Thursday, June 14, 2018

Vermont - Day 14 - Montpelier

Lazy Lions Campground
Thursday, 14 June 2018
Flag Day!
today's route
Today I went first to a place called Morse Farm Sugarworks.  It's supposed to be a farm that's been in the maple syrup business for 8 generations or so.  I'm sure that's true but what I found was a gift store on a very muddy and bumpy hill - difficult for my RV to maneuver and nothing worth maneuvering for that I could see.  I was under the impression that there was an actual farm that we'd be able to see.  Not the sugaring, of course, since that's done when the sap rises - not June - but still the equipment and so forth.  Nothing at all like that was where I ended up, even though the sign said the right thing.  Quél disappointment, as my momma would say.

So I drove into downtown - a matter of about 4 miles - and that was not a disappointment at all.  They call their capitol building the State House.  I cribbed this photo of it because there was unattractive scaffolding on the building which wouldn't have done it justice.

That's what it looked like, minus scaffolding.  Pretty, huh?

As a side note, I hear Montpelier is the only state capital that doesn't have a McDonald's.  Another thing I like about Vermont.

All along State Street, where the capitol is, were old houses that are now being used for state office buildings.  I took photos of a few.
State Auditor's office

Agency on Agriculture
Offices of the Governor, the Treasurer, and the Attorney General 

closer for detail
Secretary of State's offices

Rock of Ages Granite Quarry
This quarry is the largest deep-hole granite quarry in the world.  Our tour went up to the top of the quarry, where I guess they started drilling in 1984 or so, when this particular quarry opened.  Geologists say there's 4,500 years worth of granite available here.  How deep would that be?  The earth's core?

This granite was formed a very very long time ago when tectonic plates collided, causing magma to form.  The granite is the magma - lava - igneous rock.  The particular granite at this site is unusually pure so it's been requested all over the world.

On the MOHS scale of hardness, diamond is a 10, granite is an 8, marble is a 3, talc is a 1.

There are people and equipment in the photo on the left, just above the water on the left.   The water comes from rain, snow, seepage from the rocks and underground springs.  It's that green color from algae.

The photo on the right shows one of the cranes they use to haul up the slabs they've cut.  That derrick can lift 250,000 pounds.  It was set in place about 40 years ago by the man in the photo below - Roger, our tour guide, who retired after 35 years of work and then got bored and came back as a guide.  Graduated high school in 1966, he told me.
Those regular lines in the granite Roger is showing us are what he used to do: drilling vertical holes into the rock to get it separated from the cliff.  (That particular slab used to be turned 90°.)

I took the other photo because Roger was showing us why it was a reject.  Seems there's a dark streak in the granite that I am completely unable to see.  Not the streaks that come from the cuts on top which are superficial and can be cleaned off but instead it's in the stone itself.  You've got to know the business, I guess.  It's rejected because that dark streak can eventually make the stone unstable and it can split over time.  They go for posterity, does Rock of Ages.

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