Category Archives: New Hampshire

New Hampshire & Vermont Adventures

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!

Panoramic view from the summit of Mt. Washington, NH

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.

Mt. Washington Cog Railway

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?

Two hikers on the Appalachian Trail on Mt Washington, NH

They are on the Appalachian Trail, which crosses Mt. Washington.

Jim and Diana at the summit of Mt. Washington.

Look at us…we made it to the summit!  It was a tough climb from the parking lot.  🙂

Well worn benchmark at the top of Mt Washington, NH.

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.

Sign explaining the highest wind speed observed by man.

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.

Building on Mt Washington where the highest wind speed witnesses by man was recorded.

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.

Upper falls on the Ellis River

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.

Glen Ellis Falls on the Ellis River, just north of Jackson, NH.

They were absolutely beautiful!  We then continued down the road a ways to Jackson to see a recommended covered bridge.

Jackson, NH covered bridge, built in 1876.

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.

St. Johnsbury Welcome Center in the old train depot.

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.

Chapel at Dog Mountain, near St Johnsbury, VT

There also is a Dog Chapel, for people to reflect and remember their deceased furry friends.

Dog Chapel sign, near St Johnsbury, VT

The sign points out, in so many words, that it is non-denominational.

Dog Chapel interior, near St Johnsbury, VT

The chapel is filled with messages and pictures of peoples dogs, along with some of Huneck’s artwork.

Stained glass windows in Dog Chapel, near St Johnsbury, VT

The stained glass windows were all dog-themed, of course.  🙂

Gallery at Dog Mountain, near St Johnsbury, VT

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.

Public library and art gallery in St Johnsbury, VT

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.

Interior of library in St Johnsbury, VT

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.

Museum and planetarium in St Johnsbury, VT

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.

Cabot Creamery, Cabot, VT

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.

Philip and Marlene

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!







Northward into Maine

May 29-30, 2018 – Brentwood, NH 

May 31, 2018 – Fairfield, ME

Pulling up stakes in Cape Cod and heading northward into Maine, we made a couple of noteworthy stops.  The first one was in Brentwood, New Hampshire at a Boondockers Welcome location, Winterwood Farm.


Our hosts provided us with a level site next to their barn for two nights, complete with 30 amp electric.  Per the rules of the organization, we won’t reveal their names on social media or this blog.  We will say that they were wonderful hosts!

After getting to know them a bit, we headed off to the town of Exeter, New Hampshire.  We had dinner reservations, as it was my sweetie’s birthday!


We had a window seat at a place called Hemmingway’s.  It was yummy!

From there we headed to Stone Church in the town of New Preston, an 1824 former church turned pub.  We were looking for live music, and it turns out our host was playing banjo in a jam session that night.


What a great time!  We stuck around for several songs, then headed home for the night.

The next day, we explored the area a bit.  Diana’s long-time friend Debi has a brother who is part owner of North Country Hard Cider, which was located nearby in the town of Rollinsford. Unfortunately they were closed that day, but we were able to  purchase some of North Country’s Original Press at a local convenience store.  They definitely have a great product!

We also visited Flag Hill Distillery and Winery in the village of Lee that day.  While we found their wine to be a bit sweet for our tastes, their bourbon was amazing and their rye whiskey was even better!  We bought a bottle of the rye.  🙂

We had a fantastic stay at Winterwood Farm.  If you are a Boondockers Welcome member, be sure to look them up.  They are wonderful hosts!

The next day, we headed into Maine.  We came to the Pine Tree State once every three years, from 1986 through 2010.  That streak was sidetracked while we were responsible for Diana’s mom, so we missed 2013 and 2016.  Crossing the border was like coming home.  Our destination for the night was a Harvest Host location, Misty Acres Alpaca Farm in Sidney.


What an amazing place!  Charlie greeted us and gave us a choice of places to park.  We chose the big barn, giving us a chance to fill our water tank and grab enough electric to keep our battery charged.


Not only that, we had a nice view of the pasture!


The alpacas were adorable!


They aren’t fond of being petted, but they are very curious. 🙂


Diana took the opportunity to bottle feed one of the little ones.  It had yet to be named; she put her vote in for the name Cocoa.


This tiny white one is named Miracle.  She was prematurely born on a very cold spring evening.  Fortunately Charlie found her when he fed the herd, as she would have froze by morning.  He and his wife Connie took her in the house and gave her warm baths and nursed her back to health.  She is doing really well!


They also have a store filled with alpaca clothing.


We brought home a pair of socks, a scarf, and a few shoe inserts.  I’m here to tell you that the inserts are like a dream in my slippers!


We thoroughly enjoyed our stay with Charlie and Connie!  They welcomed us back, and we will definitely take them up on that!

Next up:  We come home to Acadia, after an eight year hiatus.  Be sure to stay tuned for what will be multiple posts on this beautiful slice of heaven.  Until then, safe and happy travels!

Note:  Be sure to take a look at our header menu for our new page Modifications and Repairs.  This is the place that deals with anything of that nature in our travels thus far.  As new issues crop up, we will share them with you on that page.