ride home with the tailwind to die for….AHHHHHH!!!! Rode on the wings of Pegasus. 🙂

We’re in Navarre Beach, FL and bike to breakfast in Pensacola Beach, about 38 miles roundtrip, each morning through the National Seashore.  The road runs between the dunes with the Gulf on one side and the bay on the other.  Miles of beautiful scenery of dunes, ocean, and the bay.  There’s a bike path, much of the way, but very little traffic.

BP has three staging areas along the way in the seashore.  Eight BP workers were on our stretch of Navarre Beach yesterday so there must have been a report of tar balls.

I just purchased a Trek 7100 for the beach and the rides to Pensacola Beach and back each day.  Bikes Plus, the bike shop in Pensacola, was great and even cut back the handlebars for me so my hands are shoulder width apart.

It’s great to be on vacation with the bike.

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Posted by: hopsuz | July 30, 2010

The Library Hotel

The Library Hotel at 41st & Madison, NYC.  Small nicely appointed rooms with library theme.  My room 600.003 is “Management” with books by Peter Drucker.  Heavy hors d’oeuvres in the afternoon, breakfast included.  $299.  One block from Grand Central.  Bistro Madison & Vine very good.

Worthwhile amenities.  I especially loved a cappuccino for breakfast.

A lavish European style breakfast including pastries, muffins, fresh fruit, cold and hot cereals, boiled eggs, yogurt, juices, freshly brewed coffee, tea, espresso served daily in Reading Room along with daily newspapers and magazines (value $20 per person)

Selection of coffee, tea, juices, cookies, and fruits throughout the day (value $15 per person)

Prosecco, fine wines, imported and domestic cheeses, and hors d’oeuvres each evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (value $30 per person)

Complimentary wireless high speed Internet access (value $15 per person)

Daily passes to the nearby New York Sports Club, which features a full range of cardio and strength-training equipment, aerobic cycling and body-sculpting classes and sauna (value $25 per person)

Posted by: hopsuz | July 24, 2010

NH/VT bike trip

The following are Allen Ambrose’s photo and story of the 5-day tour to the Northeast Kingdom starting directly across the street from where I grew up in Littleton, NH.  I had to work, of all things!!! Enjoy.

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This is the story of a 5-day bike tour in the Northeast Kingdom Area of Vermont

from June 18 to June 22, 2010. The Northeast Kingdom is in the

northeast corner of Vermont, and the tour included forays into the west edge

of New Hampshire. These little long-weekend tours are designed to be easy to

do, reasonably economical, and feasible for a larger group.


This year there were 10 of us, 4 couples (Martha Page & Bill Young, Nancy

Macy & Bob Painter, Jane Driscoll & Jack Hale, Beverly & Dick Hughes) and

2 singles, Frank Lord and myself. Beverly drove her car, which was useful

for those that did not want to carry their luggage on their bicycles, so there

were 9 of us riding bicycles. But not all of us used Beverly’s sag wagon. I

carried my luggage in panniers, as usual, and Martha and Bill also did that

this year as part of their preparation for the upcoming Cape Breton Tour.

This was the biggest tour yet, in terms of number of participants, but it was

no problem. Everyone was punctual and flexible, the 2 characteristics that

are probably most important for touring in a group. We were all good

friends before the tour, so we were very comfortable with each other. As

always, the social aspect of the tours is very important, one of the best parts.


Getting there was very easy this year. Our start and end point was in Littleton,

New Hampshire, a 31/2 hour drive straight up I-91 from Hartford. And

Littleton is where Frank’s father-in-law lives, so Frank is very familiar with

the area and was able to get permission for us to park our cars for the 5 days

in a local motel parking lot. The drive was fairly spectacular after we

crossed from Massachusetts into Vermont. A sunny day, beautiful hills vistas

to the mountains, forests, and frequent views of lakes and rivers, with the 2

sides of the interstate highway separated so that it felt like a high speed 2

lane road, sort of a high speed parkway the whole way.


This tour had a unique start. There is a place in a small village south of

Littleton called Polly’s Pancake Parlor where Frank & Suzanne like to go to

for breakfast when they are there visiting Suzanne’s father. They serve gluten-

free pancakes, which made it a obvious choice for someone like me that

has not had pancakes in over 10 years.

