Thursday, June 28, 2012

The DL 1's and Hurricane Mountain Road

Back in the late 70's when I first started riding a DL-1, we took them everywhere.There wasn't a place that we had been on our "Lightweights" that we had not wanted to ride with what were now our favorite every day bikes.
Having a few days off from work, Good friend,Steve Fagon and myself went up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, parked his car and headed off for an overnight ride and camp out.
Lightly loaded we left his VW Squareback parked in Ashland NH and headed north.
It was late Summer and the weather was perfect for a ride and overnight stay in the woods. We arrived late in the afternoon, so finding a place to camp off the road was first on the list of things to do.
We woke the next morning for a nice breakfast of hot coffee and Swiss Familia. Powdered milk kept cold overnight in the river's rushing water made it almost taste good.
Without a plan of where to ride, I remembered that the company that made my Gortex jacket, "Log House Designs" was possibly near by. All first issue Gourtex fabric delaminated causing big ugly bubbles all over the jacket. It still worked fine, But because of its ugliness, It had been recalled and makers of Gourtex clothing were exchanging your old for their new.
The tag on my jacket said, "Chatam NH" but looking my map I couldn't find anything close to that name.
We packed up and headed to town to find a phone booth and call to find if it made sense to do the ride.
The folks on the phone were great, They said Yes, we will be happy to exchange your jacket. I told them where we were and asked them the best way to ride. It sounded simple, "Head 12 miles South, 6 miles West, 18 miles North and you will be here."
I said, that's all fine, but how about if we just head 6 miles West and then 6 miles north?
The voice on the phone said," You can't go that way, You would have to ride up and over Hurricane Mountain Road!"
Funny, Hearing the word "Can't" was all the more of a reason to do it.
We had never heard of the road before. We knew about the "Toll Road" And the road to "The Cog", but never Hurricane Mountain Road. It sounds great, doesn't it? Maybe constant strong winds caused it to be called "Hurricane." Yes, all the more reason.

We started out going up. Constant up and then up some more. Up and up. There were times that passing cars looks as if they were not going to make it. The look on the passengers faces were like they were looking at ghosts. Us.
It got to the point that Steve realized that he might leave thing behind to later come back and pick them up. I told him, "I'm not climbing this again today, so if your leaving anything, say good by to it."
He removed his kickstand and bolted it to a sign of a truck going up hill through a bullet hole.

We made it to what seemed to be the top, but it kept going up. I started to think that the voice on the phone was right, You cant ride over "Hurricane Mountain Road on a Bicycle."
It took us a while to finally reach the top. The only thing worse then the climb was the decent on the Maine side. The road crossed over the state line and if you have ever ridden over state lines on back roads, you would know that neither state cares enough about the surface to keep it smooth. Rod Brakes worked well on the down hill, It was all a matter of stopping every once and a while and then heading off again. Fast.

We arrived at "Log House Designs" in Chatham. Funny the only way to get to this New Hampshire town was to go into Maine. The staff was so impressed that we had made it, they stopped work and came out to see what they called "Our Special Bikes" One person called them "Mountain Bicycles" years before we ever heard that name used again.

Check out this video of a ride down what we rode up: