Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Hiking Eagle Pond, NH with Poet Laureate Donald Hall


I was particularly interested in Eagle Pond because the pond is across the street from the home of former United States Poet Laureate Donald Hall, a poet of the rural life. I became interested in Mr Hall’s work a few years ago when a good friend read some verses from one of his books. The words were absorbing and graphic to me as I felt in the moment and lived the poem.

When the Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) had Eagle Pond on their list of Tuesday hikes, I could not wait to experience the same bucolic scenes that Mr Hall had seen, walked, and wrote about.

Mr Hall wrote many books with “Eagle Pond” in the title. My wife and I have read his 2016 book titled, “On Eagle Pond”.


Hiking around Eagle Pond was very personal to me.



Our hike was 3.5 miles and took just over 1 and a half hours. We went in a clockwise direction. It had been raining prior to starting our hike, but mysteriously the rain stopped until we finished our hike. 

1. We began our Eagle Pond hike at Eagle Pond Road where it intersects with Route 4.

2. We hiked approximately 1.5 miles took a right on Jack Wells Road.

3. Jack Wells Road is .7 miles and ends on Route 4, and just before Route 4 we took a right onto the Rail Trail for 1.3 miles.

4. The Rail Trail returned to our Start.



Now, I never have to say, “I wish I had hiked around Eagle Pond with Poet Laureate Donald Hall”

Who are the ORFS?
The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group meets every Tuesday year-round at 10 am. In the summer we kayak/canoe, swim and hike. In the fall we hike, and in the winter we snowshoe and cross-country ski. Our trips are from 1-1/2 to 2 hours, followed by lunch.

Directions and location are available for our Tuesday 10 am outings via email and the monthly New London Chapin Senior Center Courier newsletter. To learn more and join, contact the Chapin Senior Center at 357 pleasant Street, PO Box 1263, New London, New Hampshire 03752 or go to their web site at http://www.coachapincenter.org

ORFS is a very informal group and participation is for all outdoor enthusiasts wanting guaranteed good exercise with a friendly fun group.


References

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
++++++++++++++++
Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play: Fun 4 4 Seasons has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle .




Saturday, October 27, 2018

Stinson Mountain Trail: White Mountain National Forest


On Monday three friends, my son Tim, and I hiked 2,900 foot Stinson Mountain located in Rumney, NH. The day before we hiked Mt Cardigan, a 3,155 footer in Orange, NH.



Stinson Mountain Trail is the only maintained trail up to the summit. The trailhead is located off Doetown Road in Rumney, NH. The Trail is a low incline trail with no rock ledges or scrambles. The summit is all bare rock with 180 degree views and once home to a fire tower. Only the four footings remain of the tower… and as you will see in the video the footings make great tables and chairs for tired hikers and snowmobilers.





From the trailhead we hiked the Stinson Mountain Trail for 1.1 miles until we reached a vee (junction) with a snowmobile trail. We could continue left up the snowmobile trail to reach the summit, or veer right onto the "hiking trail" as signed. Each way is 0.7 miles to the summit... we went right on the hiking trail.

The trail does not have many direction markers, other than the trailhead sign and a hiking/snowmobile sign at the vee. We hiked in the fall season with leaves on the ground, and there were a few times we had to pause to locate the trail direction.  For the novice hiker leaves this time of year cover the trail and the trail sometimes blends into the forest and may be more challenging to follow.  On the positive side, the trail is very well maintained as noted by new wooden planks for bridges used by snowmobilers and hikers.

We ascended the 1.8 mile trail to the summit in one hour and 37 minutes … and came back to the trailhead more quickly via the snowmobile trail.

The snowmobile trail is wide and steep ... and slippery. It appeared to be groomed this summer, as the slope had boot-deep mud from fresh loam, fresh seeded green grass, and slivers of hoar frost

protruding from crystalline deposits of frozen water vapor formed over the new grass


Over the Hill Hikers: 52 with a View

Stinson Mountain is on the 52 With a View list (also known as the Over the Hill Hikers) of fifty-two mountains with elevations under 4,000 feet having incredible views.

