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Everything posted by Mudrun

  1. I was thinking along similar lines the last few days - I do a lot of trail running and between the quality of the light and the color of the leaves, I've never been happier to be such a slow runner :) Visiting my parents for a week between Christmas and New Years, so should have some nice photos from a very stark winter. If I can, I'll take a day and go skiing at the place next to Mount Washington, where you can see the rockpile from the lift; just as a contrast to Sarasota.
  2. Keep in mind, backwoods New Englanders are broadly obsessed with weather, so you'll be in high demand...
  3. Thanks, I think! I'm up there a few times a year. If you go the last weekend of July, come to my family's house - the town my parents live in contracts a lobster fisherman from Maine to send a truck full of lobsters ($4.99 a pound), we buy ~ 40, and have a huge get-together. Day swimming, fishing, kayaking at the lake cabin, followed by an afternoon eating ridiculous amounts of ribs and lobster overlooking the big lake. Open invitation, last Sat of July! northgeorgiawx + 1.
  4. Hahaha, I figured that's what you meant - happy to provide advice and guidance! having a local perspective transforms an experience. Baltimore is really its own thing; we were sad to leave but the city will break your heart every so often with some of what happens there. It toughens you in some good ways, I guess, but its good to leave before you get too hardened against things. Its a shame. IIRC, Jefferson called Baltimore 'a beautiful woman in a dirty dress' and its still true today. Cant remember if I mentioned that in earlier posts. We visited Ireland this past year with my kids and family, and while over there, met an Irish guy who was coming here for a wedding in DC. But he was a huge fan of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia and he wanted to walk around Philly neighborhoods and visit corner bars. I tried to convince him that this was actually a terrible idea but I'm pretty sure I failed. I wonder whatever happened to him.
  5. Ha, that place I recommended in Baltimore was the nicest and safest place to stay in the city. I lived there for nine years - it's an acquired taste and not for everyone. I'm originally a New England country boy (yes, we exist - for real); I can tolerate and enjoy Boston for a while, but NYC is beyond the pale. Having lived here for a number of years, I can't imagine what it must be like to be from down this way and go visit up there. My family and I have gotten accustomed to southern manners and sensibilities very quickly, and anytime we travel up north, its a matter of minutes before witnessing some event that has us shaking our heads and muttering that we aren't in Georgia anymore. My kids, who have grown up here, can't make sense of any of it. I digress. There is plenty of natural beauty up there that is worth experiencing and with a few adjustments, itineraries that will work for you. First, if you're going to fly, fly into Manchester NH. There are direct flights from ATL. They will be a little less frequent and more expensive than flying into Boston, BUT, car rentals are stupidly expensive in Boston. Ridiculous. When you factor in flight + car, MHT is less expensive and light years easier than doing anything in or near Logan. You will also be through MHT security in minutes, out of the airport in minutes, whereas Logan's security is frequently well over an hour long, the rentals involve a shuttle, etc. Stay out of Logan! There is nothing that makes a Bostonian happier than telling someone from out of town 'you can't get theah from heah' or some variant of the same sentiment. You could spend a lifetime visiting small New England country towns. The Maine coast is remote, rugged, and staggeringly beautiful. In NH, North Conway and Mount Washington, Portsmouth, Jackson, Keene / Dartmouth, and if you don't mind a long drive, the first Connecticut Lakes up at the border are incredible. In Vermont, any of the ski resort towns will be fun, even in summer, with Stowe probably being the best (although Killington or Mount Snow will have the most off-season stuff - stay away from Okemo and Stratton as it they will be filled with largely abhorrent humans). Burlington is a nice little city worth at least a day ... but it has a lot of ... how to phrase this? Patchouli-burning barefoot "interesting people" selling cheese sandwiches out of the backs of ancient Datsuns to fund summers following Phish around the country. Nice town, don't stay too long. If you like history, travel south of town and visit the Shellburne Museum. My great grandfather grew up in the actual settlers' cabin they have on display there (although they altered it in ways that are not historically accurate; my dad got upset and refuses to go there). Staying anywhere on the Vermont side of The Lake will be lovely. You're also not too far from Montreal, which is always worth a visit (and if you go, make sure you eat poutine and enjoy an Equinox du Printemps beer from Fin Du Monde). Quebec or Atlantic Canada are entire itineraries themselves - Montreal, Quebec City, and the Gaspe Peninsula will make your jaw drop to a point where it may never return. Ditto Atlantic Canada, on the eleven days a year when it's not socked in with fog. South of the Mass Pike, New England changes considerably; Newport RI is worth visiting. The islands - Block, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket are all worth visiting. Those aside, stay in northern New England. Nice visiting... but after our years here, we do so very much love coming home.
