Monday, July 19, 2010

This is why I don't ride rollercoasters.

The day after school let out The Things and I grabbed a couple days worth of clothes, food, and toilet paper ('cause that's how I roll), and headed to the White Mountains National Forest.

No, before you ask, I did NOT camp. I 'go to' camp, with The Big Guy, because he does everything. On my own, I require running water, flushing capabilities, and electricity.

We endured a few days of sightseeing, swimming in a pristine lake, a heated pool, and fabulous food. The weather was perfect- 90' days and 60' nights.
It was tough, but we survived.
I didn't even have to break out my roll of TP.

On Saturday, at the crack of dawn, I woke up The Things and said it was time to pack out.
They happily got up and got dressed. Not.

We were on the road by 6am (ugh).

It. Was. Spectacular.

Now, I grew up in and around Boston, which means we left town every chance we got. We played up here many, many weekends in the winter.
I've skied all over New Hampshire, Vermont, and some of Maine.

I was young, and had health insurance.
And no kids.

That ship has sailed.
And sank.

Thing Two was very very little when he first encountered Mountains. He was totally impressed this trip.
"Mumma! Lookit how BIG they are!"
I had to check to make sure he was, in fact, talking about the mountains. He is his Fathers' son, after all.
Yup, they're big, all right.

The Things were awestuck driving around up there. It was such a treat to watch their faces.

So Saturday's trip home was programmed into the GPS to take us through the heart of the mountains, to take full advantage of the ...vantages.
Across the Kancamanus Highway. (pronounced kane-ga-mane-gus if you're from Boston. The locals hated us.)

The Kangamangus (yes, I'm going to spell it that way, every time) must be driven in the late winter to be fully appreciated.
That way, you can enjoy the New England phenomenon known as frost heaves.
Otherwise known as Nature's Speedbumps.
They suck.
(Do other parts of the country experience frost heaves?? I've only encountered them in New England.)

Every single winter I drove up there, I lost a muffler on the Kangamangus Highway.
It was all part of the experience, I'm told.
There's nothing like careening down the side of a mountain going 60 and hitting a frost heave.
We would hold contests to see who could catch the most air.
You know what I'm talking about.

So I chose to experience this ride once again, in summer this time, with my children.


It was sunny, and beautiful. It was 6am. We were the only fools on the road.
Or so we thought.

I stopped at a scenic turnout. (Or, more accurately, I totally was going too fast, passed it, and backed up. My kids were horrified. It wasn't until I turned in the lot that I thought about what I'd just done. I didn't stop again.)


While I took pictures, and lamented my lack of foresight in only getting ONE coffee at Dunkin' Donuts for this drive, I felt like we were alone at the top of the world.

Then a guy on a motorcycle pulled in. Thing Two turned his head to look at him, alerting me to his presence. I'm way observant like that.

And it was at that moment that I realized the Folly Of My Ways.

I was alone, on a mountaintop, at 6am, with my two kids...surrounded by a vast million-acre body dump site.


Mr. Motorcyclist barely slowed down in the scenic turnout, probably fearing for his life.
Think, 'Mama Bear and Her Cubs' Feral look on my face...
We beat feet outta there.

As we were pulling out of the lot, a green van was slowing to pull in.
A dark green Chevy van. A panel van. With no windows.
The kind serial killers drive.

I quickly took a picture of the van, another of the driver, and finally one of its license plate and texted them to my sister, with instructions to turn them in to the Police should we turn up missing.

I watch Dexter.

Needless to say, the driver looked... perplexed.

With the basics covered, we started down the mountain.

And right there, on that first steep slope, I remembered this:


That ridiculous, blurry picture is meant to show you two things.
1. I was smart enough to fill the gas tank (though NOT smart enough to get more than one coffee for the ride).

2. My brake light is lit.
(Also, I cropped out the speedometer so The Big Guy couldn't see it. Also, insurance company: I never take my eyes off the road while driving to take pictures or anything like that. Nope, not me.)

The brake light thing? Gave me a bit of pause, while careening down those mountains.


And around hairpin turns.


While holding the camera up, taking pictures.


at 50 mph.


With the sun in my eyes.


But I got so distracted by the woods and the pretty, and the kids' faces, that I forgot about it.


And was able to just enjoy the ride.

Because, if you do it right?

Life is just one loooong roller coaster ride.


  1. Our vaca to Loon it was the same, the kids were loving the mountains and the river. I will tell you that since I am now a 7+ year resident of the great state of New Hampshire...we call it 'The Kanc'.

  2. What no rainows? Just kidding.

  3. Really, no G in that last syllable???? REALLY???? You should cruise down Mt. Washington. Talk about yikes. We were pulled off to rest (cool the brakes) and dh "tested" them. Uh-huh... to this day I don't know what he was thinking. He was rather surprised he got a burn. Um, DUH. I thought they motorcycle was going to be a cop. hahahahaha