Friday, September 20, 2013

Sept. 20, 2013

Travel Day.

Drive of less than 60 miles, most of it along the New Hampshire coast (which is only about 50 miles long).

After parking in campground we took another drive along a small part of Maine coast.  We finished the drive by stopping at a lobster pound to fulfill an item on Sue’s travel ‘bucket list’.  A lobster pound is a place where live lobsters are kept in tanks with circulating sea water.  You buy one and can opt to take it home and cook it or have them cook it.  We went with the latter. 



Of course the meat is inside the shell – sooo…


That one’s done.

Sept. 19, 2013

Beer and Big Horses.

First - Happy Birthday Dan!

Dirt Road south in NH

Don’t usually take dirt roads in carbus but the view can be awesome.


Anheuser-Bush has breweries located all over the country and several international spots.  Their smallest producing US brewery is in Merrimack, NH.  Smallest production but the amount produced is still mindboggling.  Eight million 12oz servings per day. 


Anheuser-Busch, Tour

Anheuser-Busch, Tour, Hospitality room

Tour is free as are the two full glass samples of anything they brew.  Smile

The campus is immaculate with flower beds everywhere that are constantly being tended so everything is always fresh and in full bloom.  There are two soccer fields and a baseball field and lots of grass.  The local community benefits here a lot. 

The Merrimack location has one other item.  It is the home stable of one of Budweiser's three ‘hitches’ of Clydesdale horses.  The other stables are in St. Louis and Fort Collins. Eight horses are used in a team but a stable might have 16 horses or more and travel to events with ten or eleven horses.  As with the rest of the campus, the stable, paddocks, corals, and trails are immaculate.  Everything is clean.  The stable buildings, court yard, stalls, fences, – everything, looks brand new. 


Hay is always FRESH,  Note cleanliness and tidiness of ground.


Anheuser-Busch, Pete

Anheuser-Busch, Charlie is not in!

The stalls are cleaner than most peoples living rooms.

Note that stalls are made of hardwood and finished.


Shower Room, Anheuser-Busch

The room where the horses are bathed is immaculate.  So clean it looks like you could eat off the floor. 

The horses are thoroughly groomed several times a day.  They look as spiffy in a stall as they do in the commercials.  Even the wagons used to train the teams look just like the commercials – brand new.





We got a special treat on our visit.  As we parked the carbus in the lot and were getting out to go to tour the brewery I looked way down toward the end of the parking lot toward the stable.  I told Sue that she might want to take a few pictures of what was coming.  There was a team of Clydesdales coming up the lot on a training run.  They came the full length of the very long lot, turned right in front of us, and headed back toward the stable.  If we had arrived  a minute earlier we would have been in the building and missed the show.  Coolness continues. Smile


Training the Clydesdales at Anheuser-Busch

Training the Clydesdales at Anheuser-Busch




For a camp spot we ended up in the extreme north eastern corner of Massachusetts at a state beach reserve.  Campground is a couple hundred yards from a beach on the Atlantic Ocean. 

We missed the Harvest Moon by a day but still pretty cool.

Salisbury Beach, MA


Salisbury Beach, MA



Salisbury Beach, MA


Sept. 18, 2013

Scenic Drive

Some pictures from todays drive.

Wildcat Ski ResortLake ChocoruaScenic Road in New Hampshire

Sept. 17, 2013

Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington is the tallest mountain in New England.  It is also home to the worst weather on earth.

The morning began pretty foggy in eastern Vermont campground we stayed in last night but soon burned off to a bright clear day (this is important – stay tuned).  We arrived at todays camping stop about 11am.  We wanted to take advantage of the good weather so packed a lunch and drove eight miles south to the Mt. Washington Auto Road.  Like Pikes Peak, Mt. Washington has a road and a cog railroad that go to the top (and trails).  There is one big difference.  The Pikes Peak road is longer and climbs higher but it has several spots where the road levels or even descends as it goes over some ridges.  The Mt. Washington road starts climbing about 100 feet beyond the entrance station and it NEVER stops going up until there is no more up available.  Decent road – paved most of the way and wide enough for two cars – just.  Average grade is 12% and climbs around 5000’ in eight miles.  Great views for passenger(s) but driver is stuck with looking at road.