  6. That's phenomenal! And Jeep trails, no less. I am so totally impressed. I typically drive past the main gate on my way to parts unknown, although there's access from the west as well. Wow.
  7. That's some view ... wow! Good luck with the house selling/buying process. Big Canoe is surrounded by some beautiful (and rough) country. Been past it a number of times to go trail running, hiking, trout fishing, and waterfall hunting. There are some real gems quietly tucked away up there if you're willing to wander off the beaten tracks a bit.
  8. Be well, Steve. It's hard being in the eyes of two storms at once.
  9. So I'm not a meteorologist and I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn last night, but ... my day job involves building computational models to make decisions in a problem domain. Broadly: its really, really hard. If you're at a point where you need to build these sorts of things to make decisions, you're already in a complex (I mean that in a technical sense) domain with lots of feedback loops that you don't understand. My armchair assessment of the issues in climate: It's complex and chaotic, and there are tons of feedback loops we don't even know exist The ones we do know exist, we probably don't fully understand Climate phenomenon are continuous and our data regimes are discrete Like so many other issues we assess and evaluate with computational models, we are constantly fighting a philosophical slide towards cryptoinductivism vs an improved Popperian approach - which is where meteorology shines relative to other disciplines, because meteorologists on social media and excellent sites like this one can share and argue (in a formal sense) their ideas in public and further the state of the domain knowledge ...but we're still extrapolating observations forward. I dont know anything about or anyone at NHC/NOAA but I am betting they have a process involving humans, models, and forecasts to put together their official releases. I think they have so far properly balanced awareness with uncertainty in a very difficult forecast. Backing up to your bigger question, the human consciousness has not evolved to be good at forecasting. Humans are REALLY good at surviving the next five minutes with limited information and tools. If your hunter gatherer ancestors woke up in a cave with their heads in the jaws of a sabre toothed tiger, they didn't study 10,000 other times that a human woke up in the same situations, they used what they know of the world and themselves to reason that the best path towards survival is to stab the thing in the eye, because humans have eyes too, and when something gets in your eye you cant see, etc. So we invented computers to do this thing that we aren't very good at but we're still driving the computers and we still aren't really oriented towards forcasting and data and so on. Its just not what we do. Little biological survival benefit to forecasting harvests for next year if you're going to be killed by a tiger in your sleep. I digress. You get good at using models as tools by using them every day, staring at them every day, watching them handle different situations, setups, and so on, until you're like Thomas Hoving sniffing out phony ancient kouros statues just by looking at it. Essentially you take forecasting and you turn it into a thing that we are good at. This is a long and difficult question, not least because the closer you look at complex phenomenon, the less they make sense.
  10. Steve, I went to the Support page and discovered to my surprise that its for tech requests. Can we drone you some coffee or something?
  11. Thanks, Steve - what is the Euro's track after it enters the Gulf? I've seen a westward move towards MS/AL that passes to Georgia's west, and a crazy reverse course through south Georgia and up SC/NC/the coast. I know it's too far out and the steering is broken down so it may just noise around down in the gulf, getting steadily drunker on bathwater fuel, so obviously any answer is extremely speculative. Just curious. The maps I see end just west of Florida's gulf coast.
