Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I'm starting to think I should change the name of this blog to Living in Karlee, and travel seems less the name of the game these days. I've been in the Conway area for roughly a week and a half after returning north from Connecticut, and I feel I'm settling into the White Mountain life. I even managed to survive the 4th of July in what is most certainly a tourist town.

There are, however, real people who actually live here, and I've been most fortunate to gain the acceptance of a local couple (and when I say local, he's been here for 25+ years since the age of 14, and her family has roads named after them). Chris and Molly are just fantastic, and they've helped make this invading flat-lander feel welcome. Honestly, as far as welcome goes, with most locals, once they learn I am seeking full time residence, not just a vacation home, they are delighted. I can understand their feelings, as often largely unoccupied homes dwarf the year round residences. I've also started taking note of how few mailboxes there are vs. the number of houses, another sign of the vacation home.

So no living quarters more post than Karlee at the moment, but I've learning my way around town, zeroing in on the areas I live, and hopefully I'll soon have at least a patch of dirt to call home.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My morning visitor

I'm back into the White Mountains, and from the moment I glimpsed my first peak, something clicked for me; I was home.

So, how is this for wildlife viewing: this morning while eating my breakfast in the back of Karlee, my attention was suddenly drawn to a black face looking in the side rear window, close enough to fog the glass. I bellowed, "Hey bear, get out of hear," as the first thing that came to mind. It seemed to contemplate my suggestion for a moment, then lowered down to all fours again and ambled off in no great rush.

This was my first time for seeing the front end of a bear, and not the hind quarters in a dash for cover. At a height of roughly four feet standing, I assume this was a juvenile, so maybe not yet acquainted with what bad news humans can be. So, while it never seemed afraid, it was good to see how easily even a bold bear can be shooed. I'm sure the location helped lead to the situation as well: as it turns out, I was less than a 1/4 mile through the woods to a large public campground and all the food and smells that entails.

In the end, I'm more experienced, and also a little more wary of how easily bear can learn that humans mean easy leftovers.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How did he know I am a cyclist?

While traveling south today into St. Johnsbury, VT, I pulled to the side of the road in West Burke to allow faster cars to pass. The last in the line, a pickup, yelled "faggot" on his way past. He must have seen the bikes in the back of the car--usually I get this type of enlightenment only while cycling! They sure are a perceptive bunch up here, what with their history of "Take back Vermont" signs.

Not to entirely blast the place, it is a beautiful area and the group I rode with last night was exceedingly pleasant, welcoming, and fun. Thanks to those St. Johnsbury area riders.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I've been remiss

Did you miss me?

I will confess, happily in fact, I have been distracted by my own concerns of late as I explored around and about the white mountains. It seems likely this area will be my new home, although not in the fashion I thought it might.

When I last departed Connecticut (where I have once again presently returned), I had the impression Plymouth, NH might be the town for me, and that North Conway, built up as it is, most certainly was not. It seems I may have had it bass-ackwards. Plymouth, while nice enough, does not have the "gotcha" wilderness that is spurring me to move north, and, surprising, the area around Conway can be superlatively nice, once you figure out where to avoid.

So, yes, I like the area much, but I am back in CT. It seemed best to contemplate a move for some days in some familiar surroundings, and so far, I'd say that thought has proven true. I'm getting a better picture in my mind of what is out there, what I want, and how the two could mesh.

In the mean time, while I do plan on remaining in the south land another week, it is encouraging how dearly I look forward, already, to returning north. My knees, however, make need a little more mercy than I they were shown in 7 consecutive days of roughly 15 mile hikes.

So a note on the photos (and a thank you to those who have complimented them): they are in the reverse order in which I took them, starting atop Mt. Tom in East Hampton, MA, extending through Newport, Franklin and Laconia, NH, then back to the beginning with areas around Conway, as well as Crawford and Franconia Notches.

I must figure out how to make my bikes do this!

True GREEN! power, a steam engine made largely of wood,
and conceivably powered by it too.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reporting from the White Mountains

This post will be more of a picture collage, as I have a rather awkward typing position in the car as I make use of a hotel's parking lot wifi in Waterville Valley. Suffice to say, I'm making good use of the mountains up here despite a variety of weather, often moist.

