A New Hampshire Sweet Spot
by Pat Henderson
Motorcycling in New Hampshire at anytime during the season will yield wonders that easily exceed expectations. There are popular destinations to be sure. Cruise the Kancamagus Highway or head up and over Hurricane Mountain Road if you don’t mind crowds. You can test your nerves with a climb of Mount Washington or drive through Franconia or Crawford Notch to witness some of New Hampshire’s beauty. I can guarantee however, that some of the best riding spots are not listed in brochures.
When you’ve had your fill of tourists, stop in Lincoln for ice cream then instead of hitting the slabs home, I suggest a section of 118 that is sure to thrill. Head west from Lincoln on route 112, then bypass route 93 and continue on for a few miles to the intersection of route 118, also known as Sawyer Highway. This stretch of road is a motorcyclist’s delight. It takes you off the beaten path but is not out of the way.
Sawyer Highway climbs and dips, twists and turns with such a rhythmic cadence your mind and body are one with the bike and the road. If you’re fortunate, the road will be open and clear of local traffic for you to enjoy a 15 mile slice of heaven. As you near the end, you find yourself dipping to the right with a pond coming into view. There is a pull-off here where riders often stop to take photos of others as they come around the bend. I’ve had my photo taken once or twice coming around that bend, but have yet had the pleasure of viewing the results.
On my last excursion to Sawyer Highway, a black cloud blocked the sun as my husband and I approach the intersection. We are pelted with a few drops but they are soon over and we are back into the sun. The roadway ahead though, has been hit with a heavy downpour and the steam is rising so thickly that I feel I have driven straight up Mount Kilauea in Hawaii. I have never seen steam this thick on a roadway before. We continue to the end and at the stop sign my husband remarks that it is the first time he's ever seen a road on fire.
From here you have two choices, continue on route 25 toward your next destination, or turn around and do it all again in reverse. Whichever choice you make, you can be sure the rain gods will not need to point out just how hot this stretch of road really is.