The 52 With a View list came about through a group of friends hiking in New Hampshire. The older members of the hiking group suggested a new hiking list (getting tired of only hiking the NH 4,000 Footers?) called 52 with a View. A list of mountains shorter than the NH48, but all with amazing views!


Now I never have to say, "I wish I had hiked the Stinson Mountain Trail".

References

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

+++++++++++++++++

Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play: Fun 4 4 Seasons has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tim demonstrates his boating skills.

Winter is approaching in New Hampshire, and ice will soon be forming on Perkins Pond.  Today is the day to take our pontoon boat out of the water.  Tim demonstrates his boating skills in loading the boat onto the trailer. 


Cold & Windy Fall Hike to Summit of Mt Cardigan, New Hampshire


Was it cold! What a surprise. Three friends and I decided to Hike Mt Cardigan. Mount Cardigan is a prominent stripped-rock summit in the towns of Orange and Alexandria in western New Hampshire. While its peak is only 3,155 feet above sea level, it has extensive areas of bare granite ledges and alpine scrub, giving it the feel to hikers of a much higher mountain. Most of the summit area was exposed by devastating forest fires in 1855 and did not revegetate.  The fire tower on its summit quickly identifies Mt Cardigan throughout the area.




We pulled into the Orange, NH parking lot from Cardigan Mountain Road. T
he weather was in the low 30’s with high winds, and surprisingly we weren't the only ones willing to take on the elements ... the parking area already had a multitude of cars.

The first hour up the moderately difficult rock bound-West Ridge Trail was uneventful. However, once we reached bare granite ledges above treeline, things changed dramatically.

We faced below freezing temperatures, spitting snow, and extreme high and bone-chilling wind as we made our way over the baren ledges to the summit's firetower.  We stopped twice in alpine scrub to block the wind, catch our balance, as our faces briefly enjoyed the warmth and shelter. 

I removed my gloves each time I took a picture or video, and my right hand felt the frostbitten pain. The deafening noise in the videos you hear, once we entered the barren granite ledges, is the roaring of the summit’s disrespectful winds.

The trip to the summit from the West Ridge Trail took an hour and 15 minutes. Due to the extensive freezing cold and dangerous 50 – 60 mph hour winds, we stayed on the summit less than ten minutes.


Our original plan was to hike to the summit via the 1.5-mile West Ridge Trail, and then return to the parking lot by the South Ridge Trail. This plan changed immediately once we reached the tree line of the summit and faced the treacherous winds and freezing temperatures.



West Ridge Trail
The WRT is marked with orange strips. These orange markers are assurance we are on the right trail.

Cairns
Cairns are vertical piles of rock.  Cairns are another means of staying on trail.  It is against New Hampshire law to remove or change a cairn.  I can tell you from personal experience, that they can be a life-saving direction in fog or low light conditions.

Directions
These are driving directions to the West Ridge Trail parking area
Take exit 17 from I-93 North to get on Route 4 West. Turn right onto Route 4 West / Hoit Road. Drive 1.2 miles and continue straight through the traffic circle to stay on Route 4 West. Drive 2.5 miles and turn slight left to stay on Route 4 West. Drive 15.2 miles and turn right to stay on Route 4 West. Drive 20.9 miles and turn sharply right onto Parker Street / Route 118. Drive 0.6 miles and turn right onto Cardigan Mountain Road. When you get the Burnt Hill Road, turn left to stay on Cardigan Mountain Road. (You will see a Cardigan Mountain State Forest sign here) Drive until you come to the parking lot.


If you have a GPS, you can put in Cardigan Mountain Road in Orange, NH and look for the parking area on the road. 

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Cardigan.
OutdoorSteve.com

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

+++++++++++++++++
Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play: Fun 4 4 Seasons has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are available as hard copy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle . 






