October 1, 2019 Magical Morning on the Kancamagus

I awoke to the sound of rain dancing on the roof of the motorhome, thinking I had yet another day of venturing out in nasty weather and being frustrated in my attempts to capture any decent foliage shots.

As always, right click on any image to see a larger version in a separate tab or window.

My game plan today was to be out and headed across the Kancamagus Highway by first light, then break camp and drive down to Canaan, NH to stay a few days with my sister.

In spitting rain and patchy fog, I headed down Route 93 to the Kancamagus, stopping in a few places to get closeup foliage shots, the only kind available in the  inclement weather.

As you can see from the above photo, the fog showed little sign of lifting, yet it was possible to see that there was some great color along the highway.

As I progressed along the highway, despite the fog and drizzle, I had to stop often to get shots of the roadside colors …

… very brilliant colors, that often are made even more so by the soft white light of overhead fog.

For a short stretch, the fog lifted somewhat …

… then as I approached the highest point on the highway …

… I was back in dense fog, or was this a cloud? Whatever it was, it made it impossible to appreciate the colors along the road.

Over the highway’s highest point and the weather showed signs of giving me a reprieve.

Though the skies never did clear, at least the fog lifted enough to allow some more distant shots by the time I reached Willey Pond in Crawford Notch.

That row of colorful trees just above the pond was one of the most impressive sights along the highway and fortunately the weather improved enough for me to be able to capture a few images of this magical scene.

The rest of the trip was once again in and out of the fog, but the colors remained quite impressive.

The colorful hillside around the Silver Cascade Falls was just being revealed as I pulled off the road to get a shot of the Cascade.

Unfortunately, the dry fall, up until this point at least, made for a less than impressive image of this 300 foot waterfall.

After completing the loop of the Kancamagus, Bear Notch Road, and Route 302 back to my campsite, I figured I had time before noon to check out a pond I had noticed on Route 2 in Shelburne when I was driving through in the motorhome.

Pushing my way through the dense wet brush to get down to the shore, I looked up and saw what I thought were white plastic shopping bags ruining an otherwise nice autumn scene.

The white plastic shopping bags turned out to be a small flock of Canada Geese bobbing for food in what must have been about two to three feet of water!

Back to the campground by early afternoon and then on down to Canaan , NH and the Crescent Campground on Canaan Street Lake to spend a few days with my sister who has a seasonal rental there. Hopefully, there will be some improvement in the weather once there.

 

September 13, 2019 A Search for Foliage Yields Turkeys and Butterflies

I took off very early this morning and headed up to Florida, MA and Rowe, MA., driving the back roads looking for any sign of early fall foliage color. Usually the swamp maples and other trees near water turn way before the overall colors arrive in October, …

… but in over 100 miles of driving today, I found just a couple of trees that had started to turn. Well, it is still very early and they have had a very dry summer up here, so I will just have to wait and see what happens a little later.

One thing I did find were wild turkeys … everywhere!

Every time I have gone out I have spotted flocks of wild turkeys, really don’t ever recall seeing many, or any, around here when I was growing up.

I passed many fields of ready to pick corn …

… and some very suspicious looking new farm crops, that I have to assume might be hemp?? since there were signs around these fields saying ” This is not WEED”.

Not finding much on the back roads I headed south to Deerfield, MA.  and bought some delicious fresh sweet corn at a roadside farm stand. I know it was fresh since the farmer was just unloading the corn from the back of his pickup as I pulled in.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory

So, since I was in the area, I decided to visit the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory , a place I happened to discover by accident many years ago when I lived in NH.

I am not going to attempt to identify all these butterflies since I didn’t take notes while I was there.

There are feeding platforms with over ripe bananas as well as these colorful glass feeder bowls, scattered throughout the exhibit.

In addition to the butterflies, there is quite an assortment of exotic flowers …

… in the enclosed butterfly exhibit …

… as well as a few colorful birds ( ones that don’t eat butterflies, I presume).

If you are ever in the area of Route 5 in Deerfield, MA, I highly recommend stopping by to visit this place, located just a short distance from I-91.

 

September 8 – 10, 2019 Escape From Little Rock

Plenty of corn in Indiana
Plenty of corn in Indiana

Day One Little Rock to Columbus, Ohio

Day one of my first trip in the RV in five months and the initial journey with a new 4 wheels down toad, turned out much better than expected! I pulled the motorhome out of it’s spot and positioned it away from other campers at the Downtown Riverside RV Park, my home for the past two months. Then I pulled my new 2019 Chevy Equinox out and positioned it behind the motorhome and started my first attempt to hook it up … in the dark at 1:30 in the morning.

Of course I was nervous trying to be sure to get everything hitched up just as the manuals stated and then set up the car for being towed. If anyone was watching, I’m sure they would have gotten a kick out of watching some old fool fumbling around in the dark trying to read manuals while hooking up the the towbar. I wasn’t terribly confident as I exited the campground and headed up onto the interstate, but everything seemed to be as it should be, and 666 miles later when I finally stopped for the night, I was very happy with my decision to trade the old reliable Prius and be finished with my days with a tow dolly. The new car towed easily being about the same weight as the tow dolly and Prius combined and after a few hundred miles of towing, when I first stopped for gas and went back and started up the Equinox for a few minutes, as called for in the manual, and everything seemed fine, I was relieved for sure and on my way to preferring this new to me, way of moving the toad.

Did I mention that my motorhome cab’s AC does not work, despite being “fixed” by three separate Workhorse approved mechanics, in thee different states over the past two years? All three claimed to have it working after recharging the system and, with combined repair charges of over $1,000, yet in every case the AC would be blowing hot air after 24 hours. While in Little Rock, I tried unsuccessfully to get it into Whitey’s Truck Repair , he came highly recommended, but he could never get me in, always had more business than he could handle. Thus, the reason for me leaving Little Rock at 1:30 in the morning, when it was already a very muggy 81 degrees. The forecast called for temps in the 90’s, as it has been every day for about three months, and I wanted to get started and north of there ASAP.

Turned out I never had to suffer from the heat after all as I made it 400 miles and 10 degrees cooler, before the sun rose on Sunday. By then I was under cloud cover and then rain and more clouds and the temps never rose above 80 as I proceeded north and east. Instead of taking what would have been my normal route, which would be east on I-40 to I-81, then north, I opted to head directly north out of Little Rock in an attempt to quickly get out from under the heat that has been broiling the southeast for weeks.I took I-40 just a couple of miles then headed north on Route 67 to I-55 in Saint Louis, Missouri, where I picked up I-70 East to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, where I finally stopped for  the night around 6 PM, when I just happened to be at the entrance to a rest area, stuck in the first traffic jam of the trip. After advancing just a quarter mile in 45 minutes and seeing no sign of moving any faster for the next TWO miles of construction delays, lane closures, I pulled into the rest area and set up to watch the Patriots first game of the season, hoping I could get a little sleep, and escape the traffic backup if I left in the middle of the night. At 3 AM Monday there was no traffic delay through the next 30 miles of work (DESPERATELY needed on I-40), but easy to see what was causing the horrendous backup of traffic. 

Day Two Columbus to Elmira, New York

Enjoyed watching the Patriots game last night, then got a good nights sleep at the rest area. As I suspected, when I set out at 4 AM, the traffic backup on the Interstate was gone and it was clear sailing to the Ohio border. Not hard to see why the backup yesterday was so bad. Three separate lane closure stretches, each going on for 6 miles or more with a couple side highways coming in during the same stretch .. I would bet, during the day, it probably would take 3 or 4 hours to get through here, if not longer. Avoid at all costs unless traveling after midnight.

Just a gorgeous 70 degree day with blue skies, what a change from Little Rock! A summer down south makes me appreciate the weather up north a bit more (not including winter). Continued on I-70 into PA. where I took I-79 North towards Erie, PA, then got on I-86, the Southern Tier Expressway, and made it to Elmira, NY before giving up for the day. Not quite as many miles today, had to stop and nap a few times to recover from yesterday’s long haul.

No more Tow Dolly or Prius

Day Three Elmira to Charlemont, MA

Up at 3:30 so I could be on the road by 4 AM in order to miss the morning rush hour traffic around Albany and Troy, New York. From I-86, I took the slow way on Route 7 through Albany and on through Troy.  From Route 7 I took Route 278 to Route 2 east to MA. That last stretch, especially on what passes as a road in New York, I don’t think I will ever try again. The roads from Arkansas to Massachusetts are an embarrassment to all who have to attempt to survive them, but this short stretch of Route 2 in NY took the cake as far as conditions go, paved ( sort of) and all but impassable. The road surfacing on Route 2 in MA was in much better condition but this stretch has some serious curves and long, steep grades. I won’t do this route again in the motorhome!

Pulled into the Country Aire CG in Charlemont, MA around 2 PM and signed up for a week. Nice little campground, all but deserted today but I was told they fill up on weekends, so I will have a few peaceful nights here while I explore how much this area has changed, an area where I grew up, so very long ago.

I can’t believe I actually covered 1592 miles in just three days, but my fear of getting caught in the heat down south without AC, kept me moving on, moving on more rapidly than I realized. The new toad behaved as it should, actually easier to pull than the tow dolly and Prius, barely knew it was there, until the final few miles through that rough stretch of Route 2. Took the Equinox out immediately after setting up camp to go get some farm fresh sweet corn (Boy, was it GOOD) just up the road, and it seems to be none the worse for wear after being towed almost 1600 miles on it’s first road trip.

Sorry about the lack of photos but in the coming month up here, I hope to get some nice foliage shots and perhaps find some interesting subjects down along the seacoast. Stay tuned!

April 20-21, 2017 California to Malheur NWR, Oregon

Mount Shasta
Mount Shasta

A Loooooong Detour to get out of California

I broke camp at Westport Union Beach and headed south down Route 1 to Branscom Road and up and over the coastal mountains to Route 101 North. My plan was to head up along the Oregon coast on 101 and pick one of the oceanfront State Parks to camp in for a few days before heading farther north. Just a relatively short drive today. Unfortunately, that is not how the trip unfolded.

The far northern section of Highway 1 has been closed for quite some time due to the heavy rains there this winter … that is why I headed back inland to Route 101 before heading north. However, after getting on 101 and going north to where Highways 1 and 101 meet, I was greeted by a flagman standing in the middle of 101 and turning traffic around, due to a rock slide that was covering the highway to a depth of 15 feet and more ( he said ).  To head north, I had to backtrack south down 101, pick up Route 20 east to I-5 north through Redding and past Mount Shasta, then hit the state of Oregon many miles east of the coast. In total this amounted to a 7 hour 240 mile unplanned detour over some lousy roads ( aren’t all the roads in California lousy? ).

As a result of this totally unplanned change in direction and delay, I changed my mind about my next destination and left I-5 at Weed to pick up Route 97 north to Oregon and headed for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Narrows RV Park.

Mount Shasta Through the Windshield
Mount Shasta Through the Windshield

The one nice thing about this detour was that the new route took me past Mount Shasta for the first time and the mountain at sunset was a pretty spectacular sight on this rare and beautiful blue sky day. I ended up spending the night at an Oregon Welcome Center Rest Stop instead of an Oregon State Park on the coast and made it to The Narrows the next day around noon.

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