So we all assembled at Polly’s at 11:00 AM that morning. It is a beautiful

place on a small farm in the lush green New England hills. The pancakes

with the real maple syrup were great, but amazingly only about 4 of the 10

of us had pancakes. The others had waffles, eggs, or sandwiches.

Page 2, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010


I always expect the weather thing to catch up with us, but it never does

(knock on wood). The weather was great again on this trip. Friday & Saturday

were sunny and temperatures in the 80’s. Monday & Tuesday were

sunny with temperatures in the 70’s. Sunday it was cloudy, with occasional

showers, but it did not cause much of a problem at all. Scenery always

looks best in the sunshine, and as you will see from the photos, we had

plenty of it.


There are no large towns in the Northeast Kingdom. Our overnights were all

in towns of less than 1000 population. There is some farming, but there is a

lot more forest than farms. The biggest industry seems to be lumbering. The

people everywhere were very friendly and outgoing, probably because of

the rural character of the area.

It is not a big tourist area, probably because there are no big attractions.

Maybe it is busier in July & August. The mountains are not big enough for

skiing, so they do what they can to attract snowmobilers, hikers, and bicyclists.

Amazingly, we never saw any other bicycle tourists on this tour at all,

though it is great bicycling. It was a quiet, low-key place. What we did see,

interestingly, was a lot of motorcycles, hundreds of them, big motorcycles,

some with 3 wheels or trailers.

One result of the back woods aspect that confounded us was the lack of cell

phone reception. We had better cell phone reception in the Czech Republic

than in the Northeast Kingdom. We could use the internet and get text messages,

but could not make phone calls or send email. It was pretty traumatic

for our cell phone junkies.

The towns were not particularly quaint, although they had some historic

buildings, and there were vacant storefronts on the main streets. There were

no great galleries and gift shops to explore.


The lack of tourists meant that there are no deluxe accommodations or restaurants.

We stayed in modest motels 3 of the 4 nights, and had our dinners

at local pubs or small cafes. The motels were comfortable and clean, and all

had air conditioning. But they were very simple and plain. As usual, Frank

was in charge of finding a dinner place, but that seemed to mostly be a matter

of finding the one place in town where you could get wine and beer with

the food.

Our dinners the first 3 nights averaged $24/person, including the wine and

tip, and our rooms the first 3 nights averaged about $80 for a double room.

The 4th night was better, as I will explain later.

We did not try to do picnics for lunches, because we needed the restroom

access that eating at the country stores provided. The country stores in rural

Vermont have small deli-cafés in them with public restrooms. The 2 country

Page 3, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

stores that were closed made things a little more difficult, but we ended up

finding country stores for lunch each day anyway. 3 of the 4 country stores

had outdoor eating areas, which we much preferred.

The motels where we stayed the first 3 nights did not serve breakfast, but

each of the towns had a good diner-type café for breakfast, so that was not a



This trip certainly reinforced the idea that the bicycling in this country is as

good as in Europe. The wonderful towns and cities in Europe are great, but

the bicycling here in New England is unbeatable. Very little traffic most of

the time, and where there was more traffic there were good, paved shoulders.

One result of taking quiet country roads was that many of them had

cracked and broken pavement, which made going slow, but it is not as

though we were in a hurry.

Everyone seemed to hold up very well, or at least did not complain very

much if they didn’t. Everyone bicycled the whole way except Jane, who

rode with Beverly the last day. There were some climbs, though nothing

more than 400 ft. or so. There was only one climb that was steep enough to

cause some people to walk, a short climb on the 4th day as we were approaching

East Burke. The other climbs were never more than a 6-7% grade.


This tour had fewer glitches than any of my tours. I guess we are getting better

at it. The maps are better for touring in the US than in Europe, and with

the great Google Maps available now, getting lost or making a wrong turn is

no longer a problem.

• Martha needed to stop at a bike shop in Littleton to pick up a water bottle

(it was right on our way out of town).

• I had my handlebar bag bracket break the morning of Day 3, which meant

that I could not use my map case and had to ride without being able to

see my maps. Trauma!

• Jack & Dick each had a flat tire. But everyone was carrying spare tubes

and Beverly had a floor pump in her car, so again no problem.

• Martha lost a drop-out bolt on her luggage rack, but they are so common

that almost any of us could have given her one of our spare bolts.

• Several places that should have been open were closed, including 2 wellknown

country stores and a wildlife visitor’s center (closed on a Sunday

afternoon in June!). We had been counting on those places for lunch and

restrooms, but had to make do without them.

