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Bimmerfester's Climb to the Clouds 3!
By popular demand, it's back! The Bimmerfest Climb to the Clouds 2011 will be held on Saturday, June 11 in The White Mountains of New Hampshire. We'll meet for a hearty breakfast, and take off for a tour of some great backroads including the Kancamagus Highway, a stop at an outlet center, and a photo op at a covered bridge.
Then we're off for the the main feature, the 7.2 mile long road up Mt. Washington. I'll leave it up to other 'Festers to post their pics and tell a little bit about that adventure, it is one unforgettable trip! After a light lunch at the summit, well above the clouds, we'll head back down. It's a little more daunting than the trip up because now you can see what lies in front of you...
We'll regroup at the base and then we're off to our next destination, The Mount Washington Hotel. After another great scenic cruise (watch out for Moose!) we're all together again for a banquet and auction at The Woodstock Inn. All auction proceeds are donated to the 'Susan G Koman for the Cure' Foundation.
The trip is very family friendly, and all ages will have one heck of a day. Last year we were honored to have many friends, spouses and a few children along too. Many lasting friendships began on the Climb, and many more will. It's a fun way to meet your fellow Bimmerfesters. I can honestly say that everyone who has been on the trip has been a pleasure to have along, and we're often surprised that in real life we're a bunch of genuinely nice, and generous people.
'Festers, save Saturday June 11, we're gathering for our third annual Bimmering adventure! Again last year there were no arrests and all drivers were present and accounted for at the finish line. We're going to push our luck and do it all over again. This actually is a very family friendly trip, and you are encouraged to bring your S.O. and kids along. I guarantee they will see things that they will talk about for years.
Here's a Google Map showing our trip. It is fully interactive so check out all the features. Click on the blue links on the left side and the map will bring up those locations.
We'll all meet for breakfast at The Tilton Diner in Tilton, NH and go over the plans one last time. We'll convoy through back country, and then you're going to find out what 'Freude am Fahren' is all about, NH style: The Kancamagus Scenic Byway. The "Kanc' snakes 35 miles through mountains and valleys of the White Mountain National Forest at an average elevation of 2900 feet. Dozens of twists, turns, hairpins, rises and dips will test your car's suspension, and your concentration while surrounded by spectacular scenery.
The Kanc winds up at the Conway Outlet Center where we'll be taking a short pit stop (bathrooms and shopping) before heading North to Pinkham Notch and the Mount Washington Auto Road. But first we'll get some pics of our BMWs passing through century old (but strong!) Covered Bridges, and stage for an unforgettable climb to the summit of Mount Washington.
Although plenty wide and mostly paved the Auto Road will not be an adventure for the faint of heart. There are no guard rails, not a single Jersey Barrier, just you and the mountain. And the valley floor over a thousand feet below.
There will be a 'Fest photographer snapping a souvenir photo of your BMW rounding an uphill switchback with the mountain on one side and...nothing...on the other. We'll be having lunch at the Summit House (buy or bring) and have plenty of time to explore (it's kid safe-mostly). It is unlikely the wind will be like the day when it set a (recently eclipsed) world record velocity of over 230 mph right where we're parking.
It's all downhill from there, literally. Driving down can be even more um, interesting, than driving up. We'll then head north and west, skirting the Presidential Range and check out a few more sights along the way while passing through Crawford Notch and dipping south to The Mount Washington Hotel.
The MW Hotel, one of the few remaining Grand Dames of a bygone era recently underwent a multimillion dollar restoration. It's a great photo op and not to be missed. Plan on taking in the view of The Great Whites from the lounge before our group picture out front!
After cutting through some back country we'll end up in Bartlett and jump onto a hidden local road, Bear Notch Road. http://www.motorcycleroads.us/roads/nh_bnr.html
BN Road, which would itself be a major attraction if not for the Kanc, ends at the Kanc which we will now travel in reverse back to our dispersal point in Lincoln, NH. It's going to be about supper time so how about staying for the banquet?
