We took a few days off from all the summer chores in Maine and visited Mount Washington, NH, (tallest peak in New England as it's billed) mostly because neither my wife nor I had been there before, and its on the bucket list. Absolutely beautiful weather even though as it happened our "plan" wasn't as good as it could have been.
It turns out that last Thursday, June 14th, was "motorcycles only" on the auto road to the peak of Mt. Washington. Seems this event usually follows the Laconia Bike week. So much for our trip research.
No problem you say. Well, yes, problem. Our motorcycles are currently 2400 miles away in San Antonio. Bummer. Still, we were able to take advantage of the "guided tour" up the mountain - they operate no matter what - and found it worthwhile and more than a little spectacular.
What amazed both of us was how many Harleys we saw (well over a thousand by our unscientific rough count) and how few other-than-Harley touring, sport, and naked bikes. A few, but by comparison, nothing statistically significant. Translation = a drop in the bucket.
Beyond that, and even more amazing to us (we're apparently much more naive than we thought), was the fact that no more than 10 percent of the Harley riders wore what we consider normal riding gear. No helmets (or if so, those silly little half helmets or plastic shells), no jackets, no gloves, no nothin'. Except, of course, head rags, vests with patches and pins, and heavy boots. Reminds us of the old Smothers Brothers line, "I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy."
We noticed license plates from Quebec, Texas, California, Mississippi, Michigan, Ohio, New York, most New England states, and probably more states we've already forgotten. It tells us those folks probably rode from where ever they live to Mt. Washington dressed the way we saw them - amazing!
And, they rode up and down what is a very demanding, steep, twisting, and unforgiving lane-and-a-half wide road wearing the same non-gear they cruised the local towns and villages in. We gather that New Hampshire is clever enough to cover the issue of riding gear in their state motto - "live free or die."
We've nothing against Harley riders, but apparently we just don't understand the breed. Each and everyone we spoke with was friendly and their bikes were, for the most part, immaculate. Still, we couldn't get any of them to tell us how to become invincible and protected from accidents that seem to catch up with those of us who are mere mortals.
Today, Saturday, June 16, the road is closed to automobile traffic again. This time for a foot race to the peak! Holy crap!!