• A stretch of gravel road on Day 4 turned out to be longer and rougher

than expected, although it was only about 4 miles and was the only gravel

on the entire tour.

Page 4, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010


The motel in Littleton had a good shady place to park our cars, the woman at

the motel was great and let us use a restroom in the motel to change clothes,

and we got to meet and talk to Frank’s father-in-law, George. We started bicycling

north out of Littleton about 1:30 PM, right on schedule. It was

mostly sunny and about 85°. The first half of the 23 mile ride this day was

not the greatest, with busy roads, minimal shoulders, a couple of testy

climbs, and quite a bit of traffic. But after we crossed the Connecticut River

and got off the main road, it turned into beautiful biking on a very quiet road

north along the river.

The motel that night was a newish 2-story motel with elevator on a busy

highway that went through the center of town. We had a very unremarkable

dinner that night at a family restaurant about a mile down the main street

from the motel, but the wine was adequate and the company/conversation

was great. The dinners and the conversation always seem particularly good

after a day of bicycling.

Though the little towns did not offer much for dinner, they did have a key

benefit. They each had a good ice cream place, for our desert. The ice

cream on the walk back to the motel is the perfect transition from dinner to

the bed. We all turned in early each night.


The motel in Lancaster served a continental breakfast, but that never works

very well if you can’t eat wheat, and a few of us wanted more. So 5 of us

went to a truck stop a little over a mile outside the town to have omelets. It

was a very good little diner, but hard to find and somewhat farther than the

1/4 mile we had been told. Dick & Beverly were smart and rode there on

their bicycles (Beverly got her bike out of the car for the ride), but I thought I

could do it on foot and ended up making the group a little late in starting

that morning. We got on our bicycles about 8:40 AM that morning.

Although we were going from one New Hampshire town to another New

Hampshire town, we bicycled in Vermont, north along the west side of the

Connecticut River. It was a very special bicycling day. Sunny and 85°

again. Very little climbing. A tail wind the entire day. Beautiful views

across the river valley to the White Mountains. Pedaling along the banks of

the river in places. Almost no traffic, maybe 1 or 2 cars per mile. It really

doesn’t get much better for a bicycle tour.

The morning rest stop was on a shady green at Guildhall, a quaint historic

town on the river. The well-known popular country store there we had been

counting on for restrooms was closed, and looked like it might be closed

permanently. It was to be the first of several puzzling closures we would

encounter on the tour. It was, however, a pleasant rest stop anyway.

Lunch was on picnic tables outside a country store further down the road.

Like most of the country stores, this one had a small café with sandwiches

and a public restroom. The break in the afternoon was at another one of the

Page 5, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

covered bridges on the Connecticut River. We got into Colebrook about

2:45 PM that afternoon, having gone 38 miles. It was the longest distance of

any day on the tour, but didn’t seem like it because it was so easy. We had

a tail wind, and there was very little climbing that day, with no climb more

than 100 ft. and the highest point on the ride only about 300 ft. higher than

the lowest.

There was an optional ride available for each day for anyone that wanted to

do some more bicycling, and on Saturday the ride was on up the Connecticut

River another 9 miles, which would have been very pleasant. But even

though the day had not been bad, the temperatures in the mid-80’s with high

humidity had taken something out of us and the thought of going another 18

miles did not seem worth it.

The motel in Colebrook was actually part of a country club there. It was

dated and very plain, but clean and comfortable. It was about 6 blocks from

the e downtown area. Dinner that night was in a bar, and the atmosphere

and food were marginal at best. Fortunately, good company can do a lot to

make up for shortcomings in food quality, and the after-dinner ice cream


On the other hand it is hard to complain too much about food in a town

with a great little French bakery. A couple from Montreal had moved there

and opened the bakery, and we had seen a recent article about it in the New

York Times. French bakeries are one of Frank’s favorite things, so he was in

heaven, but the rest of us bought our share of goodies there too.


They were predicting rain for later in the day, so we decided to load up and

check out before breakfast, and then eat breakfast at a nice little café in the

town center on our way out of town. The mileage this day was 31 miles,

and could not be shortened more than a couple of miles if it rained. We got

started bicycling at 9:15 AM.