  12. This storm is obviously an SEC football fan and wants to visit as many games as possible - when you say 'four days of heavy rainfall' is there a ballpark of inches? (I recognize that this is maddening question but at least I didn't ask what time it will arrive in my backyard) A friend of mine told me that "Atlanta never gets hit by hurricanes" when I moved down here. Thanks in advance for keeping us all up to date on this!
  13. We're flying out of ATL super early tomorrow morning ... thoughts on the storms' impact in the 5 - 7am hours? Headed to NH and provided we can find a decent day (rainy and 44 right now at the summit), we are hiking Mt Washington... Thank you!
  14. WOW - your weather was PERFECT. I've hiked it a few times and have never seen a day like that up there - looks like your brought a little bit of Georgia with you. Just to add some context to your remarks about the severity and dangers of the hike - two deaths and a very close (disturbing) call on the rockpile this past week: https://www.unionleader.com/news/safety/n-j-hiker-dies-following-summit-rescue-hours-later-ohio/article_f5ba7237-44a3-55b5-8d26-cae994268f73.html Great photos and video! EDIT - the temp this past weekend at the top of Lions Head/Tuckermans, not even the summit, was 12. 60 mph sustained wind and freezing precipitation.
  15. Great photos! And that's great weather for Nantucket. Laughing at that passenger talk about 'fawty dawllah lawbstuh rolls'. Hope my New England brethren aren't being too salty with their manners...
  16. That's downright balmy for up there - very surprised. That's not much snow cover, either; May is one of the biggest months to ski Tucks. Interesting. The views on the way up may be better than the view from the top - once you get up onto the shoulders, you're in the soup. That said, I've been up there several times and have never had a totally obscured view: if you wait a bit, the wind will often part the clouds and give you a window. A short window, but a window nonetheless. Mount Mitchell in NC is taller by something like sixty feet - I've always wanted to hike up there for that reason. I think Clingman's Dome is taller by twenty feet or something - been to GSMNP but never to the top of Clingmans. Will be nice to take a break and let someone else do the driving for a bit, too ... we did a road trip to CO last summer and after 2.5 weeks driving I was ready to not drive. Ever again.
  17. NICE! Enjoy! The top has a place to get lunch, some little exhibits, a store, and of course, the platforms and viewing. You can walk around a little bit up there. If you have the time and proper shoes, hiking down the shoulder to the Lake of the Clouds is kinda fun - it's more of a scramble over a rockpile tossed around by giants, so assess the conditions and your own skill and so forth before you do it. The wind on the shoulders can be more vicious actually than the wind on the top, although maybe that's just me feeling it that way because the hiking there is tricky and I'm typically exhausted when I'm picking my way along the ridge. One of the highlights of any trip up the Mount is the exact moment when you get above treeline - everything changes. Fast! Temp drops, wind howls, plants are tiny and cling to rocks, etc. Really exciting. I have two books from the store up there - one is a 'life at the top' book written by meteorologists. It contains their cookbook. The other is a book my parents got me when I started doing a lot of hiking/running up there, and it includes the details of every person who has ever died (and there are a lot of them) on the mountain, including many stories of their attempted rescues. It was published ten years ago and my parents have since dutifully reported every article about every death since (it's an old school country New England thing, to have a strange obsession that is equal parts death and humility before the universe - you can't blame us too much, descended from deeply stoic people who were willing to live in a place where you might be stuck in a cabin with a few pounds of beans and a wood stove while six months' worth of storms howl around you and pile snow up to the tops of the windows). I mention this because a staggering amount of the deaths are from unpreparedness for the weather - three weather systems converge up there, paved roads go all the way to the top (unlike many places in the south, where people had the good sense to leave the last few miles of roads unpaved or run them through creeks, and so on), and people think 'oh its the east, no big deal' so just as three weather systems converge, three factors converge that make it accessible and deadly. The Mount will kill you if you don't know what you're doing, if you plan an agenda larger than you can handle, or if you plain spend too much time up there without getting down below treeline - it snows in July and August, when the temps in North Conway are in the low 80s. Winds in the winter are often over 100mph on the ridgelines, etc. As a person who loves weather, I hope you have an excellent experience.
