Saturday, August 03, 2013

Syrup run, Day 2

Up around 6AM, I ate some hard-boiled eggs and made a cup of coffee by straining grounds thru a paper towel - I have to get a handle on camp coffee.  The cooler was pretty warm and I'd noticed that the little general store a few miles up the road had ice.  The store was opened already at 8AM on a Sunday morning.

42.877143, -73.081774

I got 5lb of ice and loaded the camel back, my Nalgene liter bottle, and put the rest of the bag in the cooler.  After re-arranging some gear I made enough space to go back into the store for the money shot:

Syrup secured!!  Now for a day of dicking around in Vermont.  My fake destination for the trip was actually the "Truck Camper Warehouse" in New Hampshire, so I headed east.  I battled my way around some dawdlers, finally at the head of the pack just in time to crest this hill at which I had to pull over.  It was early, and cloudy, cool, and foggy.  I'm sure this added to the other-wordliness of the view, which can't be captured in a cell phone pic.

42.852821, -72.794156

On towards New Hampshire.  Low on gas, I saw the perfect fuel-portunity.  Gas with a DD next door. I fueled us both and chatted with the DD manager having a smoke out back.  I asked about the White Mountains.  She said it was far - about an hour, maybe 50 miles away.

42.865597, -72.615399

I knew the TCW didn't open until 11AM, so I'd been killing time at the store, the lookout, the DD.  Out of options, and way ahead of scheduled, I figured I might as well see it.  Crossed one of the bridges (there are two side-by-side, one in use, one not), missed the "Welcome to New Hampshire" sign photo op, and in minutes was at the TCW.

42.887041, -72.535483

"Closed" is closed, tho.  Just as well - I have to kill a few hours and according to DD lady, I'm 50 miles from the White Mountains.  A lengthy struggle with cell phone map and GPS results in a course to Mt. Washington which appears to be 120 miles - not 50.  Ok, instead of a 2 or 3 hour diversion, it's a 5 or 6 hour diversion.  
GPS takes me up rt 91,  hugging the Connecticut river.  I settle in for a long, high-speed, slog.  Shortly in, I realized I forgot earplugs so pulled off at a "parking area" where - seemingly in the middle of nowhere - there's a black Lab milling around behind the guardrail.  I tried to lure it, but it was skittish, barking at me and retreating into the woods.  It was healthy - overweight, even - and had tags, not looking at all weathered.  Hundreds of miles from home on a m/c, there was little to do.  I checked the cell phone maps and found there WERE some houses fairly close by.  I reasoned the dog came from one of them, and headed off.   As I was leaving, the dog went back to what it was doing: perusing the roadside trash for stuff to eat.

70-ish miles later (38 miles south of St. Johnsbury), I pulled off at a rest stop to manage fluids, have something to eat, and get my bearings.  There I made the horrifying realization that the 120-ish miles wasn't to the destination, it was to the first TURN, beyond which lay another 100 to 150 miles.  The trip to the Mt. Washington was off, and I'd just ridden 70 miles for nothing.  I turned back at rt. 302 planning to head east thru the center of the Green Mountains.

Enroute, I thought I'd plot a course to one of the more northerly campsites in the Green Mountains.  Not having a paper map makes this sort of thing somewhere between inconvenient and stupid.  If I'd had an actual map, I wouldn't have made the Mt. Washington blunder.  I wound up on some back roads, and ultimately 110S.  Near Chelsea, I passed 4 guys on KTMs who gave a big ATV wave.  I turned around and stopped to find out where to go/ what to do.  They told me to go to rt 100 and ride the Appelachian Gap - but that was another huge detour.  I left and decided I came all this way for TCW, so might as well hit it.  I took 110 thru Royalton to 89 to 91 back to TCW.

TCW was open but deserted.  I spent a while looking inside campers and walking around but never saw another human.  When I satisfied my curiosity, I left - again all without ever encountering anyone.

It was getting late and I was over 300 miles for the day.  I'd already fueled twice.  I wanted to hit the 7/7A north on Monday before leaving, so ended my day back at Woodford.  It was obvious that rain was coming, so I opted for the $25 luxury of a lean-to.  The ranger gave me "Balsam", the best one in the park.  It being Sunday, the park was pretty deserted.

I set up and and strung a line under the eve.  Soon I was enjoying supper, which was pretty elaborate by bike-camping standards.  The remaining water in the camelback still had ice in it.  The iced tea it made was amazing.

I cleaned up and got everything done that needed to be done, then went to relax in the tent.  Within minutes, it started raining... a steady, heavy, pour that would last all night.  I rinsed off in the rain a little before bed and enjoyed the sound of the it from inside the lean-to.  I fell asleep feeling like a genius for spending the extra for the lean-to, and happy that the rain gods held back until I was done for the day and sheltered.

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