Day’s distance / Total distance – 264 miles / 5,299 miles
Temperatures started in the mid 50s but warmed quickly. I took off my jacket liner at 10:20 and it hit 81 in the early afternoon before it dropped to 68 and started raining. Afternoon rain showers cooled things off, temporarily, before I saw temps in the upper 70s again.
I rolled out of the motel just after 7:30 and headed to the White Mountain Cafe in Gorham, about six miles away, to get a latte and breakfast sandwich.
There was a bit of fog in the hills, but otherwise beautiful.
Breakfast was good and I was grateful for the latte.
Afterwards, I headed south on Hwy 16 towards Conway. I quickly came to the Mount Washington Auto Road. I rode past here on my Northern States Tour three years ago.
At that time, I stopped and looked into the details. There was an entrance fee of $16 and would take up to two hours (with photo stops) to reach the summit and return. I skipped it back then.
In planning for this trip, I told Carson that if I had the chance again, I think I would ride to the top. Well, I had the chance today and, again, skipped it.
I just can’t get myself to wait in line to ride up this 6,288 ft high mountain road. Besides the fact that today was already a full day, it seems the antithesis of the type of motorcycling I enjoy to be queued up to follow others up and down a mountain.
I continued into Conway and remembered that I stayed in this town back in 2016. I remembered the motel when I road past it, and I remembered stopping at the Starbucks down the street.
That particular Starbucks was giving me my order for free because they thought I was a police officer. The bright yellow vest and motorcycle gear gave them that impression. I smiled and paid for my order after telling them I wasn’t a cop.
This time I stopped only at an Auto-Zone store to pick up some spare oil for the motorcycle before continuing to the first potentially scenic ride of the day.
Hwy 112 North was next. It took me through the White Mountain National Forest.
I’m still a week or two early in the fall for peak color in the trees, even at the Kancamagus Pass.
I wondered why there was so much traffic until I remembered it was Saturday. All the pullouts were packed with cars and it was a struggle to keep my distance from other cars while riding this section of 112.
At this stop, there was a wedding party taking pictures (just out of frame to the left). 🙂 I still managed to get a photo that makes it appear I was there alone, haha.
The next section of Hwy 112, to the west of the I-93 was much less crowded and every bit as scenic.
Heading towards Woodsville, I came across the Swiftwater Way Station, a convenience store I stopped in during my 2016 ride to wait out a rain storm. I had to stop and get another slice of pizza and say hello.
The folks at this mom and pop business didn’t remember me but I remembered her. I told them of my previous visit to the store and my rides from Seattle. The visit stirred a feeling of familiarity with the people and places of this area, just like seeing Conway again.
In Woodsville, I would cross the Connecticut River into Vermont.
I stopped outside of Montpelier for fuel. I put on rain gear as the roads were wet and dark clouds showed up for an afternoon rain. The temperature dropped back into the high 60s and the wind picked up.
I didn’t stop in Montpelier this time, as I was running a bit behind. I would need to get to New York still.
Riding south on Hwy 100 was my next scenic section. The highway runs north and south in parallel to I-95 but, of course, is a better motorcycle road. It passes through many small towns, each with their own character steeped in history.
This section of highway is referred to as the Mad River Scenic Byway and follows the Mad River. In Waitsfield, there is a covered bridge crossing the river.
I chose to change and take this route at the suggestion of the owners of the Way Station mentioned earlier. It was the way to go!
I had ridden part of this highway in the other direction in 2016. It was the best part of the day this time, with a short section of scenic twisties that I turned around and rode again. 🙂
My ride into Lake George along Hwy 4 was uninspiring in comparison. It was a sometimes-freeway that took folks through many built-up areas.
As I approached my motel in Lake George, I could see that all the other motels had closed their outdoor pools. But I was super-stoked to find the pool and jacuzzi and my motel was still open and still heated!
After swimming and using the jacuzzi, I walked to the Adirondack Bar and Grill, a local favorite just down the street.
I chatted during dinner with two folks from the motel. They both ride but were driving this trip. Fred and Vicky were a lot of fun and we swapped stories for almost two hours.
I tried a local craft beer and finished dinner, a steak salad, with a shot of Cloudsplitter, a New York distilled whiskey.
A great evening. A great day of riding.