Presentation on theme: "Also Titled Hey, New Hampshire Looks An Awful Lot Like Lake George Starring Peter Lucas Evan Jenni Dee Lucas Heather Lori Mike Tom Sandy Benjamin Moore."— Presentation transcript:
Also Titled Hey, New Hampshire Looks An Awful Lot Like Lake George Starring Peter Lucas Evan Jenni Dee Lucas Heather Lori Mike Tom Sandy Benjamin Moore Guy Some Burly Trucker Dude Disclaimers: All observations suffer from the slant of my own personal perspective. Photo/text order may conflict with actual events, to facilitate story continuity. Get over it.
At precisely nine oclock, the group herded itself into chaotic formation. (Okay, so some of us were late. Well, fine then, ONE of us was late. But hey, I made it in time to take the picture.) Greetings were exchanged and pleasant surprise was expressed at Silvias attendance, to see us off and wish us well. (Given the drastic change in weather, though, Im beginning to suspect she dabbles, just a tad, in the dark arts. Or maybe it was that guy in the Benjamin Moore sweatshirt. Who IS that guy?) Commemorative maps were distributed, names were divulged and instructions given. (My writing teachers warned me against passive voice, but it just works here.) After listening to some stalkers message, asking where the hell I was (but did also express sentiment that he hoped I was okay), I geared up with the rest of the crew, taking a cue from some others: putting my MP3 player on random and stuffing the headphones into my ears. As you can imagine, shoving a full-face helmet on at that point was no easy feat, so… YES, you all had to wait for me again. (I believe I earned the nickname pokey for this particular ride.) This listening to music while riding thing is going to take some practice, so bear with me, people. At something close to nine-thirty, we took off in a roaring thunder. Well, some of us whined and putted, but mostly we were a roaring procession: Peter, Evan & Jenni, Lucas, Dee, Heather, Lori, Mike, and Tom & Sandy. L to R: Sandy, Evan, Jenni, Peter, Dee, Silvia and unknown lurker. Clockwise: Tom, Dee, Heather, Silvia, Peter, Evan, & Jenni. Thats my pretty bike there in front.
About a minute-and-a-half after leaving the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, huge gusts of wind kicked up, blowing large, menacing clouds over our heads. Dressed for summer riding (cause, you know, it is June, after all), I was pretty chilly. Passed a field of cows (According to my mother, if the cows are laying down, its gonna rain. As half in the field were standing, I could make no meteorological determinations.); rolling green hills that actually shimmered when the sun did manage to poke through (rounding a turn and coming upon a vista of emerald green while Brook Benton is crooning in your ears… awesome); waving children; and one nasty cloud of putrid stench. In Bennington, Dee scooted up next to me, moved her mouth a lot and proceeded to make cryptic hand gestures which, in the harmonious sanctuary of my helmet, I took to mean, I got a phone call, so Im gonna ride around in a big circle. In vain, I pointed to the sides of my helmet, in the general vicinity of my ears (I hoped), made a helpless expression, and shrugged. Not sure if I communicated what I meant to, but I suppose she could have understood my jerky motions as, Ive got nothing inside my head right now and cannot, therefore, comprehend anything you may be trying to communicate to me. Sorry. Cant be helped. Or, she could have just thought I couldnt hear what she was saying. I didnt worry, though, cause she then gave Tom and Sandy the same message about the phone and the circles, etc. I knew thered be someone who could tell us all what she was saying. This optimism was short-lived, however, when I looked in my side mirror and saw both bikes disappear behind me. And then there were six. Okay, now hum a Brook Benton tune to yourself. Cool, huh? From Wikipedia The Hundredth Monkey Effect is a supposed phenomenon in which a learned behavior spreads instantaneously from one group of monkeys to all related monkeys once a critical number is reached. By generalization it means the instant, paranormal spreading of an idea or ability to the remainder of a population once a certain portion of that population has heard of the new idea or learned the new ability. (Im not touching this one. You guys work it out.)
