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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vermont Foliage - 2011

All weekend I wanted to drive North to look at foliage.  I thought I would focus on Barns also.  No one was available to go with me.  No Kevin, no Pam, no Doug, no Rick, no takers.  I decided on Sunday night to head up early Monday morning (Columbus Day weekend).

My plan was to head to the Northeast Kingdom.  I would get up early and drive to Lebanon, NH as the sun came up.  I would take Route 5 North toward the Northeast Kingdom looking for a barn or two and foliage.  OK ... I was up at 4:00AM, and on the road by 4:20AM.  I stopped half way up I89 for gas and a Dunkin Donuts coffee.    Not many cars, roads were dry, but there was some fog. 

Once in Lebanon, NH I jumped on Rt 5.  I guess I left way to early as it was still very dark.  I ended up pulling off the road and sitting in my truck for 30 minutes.  As it got light enough to see I noticed much more fog.  You may not know this but Vermont and New Hampshire are divided by the Connecticut River.  The water and air temperature combination made for some thick fog.   As I like to prepare you would think I would have avoided a road that follows the river in the early morning this time of year. 

I moved out only to find I couldn't see more than 100 yards on either side of the road.  I could have passed the best foliage and best looking barn in Vermont and wouldn't have know it.  To do something different I headed down some dirt roads off Route 5.  I saw 4 deer feeding under some apple trees,  I took a pic in the fog but hard to see and not much color. 

As I continued North I did take a couple pictures of nice barns,  The sky is white with fog ...  as I continued the fog slowly burned off.

I saw the round barn which is photographed quite a bit.  Continuing on Route 5 through St. Johnsbury I ended up taking Rt 5a as I wanted to go to Lake Willoughby.  The Northeast Kingdom is so pretty.  I looped around several dirt roads in Seymour and Derby.  Then headed to Rt 114 to go toward the Canadian boarder.  I took a right at the boarder crossing continuing toward Averill. 

I took the power line road back to Rt 105.  I saw 3 other vehicles in that 30 miles of dirt.  Some nice mud in a couple places.  Coming off the power line road I took Rt 105 toward New Hampshire.  I passed the East Branch Road which I thought of taking back to the boarder.  That would have been beautiful and has lots of hunting camps opening up for deer season.  Instead I continued to Rt. 103.  Rt 103 was a very pretty drive in the afternoon.  Eventually I crossed over the Connecticut river in to New Hampshire.

I took Rt. 3 toward Twin Mountain and was tempted to stop at the Cog or the Mount Washington Inn but decided to keep going.  I passed through Franconia Notch and back home by 5:45PM.

The sky changed throughout the day.  Mid New Hampshire was not peak yet.  Way up by Canada it was beautiful but lots of leaves were already down.  I was a week late for the Northeast Kingdom.  Twin Mountain and Franconia Notch were spectacular.  The colors continue moving South and I will get ready for local pictures.

Search Blog Archive: October 2010 & September 2009 - for more Fall Foliage.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

NHSA Grass Drags & Water Cross

I like to keep an eye out for potentially fun and different things to do on a weekend.  This weekend the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA) had Grass Drags and Water Corss events in Fremont, NH.  I have never been to something like this before so I decided to try it.  It was a Friday through Sunday event.  On the news it said there could be 50,000 people.  (I was a bit skeptical on the number thinking that could be a 3 day total) and decided to go on Saturday.

We arrived around 11:30AM.  As we got close we heard the roar of the snowmobile engines racing.  Judging by the number of cars parked in this farmers fields there were a lot of people.  We snaked our way across several fields and parked. 

Where were dozens of vendors selling everything snowmobile and ATV related including a swap.  Lots of food vendors.  My guess is there were 35,000 people on Saturday. 

We headed to the grass drags.  There were many different classes racing.  The drag was 500 feet long.  There were 4 lanes and they used 2 light trees at the starting line.  The light tree went through it sequence, once green they would take off.  If they jumped they would be disqualified.  After the finish line the field went up hill to help the riders slow down.  Then the riders would ride off to the side back to the pit area.

We ended up watching some of the 800cc and 1000cc machines do their runs.  We were by the starting line and watched several runs.  The announcer gave stats (Reaction time off the line, time, and speed) for each winner at the end of their run.  I told Kevin and Pam I wanted to go toward the finish line so we moved. 
2 Words ... SCARY FAST ... describe many of the runs by the finish line.  We ended up standing next to the fence at the end of the drag.  I moved a bit and was about 8 feet away from the closest lane when one of the sleds came by me, winning his heat, going 106mph.  I got the chills because I was so close to the rider going that fast.  OK, because all my senses were screaming this doesn't feel safe ... we moved to a different spot.  A couple more heats went roaring by, the announcer saying one had crossed the line doing 115mph.  The modified class can go 125mph+.  I wonder what it feels like to ride a snowmobile on grass doing that kind of speed ... eek.

We walked through the vendor areas heading for the Water Cross.  We could have spent a couple hours looking at all of the snowmobile and ATV stuff for sale. 

There were 3 or 4 snowmobiles that would line up just on the shoreline of the pond.  They would take off, stay in their lanes until they cross a set of markers, then they could maneuver into position and go around an island in the middle of the pond, back around floating buoys then back around the island. 
Snowmobiles can travel over water if they keep their speed up and they can maintain balance and control.  Many riders made mistakes and sank.  Some machines ended up in 2 feet of water, others ended completely disappearing in  the deep water. 
One of two pontoon boats would come over and fish the snowmobiles out of the pond.
Freestyle jumping show.  3 ramps set up and a large landing hill.  There were a half dozen snowmobiles, an MX bike, and an ATV jumping.  Lots of great tricks.  They single and tandem jumps.  I ended up staying in the same spot to watch the freestyle jumping.
We bought food from the vendors and walked around a bit before heading home.  This wasn't Pam's thing with the loud noise, etc.  Kevin loved it.  It was a lot of fun and will do it again next year.