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Some more Messages Upon a Palmtop from the Most Unusual Places.

Collected by Linda Worthington and edited by Ed Keefe

Live: From the Solar Eclipse

Here is the promised August 11, solar eclipse MUP.

I drove into Siofok on Lake Balaton in Hungary to be in the totality path.

The town reminded me of the New Jersey shores: crowds, snack stands, carnival atmosphere. The beach was completely packed solid with bodies. Everyone was wearing these funny eclipse sunglasses. When the moon started covering the sun some even went into the water and stood there watching.

We escaped the crowds and sat in an outdoor restaurant, "with a view".

When the totality occurred all you could hear is tremendous noise. Everyone was cheering and yelling. I always believed this to be an exaggeration, but indeed it got completely dark.

Quite an experience!

Robert Walker, 70167,543

A Mountain MUP

After reading so many MUPs over the years, I am finally taking the time to write one. I'm sitting in the "dining room" of Lonesome Lake Hut, Franconia Notch, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I know some of you hike this area. In fact, a few years back, I missed running into Linda by only one or two days.

Lonesome Lake Hut is the southernmost of the nine huts run by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The chain of huts is spaced about a day's hike apart along the Appalachian Trail. The huts make the wilderness accessible to those of us who want the backpacking experience without the hassle. This means that you get a dry bed with a mattress and blankets plus hot meals for dinner and breakfast. When I started hiking up here in 1976, you got all that for $9.75 per night. It's more now but still an incredible bargain.

Lonesome Lake itself sits below the "back side" of Cannon Mountain one of the oldest ski areas in the US. Cannon is typical of many mountains in the Whites where the terrain is incredibly steep near the bottom and levels off only near the top. The ski area is actually a state park and they run the tram year round for anyone willing to pay the price of a ticket so you can hike up the trail to the summit and find some tourist looking at you like you're from another planet. A side benefit of this is that hikers can buy a hamburger for lunch, if that's what flips your patty. A couple of years ago I broke down and actually did that. The burger was on a par with most ski area food.

I must admit that I'm writing this on a WinCE machine, not my no longer quite trusty 200LX. I carried the 200LX on several of our annual hikes and used it to record our (my kids and my) progress on climbing the New Hampshire 4000 footers, keep track of who paid their deposits, etc. Right now the backlit screen of the Wince machine is making it possible to write by the propane gas lamps used in the huts.

That's all. Some of my other MUPs that never got posted: sitting in the dome car of the train to the Grand Canyon; eating lunch at the top of Mt. Washington; etc. Of course I carried the 200LX over the summit of every mountain located on any trail linking two huts, but I guess that doesn't count. ;-)

So, how'd I do for my first MUP?

Jim Scheef [FUSE], 76702,1654

What's With New Hampshire Mountains?

Well, this was begun on the mountain, but it was soooo cold in my T-shirt, that I did not finish it. We took the AutoRoute to the peak of Mt Washington, the highest peak in NH. The road is VERY steep (12% average) and runs for 7.6mi. Took about 30-35 min. to climb up with several breaks along the way in stunning spots with visibility that just did not end. They claimed at the mountain office that visibility at the top was 20mi but it was zero - there was a cloud sitting on the peak. But, below it, the visibility was just amazing.

They have a great road up, although it is scary at times. We averaged 15-20 mph, although there are road races up the hill annually and the record is now something less than 7 minutes which works out to average over 65mph. I just don't understand how they take the frequent curves at speeds even approaching 40-50mph! Yikes...

The top has some historic buildings that have been there for over 100 years, one of them, with fairly tall sides, is actually chained to the ground. Mt. Washington is famous for several things, among them the location of the fastest winds ever clocked - at 231mph. They also have a modern building with gift shop, museum, restaurant and an area for hikers to prep.

The views from just below the peak were simply stunning. The image of a cloud on the mountainside across the valley was just immense and beautiful.

All in all, a great and worthwhile visit.

Avi Meshar [D&A] http://www.dasoft.com

A Stream of Consciousness MUP

In the small cemetery of the church of Hellenvilliers, Normandy, isolated among fields, some hundred feet apart from the main alley, which leads to the Hellenvilliers Castle. At the rear are the tombs of the Comte and Marquis d'Erard, and the d'Estut d'Assay family who hold the castle. Oldest tomb is 1804, then 1817, 1826...latest dates 1989,1993, 1997.

Some thirty years ago, countryside was full of paths along which were traditional hedges, cows in pastures, for milk production. Orchards. Now looks like Mid West: corn fields, and not even one small part of a hedge. Still some small forest around, only because of the castle.

In the Middle Ages the church was in the middle of the small village of Hellenvilliers. Black Plague caused it to disappear and to be rebuilt near the castle. The paths to the church have been suppressed, and are now ploughed for corn.

Daniel Legendre, 100572,3340

Once Upon a Rainy Drive Through...

We're on vacation, driving through the rain from Charlotte NC to Myrtle Beach SC, and just drove through Hamlet NC, birthplace of John Coltrane. (NC 74 and 38) (Randy Travis' home is just outside Charlotte, but Coltrane's birthplace seemed more interesting).

The girls are bored from being stuck inside on account of the rain so we didn't stop to see if there is any kind of museum.

Ole Latham, 72703,447

This is a MUP for Bikies

The bicycle ride across Washington State was the longest ride I have done. About 400 miles over 6 days with no rest. We camped each night but did not carry our gear - that preceeded us by truck. About 128 folks did the ride. It crossed the northern tier of the state, mainly on highway 20, known as the North Cascades highway. It passes through the North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National recreation area and lots of national forests. It is mostly a rural area of the state with whole counties having populations under 5,000 people. We started near Puget Sound and actually crossed into Idaho for about a mile near the end of the ride. The route climbed five mountain passes and flew back down them. Waterfalls, creeks and major rivers were crossed. Fir, pine and larch forests were traversed. Farm fields and mountain meadows passed by.

The ride was anything but easy. I was near the end of the group each night but the first day. The first day we only gained 1,300 feet. The next got harder and much slower. That day was rainy and I stuck my head under a few waterfalls and in some creeks. Loup Loup was the third day and literally terrible. Sweat poured off my head into my eyes. I learned, and used a headband after that day. The next day: Wauconda was very slow and endless and I was pushing to get the last two miles and 600 or so feet. The last day was 92 miles and gained about 2,700 feet and 98 degrees. The last ten miles were nearly excruciating. If someone placed a sheet of paper on the ground, I would have had to change to my lowest gear to get up over it - no I'm not kidding. It was very tiring.

It was very hot and it was the hardest thing I have even done day after day. I described it as less than fun but a great adventure.

The downhills were quite impressive. I took them cautiously. I panted, puffed and even dismounted some block long stretches and not always the steepest. I just needed to get off the bike and stop pedaling.

Fred J. Kaufman, 72560,36

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