10/08/2016 - 10/09/2016
We started Saturday by leaving Boston and heading north in the direction of our hostel for that night. On the way, we stopped by Lowell, Massachusetts because I wanted to see it since I grew up in Lowell, Ohio. No other reason for visiting, in particular. When we got there, we wanted to park and walk around, but we were too cheap to pay for parking, and there was no free parking to be found, so all of these picures were taken while driving around. It is a pretty cool downtown, with lots of history. In case you didn't know or you forgot, Lowell, MA is known for it's textile mills and the Lowell Working Girls. I'm not going to give you any history on that because it has been a long while since I have read about them. There were several huge mills, and we caught pictures of a couple. Another thing I found cool is that there were several canals (probably to help with transportation in and out of the mills), and Lowell, OH also has a canal! Exciting stuff, I know! : )
After finishing Lowell, we got on I 93 north, and ended up in tons of traffic congestion. When we reached Conway, NH, we turned onto the scenic Kancamagus highway, which is about a 35 mile stretch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that has lots of things to pull off to see and do, but no gas stations or places to eat (or towns). Luckily, there were disgusting restrooms along the way in case you found yourself in need of that! Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures we took of foliage on the mountain road.
As you can see, the colors were so vibrant up here! Hopefully you get to see some similar colors at home this year.
As it was nearing sunset, we got to the end of the Kancamagus in Lincoln, NH. There was a festival that was causing more traffic congestion. We wanted to go to a sight called Flume Gorge, but when we got to it, it was closed. Before we lost the rest of daylight, we went up the road a little further to see a thing called the Basin. From what I remember reading on the sign, thousands of years of rushing water washed out the stone (maybe it was granite? In a way that made these rounded formations. It was a pretty cool thing to see, but it might be hard to see through just pictures. You'll just have to come see it yourself someday!
After that, we went to a restaurant where we had a two plus hour awful experience, and we hurried to our hostel, where we luckily had a private room and bath. The hostel room was very nice with couches in a seating area with a wood fired stove (thankfully we didnt have to load it to get heat...it may have just been there for looks). The only complaint we had was that the bathroom light didn't turn on. However, it had gotten so late on us that we quickly took showers using the flashlight on our phones and went to bed without asking for a new lightbulb. We had to get to bed so that we could wake up at 4:45 am to start the next day's adventure, which was riding a steam engine up the highest mountain in New England!
We had an 8:00 AM reservation, and we had to go to breakfast at the earliest place that opened, which was a diner opened at 5:30. We were surprised they even had that in this tiny mountain town. After breakfast, we had a one hour drive to the base of the mountain where the train took off. It was a pretty cool experience. We were in a train car that was pushed up the mountain by a steam engine. They had to put coal in the fire every 20 seconds all the way up the 3-mile, one-hour ascent up the mountain! To make the steam, they also needed tons of water, and had to stop at a water tower to get more water on the way up. The process was fascinating! Our camera battery died in the train, so we didn't get many pictures. Good thing about that was there really was not much to see because it was super cloudy. Anyway, enjoy the few pictures we were able to get.
When we got to the top of the mountain, we used Jeremy's phone to take these few picures. The reason you can't see much is that it is so foggy, and has nothing to do with the quality of the iphone camera. It was about 25 degrees at the top of the mountain when wind chill was factored in. We were told it was a calm day as far as wind goes. The highest wind ever recorded by man on the entire earth was recorded at the top of this mountain...231 miles per hour!
Here are a couple shots taken on the way back down. We were able to go up the mountain at about 2.8 miles per hour. We were able to go back down at about 5 miles per hour. This time, the engine was in front of us instead of behind (it did not turn around at the top). Our car was not connected to the engine in case there would be an issue. The "brakeman" was keeping our speed in check on the descent, and she could drive us down the hill in the event that we lost the engine. Pretty cool! At one point, we passed three other biodiesel trains going up the mountain while we were going back down. But for the most part, there was only one set of tracks.
And one last picture we took was at Smuttynose Brewery outside their bathroom. Enjoy!
Time to head off on today's adventures!
-Ashley & Jeremy