It’s Memorial Day, the weather forecast locally is rain until 10AM and then clearing. Sunapee NH has a similar forecast, so todays ride is on. It is gonna be a blast up I290/I190 just to get out of the state. I invited Giff along for the ride, however he choose to head to Vermont instead with Denise, his wife.
Arrive in Milford NH, pass the renovated depot station, and come across a detour sign. Follow the arrows and there is another detour sign. Follow this one to. Then the detour signs just stopped. No getting back on track, they just stopped and left you on your own. OK I am lost, the GPS wants to go thru Milford, there was probably a parade or other festivities going on. First chink in the armor. I have no idea how to reroute myself to Stoddard, NH. Pull out my MapSource map that I printed, see Goffstown is close by (which was supposed to come at the end of the day) and routed myself to Goffstown. The chink is glued back to the armor.
Temperature was nowhere near the 80’s per 2 different weather sites promised. More like the low to mid 60’s and glad I wore a long sleeve shirt. Arrived in Deering, and got the pictures I needed for Double Down. Spent some time taking pics of the church across the street, figuring it was over 100 years old and good for waymarking. It was built in 1829. Deering Town Hall was built in 1788. Deering participated in the big Sheep Boom in the early 1800's and then suffered a decline when the folks went off to work in the nearby mills and the sheep had eaten all the grass up. The folk and blues singer Tom Rush lived here during the 70's.
For the presidents tour you get extra credit (4 point versus 1 point) if you ride to where our Presidents were born and can find a marker that says so. Franklin Pierce, our 14th president was born in Hillsboro.
Up route 123 to Stoddard for the Stoddard Congregational Church. Also grabbed the fire department, easier to get STODDARD into the photo. The congregation was formed in 1787 and the church built in 1836. The church was wired for electricity in 1950.
Head out of Stoddard to make my way to Washington, NH. Mapsource routed me the shortest way, however Googling the road, it appeared to look like dirt. I did plan an alternate way around, but it was alot more miles. I figured I give it a bid. I hang a left on to Kings Hwy, which was paved. Maybe Google view just looked like dirt. Nope it turned to dirt, but it was a hard compact surface, not too bad. Then the pot holes started, it looked like it was carpet bombed with mini bombs in places. Sometimes it was impossible to avoid the potholes, so I choose the shallowest one to go thru. Never did bottom out the suspension, but was riding the pegs like a dirt biker would. 3.6 miles into this and I came to the inevitable narrowing of the road to a goat path. I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT. Turning around on a narrow dirt road is a challenge for me on the FJR. Not able to flat foot the bike, a bad right ankle doesn’t help, so the turn is made up many little steps, but it does get accomplished. The long way just got longer. Of course I didn’t take a picture of the turnaround spot.
Back in the heart of Stoddard, hang a right on to 123 heading for 10. 123 with the frost heaves and chopped up road was not a whole lot better than Kings Hwy. Motoring along, I sensed something was wrong. Got about ¾ ways to Washington and pulled over to check things out. THE GIVI TRUNK WAS NO LONGER THERE. Damn, damn, damn. Turn around and head back, thinking "RIGHT like I am gonna find my trunk". My biggest concern was the brand new Samsung Mega Smart Phone that was in the trunk. So I have a lot of time to contemplate my ride back up Kings Hwy (you would think a road called Kings Hwy would be paved).
Exactly 2.5 miles into the Road to Baghdad, there it was on the left, a little scuffed up, but still intact and the lid closed. Phone was fine. I say to myself, let this be a lesson not to put the phone in the trunk, tank bag only. Hook the GIVI back on and off we go for the 4th friggin time thru the potholes. Have to pull over because I forgot that new rule about putting the phone in my tank bag. For the rest of the trip I would tuck my left shoulder and arm into my side just so could see the trunk in the rear view mirror, in case the case takes another leap off the bike.
Of course I didn't take a picture of the GIVI sitting on the side of the road.