  18. Ok good! Your evening entertainment options include: 1. Little Italy! Some wonderful authentic Italian food here. Vaccaro's is open late, if I recall, serves excellent desserts and espresso, etc. You can't go wrong here. We often ate at Germano's - in general I don't go to an Italian place that charges more than $14 for a putanesca (my own personal rule - it's made entirely from stuff you'd find in an Italian larder, shouldn't be a markup) - and Germano's was always good and reasonably priced. You can walk here from the hotel. 2. Harbor East! The Lebanese Taverna has excellent food, even if that's not your thing, it's really good. Most of the restaurants here are good but might be a bit pricey. Ask at the desk for recommendations. Also, check out the Katyn memorial fountain - it's the only Katyn memorial not in Poland. Its nice walking around the harbor here and past all the sailboats at sunset time. This is out your front door. 3. Fells Point! A few blocks east - walk or Lyft, don't drive. Keep your wits about you if you walk back and it's late. There will be some dodgy people about but they generally shouldnt bother you. The Fells Point Ghost Tours are kind of fun, any of the pubs are exactly what you'd expect from a hot port city (has a bit of a New Orleans feel), and there are some good restaurants, although they are again pricey (Kali's Court = excellent seafood! And it aint cheap). Bertha's Mussels won't be pricey and it's full of interesting stories and characters - you will get good, easy food and meet some new friends there. The buildings and streets here are very old. Jimmy's - if its still around - is the diner where the cops ate in The Wire and as I wrote before, Horse You Rode In ON is where Poe was drinking the night he died. Have fun, enjoy, and don't hesitate to ask for further recommendations! I'm a little jealous ... haven't been to Bawlmer in a while and I lived there for nine years...
  19. Glad to help, and its really my pleasure - you have given so much of your time and resources with weather info, this site, etc. its difficult to express how appreciative I am for it. This sort of thing is the least I can do and I really hope you have an excellent trip. Post pics!
  20. 4:50am sunrise on Cadillac will be something you remember for all of your days! I too hope you have clear weather ... trying to think of which toll plaza that would be, although truthfully, I avoid the NYC boroughs like the plague because you take the wrong turn and you're somewhere you don't want to be, like suddenly crossing a bridge to Long Island and staring at hours of traffic in the reverse direction. People are doing 90mph six inches apart with middle fingers flying and the lanes randomly shrink and expand. I'll take the Tappan Zee around and admire a lovely view of the Hudson, thank you! There are safe and good places to stay in Baltimore city. I would recommend Harbor East - there is a Baltimore Waterfront Marriott, a Hilton Garden, Courtyard by Marriott, and a Hyatt Place all in Harbor East. You could park safely at any of these and walk around at night here. This will be south of Eastern Ave, and east of President, west of Central (the Hyatt Place is fine, just on the other side of Central). Harbor East is east of the Inner Harbor - do NOT stay in the Inner Harbor area. It's not unsafe, exactly, but there are roving gangs of violent teenagers that periodically commit random crimes against tourists. Harbor East, by contrast, is fine. Strong police presence and a private security force paid for by the upscale stores. Fells Point is just to the east of Harbor East, and you can walk between the two at night if you use a larger, well-lit street like Aliceanna. That's in-town. Out of the city, you can stay south around BWI airport. These will be standard, somewhat soulless airport hotels but perfectly safe and right off the highway. North of the city, Towson has some decent hotels and downtown Towson has stores and some decent restaurants (admittedly I haven't there in a while...) but again, you will be safe and fine here and can do something interesting with yourself. Towson is also right off the highway, but its 83 or 695, not 95. So, a slight detour, but heading north out of Towson will be easy (695 east back to 95 - 695 is Baltimore's 'perimeter'). I would NOT recommend staying near Owings Mills, Randallstown, Jessup (nice view of the prison), anywhere in PG County, and anywhere east of Baltimore along the I-95 corridor - basically until you get to Delaware (I guess Aberdeen area is fine - big military presence there for testing weapons). You will likely find hotels in these places that are $20 - $40 cheaper a night, but you are likely to experience sketchy people, shouting in the next room, car break-ins, etc. Columbia MD will be touch and go, it has tons and tons of malls and strip malls and eateries of every variety, but you never really know what you're getting. It was a planned community built by the actor Edward Norton's grandfather. Been around a while and I always get lost when I go in there - unless I had an exact address, I wouldn't recommend staying here. It's not unsafe but parts of it are 'a bit dodgy' as my Irish relatives would say. Closer to DC, Bethesda and Gaithersburg have some nice places to stay, Rockville's a bit touch and go. It's not sketchy, but there are sketchy parts of the Rockville Pike, if that makes sense. If you have questions about a location, let me know. Old school Baltimorons (term of endearment here) are very friendly and if you ask about a certain area, they will typically give you good information about where you should and should not go. Further, it will be pretty obvious pretty quickly if you've gone somewhere you don't want to be, and if so, just turn around. Safest way to get to Fells Point/Harbor East from 95 would be to drive past the city on 95, go through the tunnel, and take the Boston St exit. Go west/left on Boston st, under 95, and it will take you along the waterfront through a nice neighborhood called Canton; take a left on either Aliceanna (more aesthetically true - cobblestone streets, waterfront, ancient rowhomes) or Eastern (probably a bit quicker but uglier) and continue west on either street to Harbor East through Fells Point. Your map app may tell you something different and take you through downtown or some such thing, but I don't like the downtown exits before the tunnel for getting around unless you really know what you're doing. It's confusing under there and moreso at traffic time. Should you take this route, you will pass by massive mountains of rock salt north of the tunnel's exit - this is where salt is stored and deployed when I-95 in this area experiences snow and ice during the winters. Getting to Towson from 95 is kinda silly - you either go through downtown on surface streets and then north on I-83 or up 95 to 695. If you do downtown, you can follow the instructions above, taking Eastern Ave to President st, and then President St north - it turns into 83. As someone who enjoys racing cars, take a moment to appreciate I-83. Note that the north/southbound lanes have ditches and a dirt hill between them. Its a wild, curvy road and people drive it at unbelievable speeds - periodically someone takes a turn just too quickly and rolls their car - hence the ditch and hill, which contain the rolling. I once drove north on this road in a 2wd Honda Civic with several inches of unplowed snow and ice on the ground - not so easy! Hope this helps - sort of dreading this incoming heat.
  21. Ok, that's a great plan! Philly is ~ 1.5 hours from Baltimore, ~ 2.5 from Alexandria Va although DC morning traffic is horrendous. Can definitely be worse than Atlanta's because of the rivers and bridges - rush hour starts at 5:30am so either leave before then or wait until 10am ish. I've been to Alexandria a few times but it was years ago - the downtown on the Potomac is fun. I was out with friends at a sports bar here once and a female competitive eater known as the Black Widow was rehearsing (practicing? Training?) for a wing-eating competition. She went through a 60 wing party platter in just a few minutes and had the entire place cheering and stamping for her. Alexandria is (or was) fun. In Baltimore, you can drive right up to Fort McHenry, and that's pretty cool. On a clear day, if you stare east under the 695 bridge, you can see Fort Carroll, which was designed by Robert E Lee to defend Baltimore Harbor against naval invasion. Was never used, sinks a few inches into the harbor every year, and has fallen into ruin - but has attracted thousands of rare bird species because rats cannot swim to the island so their eggs are safe. Fells Point has a lot of history - including the Horse You Rode In On Saloon, where Poe was drinking