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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Our 44th State.......

7:47 am - Sunday - September 23rd - Burlington, VT - 43º F, 92% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the east by southeast.....clear, blue skies with a forecast high today of 66º F.

About 13 years ago we passed through Burlington, VT in a rental car returning from Granby, Quebec where we had been on a week long bicycle tour with good friends.  We were there to take the ferry across Lake Champlain back into New York.  While we waited for the ferry we walked around downtown for about an hour.  I've always wanted to come back to Burlington to spend more time exploring her sites, restaurants, history, and bike paths.  We have a finite amount of time to spend in each state on our 5 week journey to Campbellsville, KY and what better representative of Vermont than Burlington?

We knew we would have some wind along US -2 on Saturday, but the skies were partly cloudy, which makes for great driving weather.  As we merged back on to US-2 we could feel the wind a little, but driving 45-50 mph for most of the day I did not really notice the wind, and once we were in Vermont the wind was almost non-existent.......


.....US-2 is pretty much two way traffic with a maximum speed limit of 50 mph for most of the day.  I hovered between 45 and 50 mph due to the narrowness of the road and lack of anything resembling a 'shoulder'......


......for the first 98 miles of our 144 mile day we were continually going up and down as we wound our way through the western edge of the White Mountains.....




 ......the grades varied between 5 and 8% during that 98 miles, which made for some nice views....TLE had her phone camera out taking one picture after another.....



.......at last we came to Interstate 89 in the state capital of Montpelier, VT, and there right near the Interstate on ramp was the Capitol building, or State House as it is referred to locally.  We had just 46 miles to go and 37 of it would be on Interstate 89.....a nice, wide highway and not many hills.....

Capitol Building in Montpelier, VT undergoing some restoration

.....we exited Interstate 89 in the little town of Wisnooki with about 9 miles to go of cross town driving remaining.  The roads continued to be quite narrow, but navigable, and in good condition.  Before long we were turning into the Burlington, VT Elks Lodge, # 916....


Elks Lodge # 916 (Internet picture)

......they have a large grass area in back with 30 amp hookups for two RV's, and guess what?  We got the last site!  The time was about 1:30 pm, and it was getting cold quickly.


 Our home for the next 5 days

By 2:30 pm we were set up, and watching round three of the Tour Championship golf tournament.  Tiger's twosome was the last to tee off and he proceeded to birdie 6 of the first 7 holes to go 13 under par with a 5 stroke lead.....unbelievable.....it was vintage Tiger Woods, and we loved it.  He ended up at 12 under par with a 3 stroke lead after 54 holes.....the first time he has had the 54 hole lead in 5 years......could this be the weekend he gets win # 80?  We'll find out Sunday for sure!

While I do not like navigating extremely narrow roads for 90+ miles I have to say how much we both enjoyed meandering through the New Hampshire and Vermont countryside on US-2.  Sure, driving the Interstate is faster, and easier, but you will miss a lot of beautiful scenery, cute little towns, and it's easy to take it all in at 45-50 mph.  The most important thing to report for Saturday is that our entire drive was without incident.  The Newell continues to run well.  The coolant temperatures remained in the low 180's for entire 144 mile drive, which is exactly where you wish to see them.  The transmission and oil temps barely hit 180.  I am really enjoying and appreciating our Garmin Trucker GPS.  It continues to keep us on roads which will accommodate our 62' length and 12 foot height, and it's verbal directions are easy to understand and follow.....for what more could one ask?

By the way, a good friend of ours, Steven Dempsey (The Chouters), has released a short movie called 'An Uncluttered World' which beautifully, and completely describes this nomadic lifestyle we enjoy.....please watch and be amazed, enthralled and enticed....




Thanks for stopping by!


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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rain delay.......

6:53 am - Saturday - September 22nd  - Shelburne, NH - 62º F, 65% humidity, wind 23 mph out of the north by the north by northwest......cloudy, windy with a forecast high today of 62º F.

We had planned to roll our wheels Friday morning, but the forecast called for rain.......


....which we got, and high winds, which never materialized until late evening.  It was breezy all day, but the wind never got to the 'high winds' category.  Nevertheless, we opted to remain where we are for another day hoping for better weather.  When you have no schedule, and and are not in a hurry why drive in rain and wind?

The  PGA Tour Championship began Thursday and saw Tiger Woods tied for the lead at -5 after the first round.  He has done that before since he began his comeback in January, and has led for a few holes here in there in several golf tournaments this year, but he has yet to hold the lead for two consecutive days.  That changed Friday.  At one point he was -8 and had a two stroke lead on the field.  He ended up tied for first again at -7 at the end of 36 holes.....that is something new.  His short game and putting have been great the first two days, but his driving deserted him in round two.  In spite of that he still managed a two under par round.  Could this be the week he returns to the 'WIN' column, and notches his 80th tour victory?  You can be sure I will be watching to see.