The first half of the ride was going south back down the Connecticut River

on the east side of the river (we had come up the west side). The road was

busier on the east side, but there was a good, smooth shoulder and we made

good time. We felt a few sprinkles, but nothing much. In the late morning

we turned west, leaving the river to bike into the heart of the Northeast

Kingdom area.

At the turn, we passed the same country store where we had lunch the previous

day. We decided to stock up on picnic stuff there at the store and

have a picnic at the Nulhegan Visitors Center about 8 miles down the road

where we were fairly certain there would be a good picnic area. While we

were getting the food and using the restroom, it started to rain heavier, so we

stayed there in the covered outdoor eating area until it stopped. We felt fortunate

that it had started raining before we had started out. It seemed clear

that there would be scattered light showers most of the day.

Page 6, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

After waiting 15 minutes or so, the rain stopped, and we decided to start bicycling.

We got about a mile, passing through an area where it looked like it

had not rained at all, when the rain started again, and it started raining steadily.

I was out front and stopped at a grove of trees to get out of the rain, but

the others were too far back and had to get out their rain gear. We all gathered

under the trees, and stayed dry until the rain tapered off about 10 minutes

later. We started out again, and got to the Nuhegan Visitors Center all

right, but as we got there it started raining again. The Visitors Center was

closed, which seemed strange for a tourist facility on a Sunday in late June,

but there was a large covered front entrance porch where we could escape

the rain and eat our picnic lunch.

After lunch and after the rain had stopped, we started out again. There were

a few sprinkles later, but we never had to stop for the rain again that day. I

never did put on my rain gear, and the others only had theirs on for a half

hour or so. We felt pretty fortunate that there was so little rain and that of

the 3 times we encountered it we were in a good covered place on 2 of


I was kind of hoping we would see a moose that day or sometime on the

tour, but we didn’t. They are supposed to be fairly common up there in the

Northeast Kingdom.

We decided to shorten the ride by 2 miles because of the rain threat, and arrived

in Island Pond about 1:30 PM. We did get a thunderstorm that afternoon

a couple of hours after we arrived, and it cooled things down. Then

the sun came out, and we could see that the weather was going to be great

for the rest of the tour.

The motel in Island Pond was basic, like the others, but had some big advantages.

It was right on the shore of the lake, with a green lawn and chairs,

and it was right in the center of the town, so there would not be any long

walks to get places. They had a good garage for our bicycles.

To top it off, there was a place right next door that sold the Sunday New

York Times. So we lounged around that afternoon out on the shore of the

lake or on the chairs under the covered walkway during the rain and read

our newspapers. Frank made a brief effort to swim in the lake, but when he

got his feet wet he decided it was too cold for swimming.

Dinner that night was again so-so for food quality, but being able to eat outdoors

was very nice. The first 2 days, with the great weather we had to eat

inside, but on the rainy day we got to eat outside. After dinner there was ice

cream of course, eaten while looking out over the lake at the beautiful cloud

formations created from the bright west sun. Very nice. But still no cell

phone service.


Another early start this morning. We seem to have a bunch of early risers in

the group. Martha and Bill especially. Everyone on their own for breakfast.

The place a block down the street turns out to be very good, the best so far.

Page 7, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

Strange décor though, sort of a back woods cabin design. Best coffee I have

had for any café breakfast in a long time—the guy is grinding it fresh for each

pot of coffee he makes. We checked out and got on our bicycles at 9:30


This was a perfect day for bicycling. Temperature in the 70’s, low humidity,

and lots of sunshine. There was some headwind now, as we were heading

south, but the winds were never very strong on this tour.

Shortly after leaving Island Pond, we had to ride on a gravel road. I had

known about it, but it only appeared to be a couple of miles, it would be

very difficult to avoid, and I thought there would be a good chance it would

be hard packed and smooth because it was a main road. The first mile or so

was smooth, but then we ran into a road grader that was regrading the road

and loosening the surface. That made it rough and slow going for the following

3.5 miles, with the dirt/gravel continuing longer than the maps had


Then we had to cope with a long climb. Not steep, but long and steady.

But then we were treated to a long downhill ending with wonderful views

out over Lake Willoughby with dramatic views to Willoughby Notch where

Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor rise steeply out of the sides of the lake. We stopped

briefly at a beach at the end of the lake to use the restroom facilities, and

then went on to what we thought would be a good country store for lunch.

Alas, this one was closed too, seemingly permanently even though they still

have a big website, and so we pressed on.

