Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thursday August 28th: Steve Swenson's Ride

For Thursday August 28th, Steve Swenson will host a THURSDAY ROAD RIDE with start and finish at the 5 corner's store in Brownfield (Jct. Rts. 113, 160 and Brownfield Rd) at 9:30.
This ride was originally scheduled in early August, but was cancelled due to the rainy weather.

Steve describes the day:

There is brand new pavement all the way to Bridgeton on Rts. 160 and 117. It would be about a 3 and 1/2 hour round trip with some rolling hills through Denmark and a chance to get a snack in Bridgeton with a swim at our cottage after.

Cottage is at Lovewell Pond Fire Lane 15 (Cranberry Drive) off Rt. 113 Just north of the Airport Rd past the Boat Launch Rd and Rapputack. It's a half mile drive in, Bring towel and bathing suit. Since this is a distance, carpooling is suggested.

Meet at Cranmore parking lot for carpooling ready to leave by 8:45 to reach Brownfield store before 9:30. Suggested route is to start out on the new pavement following Rt. 160 toward Denmark. I like to loop to the left after crossing the Saco at the big curve to Lords Hill Road, then right on W. Denmark road back to the new pavement (Rt. 160). Then straight to Jct. with Rt 117 and stay on rt 117 toward Bridgeton to blinker at top of hill, turn left on Hio Ridge Rd. Continue on this rural, scenic road to Rt.302 (where there is a wide shoulder) turn right and ride into Bridgeton where there are lots of choices for lunch. I usually stop at the bakery opposite the super market on the main Street. There used to be a nice little restaurant sort of kitty- corner from the bakery. There are lots of interesting shops in town.

We plan to meet at the restaurant on or before 12:00 noon before heading back. To return, head back up through town to top of hill and turn left around the monument on S. High st. out past the hospital to the new pavement and stay on 117 and 160 all the way back to Brownfield.

The round trip is about 34 miles. For a shorter distance ride of about 30 miles, I would suggest staying on Rts. 160 and 117 both to and from Brownfield to Bridgeton. There is no avoiding a number of rolling hills, but the new pavement is great. They didn't even have the yellow lines painted last Sunday.

Once back at the store in Brownfield, drive back toward Fryeburg on Rt. 113 approx. 4 and 1/2 miles past the Airport Rd. and the boat launch Rd. turn right on fire lane 15 (Cranberry Dr.) 1/2 mile in is our cottage and go for a swim in Lovewell Pond. Bring suit and towel.

Ride Leader: Steve Swenson

Here is a map:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thursday, August 21

Cherry Mountain Loop for Thursday, August 21st

The weather looks great for a scenic ride north of the Presidentials!!

There are beautiful panoramic views on this ride, and we should have clear weather to enjoy them!!

There are 2 options for this ride - a 35 miler or a 51 miler.

For the 35 mile ride (the traditional ride we have done in the past), park at the large parking area on the right side of Route 302, across form the Zealand Road/campground. It is a few miles past Bretton Woods, on the right. Be ready to ride at 10:00 am.

The ride goes to the light at Twin Mt 4 corners, right on route 3, and right on route 115. A left on Israel River Road leads to a nice ride in the flats and farms. Opt for either a dirt road (for a short loop) or a paved road (for the out-and-back), and climb up to the lunch spot at the convenience store/gas station at the corner of Route 2 and Meadow Road. Return is via Route 115A, back to 115 and back to the car.

For the 51 mile ride, the start is at Mt Clinton Road, across the street form the AMC Highland Center. If you have a Forest Service parking pass, you can park in the parking lot on the left side of Mt Clinton Road. If you do not have a pass, park on the left side of Route 302 in the hiker/climber parking area next to the RR tracks, just after you drive through the Notch. Ride your bike over to Mt Clinton Road from there. (I think it is too busy for us to park at the Crawford RR station at this time of the year.)

For the 51 mile ride, let's start promptly at 9:00 am so that we can meet the riders starting at Zealand at 10:00am.

Since there are two start times, please set up your own carpool plans. If you email or call me, I can help you find a ride or a passenger.

See you on Thursday!!!