Our big activity of the day was reading, and reading, and reading while we watched the weather pass through Shelburne.  Periodically the, at times, torrential rain drowned out the TV volume as the golf tournament played in the background. There were the occasional cheers when Tiger sank a birdie putt, and groans when he double bogeyed #16 after a very errant drive, and an even worse second shot, but at the end of the day he was still tied for first place, and hope continues to burn eternal that he will win this weekend.

Toward the end of the day the rain let up, and we even saw some blue sky appear for a few minutes at a time, but then the cloud cover increased and the wind began to gain velocity once again.  It rained on and off most of the night, and we could hear and feel the wind buffeting the Newell, but we were 'as snug as two bugs in a rug' all night.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Into New Hampshire......

7:21 am - Friday - September 21st - Shelburne, NH - 58º F, 83% humidity, wind 8 mph out of the south by southeast......cloudy with a forecast high of 66º F.  We had planned to roll our wheels today to Burlington, VT, however the forecast is for heavy winds and rain along the way, so we are going to stay put for one more day, because we can.....there is no rush, right?

Our sole purpose in stopping here in Shelburne, NH was to visit the top of Mt. Washington, and see some waterfalls and covered bridges, but first Mt. Washington.  Statistically there is only a 40% chance on any given day of no cloud cover at the top of Mt. Washington.....60% of the time the summit is in the clouds and there is no view.  It is said that Mt. Washington has the worst weather in the nation.  I don't know if that is an exaggeration, or not. It is also said it is the most dangerous little mountain (6,288') in the nation, and I'm pretty sure that is not an exaggeration.  It can snow any day during the year....not just in the winter.  Many hikers have been caught in serious snow storms in the middle of the summer, and have died.

A little history of Mt. Washington before I continue with Thursday's adventures.  The Mt. Washington Cog Railway, and Carriage (auto) Road were completed and opened in 1861.  The hiking trail to the top was completed in 1819, and is the oldest continuously used hiking trail in the U.S.  Mt. Washington itself is the most topographically significant mountain east of the Mississippi.  While the summit area is a State Park, the toll road is privately owned, and has been since it was built.  The cost for one vehicle and one person is $31. The cost for each additional person is $9, so it cost us $40 to use the toll road to the top.  You get a gift bag including, but not limited to a bumper sticker proclaiming "This car climbed Mt. Washington", and an audio CD which you play while ascending and descending.  It is actually quite informative.  It can be sunny on top, but there can be cloud cover below the summit hiding what lies beneath.  It can be sunny below, and cloudy on top, or it can be both as it was on Thursday......cloudy below and on top.

We left the Newell around 9:30 am to make the 10 mile drive to the beginning of the 8 mile long Mt. Washington Toll Road.  The road averages a 12% gradient, with some sections as much as 18%.  You spend your entire drive up and down in 1st, or LOW gear.  We have a manual transmission so we were in 1st gear.  It takes about 20-25 minutes to make the 8 mile climb, however, when it was a carriage road it would take horse drawn carriages some 4 hours to reach the summit, and 2 hours to come down.......



......we were hoping that the summit on this day would be above the cloud cover, however, it was not....

 View from the parking lot up towards the summit

.......once you reach the gravel parking lot you must climb a long flight of stairs to get to the summit, and the State Park portion of Mt. Washington.  We got brief views of the terrain far below, but they were fleeting, and most of the time we were in the middle of a cloud with almost white out conditions at times.....


 This old Stage stop is held down by chains


....the original, and still existing structure is called the 'Tip-Top House'.  This building is all stone, and includes a kitchen, nice dinning room, and bunk beds for up to 12 people.  It is no longer in use, but was very popular back in the early days of the toll road..... 




 Mt. Washington Cog railroad....steam powered....still

....the Mt. Washington Cog Railroad is still in operation today, and you can choose between steam powered locomotives, or more modern bio diesel locomotives......while we were at the top the steam powered locomotive was just getting ready to make the descent......

 What the view would look like without heavy cloud cover

 Mt. Washington Observatory
 One of the rare times we had someone else take an 'usie' for us

......of course, what goes up must come down, and frankly going 'down' the Mt. Washington Toll Road is much more interesting than 'up'.  Even though we were in 1st gear on our manual 5 speed transmission it was still necessary to pump the brakes about every 2, or 300 feet.....