Friday, October 12, 2018

ORFS Hike Northern Rail Trail from Potter Place Depot to Andover’s Softball field.

The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) hiked the Andover Rail Trail from Potter Place Depot to Andover’s Blackwater Park ballfield. The ballfield has a regulation diamond where some ORFS played softball while other ORFS  cheered them on.



Seven miles past Danbury you pass Andover’s Potter Place Railroad Station, restored to look as it did in 1874. The Depot’s museum, caboose, and nearby freight house are operated by the Andover Historical Society. In 1 mile, the trail crosses the Blackwater River next to the 1882 Keniston Covered Bridge. Andover stretches along US 4/Main Street roughly between Eagle Pond and Highland Lake. 

The Northern RailTrail includes portions of the Sunapee Kearsarge Ragged Greenway (SKRG)Trail. The SRK Greenway is a 75-mile loop of hiking trails in central New Hampshire. The Greenway Trail System circles the Lake Sunapee area and connects Sunapee, Ragged, and Kearsarge Mountains.



Directions:
Take Route 11 east out of New London towards Andover.  After the Route 4 sign, take Route 4 east and turn right down to the Potter Place Park ‘n Ride area. Bring ball equipment if you wish and a sense of humor!

Who are the ORFS?
The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group meets every Tuesday year-round at 10 am. In the summer we kayak/canoe, swim and hike. In the fall we hike, and in the winter we snowshoe and cross-country ski. Our trips are from 1-1/2 to 2 hours, followed by lunch.

Directions and location are available for our Tuesday 10 am outings via email and the monthly New London Chapin Senior Center Courier newsletter. To learn more and join, contact the Chapin Senior Center at 357 pleasant Street, PO Box 1263, New London, New Hampshire 03752 or go to their web site at http://www.coachapincenter.org

ORFS is a very informal group and participation is for all outdoor enthusiasts wanting guaranteed good exercise with a friendly fun group.

References:
" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
+++++++++++++++++

Steve's 5th book is now available. 
Outdoor Play: Fun 4 4 Seasons has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivates friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are available as hard copy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle .







Thursday, October 11, 2018

Rowing in Peak Foliage Season on Perkins Pond, Sunapee, NH


Friends ask, “When is Peak Foliage Season in the Sunapee/Dartmouth region of New Hampshire?”

Yesterday, October 10th, I looked out my window in early morning sunlight. The Pond was like clear ice, AND the trees around the Pond screamed of red, yellow, orange, and green fall colors. And these same rainbow colors reflected identical images on the window glass-like water. I was enthralled with living here in New Hampshire.

Now was the perfect time to get my rowing scull moving ... picture-perfect calm water with Michelangelo painted views of the foliage, cloudless blue sky and Mount Sunapee rising in majesty above the Pond.

My rowing scull and I slowly entered the water, seeking a comfortable oar rowing rhythm around the Pond … and relishing this magnificent sacred moment.

My usual early morning row is three times around the perimeter twice-a-week … usually these times are close to an hour. I go clock-wise one day, and counter-clock-wise the next.

I passed my friend’s dock and heard her call asking if she could take a video this gorgeous day. “Yes, thank you”.

Her video is a “Wow” moment for me. See the peak rainbow colors on the mountains surrounding the Pond. The reflections on the water are captivating and are equally spell binding.

And in the middle of this creation of mountains, forests, multicolored leaves and water ... I blend as a rower.

I pass by my house and see the rewards of a life-time of saving.

Peak Foliage Season in the Sunapee/Dartmouth region of New Hampshire is NOW. 


I never have to say, "I wish I had rowed in Perkins Pond in Peak Foliage Season"

Enjoy.





Rowing Blog Posts by OutdoorSteve
" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

+++++++++++++++++

Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle .








Monday, October 8, 2018

Hiking Mt Kearsarge via Rollins Trail on a Wet Foggy Day


Mount Kearsarge is a 2,937 foot mountain located in the towns of Wilmot and Warner, New Hampshire. 
Mount Kearsarge has multiple trails and a bare rockbound summit with an observation fire tower and a cell phone tower. The summit can be reached by either Rollins State Park or Winslow State Park. Our ascent to the summit today starts at the Rollins State Park parking area. 

From the summit on a clear day lies a spectacular view of the White Mountains and Mt. Cardigan in the north, the Green Mountains and Mt. Sunapee in the west and the Monadnock Region and the Merrimack Valley in the south. The summit with its towers are a distinctive landmark and is easily seen from its surrounding communities.

As you will see here and in the video below, today's fog confined our views to less than a few hundred feet.

We chose to summit from Rollins State Park with the option of two trails. We chose the Rollins Trail beginning at the Park’s parking area. This trail is rock-bound and climbs for a 1/2 mile (1,100 vertical feet) and reaches the top over a bare granite ledge. The second trail, the Lincoln Trail, is more difficult than the Rollins Trail and we will keep this choice for another day.


The Rollins Trail, marked with white blazers, begins at the picnic area above the parking lot and follows what is described in the Park's literature below as "follows the route of the old carriage road for 1/2 mile (300 feet) to the summit". Do not let the description fool you as this is a very rock bound trail and climb.  Sturdy walking shoes are needed along with drinking water and an extra jacket.

The rain, fog, and moss-covered rocks made today's Rollins Trail quite slippery, so caution was utmost in our mind.

Nevertheless, our 
challendging 40+ minute hike up, 1/2 hour on the summit, and 30 minute descent, was a fun day on Mt Kearsarge for Pops (John), Kaitlin (Mom), Riley (8 years), his brother Braydon (6 years), and yours truly.  

A serendipitous encounter while hiking up was meeting a group of remote/radio control (RC) model truck enthusiasts and their battery-powered model trucks using specialized transmitters or
remotes. This was my first experience seeing this type of sport. The club members enthusiastically and readily answered our questions. 

Never say, “I wished I had taken my family to climb Mt Kearsarge".



Directions to the Rollins Park: 

From New London, New Hampshire, take Route 89 South to Exit 9, Right at end of exit ramp onto Rte. 103 east towards Warner for about 1 mile. Pass straight through a small roundabout on the way. Take left on Kearsarge Mountain Rd, marked by sign for Rollins State Park and Indian museum. Go up 5 miles to park entrance, then turn 3 ½ more miles to parking lot to begin hike. The moderate ½ mile trail goes to the summit, starting left of portapotties. Take same trail down. Trail involves some hiking on exposed rock and some steepness.

References
For a map and more information on Mt Kearsarge go to:  

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
+++++++++++++++++

Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle .

 


Friday, September 14, 2018

An Endurance Swim "Race for the Ages"


Experience vs Youth.

Once a year, 74-year-old fitness enthusiast, Skip Hause, challenges a fellow swimmer to a half mile swim.  This year he invited 14-year-old, Vera Rivard.  The race was held on Friday September 7, 2018 at Lake Sunapee, NH from Skip’s Sunapee harbor home across the Lake to Dewey Beach.  

Skip will have a 14-minute head start.

Proceeds for this event go to benefit Vera’s invitation to travel to the Cork Swim Week camp in July 2019 in Sandycove Island, Ireland, a tiny island off the south coast of Ireland.  The camp focuses on training the invited swimmers to swim the English Channel.




Skip’s Bio. He is 74 years young and a lifetime Fitness Guru and Hogan Member at Coby-Sawyer College in New London, NH.  He has 5 years of Mitt boxing training.  He is an accomplished Open Water swimmer, years of pool swimming, a runner, and skier.