The road went on for about 5 miles along the shore of Lake Willoughby, easily

the most spectacular 5 miles of this tour. Waterfalls on the rock walls on

one side of the road and the lake with the mountain on the other side. And

when we got down to the other end of the lake, we encountered another

country store with food, restroom facilities, and a great outdoor place to eat

right on the lakeshore.

After lunch we had to climb some to get out of the lake basin, and then had

a long, level ride before a last big climb to end the day. This one was the

steepest climb of the tour, about 9% for 150 ft. or so. Short & steep. Not a

real killer, but enough to have several people walk it. Then it was a couple

of miles of pleasant downhill into East Burke.

Our overnight in East Burke was an Inn, not a motel. The Village Inn had 6

rooms, just the number we needed, so we were the only ones there that

night. It was very nice, a big cut above the motels we had stayed in. The

rooms were large, with a lot of character, and some with private balconies.

And there was a large, beautiful vegetable garden out in back and beyond

that a stream with fire pit sitting area.

I did the optional ride this day, but no one else wanted to join me. I rode

about 5 miles up the river and back. It was not as great as I had hoped, with

few places where you could see the river and a moderate amount of traffic.

While I was out bicycling, Frank was swimming. He found a swimming

hole in the river that went through East Burke.

Page 8, Northeast Kingdom Tour, 5 July 2010

And as if the great inn was not enough, there was a gourmet restaurant right

next door. So we had a great meal for our last dinner of the tour. I guess

some might argue that I saved the expensive meal for the traditional “let’s

treat the tour leader to dinner” night. Bob Painter declared it to be the best

pizza he had ever tasted and then tipped it into his lap. This night we did

not have to find an ice cream place. The deserts at the restaurant were way

too good for that.


Bill and Martha said something about needing to get back to Hartford, and

the nice woman at the Inn was convinced to provide breakfast early and we

got an extra-early start. It was a wonderful breakfast.

The day started out with a long downhill along a river and by a covered

bridge. But then the climbing started. This was by far the most strenuous

day of the trip, with a couple of major climbs and one moderate climb. Jane

decided to forego the climbing and rode with Beverly for the day, but the

climbing was not steep and everyone seemed to handle it fine. With the

climbing came some great views, some beautiful roads, and a nice ride

along the shore of a lake.

There was another well-located country store for lunch and restrooms, and

we later had a rest stop at a park visitors center with views overlooking the

Connecticut River. We got to Littleton at about 1:00 PM and I was back in

Hartford by 4:00 PM.


• The great weather. Lots of sunshine.

• The great wildflowers everywhere. Martha especially like the Lupine that

were in full bloom everywhere.

• We didn’t see moose, but we did see many beautiful birds and butterflies.

• Riding along the Connecticut River on quiet country roads.

• The ride along Lake Willoughby.

• The wonderful Village Inn and gourmet dinner in East Burke.

• The frequent views of the mountains all along the tour.

• The very friendly people everywhere.

• The French bakery in Colebrook.

Posted by: hopsuz | June 26, 2010


There are two critical actions for us all to take:

1.  Create a crisis plan

2.  Practice or take a test run of the plan in order to be assured it will work.

This will include thoughts from experienced crisis managers and co-authors of Board Leadership of the Company in Crisis.  Our experience includes have been CEO of two companies in crisis, chairman of the board of two companies in crisis, on the board of several companies, and outside counsel to many companies in crisis so there is much to share during our current environment of crisis.

Posted by: hopsuz | May 31, 2010

More Quebec photos

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Posted by: hopsuz | May 30, 2010


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The trip from May 23 – 30, 2010 in Quebec was 275 miles and we biked from L’Islet to Trois Pistoles and back to the inn in L’islet.  Averaged 42 miles/day on biking days (+20 miles on arrival day).  The Observations follow, then the trip description itself.  Trip was just the two of us and we carried all of our luggage in panniers on the bike.


1.     People are very hardworking.  The area is mostly farming and every property is well maintained and attractive.  People are very anxious for us to have a good experience and many people wanted to practice their French on us…or they will call to someone who can speak English.

2.     The scenery was spectacular. (see attached photos) Sunsets are famous.  It was always stunning.

3.     The wind:  Crosswinds are worse then headwinds.  They made it extremely hard to control the bike.  The winds controlled our strategy on Thurs & Friday.  Biked with the wind.