20130917 -043road up Mt. WashingtonMt. Washington



Driving to the top is pretty popular.  Midweek, off season, school day, and still the three good sized lots on the summit were almost full and the cog train was full with each arrival. 



They run two trains at a time.

Todays weather might have had an influence on large number of people.  Todays summit temp. was 34 degrees with a ‘breeze’ of up to 25 mph (yielding a wind chill of 26 degrees).  Balmy day for Mt. Washington.  Visibility today – over 120 miles.  If you knew what you were looking at you could see the Atlantic Ocean, Maine, Vermont, Canada, Massachusetts, and even New York.

View from the top

View from the top


Ski area is in New Hampshire.  Just beyond front ridge is Maine.


Visibility yesterday – five feet.  Mt. Washington is clear fewer than 30 days a year.  60% of the time it is in clouds or fog. 

More typical picture of Mt. Washington weather:  wind is a constant, often much more than today – hurricane force winds occur more than 100 days a year, in winter about every fourth day.  Highest wind speed ever observed by man was measured here (231 mph). 


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It gets cold here – highest temp. ever recorded on summit is 72 degrees (twice).  Below freezing daytime temps even in summer – in winter often below negative 40 degrees.  Combination of cold and wet air (fog/clouds) produces hoarfrost or rime frost.  Even today there was a dusting of it in protected areas. 

Rime Frost

In winter thickness is measured in feet. 

It snows here – several years over 47 feet.  There are many days when all this stuff (wind, cold, frost, snow) happens at the same time.  There is a weather observatory on the summit that is manned year round – no thanks. 

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Weather observation station


Geologic summit.

They had some neat videos in the summit museum showing people outside in some of that weather.  Might be able to see online.  Google Mt. Washington weather.

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Sept. 16, 2013

Ice Cream and Maple Syrup

Ben and Jerry started their ice cream empire as a small scoop shop in Burlington, VT.  They soon realized that they would need a real production facility if they were to meet growing demand for their ice cream.  Their first formal plant was built a few miles east of Burlington.  That is where we headed this morning.  The tour is a bit juvenile but does give some history and a view if a room with lots of vats, pipes, and conveyers.  Third part is a stop to sample the flavor of the day – today was pumpkin spice.  Gift shop is typical – shirts and mugs – with some ice cream (or cow) specific items.  There is also a scoop shop that has many flavors you will not find in stores or even other scoop shops.  Good break and the ice cream was goooood.

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Entrance20130916 -012

20130916 -013Flavor Graveyard

Discontinued flavors

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There are cowsey graphics everywhere.

Vermont is known for maple syrup and sugar.  Most of the maple houses are small operations - including their parking lots.  We found one that advertised room for RVs so we headed that way taking several scenic roads along the way.  There was indeed room for a couple of RVs.  We dropped in just after a tour had finished but the owner quickly offered to give us a personal tour.  The whole processing operation fits in one moderate sized room and consists mainly of a large condenser stove where the sap is reduced to syrup which can then be reduced to sugar.  There are four grades of syrup, each equally fine but made from sap harvested at different times in the season.  Owner gave nice talk and demo of how maple sap gathering/processing had evolved.  Most interesting thing I heard is that taps no longer drip sap into buckets to be emptied every day.  Now taps are connected to tubing and sap from many trees flows to a central spot for collection.  Every tube on every tree has to be checked every day so there is still a lot of physical activity (10-12 miles of snowshoeing each day) but far less carrying of buckets of sap.  Prices of maple products were also much better at the source than at gift shops and markets.

Sugar MapleGoodrich's Maple Farm