Vera’s bio is equally impressive. She is 14 years old and a Hogan member.  She swims for the Upper Valley Aquatic Club (UVAC), and is on the Kearsarge High School swim team. She has completed in many open water endurance events, and her accomplishments include a second place in the July 2018 25 mile (16 hours) Lake Memphremagog swim.

Outdoor Steve’s Involvement

Skip called and ask if I would document and produce a video of this event. I clarified to Skip that my videos on my Outdoor Enthusiast Blog https://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com are produced to motivate individuals and families to get outdoors.  Skip had viewed many of my blog posts and assured me he wanted me to do a video with interviews to share the experience of this fun happening.

As an amateur triathlete I certainly have some insights to endurance swimming and training, and I would bring this perspective for interviews with the two athletes in this challenge. I interviewed Skip, Vera, Darcie (Vera’s Mom), and Kevin (Vera's Dad).

Will experience win the day?  Will youth prevail?

The first video is 30 minutes and introduces you to Skip, Vera and Vera's family through interviews and learning of Vera's cold water endurance swims.  Feel the friendly competition race as seen from my kayak. Learn of Vera's July 2019 "invitation only" to the Cork Distance Week camp fund raiser, and Vera's vision of swimming the English Channel.


The Second video is 7 minutes and is a summary of the swim with minimal detail.


Cork Distance Week Camp

It is the toughest amateur marathon swim training in the world – with the fewest “frills”. By invitation only… References below provide more insight to the Cork Distance Week Camp.

Send Donations to benefit Vera’s Cork Swim Week Travel Fund
Make checks payable to Vera Rivard. 

Vera Rivard
PO Box 413
Springfield, NH 03284

Documented Marathon Swims by Vera Rivard
Support Vera in her Never say, "I wish I had ... trained to swim the English Channel".


References

Sandycove Island Web Book
https://sandycovewebbook.wordpress.com/cork-distance-week/

Dangerous When Wet: Learning to Survive Open Water Swimming
https://www.outsideonline.com/1916336/dangerous-when-wet-learning-survive-open-water-swimming?page=1

Documented Marathon Swims by Vera Rivard
https://db.marathonswimmers.org/p/vera-rivard/

List of successful English Channel Swimmers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_successful_English_Channel_swimmers

OutdoorSteve.com
OutdoorSteve.com

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

+++++++++++++++++

Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle .







Friday, September 7, 2018

ORFS Hike Little Sunapee Associates Trail, New London, NH


Know where you are going

I volunteered to be the leader for the Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) hike at the Little Sunapee Associates Trail in New London, NH. Given I had never hiked this area, I had to scout the trails. I went to the New London, NH Conservation Commission web site

http://www.nl-nhcc.com/trails/little_sunapee_14.htm for a topographical trail map and trail descriptions.



Of importance in the topographical map of the Little Sunapee Associates Forest would be contour lines, streams, boundary lines such as fences, roads, stone walls, and elevations (hills). And of course, the color-coded marked trails.


The moderately difficult yellow to orange blossom trail was recommended as a 1½ hour hike for our ORFS group.

I visited the Little Sunapee Associates Forest the week before the ORFS hike to get familiar with the area and locate the recommended yellow and orange blossom trails. This on-site research showed difficulty locating trail signs. The trails also needed maintenance (e.g. hard to see trail signs, down trees across trails and overgrown forest growth). It appeared to me this trail had not been maintained for a few years.

My visit revealed the many pluses of the Little Sunapee Associates Trail outweighed its negatives. The forest has wetlands, a ten-foot rockbed  rippling stream from Little Sunapee Lake, unique red cardinal flowers, a moderate hill, different colors of mushrooms, stone walls, and ancient house foundations of farms and land for sheep and crops.


