Tuesday, June 12
I don’t know what the temperature got down to during the night, but the inside of the camper read 48 degrees when we woke up! Not to worry, because the day rapidly warmed up. Meanwhile, we enjoyed coffee -- water boiled on the Bio-Lite stove and brewed in the Stanley French Press.
John’s new grill was still set up, and we decided to introduce it to breakfast: eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes, strawberries, coffee . . . . We met our neighbor, Don, (solo in a Class “C” motor home), and he joined us for the conversation and coffee. Generators were allowed from 8:00 – 10:00 and we all made use of that time to charge our Airstream batteries. By 10:30 we were off to explore.
The Kancamagus is a 34-mile National Scenic Byway with interpretive sites, scenic overlooks, and hiking trailheads. We drove it from Jigger Johnson to the towns of Lincoln and Woodstock where Clarks Trading Post was a big tourist trap that got our attention . . . and some of our cash. A Life Is Good store also claimed a lot of our money and time! We had asked and received directions to a burger place, but it wasn’t until 2:00 that we were able to get seated – the good news is that we were on an outside patio and able to take the pups.
While we were in town we made a plan for an evening taco dinner, and hit a grocery store to top off our food supplies. Then, back to the campsite to enjoy the outdoor amenities and a quick walk from our campsite down to the bank of the Swift River. Having eaten such a late lunch we were not hungry, and postponed the taco fix for the next night.
Wednesday, June 13
The Mount Washington Cog Railway has been climbing the three miles to the 6,200 foot summit of Mt. Washington since 1869. . . this morning it was our plan to enjoy the trip. We walked, watered and fed the dogs and bedded them down in the trailer for a long nap, and left the campground at 9:00. On the drive, we saw a quick view of the Mt. Washington, and it appeared to be in cloud cover. We arrived at the home of the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway at 10:00, just in time to visit the gift store at the base of the mountain and pose for some pictures in front of the trains.
Since we last rode the railroad in 1996, the vintage coal-fired steam engines have been replaced with environmentally-friendly bio-diesel locomotives. As we entered the coach we immediately noticed that the seats had a dramatic forward/downward tilt; puzzling about that for a moment, we finally realized that was to counter-act the backward/upward tilt of the engine on this steepest section of railroad in the world! Looking out the window I got a picture of the cog mechanism that pulled the train up the mountain --much like a giant bicycle chain.
Tom manned the big camera out the open window, and I used my phone for pictures of our group inside the coach. The slow, steady, steep, 3- mile ride up the mountain took about 30 minutes! Notice the little shed that appears to be at an angle -- it is level!
At the top, a New Hampshire State Park, we unloaded for an hour to enjoy the 360 degrees on the viewing deck, pictures at the summit marker, and the visitor center. I’ll let the pictures tell the story!
My final picture of the train ride is of Tom testing the steepness of the incline on the train -- he was able to learn over at a rigid angle and not fall down!
We were back “home” by 2:00 where we were greeted by enthusiastic puppies – who appeared to have napped the whole time we were gone! After walking them to loosen up the kinks we drove the short distance to the town of North Conway for a stroll through the shopping district.
Postponed from last night, we prepared a taco feast to rival any 5* Mexican restaurant – right here in New Hampshire. Several times we walked Jasper around the loop road to tire him out, and returned to sit around the campfire. Mosquitoes were out in full force, and at 9:00 I gave up for the comfort of a shower in the Silvermine. I also worked to pack stuff away, as we would be leaving in the morning.
Thursday, June 14
Our target time to leave was 7:00, and we only missed it by 10 minutes. Our destination was Northwood, NH and Saddleback campground, just a 2-hour drive. We were there by 9:30, somewhat surprising our campground owner/hosts that we had arrived 4 hours in front of check-in! But, they recovered nicely and made us completely at home. Saddleback is a wonderful little home-grown campground where the owners live while on campground duty in the summers, in-between snowbird winters.
Alan, Carie and Bev took off to visit Alan’s mother in nearby Manchester, NH . . . that was the driving force behind this caravan from the get-go. John, Suzie, Tom and I, accompanied by our pups, headed out for a straight-line, 25-mile drive to the coast, landing at Hampton Beach. We enjoyed walking the concrete strip (not exactly a Boardwalk), where a sand sculpture contest was taking place. The beach itself had a doggie-ban, and we weren’t able to enjoy the sand and the surf . . . but the smells and the sights were a good tease.
On our way back to the campground we located Sander’s Lobster market and liberated 7 occupants for another evening lobster-fest. This also called for a grocery-stop, and it wasn’t until 5:00 that we rejoined Alan and his crew at Saddleback.
Tonight’s lobster fest is a repeat menu of Monday night’s lobster fest; if you need more details or pictures, go back and read that blog entry!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown