September 30th, 9:30 am; finished my 2nd cup of coffee and appreciating the clear sky and sunny day I decided to gear up and go to NH and a ride to the top of Mount Washington.
From where I live along the coast of Maine the ride is relatively direct. Roads in Maine, short of the Maine Turnpike, are not in good repair. Todays ride would be on all secondary and country/farm roads.
Started out heading for Gray, ME on Rabbit Road keeping 45MPH with an eye to the poor condition of the road. Reminded me of enduros in the California desert in that I spent as much time on the pegs as I did on the seat .
After 30 minutes of dodging pot holes and washboard I entered the village of Gray and route 115/202... a road with more seat time. Headed west for North Windham and the intersection of US 302. After another 30 minutes of good secondary road riding I entered North Windham turning west on US 302.
The whole trip is just over 210 miles round trip and at this point I am about 1/3 of the way to Mt. Washington. As I have ridden inland it has gotten about 10 degrees colder (48F) and my hands have started to stiffen up, so I pit stop to recycle some hot coffee in Naples Maine. The naked K75 makes you have to ATGATT most riding days and I had not anticipated needing winter gear...
Warmed up with the temperature finally starting to rise into the fifties I head out for the New Hampshire border through Fryeburg, Maine. Guess what?? It is the first day of the Fryeburg Fair and traffic is backed up 5 miles to the fair entrance in the center of town. A half hour going at a walk pace for the five miles and I am back on open road and almost at the border of NH.
As I cross over the border the first thing I notice is the condition of the road and road surface improves drastically. Riding in Maine makes you forget that other states actually maintain their roads.
In Conway, NH I turn north on Route 16 and head for Mount Washington. The road runs through ski country and all the foliage is about 75% as the leaf peepers like to say. A great road and 16 miles later the entrance to the auto road appears on the left along with the full height of the mountain.
Now as mountains go, Mount Washington at 6,600 feet is far from the Rockies, but it offers a great view of Maine and New Hampshire.
I payed my $12.00 and headed to the entrance to the 6 and a half miel ride to the top. Just ahead of me there are two riders from Vermont, one on a Suzuki and the other on a Ducati. They are dressed in matching body armour leathers and platinum helmets .
The up hill isn't steep, but it is narrow and there are no guard rails. Also, the toll taker before you start lets you know that about a mile of the upper part of the road is not paved and may be rough in spots.
As I ride higher the view starts to become impressive. The cars on the road also need to be watched...many have to stop to allow their engines to cool.
After a 20 minute ride and climb I park in a gravel parking lot 30 feet below the summit. The two riders who were in front of me asked if I would take their picture so I obliged.
Amazingly, about half of the other people at the summit were hickers...hell of a climb.
There were a couple of Harleys and big Hondas parked on a small paved area.
The air was very clear and a few fair weather clouds 2000 feet below the summit decorated the view. I had a hot coffee and walked back to the bike for the ride down. Info: Cell Phones do not connect at the top of the mountain (verizon).
The ride down was second gear with the old K75 exhaust popping the whole way. She was running a tad rich at the top of the mountain.
Once at the foot of the mountain called my wife and I headed for home. I won't bore you the reverse trip which was uneventfull.
It is a good day trip from any where within 150 miles of the Mountain.