the nigt he died. They claim to continue to be haunted by 'Eddy' and put two shot glasses of cognac on the bar every night for the ghost. if they don't, the chairs are strewn everywhere in the morning. Poe's grave is on U Maryland's Medical School campus and you can visit. One of the years we lived there, we staked out the 'mysterious midnight visitor' who used to come to Poe's grave and leave two roses and a half bottle of cognac. For crabs in the city, go to either Bo Brooks or Captain James Landing (if its open - this is the outdoor patio on the water - do NOT dine in the building that is shaped like a boat). Bo Brooks will definitely be open. Obrycki;s used to be the best crabs in the city but they are gone now. Best crabs out of the city is called Cantlers - it's ~ 45m away in Annapolis but if you have the time and inclination, it's true Maryland crabs. There's a still-standing shot tower on President St where they made shot for old guns by dropping molten metal and letting gravity do the work of shaping the shot properly while also letting the air cool it - so they would let drips of metal fall and they would land as perfectly shaped solid shot. Little Italy has wonderful Italian food and there's a walk-in cafe (Vaccaro's) with authentic Italian coffee and Italian ice and pastries. If you choose to park and walk around here, do NOT go north of Eastern Ave (excepting Little Italy - you're fine there) EVER. Finally, best pizza in the city and in the entire world is on Eastern Ave in Canton/Highlandtown, right near Patterson Park, and is called Matthews. This is two neighborhoods over from Fells Point, Eastern Ave is ok here until ~ 9pm ish. If you're anywhere in Baltimore at night, stay attentive to your surroundings. Across the street in Patterson Park is a pagoda you can climb on Sundays and see great views of the city. The line of cannons beneath it is where the Irish and Polish immigrants of east Baltimore held the line against the invading forces of the British during the war of 1812. Fun fact: Ross, the British General who lead the land invasion, burned the white house in DC prior to invading Baltimore and famously declared: 'tomorrow I dine in Baltimore or I dine in Hell'. Before Ross led the British land invasion of Baltimore, the Maryland militia was going around arming citizens, and they found two apprentice leather tanners (one named McComas - forget the other) walking home. They gave rifles to the young men and instructed them to shoot men on horseback, because men on horseback were officers. A few minutes later, the two young men walked past the British landing site. And lo and behold, as they watched, a man on horse came onto shore from the river. So they loaded their rifles and shot the man on horseback - who was Ross. These two kids cut the head off the entire British land invasion, giving the rest of Baltimore time to fortify the city's defenses while the British had to field-promote their entire chain of command, none of whom were as effective or as feared as Ross. For Philly - I've been here a couple of times. Took my kids to the Franklin Institute which is spectacular, checked out the Rocky statue and Independence hall, and walked around. There's a lot to do in this stretch of Philly. I know nothing else about Philly except to never ever go to a sports game there wearing opposing team gear. Note that in New Jersey, you cannot pump your own gas. This means lines at New Jersey gas stations are stupidly long. If at all possible, fill up in MD/PA and then don't fill up again until New York. South and Central Jersey rest stop gas won't be too bad, but if you have to wait in north Jersey, you could be sitting in a gas line for 20 - 30m. Be ye warned. Sadly, NJ has the cheapest gas because they host lots of refineries. Which you will observe from the highway. NJ unfortunately has the best rest stops for food and convenience - New York's are few and far between and Pennsylvania roads are just a mess in general - I once saw a sign on the PA pike that read 'No shoulder, next 88 miles'. Where in CT are you staying? I've been to Mystic, which was great as a kid ... the sailing port museum was very cool. New Haven and Bridgeport are not places you want to be after dark. Never been to Foxwoods. I know very little about coastal Mass and RI, but I have people I can ask. Seriously, I'll stop now, but if you have questions, fire away!
