Dad and I headed up, just the two of us, to Gorham this past weekend - just like last year. We got up here Friday early evening (half day at work), and immediately grabbed a gold medal dinner at Mr. Pizza. As usual, we downed a few drinks at the Town & Country bar before retreating to our room for the night. Unlike last year, though, our room was quite nice and exactly where we wanted to be: pool building, ground floor, facing the rear parking lot.
We mapped out our ride for the day at breakfast bright and early Saturday morning. Dad had stumbled upon a flyer for a decent looking hotel in nearby Lancaster (earmuffs, Town & Country...) that looked promising. We took the town trails to corridor 12W to Lowe's to top off the gas tanks and buy a second trail map that was actually worth the $10 price tag. Once back on the trails, we returned to corridor 12 and headed further west to the junction of corridors 12, 11, and 5. Once there, we took 5N through the hamlet of Jefferson into the town of Lancaster, riding past the home base of the Waumbeck Methna Snowmobile Club. We found this hotel about a mile down a side trail off of 5N, and disappointed doesn't fully capture how Dad and I felt. We took note of the three trucks in the parking lot, the lack of foot traffic in and around the lobby, the shuttered restaurant and bar, and the receptionist who greeted us like she hadn't had human contact in days. The flyer and website advertise a vibrant resort-like atmosphere, but when we asked what time lounge opened we were told, "oh, the bar and restaurant have been closed for some time." It was a ghost town, and we couldn't hop back on the sleds fast enough. Once back at the sleds, we took note of the time and aimed to time the 30-plus mile ride to Fabyan's to coincide with lunch time. We took 5S back to the intersection of 12/11/5, and took 11S to the Iron Horse trail up and over Cherry Mountain to Fabyan's, an all-time favorite lunch spot of ours. It was now 12:30 (perfect timing), so I ordered my go-to (draught Long Trail Ale & house smoked pulled pork sandwich), but Dad took the road less traveled and actually ordered a burger to go with his Budweiser. In true Fabyan's fashion, the burger was delicious as was the pulled pork. After lunch we gassed up and took 11N up and over Jefferson Notch down to Jefferson Notch Rd., which dumped us back out to Lowe's. We checked our new map, and decided to take 12A behind Lowe's up to a club-maintained warming hut. Once there, we veered right and followed 116 for quite a few miles eventually ending up in Moose Brook State Park and following those familiar trails back to the town trail system. We were back at T&C by 4:30 pm and had reached Dad's lone goal - to ride 100 miles. How close did we get? My odometer said 100.7 miles. That night, post-shower and post-beer, we headed back to Twin Mountain (via truck) to take Dad's friend Joe out to dinner at a new establishment in town. Our meals were pretty good, but couldn't compare to the conversation. Joe has seen and done more than most, and isn't too shy share the sordid details of his colorful past. A good meal with good company, it was the perfect way to end the day. Despite arriving back at T&C well past 10pm, we still had to belly-up to the bar for one (or two or three) more drinks before calling it a night.
Breakfast came early, and once that was finished we decided we were best off loading the sleds on the trailer and calling it a weekend. We had 100 great miles of riding under our belts, and didn't want to have our last day of riding for the season be a less than pleasurable memory. As always, we hit the L.L. Bean outlet in Concord on the way home, and were back at home before 4pm. It was an almost identical repeat of last year's trip, and I wouldn't change a thing. The snowmobiling season couldn't possibly get any better if I get one trip a year just me and my dad.