As a side bar, this area does have houses along the way, not a lot but some. One of the places is Mondanock Archeological. This guy must want to live where he thinks the dinosaurs lived. How do I know this, I am re-Googling the areas to see what I was up against. I guess I should have been a little more attentive, because where I turned around is where the roads end in Google. I couldn’t even route myself from Stoddard to Washington this way, but MapSource it found a way.
|See that lttle stub sticking out of Stoddard NH.|
At this point I seriously consider giving up the ride, because I am aggravated and the weather is not that great. I have come this far, at least I am going to get Washington for the President’s Tour. Passing scenery that looks pretty familiar I pull into the center of Washington, ride right past the place where I have the Post Office (has to be the PO for TeamStrange), ride out of town and finally turn around. I stop at the General Store in the center, walk in and ask "Is there a post office in this time, I had it right here". The guy replies "maybe 50 years ago, it is just up the road on 31 on the left". If I had not stopped I would have blown right past the PO.
Feeling less aggravated I head to Sunapee to find Steven Tyler. Settle on this building instead.
The next 2 towns North Sutton and South Sutton are crap shots. I could find nothing by Googling so this is a ride thru and search. North Sutton turns out to be a hit.
As far as Waymarking goes North Sutton was a little treasure chest. There is the Free Will Baptist Church that is over 100 years old, with a clock in the tower (another category) right next to a cemetery, which is right across the street from a New Hampshire historical marker (another category)
In South Sutton I could find nothing so headed for Henniker.
Rowell’s Covered Bridge is 164 feet long, cost $300 to build and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It spans the Contoocook River, located in Hopkinton, NH.
Contoocook is a village of Hopkinton, NH and has a really neat railroad covered bridge that served the Concord & Claremont RR and then Boston & Maine RR. It is listed on the NRHP, built in 1889 and is the oldest existing covered RR bridge in the US. The last time it saw a train was in 1962.
Right around the corner is the Contoocook Railroad Depot built in 1849. It too is listed on the Register.
Heading out of town is the Stanley Tavern, built in 1791 by Theophilus Stanley, serving as a tavern until 1864. Hopkinton had 3 taverns back in its day, when it was competing for the capital of New Hampshire. It is on NRHP
Right down the street is William H Long Memorial Building which houses music scores, journals, diaries, books, maps and other artifacts.
In the town of Pembroke I picked up 2 things. Right next to the Suncook Methodist Church is this sign. Suncook served as the center of commerce and social activity for the towns of Pembroke and Allentown in the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s. Like many towns located along the Merrimack River Valley, it was a regional mill town on par with Manchester, Nashua and the power house Lowell.
The Pembroke Mill was built in 1860 by the Suncook Manufacturing Company was the first major industrial area developed along the banks of the Suncook River. It is located on the falls for harnessing the hydro power. The mill employed 225 local folks producing 110,000 yards of cotton. In the 1950’s thru the 80’s the mill manufactured furniture. Today is residential property.
Robie’s Country Store was built in 1822 and remained in the Robie family for 110 years starting in 1887. The shop flourished because of LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION (check out its location in Google 43.096508,-71.464128 ) and has been known to have presidential candidates stop in the store since the 1950’s. Of course it is on the Register.
These RR bridges are right next to the Robie Store.
Last stop in New Hampshire is the Merrimack Fire Department. Nothing real special about the fire department other than the double letter, but the view of the Souhegan River and arched bridge is pretty neat.
It was here that I pulled my phone out to check where my last 4 places are. I am supposed to go to Londonderry, Derry and East Derry. Bring up the maps I have saved in Google gives me a quick confirmation that I can blow these off for another trip without really going out of my way. This was just frosting on the cake.
Nutting Lake was another story. It is just hanging out there all by itself and really needed to be gotten today. I know there is a Post Office because I got the place for the An Affair with Water Grand Tour, but PO’s can’t be used. I did Google this place and that will have to do.
Nutting Lake is the last stop of the night. What started out as a do I go or don’t I go, somewhat aggravating at times, bumpy for sure was all forgotten as I headed home. It did start to sprinkle, however I saw clear skies in front of me and throttled up down 128 to the Mass Pike and home. Pulled in right around 7pm with 350+ miles for the day.
Slide Show can be found HERE. It has some scenes not previously shown. WOO HOO
Slide Show can be found HERE. It has some scenes not previously shown. WOO HOO