  22. Re: your trip through the New England states - I'm originally from NH and more than happy to offer anything at all that will assist you. That's a looooooooooong drive and if you drive I-95 north of Baltimore - say 95 -> Delaware Memorial Bridge -> NJ Turnpike -> 87 -> 287 -> 684 -> 84 or any road that gets closer to NYC (the merritt, etc) than this loop, you may add hours (and you will add dollars - lots and lots of dollars in tolls) to your drive time. The "mountain road" as we always called it, up 81 through VA / WV / western MD / and into PA is a much sparser drive in terms of stops and food and what-not, but you will experience very light traffic. Also if it interests you, this route is close to some beautiful points in the sw VA mountains and some battlefield sites in western MD - Harpers Ferry is nearby, Antietam's not too far, and even Gettysburgh's not a terrible drive (bonus - you drive through Catoctin Mtn state park in MD, where Camp David secretly resides). If you take 95, let me know and I will provide you with recommendations for stopping in Baltimore. It's an easy stop and there are lots of fun things you can do in an hour or two if you have good guidance. In the New England states, you can drive right through Connecticut and not miss much. You will probably drive through Rhode Island and not realize you missed it (unless you're looking for ferries to the islands - or you want to buy Mayor Buddy Cianci's pasta sauce). Nantucket's pretty cool and the whaling museum is excellent. Bonus fact: many of the fancy looking homes on Mahthas Vineyahd and Nantucket have been owned by ancient money forever via trusts, and the trust has diminished to the point where no one party has the capital to upgrade the houses guts and systems - many of those houses have glass fuses, ancient wiring, cypress wood pipes, and various other features that are a century old. Friend of mine used to do handyman work on the Vineyard. The Berkshires of western Mass are beautiful - spring and summer aren't their best time (autumn really is) but a lovely drive. If you like trout fishing, there are wonderful spots this way. Sounds like you won't be headed near Vermont - but if you are, check out the Shellburn museum. It's a living history museum. The settlers' cabin they have on display was a real cabin - my great grandfather grew up in it in fact (they relocated it from East Charlotte - pronounced 'shah-LOT', as in the Tennyson poem Lady Of). Lake Champlain is gorgeous. Burlington's a nice town and the ski mountains all have off-season activities like hiking, gondola rides, mountain biking, golf, etc. Lots of beautiful hiking along the AT and Long Trail here. New Hampshire - I could write a lot here, but I have to assume you're headed up to the top of Mount Washington. I honestly don't know when the auto road opens and I've never driven it, although I have done plenty of hiking up there. This is the time of year when people are generally still hiking up Tuckermans to ski down... my favorite hiking route is Boot Spur Trail up and Tuckerman's Ravine trail down. I typically don't hike there this early ... keep an eye on the weathah (do I need to have said that? probably not). The Cog Railway also operates a steam train up and down the mountain, although I don't know its seasons and have never done that either. Should you achieve the peak, hang out there a bit - it spends most of the time in the soup, but if you stick it out for a bit, the wind will generally create openings through the clouds of the views around you. Its harsh and beautiful and if you love weather, its a place to spend some time. I love it up there. Especially when it snows in August. North Conway is a fun town and worth a stop. The Lakes Region is staggering and gorgeous - Winnepesaukee is the most known lake with the most public access, but there are plenty of other gorgeous, smaller lakes around. The Moultonborough Country Store is kind of a tourist trap but they have penny candy and a lot of food products made in traditional ways. Buy yourself some maple sugar candy and fresh maple syrup! So good. Meredith NH is a more upscale town, shopping center, hotel built around a former mill waterfall, etc., and its right on Winnepesaukee. The harbor often has fun events - an ice fishing derby in the winter, for example. A few decent restaurants here. Believe it or not, there is a barbecue place in Center Harbor NH, between Meredith and Moultonborough, where they know what they're doing. He sells barbecue corned beef which I didn't believe could possibly be good until I tried it. Portsmouth NH is a fun, fun, fun little town. In the summer they have free concerts in the park downtown, lots of fun restaurants and bars, whale watches (which are almost 99% of the time just dolphin watches - although I went once as a kid and we saw whales), and a fun scene at night. Has that feel of a sailing town - a bit of Gloucester MA or (groan while I write this) Marblehead, too. I grew up in the mountains and didn't spend much time near the ocean, but have spent time in Portsmouth. Fun little city. If you're going to Maine, try to go to either Katahdin in Baxter State Park (its at the other end of this little hiking trail that starts up the road here at Springer Mountain) or Acadia. Acadia is one of the most gorgeous places on earth and basically defies description. Katahdin/Baxter is one of those places where you step out of your car and are overwhelmed by the silence and total lack of human influence. Won't really be lobster season but they will be available - lobsters are way easier to crack than blue crabs. Twist off the legs and pick the meat out. Twist the fins off the tail and do the same. Now twist off the claws and the arms, then crack the claws off the arms. Pick the meat out of the elbows first, pushing it through. Claws second, pulling it out. Tail is last - either crack it in your fist or put your thumbs along the bottom of the tail and press out, cracking the tail as you move down. If the shell is too hard, substitue lobster crackers for your hands. Push the meat out. A proper lobstah will be served with melted butter. Have fun, drive safe, and please please please let me know if you need any guidance at all about anywhere you're going between here and there.
