Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012

I left Bangor this morning in a pouring rain that lasted for about 100 miles, more or less to the New Hampshire border.  By the time I got to Gorham, the skies had cleared up enough that I decided to go ahead and try the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the top.  The auto road was opened in 1861, making it the oldest man made tourist attraction in the US.  The road is 7.6 miles long and climbs 4,618 feet from the base to the top in that distance.  Almost one mile and almost straight up.  The start of the road, at the base, looks like this:

You can see the road climbing up.  Nice, paved not real steep, right? Ha!

This was from a pull-off about half way up the hill.  The road is quite a bit narrower now, and quite a bit steeper.  There are pull-offs about every half-mile down the hill and signs encouraging you to use first gear and stop and let your brakes cool off.  For some reason, about 5 miles up the hill, there is a section a mile or so long that is DIRT.  Now, I paid $15 for a motorcycle to go up the hill.  Cars paid $25 for the privilege.  Now, you're gonna tell me they couldn't widen and pave this last darn mile?   (It did also get narrower.  Looks like one of those roads in South America that clings to the side of the mountain where trucks fall over the side on a regular basis.)  Well, I did manage to make it up without dropping all 4,618 feet to the bottom, and the trip down was actually a little easier.

With all the rain we'd had today, the top of the mountain was pretty well clouded in.  I did get a couple shots on the way down below the clouds, and on a clear day the scenery would have been spectacular.  (Did I mention there are no guard rails to get in the way?)

At the top of the mountain is the weather station where, on April 12, 1934, winds were measured at 231 miles/hour:

I wonder who stood out there holding the anemometer??

The top was interesting.  It's dominated by the weather station, which is manned year-round.  I'd love to be up here in the winter.  Tip Top House is one of the original structures on the mountain, having been built in 1854:

And, if you have any doubts about the weather up there, these are chains holding this building down:

Anyway, pretty interesting and probably more so on a clear day.

I arrived in Rutland, VT around 5:30 for the night.  Tomorrow, it's the Norman Rockwell Museum in Rutland, a museum in Windsor, NH, the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, and on to Lake George for the night.

Miles today:  356
Total:  5,235