DAY SEVENTEEN – Heading West on leg three
Today was a mixed bag, or if it were a spaghetti western, it would have been the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The day dawned clear and cold, a welcome return of the sun after a dismal Monday. (Good) But it stayed cold and as I left Gorham, I started climbing. It turns out I was driving up the west side of Mt. Washington the tallest peak in the northeast at 6,288 feet above sea level and it still has snow on top. My best estimate is that I was over 2,500 feet elevation and below freezing for much of the morning. (Bad) The temp gauge barely crept past 60 Celsius so there was not a lot of heater output either, I was bundled with everything I had and was still cold. (Ugly)
But the road…what a joy! The quaint towns and sweeping turns up and downhill with almost no traffic let me use my newly rebuilt suspension to the fullest. And it was FUN! Then I crossed into Vermont where the twists and turns got more intense (Good) while the quality of the pavement left much to be desired (Bad) and the double yellow line meant the service truck plodding along couldn’t be passed (Ugly). Route 17 from Irasville to Bristol, past the Mad River Glen ski area, may be one of the best roads in the country (Good) someday if it ever gets repaved. It was still really fun but too stressful (Bad) from constantly watching to see where the rough patches were (Ugly).
Then I got to a real high point of the day; one might even call it the Crown Point. The bridge from Vermont to Crown Point New York was beautiful and it lead me to the afternoon’s treat, the Adirondacks. I had no idea that the lakes, rivers and roads in this area were so great. Enhanced by the vegetation, it was as if one treat after another appeared only to be bested by the next one. That was the Good. The roads wound around them and climbed up and down (also Good) but were in horrible shape (Bad) and there were five road works that all required waiting for our turn for the single lane (Ugly).
There was a special moment near Lake Pleasant as I was instructed to look for a specific white house with a red roof and a turret as it was a former residence of one of the lads who guided me on day 12.
Impressions from the seventeenth day:
• Gorham NH could be a sister city to my home town of Colorado Springs but at a smaller scale. It is very outdoor activity oriented, has a snow capped mountain adjacent with an Auto Hillclimb that has run for a long time and is filled with interesting people.
• Once I warmed up, I really enjoyed the day. What a positive difference from yesterday in scenery, weather and roads.
• Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire is just cold. At minus 36 degrees with a windchill of 94 below zero, it’s tied for the second-coldest place on Earth. It felt almost that cold this morning!
• The charm of the lake area of the Adirondacks is not lost on me, but there is still something missing and I cannot put my finger on it.