Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"This bike climbed Mt. Washington" - Day 1

The syrup run brought me so close to Mt. Washington - and a few weeks later with another 3-day weekend and a "sunrise drive"...

Kickstand up about 9:30AM Saturday.  A blast up 33 to 80 across the gap and on to Old Mine Road.

As usual, my carefully planned GPS points fall apart early into the trip.  Still, I managed to get guided across a small bridge on a dirt road.  On the other side, I took the road more traveled which quickly devolved into big exposed rocks and standing water/ mud.  Fully loaded an hour into the trip is a bad time to biff; extreme caution exercised.

Very soon I came to another little wooden bridge and then a gate.  Super adventure requires going around the gate, so I squeezed thru and mooshed the right side case on a post.  It popped the case open, but there was no damage evident.  Behold the "gateway to adventure":

On the other side, another 100 yards of gravel put me back out on the main road.  Total dirt excursion: a few minutes.   Realizing I didn't want to jerk around in NJ all day and dump/ break something: trip-saving.

I needed to cover ground so plotted a course directly for 84, then to the TSP.  Having EZ Pass aboard made crossing the Hudson painless.  I was halfway up the TSP before I felt the need to re-plot.

I took the TSP to the exit before 90, ported over to 22, then to 7 into Vermont.  This may be the exact route I took on the syrup run - many landmarks looked familiar.  I wanted to cross Vermont further north than last time, so took 7N slab/ "new" 7.  Approaching 313, I saw a cluster of my waypoints scroll onto the GPS screen - Kelley Stand Rd, a promising route thru the Green Mt. Nat'l Forest - so I exited.  Maybe I'd ride more of my plan after all!  
The road was closed, so I just headed north.  At one point the pavement ended for a while.  Again, I'm surprised at how sandy it is here... in the mountains.

The Kelley Stand route I'd planned led to Jamaica - I was trying to pick routes with camping opportunities along the way in case my timing was way off.  I'll have to check tracks: I took some combination of 11, 30, et. al. to get to 90.  Another high-speed slog north,  then 112 across NH, headed to the Pinkham Notch.  The surface of 112 is bad enough to govern speed and necessitate standing - otherwise it would have been a nice ride.   Somewhere on 112 nature struck - very pretty country.

It was late afternoon, but I started becoming more optimistic about making Gorham before dark - until I hit Lincoln, NH - a gnarly, congested, touristy mess.  I tried to skirt it by getting on 93, but the left turn arrow wouldn't detect me.  After 2 cycles, I got over to the right to go thru, turn around, and come back at it from the other side.  But so doing, I passed a McDonalds, so I stopped for something to eat (I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, and it was 5 or 6 o'clock-ish).  It was too crowded, so I bailed.  I just needed make a left out of the parking lot to get on 93.  Again, no joy: a relentless string of traffic frustrated me after a few minutes of sitting.  I went right, then made the next left to U turn, ending up sitting in the traffic I couldn't turn against since I got here.  After some more sitting, I finally got to enter 93.  It was beyond frustrating to waste 15 - 30 minutes of precious daylight to go 100 yards because the damned traffic lights aren't calibrated for motorcycles.

93 North from Lincoln passes thru the Franconia Notch.  This is a very scenic and historic pass - the location of the "Old Man of the Mountain" - but of course I didn't know that in advance.  The scenery was breath-taking, and there were lots of places to pull off and immerse, but daylight was burning... and I was almost out of gas.  I allowed GPS to direct me (always a mistake) to the nearest gas and it diverted me to a small, closed (out of business) station 6 miles off my course.  Next on the list was Twin Mountain.  A mile or so from the gas station I passed a private campground.  I decided to pack it in - just 30 miles from Gorham, about 450 for the day.

A friendly chat with the proprietor and $29 later I was setting up at site T-6 for the night, having been warned of a bear sighting.  I struck camp, and made some hotdogs.

I think I'm getting the hang of moto-camping: taking the bike sheepskin off to use on the picnic bench; hanging the camelback to create a source of tapwater, setting up quickly and efficiently.  I've been working a lot less hard for a lot more luxury than on earlier trips.  Neighboring campers look more impressed each time a bike rolls up and a few minutes later there's a well-appointed campsite with food cooking.

I settled in for a cold night.

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