Total trip time, start to finish, is estimated at 8 to 9 hours. I'll be driving the route in late May (can't now, it's still snowbound in sections), and will verify all roads and the schedule.
Each driver will receive an info packet with route maps when we meet. However I will post the final route and schedule in late May so that anyone with a GPS can set waypoints if they wish. It won't be required though because the roads are all well marked and you will get maps with your itinerary.
This will be a great opportunity for you and your family to enjoy a day together with your fellow Bimmerfesters. You might even want to stay overnight into Sunday, but the convoy will say goodbye following our Banquet on Saturday evening.
As I said, all the details will be posted by late May. The trip date is set in stone, Saturday the 11th of June (the 19th is Father's Day).
Q. How many BMWs will there be?
A. For tactical reasons we're going to limit it to 40 confirmed cars with 5 more stand-bys as fill ins. Reservations are on a first come, first served basis.
We'll be convoying in groups of 10, each led by someone who did the trip in a previous year. Groups will be formed based on driving style. Everyone will be comfortable with their group.
Q. How are the paid events paid?
A. There are five things that'll cost you. Breakfast, the 'Toll' up the Auto Road, lunch, a drink at The Mt. Washington Hotel if you'd like one, and the banquet for which there are individual guest tabs. You handle everything yourself.
Q. Will a cellphone work in the mountains?
A. Usually but don't depend on it. Dead zones can be miles long.
Q. My baby doesn't do gravel. Will she be OK?
A. The only gravel we'll encounter will be very short sections of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, but they are extremely hard packed and stones stay put. This seems to always concern drivers, rest assured that although it is gravel you can't tell it from asphalt, it's that hard packed. Additionally, the MWAR speed limit is 5 mph. Think that's too slow? You won't.
Q. I may have some fragile bladders along, will there be bathroom stops?
A. At least every two hours. NH generally has clean and convenient facilities. However, you might have the most acute need while ascending the MWAR, there are none until the top.
Q. Should I bring a camera?
A. If you have a video cam or a GoPro or similar be sure bring it! Wide angle lens for your SLR? Absolutely.
Q. What about food?
A. Breakfast will be at the Tilton Diner, a NH highlight for bacon and eggs, pancakes, and all the bad stuff that tastes so good. Bring some snacks for the car (no chocolate, or crumb buns, take it from me). Lunch is going to be on top of Mt. Washington and if you don't bring a picnic there is simple but very edible food available. I can vouch for the chowdah!
Q. Will we be seeing the "Old Man of the Mountains"?
A. Yes and no. He jumped off the side of Franconia Notch a few years ago and now lies in a 5000 ton heap of gravel on the valley floor. Very sad.
Q. Why can't this be a Rally, TSD Trial, or other competition?
A. The fact is you'll have plenty enough to do keeping your BMW on the road. The scenery will be distraction enough.
Q. I hear that Motorcycle Week starts June 11th...
A. It does, but all those bankers and lawyers will be far south of us in Laconia until Monday when they get the MW Auto Road all to themselves.
Q. Is there an entry fee?
A. Nope, just meet your own expenses.
Q. Come on, no one does anything for nothing?
A. OK, how about a $20 donation to the Susan G Komen for the Cure Center? As you know, BMWNA was a long time very generous supporter of this charity but will no longer be able to do so. It would be fitting for us to help in any way we can. Last year we raised about $500 which was donated in the name of "Bimmerfesters".
A. Major branded stations will be along the way except for the Kanc where there will be nothing. Fill your tank in Tilton and you will have plenty left when we're done. There's a Top Tier gas station right in front of the diner.
Q. Will my BMW make it up the MWAR?
A. No problem. If there is a problem we'll have one of the Diesels pull you up.
Q. My BMW had an accident. Can I join you in my Honda Accord?
A. Sorry, no, this is an all BMW road trip.
Q. My BMW had an accident. Can I join you in my Ferrari California?
Q. I'm in! What do I do now?
A. PM me for a reservation and make sure I PM you back to confirm! In May I will post a current reservations list so you can see who else is going.
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