Day 4: Wednesday, August 12
Route: Lancaster, NH to Lancaster, NH
Distance: 285 miles
Instead of the camp diner fare from yesterday morning, the Un Organizers chose Wednesday morning to have a custom-made breakfast just for our group. Bacon, eggs, taters, pancakes, fruit, danishes, you name it, it was all there waiting for us. Here we see Chris, caught with his hand in the cookie jar:
While Tuesday’s ride had been very scenic, Shawn and I were hungry for something a little more sporting. After talking to Chris, we planned out a route that met our needs very nicely indeed. After breakfast four of us – Shawn, me, Chris, and Joel – headed southwest out of town on US3, then NH116 to Littleton, where we hopped onto I-93 for a few miles. Passing through Franconia Notch was an interesting experience: this was the only place I’d ever been where an interstate highway was reduced to a single lane in each direction under normal conditions. No road construction, this was just the way this stretch of highway was for several miles.
At Lincoln we headed east on NH112. The road was fun, with a good mix of sweepers and a few hairpin turns. We stopped briefly at a scenic overlook to stretch our legs a bit:
If Shawn and I are twins, then I think we may have found our Doppelgängers:
Eventually we took Bear Notch road up to US302, and then at Intervale we turned off onto an interesting little street called Hurricane Mountain Road. It was only six miles long, but it was immensely entertaining. Plenty of twists and turns, but the really unusual thing was the straight stretches, which had bizarre humps and dips; with a clear line of sight, you could carry a little bit of speed over them and actually get some daylight under your tires from time to time! Not bone-shattering Evel-Kneivel jumps, mind you, just little hops of a couple of inches. Didn’t last long, but what a fun rollercoaster ride.
At the end of it we made our way north on highway 113, then US2 and finally NH16. In Berlin I spotted the factory where your “Little Trees”
car air freshener is made:
A few miles after Berlin, NH16 started following the Androscoggin river bend for bend. The treeline was quite far back from the river, so the result was sweepers and slaloms with great sight lines. Not only that, but being in the middle of nowhere, traffic was minimal; all together, it made for some great riding.
At Rangely Lake, we stopped for lunch at the Four Seasons Café, and then started backtracking toward Lancaster. We stopped briefly at a gas station in Errol, where Joel retrieved an earplug case that he had left there the previous day. While the other three of us waited, some kids – presumably lifelong residents of Errol – showed us how to have a good time without a motorcycle endorsement:
Future hoons, no doubt.
With only about 25 miles to go, an ominous-looking cloud ahead finally forced us to stop and put on rain gear; we had barely finished gearing up when it started raining on us. The rest of the ride was finished on wet roads; somewhat anticlimactic, but what the hell, the previous 250 miles had been great.
Back at the hotel, we got cleaned up and then started thinking about dinner. There was no organized group dinner this time, so we were all on our own. It was still raining out pretty hard:
and so no one was terribly excited about suiting up to ride into Lancaster to find a restaurant. Shawn had the brilliant idea of having pizza delivered to us at the motel; before long, word got around, and Shawn ended up placing an order for ten pizzas. Delivery ended up taking forever, but we sustained ourselves on beer, conversation, and admiration of the view from the hotel balcony. The rain had slowly come to a stop, and low-hanging clouds skulked around in distant valleys:(click on image to open a full-sized panoramic photo in a new window)
I snapped a shot of the resort sign, the subtitle of which suggested a much larger and grander group than our own little BMWST enclave:
When the pizza finally arrived, a few other folks decided they wanted some too, but sadly it was not meant to be. Richard tried to call in an order to the same pizza restaurant, but was curtly told “we are not delivering at this time.”
Before long the clouds cleared enough to let the sun in, and we were treated to a rainbow:
The rainbow lasted on and off until sunset. With an early departure planned for the next day, I packed up as much of my luggage as I could and headed for bed.