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Author Topic: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?  (Read 917 times)

mattsz

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White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« on: August 20, 2013, 12:10:28 AM »
Not a ride report - yet - but a question:

Anybody ever ridden through that area - White Mountains National Forest, Mt. Washington, Kankamagus highway - in the middle of summer?  I'm thinking traffic - it's a very popular tourist area.  Would I be crazy to even go near that area this time of year?  It would be mid-week, but the weather is forecast to be very nice...

mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 01:06:18 AM »
Too late! I'm going...

barenekd

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 01:28:25 AM »
Better get up there now before the leaf peepers get there!
Don't forget the ride report! I was up there a couple of years ago in a cage and it wasn't too bad then. But it was late spring. I would love to do it on a bike.
Did drop in on Whitehorse Gear while I was there. Pretty nice store.
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mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 08:09:20 AM »
Whitehorse Gear is on my list - at this stage in the game (4am!) I'll be there for breakfast.  The real trick, I suppose, is to grab that window between Labor Day (official Maine end of summer), which is about when the kids all go back to school, and the leaf-peepers -  a month or so of relief!

Ride report to follow, of course!

boggy

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 08:10:49 PM »
This is a very good time to go.  Like you guys said, kids are back in school this week and although the leaf season may be early this year, now is your time to strike.

I've done the Kangamanus many times on 4 wheels but have been tempted to rent a bike to head up there.  My AVL just has too many surprises for me to chance it without a chase vehicle.  You just got to watch out for killer moose... I reckon you could ride right under one if you tucked, but they will be right in the middle of the road.  And if the cagers see ANY wildlife they slam on the brakes so don't get too lost looking at the mountain valleys below or you'll end up in one.

I've seen tourist get SO dangerously close to moose, especially young moose, for photos.  They have no idea how aggressive/protective they can be.  BIG animals.

Riding up Mt. Washington could be, ... a thrill.
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Arizoni

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 11:57:27 PM »
Hey!
Everybody knows Bullwinkle wouldn't hurt them!

Now, Rocky the flying squirrel might gnaw your ear off but a moose like Bullwinkle wouldn't hurt a hair on your head.

Course he might trample you to death but your hair would be safe.  ;D
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mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 02:53:49 AM »
Everybody knows Bullwinkle wouldn't hurt them!

Not intentionally...







You can see the danger here - they're so damn tall that none of the impact absorbing crumple zones (that modern cars are designed with) do sweet fanny adams to protect the occupants.  You hit one, knock the legs out from under it, and it lands on your head!  Of course, nobody was seriously hurt in this accident - except for the moose! (Somebody sent me these photos; I wasn't involved in this)

High On Octane

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 03:03:17 AM »
Dang.....    :o

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mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 03:31:33 AM »
Iím halfway through my trip - it was enjoyable, but it wasnít quite what I expected.  I figured I would take a long time for the trip, and it was forecast to be very warm later in the day, so I got an early start - I was on the road yesterday by 5:15 am.  It was just getting light; I had my ďplasticĒ jacket on with the zip-in liner - I basically froze my ass off!  The first couple of hours saw me quite chilled.

Anyway, I rode toward Augusta, planning pass through and stop in Bethel, primarily a winter ski town, for breakfast, after a couple of hours...

The full(-ish) moon goes down on top of Ragged Mountain:



The sun comes up to burn off the morning mist:





I was riding west, so all this sunrise sweetness and beauty was happening behind me - I didnít catch much of it.

Iíve been through Bethel many times before; when youíre just passing through, youíre shunted around the ďdowntownĒ area.  I was always struck that there werenít more places to eat; youíd think that there would be at least one ďdinerĒ or some other such greasy spoon of the type where I love to eat breakfast food.  But there just isnít much there.  I jumped off the main drag and rode into town at about 7 am, and passed two little places by which looked promising for breakfast.  When I got to the end, I turned around, and stopped at one of them, an old home remodeled into Erinís Cafe:



Nobody there, bad sign.  But the two women there were really nice, and there was a ready cup of coffee for me.  A regular customer - a local older somewhat disabled woman - walked in, sat down and proceeded to engage me in conversation as if we have known each other all our lives and she had just returned from a trip to the bathroom.  It started with her knee replacements, and went on from there.  Not always what I want, but it was sweet and not bothersome to me that morning.  I ordered a breakfast burrito, which had scrambled eggs, bacon, home-fries, cheese, and homemade green salsa in a flour tortilla - it was really good, one of the best breakfasts Iíve had!  If you ever come through, I recommend them!

When I was suiting back up to leave, I spotted a trash collector, driving his truck standing up.  Might be dumb to you guys, but Iíve never seen it before!



Continuing on (with my jacket liner still installed), I approached the mountains...



Road trip, anyone?



More soon...
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 12:38:35 AM by mattsz »

High On Octane

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2013, 12:29:24 PM »
Great Pics Matt!  Have a safe trip!

