June 16-23, 2016 – New Hampshire and Vermont
At the end of our last post, we alluded to the fact that our upcoming time in New Hampshire was “more of an adventure than we bargained for”. As we were headed to our campground in Shelburne, NH, we stopped to fuel up along the way. Not too long after that, our truck started sputtering and losing power. I knew I had put diesel fuel in it, as I always check that first. To boot, I was in a semi lane and my receipt says I bought diesel. Anyway, we pulled over into another station and weighed our options. While I checked the air filter for obstructions, Diana called a garage. It was Saturday afternoon, and she just happened to get a diesel mechanic on the line. He suspected water in the line and suggested I put some Heet water-dispersing additive in the tank, which I did. I also drained the water separator and found water in the fuel. Long story short, it helped for a bit. A few miles from the campground, it acted up again, so we decided a visit to a Ford garage was in order. We originally had planned to leave Shelburne on Monday to meet Diana’s cousin and family in Rutland, Vermont on Friday, so we knew our plans would have to be adjusted. Many thanks to the wonderful couple who own Timberland Campground for being so accommodating! More on the truck in a bit…
Now that we had some time, we set out to visit a few of the local sites! Our original plans were to visit Mt Washington, so that was the first thing in our queue. We had visited this peak 30-some years ago on a cold, cloudy and windy day, so we really wanted to see it on a nice day. June 17 was picture perfect, so we hopped into Edsel 2 and headed to the Mount Washington Auto Road. When we arrived, the attendant said to me “Move your leg”. Is this the Hokey-Pokey? No, he wanted to look at the shift lever to see if our vehicle had a low gear, a requirement for this climb and descent. Turns out that they have a long list of vehicles not allowed on this road, including dually pickups, so all of our fellow fifth wheelers take note. Our long box crew cab pickup…while not a dually…would have been too long. There are even weight limits on how much a vehicle can carry. From their website:
“The weight limits below are referring to passenger and luggage weight, not the weight of your vehicle. These are approximate numbers used as guidelines.
- Full size car or wagon: 900lbs
- Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager prior to 1996: 600lbs (272 kg)
- Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager 1996 and newer: 900lbs (408 kg)
- All other mini-vans: 900lbs (408 kg)
- 3/4 or 1/2 ton van, pickup or SUV: 900lbs (408 kg)
- One-ton van or pickup: 1050lbs (476 kg)”
Makes you wonder why they singled those pre-1996 Chrysler minivans out… 🙂
So up we went. The route is a narrow, twisty road with an average 12% grade that was first opened to traffic in August of 1861. You read that date right…1861. Since not much has been done to the road since then, we weren’t able to dislodge our fingernails from the steering wheel and armrests long enough to take photos of it. 😉 Once at the top, we put the Nikon to work!
Look at that view! The black line snaking below the summit is the Cog Railway, which is an alternate way to get to the top.
While we were at the summit, this locomotive and car came up to the top. And what about those two hikers in the lower right corner?
They are on the Appalachian Trail, which crosses Mt. Washington.
Look at us…we made it to the summit! It was a tough climb from the parking lot. 🙂
The benchmark is well-worn, as many folks have made their way to this point.
For those who don’t know, Mt. Washington has a weather station at the top. The peak is known to have some nasty weather extremes, and it is a testing ground for many outdoor products.
It was at this building that the highest wind ever observed by man was recorded: a whopping 231 miles per hour! A higher wind was recorded by automated equipment since then in the southern hemisphere, but there weren’t any people present when it occurred.
As you can see, they have chains over the building to keep it from blowing away.
Unlike our first visit, June 17, 2018 had very little wind and missed the record for the warmest day for that date by two degrees.
Besides Mt. Washington, we checked out a few other places in the area that were recommended to us by Laurie at Timberland. One that really stood out was Glen Ellis Falls.
The trail starts a few miles south of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and heads under NH-16 via a tunnel. It isn’t long before cascades start to appear in the river, similar to the one shown above. As the trail winds lower and lower into the canyon, we soon came upon Glen Ellis Falls.