Map for the 35 mile ride:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Map for the 51 mile ride:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thursday, August 13 Passaconaway to Kanc

(Please check this site Thursday morning for last minute update)

Be ready to ride at 9:00 am from the public parking lot behind the Eastern Slope/EMS in North Conway. We can do the classic West Side Road to Passaconaway and then up the Kanc as far as we dare to tempt the afternoon weather. It will be interesting to see the raging waters of the Swift River.

The weather should be good in the morning, but we will be on the lookout for afternoon thundershowers.

Don't forget to pump those tires and lube that chain!

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Ride on the Route of the Hiawatha

Hi Everyone, We are Back!

What did we come back to?? Yikes, what a wet summer here in NH...

I want to THANK all of the ride hosts that worried about each of the Thursday Rides and Thursday Riders over the past months. You all probably ran around between weather forecasts, the windows and the blogsite trying to decide whether to cancel the ride or not. Thank you Linda Kearney, Trish Ashworth, Roland Dubois, Leland Yee and Ralph-3-Times-and-I-Quit-Fiore. When I managed to be near a computer, I always tried to check up on the Thursday and Saturday rides via the blogs or emails - it was really fun to read about the rides and see the photos!!!
I wanted to share with all of you some of the experiences we had on our trip. So many times I said to Tom - "This ride would be GREAT for the ThursdayBike group - I WISH THEY WERE HERE - they would LOVE this one!!!

I know that you don't want to hear about how much sun, hot temperatures and dry air we experienced, so I thought I would avoid all that and give you a travel-log and some photos of a day we spent that included a damp, dripping, dark and cold (45 degrees) experience (like what we have here in NH right now....). It was a ride on the "Route of the Hiawatha" Rail Trail.

Some history first...

From 1906 to 1911, thousands of workers constructed the Pacific extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. From the info on the map: "It has been called the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country (after the Conway Scenic Railroad, of course...). Winding through 10 tunnels and over 7 high steel trestles, the 46 mile route crosses the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The Route of the Hiawatha is best known for the long, dark St. Paul Pass or "Taft" Tunnel which burrows for 1.7 miles under the state line". The rail line was electrified, and became the longest electrified mainline in the world." The railroad ran until it went bankrupt in 1977.

At present, 15 miles of the route are open for biking. These miles snake through steep terrain through the tunnels and over the trestles at a constant 2% grade (1000 ft elevation change). Another 31 miles of the route is currently under conversion to bike path. The trail is hardpack dirt, fine to ride with wide touring tires or a mountain bike. Tom and I did the 30 mile out-and-back because I wanted to do the tunnels and trestles twice.

On this rainy damp day, I thought I would share our ride with all of you....

Start at the Entrance to the 8771 ft (1.7 mile) long St. Paul Pass Tunnel. We needed a jacket, helmet, headlamp and handlebar headlight. As we approached the tunnel, we could feel it "breathe" cold, damp, musty air (like our basements in NH this summer).

Light at the end of the tunnel or the headlight or an oncoming train???

Note the drainage ditches on the sides of the tunnel.

It was dark in the tunnel.

The headlamp and headlight gave me just just barely enough light to ride it. A tiny white dot in the center of the photo is the light at the end of the tunnel over a mile away, and the white rectangular dots on the sides are reflectors that help keep you out of the ditches. The tunnel drips and plunks waterdrops and waterfalls throughout. It is 45 degrees in there.

Out of the tunnel.

Tunnel exits to the site of the railroad town of "Roland" where the roundtable was located to turn the engines around.

Because of the restriction to a 2% grade for the railroad, the tracks travel gradually for miles down the side of a steep sided canyon then hairpin turns down the other side in order to achieve the elevation change of 1000 ft. As we travel down, we can see the trestles on the other side of the canyon below us.

View of Clear Creek Trestle down below us on the other side of the canyon.

Turkey Creek Trestle

Tom on the Barnes Creek Trestle.

Tom at the exit of Tunnel "24.

Kelly Creek Trestle

Turkey Creek and Russel Creek Trestles

Back here in NH, I hope we are soon to emerge from this dark damp tunnel of rain and gloom. There is a light at the end of this low pressure system!!!???