Sandwich Notch Road

I needed a ride on my motorcycle.

My wife was targeted for special security search in Madrid while I waited to board the flight to Boston, pointing to the security closet she had disappeared into when a burst of Spanish included her name. After that, the flight annoyed me, which turned out to be nothing compared to the disdain I felt for the entire re-entry process in Boston. It was just too much regulation, inconvenience and bureaucratic arrogance for me. Hopefully, I won’t be flying for a while. I needed some space that I could deal with on my own terms.

The F650 started a little hard after sitting for three weeks and me forgetting to turn the petcock back on. I tried to buy a map at Walmart and failed so I headed up through Meredith, Holderness, past Squam Lake (On Golden Pond) to Ashland where I stopped to buy gas. They had some maps but the scale was too small for my purposes. I got on 93 North and ran up to the Thornton exit and stopped at the information center with a lovely barefoot woman about my age sitting outside: Chamber1024 She followed me in and found me looking closely at her maps. I asked about the Sandwich Notch Road and she said it was “three miles up the road by the Smokey The Bear sign. The road is very rough. I used to take it to get to the Sandwich Fair.”

I said I thought I would be okay on my manly motorcycle, added my dollar to the donation box and was on my way. As I pulled past on my way out, she was sitting as before and we waved to each other. Already, the world was getting more pleasant.

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Sure enough, there it was. I got off the bike and took this picture. A guy in an old pickup stopped and yelled something about the road being too rough. I think he was coming down the road. I finished my shot and went over to see what he was saying.

“Did you hear me?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I said the road is too rough. You don’t want to be taking that bike up there. And the cell service is not too good. You don’t want to get stuck in there.”

“Well, the bike is an old F650, a dual sport.”

“Oh, well, that’s a bit more reasonable. I have an old Honda CB350 and I’ll take it up a mile or so but that’s it. Where are you trying to get to? There are other ways to Sandwich.”

“I just wanted to take this road for the fun of it.”

“Don’t think you’ll have much fun.”

“How long is it?”

“Nine mile.”

“Well, I can always turn around. Thanks for the tip.”

I got the feeling the guy didn’t want me on his road. It’s a common sentiment in rural New Hampshire and I can’t say that I blame him. Who wants more people, regulation, rules and bureaucrats?

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The road was bad but no worse than the road into our camps near Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Bullet holes in the sign didn’t bother me. About halfway to Sandwich I passed the only house. In front of it were three Deliverance guys. I waved and got back a wave and a decayed Jack O’Lantern smile. These north woods characters are down to earth and I like them for that.

You couldn’t do it in a car,

A big new cruiser wouldn’t get you far,

A four wheel drive might do just fine,

But on the F650 that road is mine!

I rolled into Sandwich, on to Moultonborough, Center Harbor, back to Meredith and home. Took me about three hours. The F650 ran flawlessly. The Labor Day weekend weather was perfect. I feel a lot better now.

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