Eventually, we reached Wilmington, parked in a nice, orderly row and immediately began wondering aloud where everyone went. I expressed my complete inability to understand Dees messages, but Heather quickly cleared that up: Dees hand fell asleep, so she left. Tom & Sandy were scheduled to veer off in Bennington, but Mike. What about Mike? I told them what I witnessed which was, when it came right down to it, nothing. Peter and Evan nearly came to blows over who would get to go rescue Mike (Well, no, not really, but it makes for a better story.), but were saved from doing so when a trucker pulled up and said, You the group on the mountain? (Was I the only one feeling like Id just stepped into a Clint Eastwood movie?) Six simultaneous heads nod. Well, your friends okay, but… (Did you all panic as much as I did, at that point?) …he dumped his bike. Turns out Mike pulled over, for an as yet unknown reason, hit some trouble in the road and dumped his bike. But hes okay. No sooner do we get this news, when Mike comes rumbling up to explain in person. I guess he pulled over, hit a hole; the bike flew up in the air, and he dumped it. Scratched it up quite a bit, bent a peg, broke a blinker, but hes fine. When asked why he pulled over, he just smiled, shrugged and said, Had to pee! Six again! Mike, back safe and sound. Leaving Bennington, we headed out Route 9 to Wilmington, going over a very nice mountain and through some national forest, I think. I dont know; there were signs. Everything was going just fine for a while, despite the self-talk going on inside my own helmet (See previous rides commentary for more on self-talk.) about the weather: Hmm, did anyone check the weather? I didnt know clouds could be that dark. Is that snow? Amidst a steady stream of Janis Ian, CCR, Cake, Belle & Sebastian, the aforementioned Brooke Benton, Van Morrison, Simon & Garfunkel, etc., I was enjoying the b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l scenery when, suddenly, glancing in my mirror, I saw… no one. This wouldnt be so upsetting except that, where there was now no one, there used to be Mike. Like, just a minute ago. And now hes gone. Hmmm… I had a horrid vision of him becoming distracted and careening over the side, but shook that off. I did flash my lights and try to wave, but everyone was enjoying their own scenic nirvana, apparently. I started to wonder if I would be next and, if so, would anyone notice? It began to feel very Scooby-esque… First Dee, then Tom & Sandy, now Mike. Wait, wheres Velma?!?!? And then there were five. Ruh-roh. Okay, thanks guys, but now can you smile horizontally? (Note pretty bike in foreground again.)
We discussed the weather, marveled at the fluffy, white snow falling outside (Peter tried convincing us it was actually some part of the Cottonwood tree, but come on. Its freezing out there!), and altered our route. Rather than proceed toward New Hampshire, and the burgeoning Armageddon in the sky over the mountains, Peter suggested heading north toward Manchester, and it was unanimous. Off we headed up Route 100 where we, apparently, rolled through a town actually called Podunk. But is there an East Podunk? Thats what I want to know! More riding through scenic pastures, over hills… Saw some furry cows, which elicited (again, inside my own helmet) the exclamation, Oh, look at the cute little, BABY furry cows! Rolled past a llama farm. All the llamas were laying down, looking very much like a field full of brown, fuzzy periscopes. (My mother had nothing to say about llamas and weather, so Ive got nothing to offer regarding the meteorological significance of their posture. (I just like writing meteorological.)) We stopped in Manchester for some really good pizza at a place called Christos, where Peter sampled some of the local beer (of the root variety), and enjoyed the emerging sunshine, from inside of course. But no cheese Danish! Can you imagine? In Wilmington, we stopped for refreshment (very expensive, but tasty, hot chocolate; coffee; and pastries) and some other-talk. (Other-, as opposed to self-.) In an establishment full of apple pastry things, and blueberry pastry things and all kinds of other fruit-oriented pastry things, not one cheese danish was to be found. Oh well. It was at this point, the six of us surrounding a table covered in a local map and menu items, that Jenni opened up to the group and divulged that she originally hails from… finger hovering over table top, seeking, seeking… Aha! There it is… Roast Turkey, Vermont. Id never heard of it naturally, but Im not familiar with this area, so what do I know? Heather noted, during a conversation about the disappearing ride-mates, that Silvia may have traveled more today on her bike than most of the people on our ride. Peter educated us all on his superior riding equipment... And Im paraphrasing a bit here: Its a gel-filled stock seat, and the gel kind of vibrates at high speeds. Gives you a little massage while youre riding… like a… uh… well, like a vibrator. And there you have it, folks; the secret to Peters amazing staying power in the saddle. He aint the groups Ass Organ for nothing! Holy crap, this IS a map of Wyoming!