Massachusetts on the way to NH.

What's left of an interesting house in Rumney, NH

The morning view from Rattlesnake Mountain.

Down by the riverside, Plymouth, NH.

Looking into a cave,
and out.

Afternoon in Campton, NH.

Smart's Brook

Friday, May 28, 2010

Finger Lakin' Good

Yes, of course, as always there is something special about finding a beautiful place, but I find it all that much better if you find such a special spot by accident. That is what happened for me in passing through the Finger Lakes region on the return trip to CT. The lakes themselves, well, they're big and wet, long and skinny, and I can take or leave them.
My Finger Lakes experience started, ironically, with a sunset.

So, what was so special? Simply, it is the ways the water gets down to those lakes. The topography and geology has lent itself to a bevy of spectacular canyons and waterfalls for the liquid to shoot on its way down from the hillsides. On my route through to Ithaca, I had the chance to visit with three of these areas.

First came Watkins Glen, which I knew for its race track only.

This is what the back side of a waterfall looks like.

Yes, another bridge, of course.

Then on to Robert H. Treman state park.

Through the majority of the two mile walk up the canyon,
I thought, "Nice, but not so spectacular as Watkins Glen."
Then I saw these gigantic falls,
which a picture does little to no justice,
so I just included the photos I like.
Go see it yourself,

And lastly, Buttermilk Falls,
but some photos other than the falls.
Yup, a bridge!

Now a special thanks are due to the fellows at Ithaca Foreign Car Service, and by "foreign," they apparently mean "Volvo." Once I arrived in the town, I noticed a sudden spike in the number of old rear wheel drive Volvos on the road, as if Karlee had happened into a family reunion--something about eastern college towns maybe. So, in walking around town, I noticed the repair shop with exclusively Volvos in the yard, and a number of 240s is states of disassemble, so in light of my lack of proper hood hinge, I stopped in to see if they'd sell one off a parts car. Well, no, not sell, but rather I was told to help myself, which I did, and Karlee know proudly wears a zip-tie free silver hinge on her right side. Thank you again guys, and if you find yourself in Ithaca with a Volvo needing work, this shop on West State Street seem genuinely forthright, honest, and good.

But Ithaca as a town, for some reason, feels the need to hide their river
behind a ten foot high wall.

Meanwhile, Connecticut welcomed me back with flowers!

Hence, I've spent the last couple days visiting in Connecticut and seeing to some odds and ends to get Karlee running a little more ship shape (a thorough removal of oxidation on the fuse panel has the overdrive engaging really well with the solenoid finally seeing full voltage). Early next week I depart northward for some time in the White Mountains, and maybe a lot of time if I find I like it enough.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mio, MI

Me oh, my!
The Au Sable River (big and two hearted?)
So I've found Hemingway's Michigan, and it isn't the north peninsula as I'd presumed. I arrived last night and nestled into the trees on the north side of Au Sable river just outside Mio, MI. Flat out, this is a darn pretty waterway. It is how I always envisioned Nick Adams on his fishing trip, just right.

Down the street from my Au Sable campsite

The gateway to southern Michigan

A couple shots from Wisconsin, which reminded me exactly of non-coastal Maine,
right down to all the logging trucks and paper mills.

From here, I continue my turtle's pace (although I am moving faster than the outbound trip), down to Port Huron, then to visit my Canadian neighbors to the east. I'm enjoying what has turned into a more direct driving touring with daily bicycle exploration off-route.
Snapper moving slowing across Michigan

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Small Apples

Minneapolis, that is.

Power station north of Pierre, SD

This will be brief at best, but I have the time for a brief celebration on returning to the northeastern quadrant of the United States. What can I say; I'm a fan of moist air and deciduous trees, and it feels good to be back, if maybe a little strung out from a long day or two of driving across South Dakota. Don't get me wrong, the trip west has been beautiful, even, much to my surprise, some of the open prairie land, but I'm ready to find some water body, lake or stream will do, in a Wisconsin national forest a relax a day or two.

No, not hell, The Mall of America in MN.
Oh, wait, you're right, that is hell.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My morning walk

A stroll around the neighborhood, atop Lookout Mountain in Golden, roughly 6:30AM.