4.     There is an extraordinary level of bike support.  The bike maps detail whether the roadway designated is a.  gravel  b. asphalt c. a main road with a should for biking or d. a main road without a shoulder.. and WHEN the shoulder can be expected to be constructed.  Rte 132 heading north out of Kamouraska is a “main road” but we only had 4 cars pass us in 10 miles…. A bike route in our minds…

The route verte is a string of bike routes to take ( and is reliable.  Gravel not so good for road bike but manageable.

There are “certified gites or auberges” which are required to have locked sheds for the bikes.

Shoulders are marked

Signs are everywhere for bikes/cars to share the road.

5.     Flat is only “flat” if you’re in a car.  The condition and makeup of road surface, slight incline, wind,  amount of traffice, and how much weight you’re carrying on the bike all make a material difference.

6.     The time of year makes a difference.  It is pre-season so there is very little traffic.  While many locations are not open the lack of traffic and lack of reservations needed more than offsets the locations not yet open.  Summer would not have worked for this trip.

7.     Daylight.  Sunset was around 9PM and sunrise around 4AM.  We also had a full moon so it never really got dark.

8.     Best of all:  internet access only once, no TV, no newspaper, incoming cell worked so no need to check messages, no email, no shopping.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5 hour drive from Littleton to L’Islet.

Auberge des Glacis.  $360 (dinner, breakfast, room, 13% tax + drinks)

Rode 20 miles after check-in.

Quennelles and pork for dinner.  Local beers.

Sun night the dining room was full since it was a 3-day (Canadian) holiday.

Breakfast incl. homemade crepes and fresh croissants, yogurt & fresh fruit.

Sun sets at 8:30PM, sunrise at 4:00 AM

Monday May 24, 2010

44 miles to Kamouraska.

Stone dust bike path (Le  Route Verte ) which circumvents La Poucataire

Long stretch of farmlands and marsh on Rte 132 on the way to Kamouraska

Lunch at Roadside snackbar (casse – crouet) $10

Le Grande Voile – $169  room, tax, breakfast.

Room on a bluff overlooking the Saint Lawrence.  Great view from balcony.

Dinner at Pizza Mag.  Pizzas with feta, pesto and good salads.  $65

Grand sunset from the balcony in the room.

Breakfast of Omellettes or eggs.

Tuesday May 25, 2010

33 to Riviere du Loup

Kamouraska .. for first 10 miles on Rte.  132 to St. Andre 4 cars passed us.  Perfect.

Started to rain as we were packing bicycles.  Stopped as we started biking.

Lunch Notre Dame du Portage – Auberge du Portage.  We were cold and it was starting to rain when we arrived.  It poured during lunch.  Bicycles on the porch out of the rain.  Sat in glass enclosed porch for lunch watching it rain and debating if we should stay overnight.  It stopped raining as we finished lunch and we continued on.

Very helpful Information Center in Riviere du Loup… booked room at hotel from there and learned about seafood restaurant at the ferry pier 1.25mi from the hotel.

Rode through historic Riviere du Loup.

Auberge de la Point  $143 plus breakfast $20.

Dinner at seafood restaurant.  $70.  Great view.  Started to rain during dinner and we hitched a ride back to the hotel with another guest.

Only rained when we were eating.  Last rain of the trip.

Coastline reminiscent of Maine.

Breakfast of poached eggs and ham/cheese omellette.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

40 miles to Trios Pistoles

Strong and increasing wind entire 40 miles.  About 30 mph by the time we reach Trois Pistoles.

Route 20 ended after Cacouna so Rte 132 had truck traffic and all car traffic and wind…

There was road maintenance but 132 has wide shoulders.

We diverted to Le Route Verte before L’isle Verte which brought us into L’isle Verte and lunch at Café Cazin.  Soup, salmon & chicken for lunch.  $25.

Explored L’sle Verte and the ferry.  Decided not to take the ferry to L’isle Verte.

After L’isle Verte rejoined Le Route Verte all the way to Trois Pistoles.  Interesting bike path of various surfaces:  1.Starting paved road with NO traffic, farmland, no sign of life, constant climb and increasing headwind, 2. dirt/stone path, except it was paved on very steep sections.  Crossed a river on a suspension bridge next to hydro-electric plant.  Lot of climbing, constant headwind, signs alerting to steep uphills and downhills.  3.  Downhill along the river on a paved road.  Temp dropped from about 70 to 50 in about 10 feet.

