Around 1:00 PM, on Saturday, April 30th, I obtained another victory in being able to keep my 1999 Ford Windstar on the road, (The work that I did can be read in three parts: Post 243
, Post 244
, and Post 245
). Feeling mentally tired from trying to think through what I needed to do to accomplish the task, and feeling physically tired from crawling in, and out, and around, and underneath my van, I decided that I deserved a reward for my efforts. At this time of year, that means a ride!
I cleaned up, and put away all of my tools. Then, trotted up the hill, and across the driveway to my landlord's home. Once inside, I asked Rob and Jan if they would be able to watch my dog Reuben for the night; "I wanted to get out-of-dodge and go for a ride!" They agreed and gave me the "green light" for my overnight trip.
I trotted back across the driveway, and down the hill to my apartment. I gave my good friend Scott a phone call; "Yo, is your sofa available for tonight?" "Yes.", came the reply, "Provided you buy the pizza.", Scott said. That's a deal!!! I showered all of the driveway dirt, and "unibody rust" off of myself, packed up a sleeping bag, toilet kit, a book, and put on my gear. I rolled out of my driveway at 2:45 PM.
I have made this ride to Scott's MANY times! I know it by heart. I have also taken a bunch of photographs over the years during this ride. However, this trip I was "packing" a new Canon G-10 camera, that was hanging around my neck by a strap. I wanted to do some more experimenting with the unit on my ride down to Scott's.
I headed down Rt 1, along the Maine coast, for the town of Bucksport. There is a short bridge from Bucksport to Verona Island that needs to be crossed to continue heading south. There is a very nice view of Fort Knox from the bridge, (Fort Knox & the Penobscot Narrows Observatory
). To leave Verona Island, heading southbound, you will have to cross the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge. I have crossed this impressive bridge, (By Maine standards!), countless times. Last year, I took the elevator ride to the top of the observatory. The view is spectacular!!! If you are traveling through the area, I suggest stopping here on your ride.
Approaching the bridge, heading south on Rt 1.
A shot over my shoulder as I was exiting the bridge.
In the coastal town of Belfast, I exited Rt 1, and picked up Rt 3, and headed west towards the city of Augusta, the capital of the state of Maine. About two miles from the junction of Rt 3 and Rt 95, there is a nice view of the Kennebec River.
Farther south, in the city of Lewiston, I got a nice shot of the swollen Androscoggin River as it spilled over the ledges right in the center part of town.
I ended up at in Milton Mills, NH, at Scott's house, 211 miles, and 4hrs and 15mins, (non-stop....on a stock seat.), after leaving Mount Desert Island. As promised, I bought the pizza, and as he promised, I got the sofa.
I had no real plan for where I was going to ride on Sunday. I just knew that it was going to be a beautiful day, and I didn't have to be home until nightfall. And, I had my passport with me.....
I was on the road at 6:15 AM and riding up one of my favorite roads in New England; Rt 153.
At the intersection of Rt 153 and Rt 16 in Conway, New Hampshire......
.....I shot straight across Rt 16 and picked up the West Side Road and continued north. The West Side Road takes you out and around the towns of Conway, and North Conway. You don't get stuck in all of the town traffic by doing this. Nicer scenery too!
Once back on Rt 16, I always stop at the scenic turnout that offers an excellent view of Mt. Washington and the surrounding Presidential peaks.
I continued my ride north on Rt 16 and stopped briefly at Pinkham Notch. There were HORDES of die-hard spring skiers and snowboarders, parked along the side of the road.
An obligatory shot of Mt. Washington and my bike.
I continued riding up Rt 16, headed northward through Berlin....
....and the town of Milan. The Androscoggin River was really "cranking" down the valley!
I REALLY like the section of Rt 16 after leaving Milan, New Hampshire. The road can be fairly rough in sections due to frost heaves, and it twists and turns its way between the bogs and lakes, leading to the town of Errol. If no one is in my mirrors, and there is no southbound traffic, the WHOLE road is mine, and I DON'T hesitate in using it as such!!!
Over the past several years, as I have ridden in this area, I have many times passed the, Errol International Airport. Sometimes I take a photograph of the hangar, "on the fly", as I pass by, and sometimes I stop and take a photo with my motorcycle next to the monument to Mr. Bean. I decided to stop and take today's photograph.
As I did so, I noticed someone working on a plane at one end of the hangar. As early as last Fall, planes really didn't catch my eye much. I always thought of them as being, "out of my reach". As it turns out, after taking several flying lessons, enrolling in ground school, researching the heck out of building a kit-plane, I have determined that I am right; airplanes ARE out of my reach! But, that now makes them a worthy goal to walk towards; to bring them into my grasp.
I rode my motorcycle over to the hangar and I was immediately welcomed, VERY enthusiastically by "Chopper". Chopper is a yellow lab. Close enough to my avatar name.......
This is the only decent(?) photograph I could get of Chopper. He would NOT sit still for a more proper photo!
Chopper's master is Dave Heasley.
Dave is also the master of the Errol International Airport. He purchased it about 15 years ago. When he added "International" to the name of the airport, a few local townspeople were "up-in-arms" over the name; "You can't do that! It's not right! There is no customs agent on duty!" Dave did it for a joke. One year, Dave needed to paint the hangar. To do so, he took the sign down so that he could paint behind it. This time, MORE people were upset with him because he had taken the "International" sign down!!! "Can't please 'em.", Dave said.
Dave flew for Eastern for many years before he retired; just at the right time before Eastern dissolved. The plane he flies now is a Piper PA-12.
Actually, Dave has had this plane for over 40 years. He said to me, "Wives have come and gone. Children have come and gone. But, Perl has stayed right with me all along."
Dave has heavily modified "Perl". He replaced the original 108hp motor with a 150hp motor. He also added a leading edge kit to the wing, and also flaps too. The tail feathers are from a Piper Cub. In the winter, the plane is on skis. In the summer months, the plane is on floats. In the in-between times, the plane is on wheels.
I spent about 45 minutes with Dave. The "hangar flying" stories started to pour forth!!! Incredible man, with incredible experiences! If you are riding by, Dave says to stop in. If you are flying, the radio frequency is 122.8. I hope to return in my own plane in the not too distant future!
(Part Two Below