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boggy

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2013, 05:50:17 PM »
Great shots.  That stand up truck is pretty slick.  Those sunrise pictures are incredible.
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mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2013, 06:27:32 PM »
Where was I...

As I continued west, I happened upon rt. 113, which heads south, criss-crossing the Maine - New Hampshire border as it goes.  This is a quieter, narrower, less travelled road than its main-drag counterpart, rt. 16, which cuts through the White Mountains National Forest proper; 113 comes recommended.  I poked my nose in about half a mile, and it looked very promising; a nice stream and canopy of trees and lots of curves:



I decided that I would come back that way, and instead headed back to rt. 2 and continued on to Gorham, NH for fuel.  Of course, as soon as I crossed the border, the road works started.  Oh well:



I found my way to rt. 16 south through the forest; itís a nice wide well-paved road with lots of sweeping turns.  Itís highest point is in the middle of the forest, so its got long climbs at whichever end you start on, and long descents at the ends.  You go right by the Mt. Washington access road.  I knew I wasnít going up the mountain ($16 plus the time commitment; Iíll save it for another time), but itís still a nice view.  I was trapped behind a slow couple of vehicles for a bit, which allowed a big opening to build ahead of them.  By the time I got by them, it was wide open for an awesome 18-mile run that saw me catching up to the traffic ahead of me just as the real scenic bit ended.  The upshot of this is, I didnít stop for a single photo!  But hereís a web-grab of the road - itís an old postcard!



From there, it was busy two-lane-road summer tourist traffic all the way into Conway.  Camping, anyone?



I stopped to visit Whitehorse Gearís warehouse store.  It was quiet, and there wasnít really anything I needed, but I did spend quite a lot of time browsing the shelves, and chatting with some really nice people who work there (I did try on a few pricey helmets, and found none of them nearly as comfortable as my Shoei Qwest; although I still donít like how noisy it is in the wind behind my windshield, Iím happy that itís so comfortable!).

Since I was on my way through to southern New Hampshire, I didnít take time to explore the National Forest roads - the Kancamagus highway is a famous biker road, I guess, but as I understand it, it isnít really a road you take to get from one place to another; you seek it out just to drive on it, so again I decided to save it for another day, perhaps for further off-season when there might be a better chance of lighter traffic.

While riding from Conway to Whitehorse Gear, the traffic going the other way back into Conway was just awful, bumper to bumper for miles.  I wanted to avoid it coming the other way, so I let my GPS suggest an alternative.  You guessed it, more dirt road!  The mottled sunlight through the trees made the occasional pothole difficult to see:



but it was fairly smooth...



...and again, the K70 tires gave me confidence.  Plus, there was a surprising number of young ladies out jogging on this road, dressed for exercise on a warm day, so the scenery was extra-nice! (sorry men, no pics)  Thanks, GPS!

From there, it was crowded single-lane highway with the occasional traffic light; might as well have been the super-slab, which in fact I did ride on for about 10 miles at the end - I got in behind a steady 65mph ďslowpokeĒ and cruised along without any trouble.

I donít know when Iím heading home yet (depends on my dadís health), but Iím hoping to head north the same way and try out that rt. 113.

Stay tuned...

mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2013, 11:52:29 PM »
Ride report, continued...

I post a lot of pictures.  In case you havenít sorted it out by now - I like a lot of pictures!

I rode down to New Hampshire from Maine; I have to get home again, of course!  I was going to head out early morning on Wednesday, but the weather forecast was better (30% chance of showers and thunderstorms) for Tuesday, so I left at around 11am that day, August 27th.

This time I took the more scenic route which I avoided last week.  I left coastal NH and headed northwest to Concord, to hook up with highway 93 (the superslab which runs north from Boston up to Canada) just above the toll section.  I spent an hour running north from there at 60 to 65 mph, to make up some time for slower riding later in the day.  The bike did just fine, and why not?  Iíve regularly ridden that speed on many two-lane roads near me.

Maybe New Englanders drive somewhat more sedately, but a majority of the vehicles I encountered stuck pretty close to the speed limit; most passed me in a lazy way, and I even passed a couple myself.  What surprised me was how little traffic I encountered - there were stretches where I couldnít see a car or truck a mile before or behind me.  It was mid-week, but it is summer, before a holiday weekend, after all!  Dark clouds threatened, but I only received a brief sprinkle along this stretch, just a few drops on my visor.  It was the only rain I was to see that day.

I jumped off 93 at the western end of the Kancamagus highway, the apparently hugely popular tourist road.  Again, not much traffic for most of the way!  Fair warning:




The initial climb (about a third of the total highway length) was nice, lots of curves and smooth blacktop.  I hardly saw a single vehicle!  So much for all my worries about summer traffic!  Looking back down the hill:




Another turnout (Iíve attached a panoramic view at the bottom of this post - open it in a new tab or window if you want to see it bigger):




Still climbing:




And... at the top, looking west again:




On the way back down the eastern side:




Clouds still threatened, but I never saw any rain:




When I left home we were in a stretch of warm, dry weather - nevertheless I was mostly prepared for rain - my jacket is more-or-less rainproof(ish), I had rain pants and rubber overshoes for my boots.  The only think lacking was glove covers.  I made a couple of stops, at a drug store and hardware store, to see if I could find some sort of light-weight rubber gloves that would fit over my ďarmoredĒ riding gloves, but no joy.  Turns out I didnít need them this time, but Iím still looking...

The longer ride back down out of the mountains provided more traffic; I spent many miles following a BMW SUV from Massachusetts which slowed down dramatically through all the curves, but then sped up just as dramatically in the straight passing areas.  Probably thought he was doing me a favor - I just couldnít safely get by.  I even tried to slow down some in the straights to let him get ahead, but it didnít help much since there was a long parade of cars behind me as well.  I always caught right up with him again.  Still, it was a nice ride.  The pavement was not nearly as smooth on this part, anyway.

I came down into the Conway area, but bypassed rt. 16, which I took through the National Forest on the way down, heading instead for the less-traveled rt. 113 mentioned in my earlier post.  While heading in that direction, my bike began to sputter, so I found a sleepy side road and pulled over.  It didnít take too long to find the problem - my robust negative battery cable connector, which I installed after my OEM crap one broke, was broken!  At least I recognized the symptoms:




Back on the road soon enough, and onto the rural but populated section of 113.  Itís amazing how quickly the White Mountains end, and the flat farm land begins:




The road carries on and becomes less populated and more fun as you head north...




...until you come to another White Mountains Forest section which is closed in winter.  Iím afraid I donít have any pictures of this section.  You see, I was lagging behind a slow driver, but I found a chance to pass just as I entered this section of road - it was freshly paved, absolutely smooth, without even the lines painted on yet.  It might have been treacherous in the wet, due to oils leaching from the recent hot-top, but as it was, it felt secure, and I still donít ride all that aggressively.  The road was narrow, barely wide enough for two cars to pass; steep, curvy, tree-covered and so much fun I couldnít be bothered to stop and take pictures!  20 minutes of sheer riding bliss, with only one car coming the other way the whole time!  If I wasnít running so late getting home, I would have simply turned around and gone back to do it all again.

As I came out the other side, the road opened up again into a normal, but pretty two-lane byway:




Hereís the entrance at the north end, looking south from whence I had just come:




From there it was two-lane state roads all the way home.  Two hours from home, I stopped in Bethel again, on the village green, to take a pee-stretch-drink break (ok, I didnít take the pee break on the green).  Itís a strange place in the summer - it seems like it should be busy, but itís kind of a ghost town:



(Spot the bike - it isnít hard!)  Maybe itís busier in the winter during ski season?  A quick stop in Augusta for fuel, and I was home before 8pm, tired, hungry and covered with bugs!

Finally, I thought Iíd show you my crazy 8:



it comes around every 90 miles.  ;D

I reset my GPS maximums before I left for home.  One-way stats:

distance: 300.9 mi
moving average speed: 47.1 mph
maximum speed: 66.5 mph
moving time: 6:23
average fuel economy: 64.3 mpg

I'm a bit disappointed by my fuel economy - not sure why so many others are consistently getting high 70's.  But, I really enjoyed the trip, and I can definitely see myself wanting to take longer journeys - my wife isnít gonna like this at all!  As long as I have my tools, I feel like I wouldnít worry too much about something going too horribly wrong, even though I still have a lot to learn about the care and maintenance of my bike.

One thing I did discover is that I feel torn about taking a fun scenic route while working my way to a destination with a time schedule to keep.  Sure, why not take the scenic route if you have to go anyway, but I was always second guessing whether I should stop here for this photo, or stop there for that view, or turn around to run a fun section again just because I could.  I missed some good shots, and some good opportunities to just stop and smell the roses along the way - kind of like taking a whirlwind bus tour of five European countries in seven days.  I guess I would do it again if I could, but for such a scenic area, Iíd rather head there as a destination and spend some quality time.  But a quick drive-through is better than no drive-through, I guess...

-fin-

Ice

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 12:45:07 AM »
~
distance: 300.9 mi
moving average speed: 47.1 mph
maximum speed: 66.5 mph
moving time: 6:23
average fuel economy: 64.3 mpg

I'm a bit disappointed by my fuel economy - not sure why so many others are consistently getting high 70's. ~

 Those are pretty REspectable numbers.
When considering the the load, the terrain and the speeds, I say you turned in some pretty good MPG's.

I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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mattsz

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Re: White Mountains of New Hampshire ride?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 09:13:10 AM »
Oh, ok...  ;)