  23. Thank you - those are fascinating! I assume all of these are inputs into the drought monitor. I think wxsouth was talking years in advance - I do a lot of backyard vegetable gardening and am trying to figure out if I should prioritize water capture this year or if I have some time. Still trying to get it right in my yard now...
  24. Thank you, as always, for the excellent forum! A few months ago, WXSouth mentioned a "mega-drought" on the long term horizon. Do you (or does anyone) know what he was looking at, what are comparable periods, etc? Lest we forget: Georgia Tennessee border
  25. Steve, you really need to make it up there - I've been up to the summit a number of times and it's truly a phenomenal experience, moreso if you are interested in the weather. August is a good month (although it snows up there sometimes in August) and I recommend hiking Boot Spur up and Tuckermans Ravine trail down. Boot Spur is quiet and has phenomenal views, plus you get to visit Lake of the Clouds and really appreciate the rock pile's summit by standing on one of the shoulders before you head into the pea soup. If you only want to hike one way, the Cog Rail now allows one-way tickets in both directions (they used to just do one-way down), so you can hike either up or down, your preference. Or just Cog it the whole way. I've actually never done the auto road but be ye warned about that traverse up there in the summer - its like the road into Cades Cave in October at a silly upwards angle, and full of tourists. I have two amazing books you'd like, too: one is a history of Mount Washington and a roster of everyone who has died on the mountain and the circumstances in which they perished (my parents always buy me stuff like this for my birthday - it's like they're trying to keep me out of the mountains), as well as a book written by the people who live in the weather station about their lives. It includes a cookbook at the end, and their chili recipe (Guadalajara Night Chili) is ridiculous. Exactly what you think it is from a bunch of people who experience daytime highs of -40. If I can find them, I'll post pics and you are welcome to borrow them should we ever meet. Some other winter prep notes ... first, the blizzard of 1978 was a game-changer for people from my part of the world. It came so fast and so hard, people got stuck wherever they were for days. Since then, we country types always did the following... sometime in November, snow tires go on. Throw a bag of ice melt and chains for your tires in the trunk as weight. These double as things you might need if you get stuck somewhere. If you know you will be travelling in remote places, throw a sleeping bag (or at least a bivy sack), a poncho, a space blanket, some paracord, and a jackknife in your trunk. I always kept a box of cliff bars, a bag of pistachios, and a water bottle or two in the car. Note that high-fat foods and water force your body to work extra hard to digest, and thus raise your body temp. Pistachios are high in fat. All useful stuff if you have to shelter in a car. Next, you will need a beanpot, a few pounds of yellow-eye beans, some proper bacon, dried mustard, molasses, and maple syrup. Soak one pound of the dried yellow-eyes overnight, then put them in the beanpot. Fil it with fresh water to about an inch above the beans. Pour in half cups of molasses and maple syrup, then 1 tbsp of dried mustard. Fold the pound of bacon and stuff it through the aperture, leaving it on top. Around 2pm, roughly four hours before peak load starts on the grid and three before evening rush hour when people will start doing things like foraging for toilet paper and driving into power poles, heat your oven to 415. Cover the top of the beanpot with foil, poke a few holes in, and put that thing in the oven. Give it 3.5 - 4 hours, and you will have sustenance that will take you through a week or so of anything. Add solar lights, candles, Mark Twain or Nathaniel Philbrick, some wool socks, and tie yourself to the mast: you're ready!
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