The Yellow Trail is the steepest trail on the property as shown in the trail map profile. The Yellow Trail starts at Gate 1 (G1) on Little Sunapee Road then follows along the brook from Little Sunapee Lake. The trail turns right at the edge of the I 89 right-of-way where it meets the Red Trail and both trails proceed together along the wire fence marking the right-of-way with stonewalls and foundations, and ascend nearly 200 feet in a quarter mile, and then plateaus to an intersection with the Blue Trail at Burnt Hill Road.  At this point an option is to exit to Burnt Hill Road. The Blue Trail can be followed right downhill parallel to Burnt Hill Road, and an intersection with the Orange Blossom Trail and proceeds down to an old logging road trail off of G3 on Burnt Hill Road. Right on this logging road ends at an unmarked gate (G2) on Little Sunapee Road.

OK, let’s look at the MAP

1.  First, we start at G1 on map (unmarked), which is an opening in the fence, below a posted tree sign, “Yellow Trail”.
2.  We immediately climb over a large fallen rotten tree, and in 175 paces come to a sign in the folk of the path with a Yellow left arrow and an Orange arrow to the right.  We continue left on the Yellow Trail.
3. On our left is an outlet stream from Little Sunapee Lake.  Think of a poetic bubbling stream flowing over moss covered rocks.  We listen to this soothing sound as we silently hike on the path.  Red Cardinal flowers in the stream are a hiker’s delight - we "stop and smell the flowers".
4.  We begin to hear traffic from Route 89. 
5.  Shortly we come to a wire fence and turn right on the path.  We are walking parallel to Route 89N. The steep ascent identified in the yellow trail description begins.  
6. We are still following the yellow trail, but the yellow markers are not plentiful, and we regularly pause searching for a yellow marker ahead.
7. We search for the trail and pause before seeing a tripple red paint mark on a tree and then yellow paint on a metal stake. We encounter a farmer stonewall on the left, and the the remnants of what appears to be a foundation. The now Red/Yellow trail gets steeper.
8. After peaking on the hill, we descend and up through a gully and see the road – Burnt Hill Road.  Burnt Hill Road could be a bailout road going right to Little Sunapee Road for another right to return to the parking area.  We agree to continue with the orange trail.  Not much change of getting lost on orange blossom trail because all you need to do is keep Burnt Hill Road in sight on your left.
9. We follow the blue and orange signs, sometimes needing to stop and wander about before locating the next sign. Eventually we come to an old wood road.  Our map shows this old logging road from G3 on Burnt Hill Road. We go right on the old logging road .  The road runs parallels to Little Sunapee Road and we hear cars. We come to Gate 2 (unmarked).  We exit at Gate 2 onto Little Sunapee Road, whence we go right and back to our parking area and lunch with our kayaking ORFS friends.

Little Chance of Getting Lost
Certainly bring a whistle and a compass.  In describing the area of Little Sunapee Associates Forest… it is like a square.  If you stay within the square and go in one direction you will come out to an access area. If lost:
  • Going East you will come to Burnt Hill Road.
  • Go south you come to Little Sunapee Road.
  • Go west and you come to the stream, and then go South to Little Sunapee Road.
  • Go North you come to Route 89. You then go East to Burnt Hill Road, or South to Little Sunapee Road.
Let's Hike the Trail


Now, I never have to say, "I wish I had hiked the Little Sunapee Associates Forest Trail".

Topographic Map

The distinctive characteristic of a topographic map is the use of contour lines to show the shape of the earth's surface. USGS topographic maps also show many other kinds of geographic features, including roads, railroads, rivers, streams, lakes, buildings, built-up areas, boundaries, place or feature names, mountains, elevations, survey control points, vegetation types, and much more.

A contour line joins points of equal height. Contours make it possible to show the height and shape of mountains, depths of the ocean bottom, and steepness of slopes. Basically, contours are imaginary lines that join points of equal elevation on the surface of the land above or below a reference surface, usually mean sea level. (https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-a-topographic-map)

References
+++++++++++++++++

" Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

    Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available   


     Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book motivates friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

    Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle .


    Friday, August 10, 2018

    Never say, "I wish I had ridden in a race car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway"


    Automobile racing is one of the most popular spectator sports in the world.  However, until now, my interest was only superficial.  Thus, this blog post was difficult for me to write, as high-performance driving was something I had never paid much attention.

    On the flipside, my son Timothy has had a lifelong interest in high speed sports from dirt bike riding, snow mobiles, ATVs, car repairs and automobile shows among his high-speed interests.

    So why my blog post on high-performance driving?  Last winter I met a new friend, John, who shared with me he was a high-performance driving instructor nationally certified who teaches for SCDA, NASA, Porsche, BMWCCA, Audi, JCNA (Jaguar), Ferrari and a host of other clubs/marques across the country.  I told John about Timothy’s interests in high-performance driving.

    Last week John offered to have us join him for demonstration laps and classroom instruction at an event organized and run by the Sports Car Driving Association (SCDA) at which he was instructing.  The event would be held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH.

    With zero exposure to high performance driving, Never say, “I wish I had …” popped into my mind.  My call to Timothy was eagerly accepted, followed by my confirmation email to John.

    With this background to the reader, you can expect this post is not a “how to”, but a “Hmm … interesting” insights from a neophyte on performance driving.

    The SCDA provides the driving enthusiast the opportunity to experience high performance driving in a safe and controlled environment. Events are strictly driver educational events - they are non-competitive and are not timed events.  All novice drivers - those who have never been on a track - must ride with a certified instructor in the right seat.

    As non-certified drivers, neither Timothy nor I drove on the race course. However, we did get the full passenger effect.

    Pit Crew

    John had trailered his Corvette, and he had to change a brake rotor on his rear wheel before the day started. This is when John’s new Pit crew of one – Timothy - used his car and jump cables to help start John’s corvette.

    As we watched John begin to remove the cracked brake rotor, the wrench slipped on the nut and John’s forearm smashed against the frame – “Ouch!” This was not a small hurt, and Timothy, who is a Journeyman Printer at the Boston Globe and responsible for maintaining the presses, and has replaced brakes on his own car, jumped in and worked with John to replace the broken brake rotor. In less than 10 minutes the car was ready for the track.


    Novice Classroom Instruction
    John suggested we start the day by attending the Novice classroom instruction.  The instructor had a screen of the track with a number assigned for identification to each section of the track.  The instructor briefly described the awareness of each section pointing out critical areas, and to “keep your eyes off the wall”.  “Focus only on the apron”. [The apron is an area of asphalt or concrete that separates the racing surface from the infield.]

    Walking tour of the Pit
    While John attended to his instructor responsibilities, Timothy took me on a walking tour of the pit providing me his insights.  This stadium can hold nearly 100,000 fans on a race day, the largest sporting event in New England, but was essentially empty today with about 100 or so SCDA students at this event.  

    The Two Videos

    Below are two videos. The first video is a summary of our day: Timothy pit crews for John; we attend the novice class; a walkabout of the pit; observe the racers from various parts of the course; saw a minor incident and the quick response of the emergency personnel and equipment (which is mandatory at such events) respond; saw both black and yellow flags in response to this incident, where the black flag is waved at all corner worker stations, and means that all cars must come into the pits to await further instructions until the incident is evaluated and the track cleared.

    John took Timothy on a six-lap drive, but it was difficult for me to video as the fences protect and prevent visitors from getting close to the race track.


    The second video is short snippet videos of my 5-lap ride with John driving his corvette.  The video starts with Timothy getting strapped in John’s car. For my run I hold my camera on the dash as we zip around the 1.6-mile course five times.

    A day at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway




    Five Laps Around the New Hampshire Motor Speedway




    References
    1. Sports Car Driving Association
    2. TheNew Hampshire Motor Speedway
    3. Survive the Drive
    4. Glossary ofMotorsport Terms
    5. OutdoorSteve.com
    +++++++++++++++++

    " Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

    Steve's 5th book is now available. Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book motivates friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. 

    Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Amazon's Kindle.