50 States, Day 142. Woodstock to Mt. Washington and back. 111 Miles
"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Maybe you've caught it in previous blogs. But probably because I'm a desert rat, I'm more concerned about cold than hot on this trip. And probably all the hot is behind us.
Last night I wore wool socks, pajamas and a long sleeved shirt. My feet felt cold all night. The problem is the bed. While it is wonderful being off the ground, because it is a slab of wood in elevation, it became a chunk of ice. And we're not to freezing weather yet. Hmm.
We woke to Mr. Sun, our friend, heating things up. Very nice. Because of the cold morning, we took our time, and then headed out to the local scenic byway. The first stop included a nice trout pond, information center and a two mile hike that you could either walk or take the bus... For fifteen dollars! Fifteen bucks each, for a two mile walk in the woods? Mr. Cheap said no! So did Mrs. Cheap. Back on the road and wondering about NH. Do they charge you for every trail? We were 0 for two so far...
We stopped again at The Basin, and wonder of wonders, we could walk right in and see it. Lovely. And the views, the forests and waterfalls, lovely as well. The water carved out falls in rocks and smoothed the surfaces of others. And those leaves, every day are turning a bit. Vibrant fall colors soon.
Riding through a few towns proved to be a bit disappointing. The brochures spoke of walking through town and taking in the sights. But some of them were 45 mph, cruise through with nothing but motels and a few restaurants, dotted with private homes. No meandering through those towns.
Because we missed the cog railway last year to Pike's Peak, we decided for 'all aboard' and checked in for tickets. Gulp. Sixty two bucks each. Mr. and Mrs. Cheap shelled out the cash and took the unusual train to the top of Mt. Washington.
This place marks the birth of cog railways. They exude cool because rather than switchback up steep grades, they just run straight up the hill, as steep as 37 percent, very steep. The seats even slope forward so when it climbs, the passenger remains rather comfortable. Flip the seat back over and they face the other way and slope back for the downhill journey. Neat.
The locomotive isn't connected to the passenger car. It merely pushes it up the hill and holds it back on the return. Because of the steepness and sharp turns, a typical hitch would break. Because of the lower speeds and cog driven locomotive, the feel isn't the clatter of the rails like traditional railroads, but more of a shuddering. But that thing can climb.
We exited at the summit, a paltry 6,200 feet and the bitter cold wind whipped at us. The tree line ended a thousand feet below. It seemed odd to me, as our cabin in Utah is in trees at nine thousand feet, but it's the latitude. Because we're so far north, the winters-actually, even the summers-can be brutal. A video showed a sideways blowing snowstorm on a July 18th. Mt. Washington also set a record for wind speed once, at 230 miles per hour. Hold onto your hat. The views, magnificent, extend in every direction, and today make for clear territorial views. The conductor said you couldn't see ten feet yesterday. Hurray for today.
QG bought a souvenir long sleeved shirt and a few postcards, a huge buying spree for us. Funny, as the thing Americans do most on vacations is shop. Shudder.
We caught the down train, enjoying more excellent views and warmer weather as elevations dropped. Off we rode for home, stopping at a bar for dinner, a Turkey Reuben for QG and cedar plank salmon for me. Both delicious. And back to the barn the little heater keeping old man winter-er, fall-at bay. Man, I sound like a wiener.
But what a great day. Beautiful weather, awesome water features, wonderful cog rail experience, and fabulous viewpoints. Sometimes the trip can be tedious and sometimes it gets mundane, but certainly not today.
More touring and beauty tomorrow.
A few FAQs.
'50 states in 50 days?'
"No. Weeks." And actually, it started out as 50 days, my idea, and QG said no
way. "But if we did fifty weeks that could work." All right!
'What about Alaska and Hawaii?'
If you missed it, QG (Quilter Girl) stayed in Seattle with her folks and I flew to Alaska and rented a dual sport bike, a BMW GS600. Worked out well. The logistics of the ferry and the Alcan Highway just wouldn't work for this trip. And Hawaii, we'll fly and rent a bike. Probably a Harley for a change.
'Nice paint job.' (On the bike.)
First, I know that's not a question. But the answer is it's a vinyl wrap. Did
the bike, the trailer, both helmets and got a vinyl logo on the cover of the
tent for $1,800. And feel free to ask me about any money things, no problem.
'How many states?'
22. And I would love to see those people in Colorado that laughed when we said 'two.' Lots of them did. Odd.
'What kind of mileage do you get?'
35-40, usually around 37.
'Does the trailer tow okay?'
Okay. It is pushing a lot of laws of physics. 3/4 of a ton, with two wheels
towing four. And except for snow-and a bit of gravel-it's been okay. Loose
gravel, bad news.
'You burned out, sick of it yet?'
Nope. It can have ups and downs, but mostly just great. Living the dream. The
'How you getting along?'
Actually, good. We have our moments, and we are really, really close, a lot.
Like my feet are between hers as I write this, our knees inches apart. But we're doing pretty well. But take my advice, you want to do a trip like this, you better have a really good marriage.
That's it for today. Thanks for following. More NH this week, and Thursday
through Monday we fly to San Diego for my nephew Nick's wedding and my daughter Amy's baby shower for her twins. Coed baby shower. Who broke Man Code on that one? Slap him with a pair of pantyhose.