They were absolutely beautiful! We then continued down the road a ways to Jackson to see a recommended covered bridge.
As well maintained as it was, we were certain it was fairly new. We were surprised to see that it was built in 1876! There wasn’t a weight limit posted on it either.
On Tuesday, we got the truck back from the Ford garage in New Berlin. Verdict was that they drained a quarter tank of fuel to get rid of the water. They also replaced the fuel filters. It ran well on the way back to the campground. The next day, we hooked up and headed out. About 45 minutes into our drive, it started missing again. We ended up limping into a campground just east of St. Johnsbury, Vermont…short of our intended destination. They had an open site, so we set up and headed to Twin State Ford. At this point, we were at a total loss as to what was wrong. Jordan in the service department told us they would get on it the next day. Once again, we had time on our hands! What to do when you are given a basket of lemons????
Make lemonade! We drove around town to see what there was to do.
Diana found the St. Johnsbury Welcome Center, which is located in this beautiful train depot. The depot still has the cool old benches, along with the antique communication equipment used to deal with the trains in the past. The man working the counter, Richard, loaded us up on all sorts of unique things to see and do. First thing we did was to head across the street to Anthony’s Diner to get one of their delicious burgers.
The next day, we headed to Dog Mountain. This is a very special place, founded by artist Stephen Huneck and his wife. It is acres of off-leash trails for people to bring their dogs.
There also is a Dog Chapel, for people to reflect and remember their deceased furry friends.
The sign points out, in so many words, that it is non-denominational.
The chapel is filled with messages and pictures of peoples dogs, along with some of Huneck’s artwork.
The stained glass windows were all dog-themed, of course. 🙂
Huneck’s studio and gift shop was full of his work, also. Diana was familiar with his children’s books, so she was excited to see the place that inspires him. Dog Mountain was a very enjoyable place to hang out for a bit!
Next up was the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.
What is that, you ask? Well, besides being a pretty old building, it is a public library and art gallery. It was donated to the city in 1871 by Horace Fairbanks, heir to the Fairbanks Scale fortune. Those scales are still made today.
While the art gallery was closed for renovation, the building was a work of art itself!
The last place we visited that day was the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium.
This building was also donated by the Fairbanks family, along with many of the objects in it. Our Museum of the Rockies membership and it’s ASTC reciprocal agreement gave us free admission. We paid extra to see the planetarium, as it just happened to be the solstice! Our presenter, Bobby, was a hoot. Imagine giving the late Robin Williams the controls to the star machine and you get the picture. 🙂
The next day, our truck was ready. They found a technical service bulletin on it that pointed to a programming issue, so they reprogrammed the computer. They also did several other things that they had discovered, unrelated to the engine problems. We decided to stay one more night and give the truck a good test run without the trailer attached. About 20 miles away was the town of Cabot, Vt…home to Cabot Creamery.
Nothing like a test drive combined with cheese sampling! We had a very enjoyable visit, picking up some cheese, preserves and cool t-shirts to boot! We are happy to report that the truck did just fine.
On the 23rd…a day late, we headed to Rutland to meet up with Philip and Marlene, and their children Miles and Leah. Before heading to their place, we set up our rig at a Harvest Hosts location, Autumn Mountain Winery and Cabins. Philip and Marlene own Same Sun of Vermont, a design and installation company that deals in residential and commercial solar-electric systems. They took us to show us their office in downtown Rutland in their Chevy Bolt. Talk about a fast car…it does 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds! Their offices were beautiful, and they have a huge list of satisfied customers. 🙂 We went to dinner afterwards and got caught up on each other’s lives.
Thank you Philip and Marlene for a wonderful evening!
Oh, and the truck ran like a champ all the way to Rutland. 🙂
Next up, we head over to New York State and the Adirondack Mountains. Be sure to see our next post for what we find over there. Until then safe and happy travels to all!