.....many, many turnouts are provided for downhill traffic to pull off the road and cool down their brakes.  We stopped about 5 times to do so, but there is no way you make it to the bottom without smelling your overheated brakes.

At the bottom is the Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center which includes the Great Glen Cafe where we stopped to have lunch, and plan the rest of our day......


 View from Great Glen Cafe where we had lunch

.......there are numerous waterfalls, and covered bridges in the area and we were within striking distance of both.  Our first stop as we continued south on SR-16 was the Crystal Cascade Waterfall......

Crystal Cascade Waterfall
.....normally is it a .6 mile round trip hike to the falls, but there is a bridge you must cross to get to the falls, and it has been washed out for a while, so you must hike a detour trail to get to the falls which is quite steep, and about twice as long......


Ubiquitous granite staircase 

......we decided to make the hike anyway,and were glad we did.   There were, of course, numerous granite staircases, which we have become quite used to during our time in New England.  

Our next stop was the trailhead for the Glen Ellis Falls trail.  In this case it was also .6 miles round trip, and that is exactly what it was.....a very nice trail which takes you along the Ellis River


 Glen Ellis Falls

.....there were many more granite staircases, but we needed the exercise.  Once again the hike was well worth the view.....

 More granite staircases

......our last stop of the day was about 9 miles further south in the small town of Jackson, New Hampshire to see their covered bridge......


This is a two way bridge, but you must wait for opposing traffic to clear the bridge before you cross in the opposite direction


A covered bridge at a local golf course that TLE caught as we drove back north on SR-16

.....it was a nice day of sightseeing.  We were home by 4 pm with big smiles on our faces.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

A new state of mind......

7:01 am - Thursday - September 20th - Shelburne, NH - 55º F, 82% humidity, wind 5 mph out of the north by northeast.....cloudy, cold....with a forecast high of 66º F.

After spending 4 days in the Cabela's parking lot, and having driven many miles around the area seeing and doing stuff it was time to move along.  We've been in the state of Maine since May 12th, and while we have loved our sojourn in the 'Vacation State', it is time to see another state.....why not New Hampshire?

First things first, though......we hadn't dumped our black tank for two weeks, and it was getting pretty full.  Fortunately, Cabela's offers a free (so far) dump station for the use of its patrons, and overnight visitors.  We had thought about dumping when we first arrived, but I had determined the black tank was about 2/3's full, and we could make it for a few more days, which we did, but now it was time to dump it at last.  

We only had about 95 miles to drive Wednesday, so there was no big rush to get on the road, and no real hurry to dump our tanks.  We just took our time, not worrying about the time, and before we knew it we were ready to roll.  It was just 10 am......




Still free as of 9/19/2018

....as I have written previously, other than interstates, secondary roads in New England rarely, if ever, run in a straight line for very long.  Over the intervening 95 miles we would change highways some 6, or 7 times before arriving at our destination.  For much of our drive Wednesday we were still in Maine, only entering New Hampshire after the first 88 miles.

We had covered about 80 miles and it was time for a restroom break, and as we exited the small town of Bryant Pond we found a small roadside rest area, and exited the highway immediately for a break....


.....you never know what you will find while driving secondary roads, and this day was no different.  Apparently the last hand cranked magneto telephone system in the nation was operated in Bryant Pond until 1981 when it was sold by the proprietors to a larger phone company, and integrated into the national dial system.  I felt just a little smarter after this stop than I did before we stopped.....




......the scenery became quite mountainous as we steadily climbed into the White Mountains, and at one point we reach the lofty elevation of 1,000' before descending to 715' at our destination for the day......Shelburne, NH.....





.....at last we saw the 'Welcome to New Hampshire' sign, and knew we were just a few miles from our final destination, which I mentioned above.....Shelburne, NH.  Why Shelburne?  Easy.....it's just a few miles from Mt. Washington, which has been a bucket list item for us for quite a while.

We arrived at the RV park we had chosen for this stay early afternoon.  It was quite cloudy, and cold.  It's the first time we have been this far above sea level in months, and we are enjoying it.  The air is a little dryer, and temps a little cooler......perfect!  We arrived early enough that we could have driven up to Mt. Washington in the VW, but it was raining up there according to the weather report, so we decided to wait until Thursday hoping to get better weather then.  Mt. Washington sits at 6,288' above sea level, and boasts the highest wind velocity ever recorded by a surface weather station at 231 mph!

Thanks for stopping by!

When you shop Amazon, please use our link (below) to access their website.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission which helps defray our travel expenses to a small degree.