Le Gite 1000 Souvenirs (it really was cut in spite of the name).  Room w shower and sink.  Two hall bathrooms.  No one else there so we didn’t have to share. $70 incl tax

Dinner La Belle Excuse, down the street.  Our landlady was dining when we arrived and she didn’t recognize us… I took that to be a good thing since we look somewhat bedraggled upon arrival.  $75

Breakfast:  Fried eggs, potato, bacon, toast, fruit.

Thursday May 27, 2010

55 miles to Kamouraska.  Le Grande Voile $132 all on Rte 132 (Le Route Verte had added 13 miles to the trip).  Tailwind.  Uphill speed 20 mph.  Felt like Lance.

Stopped for coffee at snack bar in Riviere du Loop at the ferry.

Stopped for picnic at Notre Dame du Portage along the water with cheese, Kashi bars, nuts and dried fruit.

All restaurants in Kamouraska closed except one.  Bought smoked salmon & scallops, bread, wine, cheeses, chocolate to eat on our balcony and watch the sunset.

Breakfast French toast and omellettes.

Friday May 28, 2010

42 miles to Saint Pacome.

Auberge Comme du Premier Jour, which seemed to be an old rectory.  $252 (incl room, breakfast, & dinner & tax) + tip

18 miles to Saint Pacome, including Route Verte along the water.

After checking in we headed to Saint Pascal into the headwind, but without panniers.  Stopped at health food store in Saint Pascal, then headed back with the tailwind.

Dinner: 5 course meal.  Outstanding.


41 miles to Auberge du Glaciers $334 (room, tax, dinner, breakfast, tip)

Route 230 to La Poucatiere.  Coffee in La Poucatiere and a stop at a school, which seemed to be a former seminary.  On to Rte 132 with a stop at Mamie’s for sandwiches and great French fries.  We passed on the poutine (French fries with cheese and gravy…. Not enough miles in all of Quebec to work that off!!)

On to L’Islet, then on to Auberge du Glaciers for dinner and overnight before heading back to Littleton in the AM.

Sunday  – left for Littleton after breakfast.

Posted by: hopsuz | February 2, 2017

Thailand 2017 photos

Posted by: hopsuz | February 2, 2017

Thailand 2017 photos 1

Posted by: hopsuz | January 24, 2017

Day 3 Singapore

We stayed at the Quincy Hotel which had a pool on the twelfth floor with s glass wall on one side.  It’s a very weird feeling to be looking out from underwater from the twelfth floor overlooking the city…

Of note were how extremely polite people were to us.  Women who saw us board the subway would jump out of their seats to give us a place to sit and saying no was not an option. A woman carried Frank’s suitcase up the stairway entering the subway.  There were consistent and appreciated acts of kindness.

Near Little India within a couple blocks were a Buddhist Temple, a Mosque, and a Methodist Church.

Singapore has planted thousands of trees in the city and its had an obvious impact.  The city is beautiful.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 24, 2017

Singapore Day 2

In the midst of a downpour we made our plan for the day, firmly believing that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!  We headed for Chinatown and had coffee there, then on to the Victorian food court on the way to the Marina, on a water taxi tour, a trip to Little India and a walk back to the hotel on Orchard St.  we did everything we set out to do and had a wonderful day of sightseeing.

According to the guidebook, 80% of housing in Singapore is subsidized.  Singapore is a nation state, which is a whole concept to wrestle with in itself.  It’s a nation-state of 5.4 million people.

We rode the subway to the airport and back and to our various destinations.  Clean & efficient.

WE also understand there are numerous biking groups in Singapore.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 24, 2017

Day 5 Khao Lak

IToday we left for Phuket to fly on to Singapore.  There was that moment before the math calculator kicked in when I was given the bill for $25,646 Baht (for 4 nights in the Villa with a private pool, buffet breakfast every day, dinner one night,  2 1-hour massages, and the 1.5 taxi to Phuket).  After the currency conversion the total was $732.  🙂

We’ve been having dinner at the restaurant at the beach, Memories, where the Happy Hour special is four Chang beers for the price of three ($3).  We’ve had wonderful curries and Pad Thai there for dinner and always been there in time for the sunset on the beach.