Lucas and his new ride! Heather, chattin away. Calling the weather service, no doubt. Damned biker hoods! Look at em, just jaywalking like they own the place! Jenni and Evan, leering at the jaywalking criminals.
I was ordered to shoot this farmhouse, and Im glad I did. And then there were three! We hit a little sprinkling just after Manchester and pulled off for a spell (I always wanted to say that.) to see what it was gonna do. We got lucky and moved on. There was some discussion about going up Mount Equinox, but the cloud that followed us all day had settled itself at the top, and it just didnt look like fun. Saving it for another day. Well, little by little, we lost three more. Evan, Jenni, and Mike left us at Mount Equinox, so Peter, Lucas, and I continued on along Route 313, which was beautiful. I dont know if these pictures were taken on 313, but wherever it was, it was gorgeous. Good call on a place to stop, Peter. We chatted, heard all about Lucass brush with disaster the week before. Glad youre not too banged up, Lucas! I was instructed to take a picture of the little farmhouse you see above, complete with instructions on where to stand, etc. Well, I took that picture, but included this one instead. (Sorry, Photo Captain.) I took a short snooze in the grass; Peter took a short walk in the woods, and I was specifically instructed NOT to take a picture of that. No worries, there. By this time, the weather had cleared a bit, and the rest of the ride was very sedate, peaceful and lots of other words that imply calm happiness. We continued on Route 29 and said goodbye to Lucas along the way. And then there were two.
A shot from snoozing altitude. It doesnt get any better than this! After filling up the meter a couple of times, it was getting pretty late, and the bugs were due to come out at any moment, so we headed out, down Route 9. Lots of bikes around, lots of noise, lots of stuff to look at. But definitely one sore butt! (You know, I dont have that special equipment Peters got on his bike.) So, we made a brief stop in Saratoga… The sun was setting, and I managed to get a quick shot of the Hall of Springs (or some building associated with the Hall of Springs). There was a wedding going on and, of course, Peter was all for crashing and getting his picture taken. (Is there a time when he doesnt want to get his picture taken?) I wasnt quite up for it; Id wasted my capacity for daring escapades when I ate the dandelion. I was dared, I tell ya! (Did I mention it was post-bloom? You know, white and fuzzy? I wouldnt recommend them.) And I figured, the rolled up red carpet was enough message for me to understand that two worn out, helmet-haired, leather-clad individuals were probably not welcome. After some leg stretching, we hopped back on the bikes and headed back. I split off in Latham… and then there was one. Stopped in Lake George for what must have been a couple of hours, checking out the gathering bikes in preparation for Americade, chattin on a bench, and running into Jeremy and Rebecca. Thought we might get to see JT and Michelle, but never did. Had some ice cream at Bobs (mint chocolate chip and caramel candy bar!) and walked along the lake. Saw some pretty crazy bikes and a few of those new Can-Am, three-wheeled things. Just a really nice way to round out what started out as a pretty funky ride.
Sun setting over the Hall of Springs. Can you believe they rolled UP the red carpet when they saw us coming?!?! Isnt this the coolest tree?