Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chief Grey Lock

With the remnants of hurricane Bill heading our way we decided to wrap an overnight trip into a one day ride. That ride became a riding odyssey that culminated at arriving home 12 hours after our departure and one hour short of  the torrential rain. My neck, shoulders and butt still ache which leaves me wondering how many half Iron Butt days are still in me.

The purpose of this ride was to visit yet another Whispering Giant. The day was so gorgeously bright and sunny it was hard to believe that by nightfall we would see rain. Our destination; Burlington Vermont. We took the "almost" direct route, which in NH is route 89. Since we don't live near any easy way to access 89 quickly there is usually a bit of back roads. Hence the "almost" in the direct route. We arrived and found the Giant very easily thanks to the GPS coordinates I have saved in my Garmin. If you go, you can find this Giant in Battery Park along Lake Champlain. Burlington is a very beautiful spot in Vermont. Yet Vermont is so full of beautiful spots it is hard for me to say it's the best. I did wish at the time that I had a few days to just sit by the lake and enjoy this place.

The Whispering Giant is in the middle of the park. There is no parking along the park side of the streets that surround it. I found a gas station across the way that had a view through the trees and parked Blaze in a side street right up against the intersection so I could see the statue through the foliage. I got a few decent pictures, but they didn't make me all that happy. I packed up and moved the bike to the gas station parking lot and went inside. Here we purchased our traditional riding lunch of premade gas station food to eat in the park along the water. While inquiring about restrooms, we were told there were public ones at the police station across the street.

After our yummy gas station food and soda pop (tonic if you're a New Englander) we wandered over to the police department to use the facilities. It was a busy little place with youthful looking people filing reports for this and that. Outside filling out paperwork for yet another person was a motorcycle officer. Once he was finished I approached him about riding Blaze on the sidewalk in the park to get a better photo explaining that the contest benefitted a children's charity. While not too friendly he was courteous and said it would be OK. To be fair about the friendliness he did have a lot going on. Before anyone could change their mind I had Blaze in the park taking a decent shot right in front of Chief Grey Lock.

Now we were to turn around and head back home the long way. The long way included climbing Mt Philo. Mt Philo is not a very tall mountain at just under a 1,000 feet, but there are a couple of switchbacks to make the ride interesting. The views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountain chain beyond in New York were stupendous! The Adirondack chairs placed strategically along the overlooks seemed fitting indeed.

We meandered south and then east until we came to route 17. Route 17 is a popular motorcycle destination along the Mad River over Camel's Hump and one I've enjoyed in the past. Most people head east to west. There is a great overlook about halfway. We were heading west to east. The westerly side needs some road attention with Andy describing the bumps as "moguls" and some cracks in the pavement that I consider fissures. One one mogul my phone leaped out of its holder. I still don't know how I managed to catch it, control the bike going uphill and pull over so I could put it in a safer spot. The ride down was better and we eventually reconnected with route 100. 

The rest of the ride was uneventful, but as evening began to creep in so did the clouds.  We had to stop and put more layers on too. An hour from home the windshield began to see its first sprinkling of rain. I have lived in New England all my life and it still amazes me how quickly the weather can change. The old adage about New England weather is certainly true, if you don't like it, wait a minute. Arriving home before the big downpours was an added bonus. If you haven't made vacation plans yet this year, consider Vermont. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Our New Arrival

The Henderson Clan continues to grow with the addition of little Xavier whom we welcomed into the world in May. Over the long Memorial Weekend, Andy and I took the slow way to Maine to lay our eyes on our new grandson. A trip that will take 4 hours by highway took 6 hours by back roads. That was perfectly OK with us. We made stops along the way, saw things you wouldn't see from a highway, and overall enjoyed just being on the road again.

Memorial Day was bitter sweet this year with tears of joy and sadness. Our sadness was in thinking of Dad, a veteran of WWII whom we lost in March, and tears of joy for the new life and the hope and promise it brings for the future. Xavier's birth in May added some comfort to us as Mom and Dad were both May babies. Xavier's birth falls smack dab between the two of them.

New Mother, Dad and Baby had appointments one morning, and with them otherwise engaged, we took a side trip to Bar Harbor, where a Whispering Giant can be found. This is number 5 for me, and each one is like finding a hidden treasure.

Other unusual sights you won't see on the highway are trees like this, with the power lines running right through the middle. We did a double take on that! Click on the image to get a better view. Now that is either love of the tree, or cost savings efforts.

And wouldn't you know, although it was the end of May, there are still snowbanks to be found in this part of the country. It was a snowball to the back that had me turn around and notice. (Not nice mister.)

And what adventure isn't made better than a souvenir to enjoy at the end of the day. Since Maine is a big producer of blueberries, it was nice to pick up this bottle of blueberry wine made right there in Bar Harbor. Then it was back home again, to dream about the next little road trip we will take.