The taxi ride to Phuket was uneventful. I had a moment of panic when I read our trip reservation that said that only the trip itinerary, NOT the paper I had, would allow us to enter the airport.  In Mumbai, as well as some other airports, no one without an official’s itinerary is allowed to enter the airport itself at all, which turn d out NOT to be the case in Phuket and all went well.  The e photo at the airport is the final mango and sticky  rice upon departure.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 22, 2017

Day 3 at the beach in Khao Lak, Thailand

After a long walk and swim it started to rain.  The obvious action step was to head directly for the beach massage tent where we could hear the surf and listen to raindrops on the roof while having s wonderful massage, then off to an umbrella to read for the rest of the day.  It stopped in time for the beach entertainment at Memories restaurant/bar.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 19, 2017

Day 11: Biking in Thailand

We took a photo as we were leaving on our last day of biking. Ashley and I were both wearing the bike shirts gave us.  The next photo is the photo at lunch as we were bidding farewell to Mr Rin, our driver & procurer of Thailand’s best snacks, and our guide, Yo.  And the next day Ashley, Susanne, Ken, Frank, and I parted company as well as Ashley headed back to Kathmandu, then home. Ken & Susanne were headed down the coast to Phuket for a couple more days at the beach before heading home.

Immediately after separating is when you discover no one is there now to decide where and what you’re eating.  No one will be ordering 10-12 entrees at every meal to make certain you’ve sampled all Thai dishes…and there are no more sticky rice, jack fruit, pineapple, etc etc etc snacks.  We have discovered, however, that we now look at menus and know exactly what we’re ordering, having tried most of the dishes offered, thanks to Yo.

The trip could not have been more perfect for us, in every way.  The distances worked well. Our group of five plus Mr Rin and Yo, was the perfect size with great companions.  We stayed at wonderful hotels/resorts along the way. And once again we had the opportunity to learn about a country, culture, food, economy, politics, and people.  And the final hotel/resort, Apsara Beach Resort was the perfect place for Frank and I to spend a couple more days.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 18, 2017

Thailand 2017

There are goals (eat less – we’re not biking any more) and there are realities (the breakfast buffet with banana fritters)

Posted by: hopsuz | January 18, 2017

Thailand impressions

The King of Thailand recently died after reigning for 70 years. The Crown Prince will be coronated after the King is cremated. The creamatory is being built now while the King is lying in State at the Grand Palace. Waiting lines are around 10’hours.  In the meantime the Crown Princemis the acting King.

The Crown Prince is a cyclist and you can see the impact of his interest with bike paths and Road Sharing signs on many roads.  He also has an annual Day of Celebration for cycling and invites people in Thailand to bike with him.  What a great idea!!!!

Thailand has 64 million people and is projected to have 34 million visitors this year so we know what one economic engine is.  I’m not certain what efforts are being made to stop human trafficking but that’s certainly part of the tourism.  A massage parlor on every single block in Bangkok just may not all be legitimate massage parlors. Manufacturing and agriculture are other economic drivers.

The food is amazing and we were lucky to have our guide order about 10-12 dishes for us every night so we could try a variety of dishes.  As it turns out, I’m a curry kind of gal. (Green, Massaman, Panang).

Most of the music we heard at restaurants was a very poor redo of US popular songs.  I think there must be a dozen musicians and ½ dozen singers in a studio in Thailand copying US songs for playlists.  They were dreadful.

Major infrastructure projects are underway everywhere we went.  Bridges are being replaced and culverts created to accommodate the monsoon floods. The roads are the best we’ve had anywhere in Asia and the electricity is consistent, which is not true in India where a generator is necessary in order to run a business because of the inconsistent electricity.

The beaches on both the Gulf of Thailand and the Adaman Sea are sandy with clear water and low surf action.

Its a wonderful place to relax and recover after biking 200 miles, some of which was in the midst of a monsoon.  So here we are at the Apsara Resort in Khao Lak thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Posted by: hopsuz | January 17, 2017

Day 10 Biking in Thailand

27 miles of undulating terrain today and the 200 mile bike trip is over.  :-(. As all of Spiceroads trips have been, it was great fun and highly educational with guides who share culture, food, economy, and lifestyle information with us.  This trip was somewhat different because it felt like we were biking from one beach resort to the next, which was NOT a bad thing.  I will use future blogs to share the insights we’ve gained. The only photo I have right now is of our villa at the Apsara Resort in Khao Lak.  It is truly luxurious.  I will share more as internet access allows me to download photos.IMG_4196.JPG

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