By Batmobile or bicycle: 'Weaglers' creatively ascend the Mount Washington Auto RoadBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent May 29. 2018 3:44AM
GREEN’S GRANT — Nearly two dozen “Weaglers,” including a streaker, a couple in a Batmobile-like car and a top-hatted gentleman astride a vintage ‘penny farthing’ bicycle, made unique “first ascents” Saturday morning of the Mount Washington Auto Road.
The oldest man-made attraction in North America, the auto road opened in 1861 and in 2011, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the auto road marked the many “firsts” that have taken place on the 8-mile long road, many of them done by Alton Weagle.
A resident of the North Country, Weagle made a name for himself on the Auto Road by becoming the first person to climb it blindfolded, walking backwards, and, most famously, while pushing a wheelbarrow full of sugar.
“Alton was a character and then came along Otok Ben-Hvar,” Howie Wemyss, the auto road’s general manager told the so-called Weaglers assembled in the Base Lodge parking lot, minutes before they crossed Route 16 and began climbing toward the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast.
Weagle paved the way for his spiritual sons and daughters, Wemyss said, while Ben-Hvar, who died in 2017, found his own path, including crawling up the auto road and picking up twigs that he then fashioned into a flag that still hangs on the outside of the Base Lodge.
For the 2014 Alton Weagle Day, Ben-Hvar did his best impression of the Wile E. Coyote cartoon character, wearing roller skates and sitting on a large, red rocket that spewed an impressive quantity of sparks and smoke, but failed to power him up the auto road.
Hans Bauer, who is a director at Outside TV and a multi-time Weagler who was going up the auto road Saturday on a Boneshaker brand penny farthing bicycle made in Cleveland, while wearing a dreadlock wig and beard and a top hat, thanked the servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
That sacrifice, which many people honored on Memorial Day, provided the Weaglers, and all Americans, “our liberty and our freedom to do whatever we care,” said Bauer.
For Darlene and Walter Moore of Canaan, freedom means being the first people to drive up the auto road in a vehicle that looks like the original Batmobile.
Driven in the 1966 TV series by Adam West, who Walter Moore considers the first and only Batman, that Batmobile, and three replicas, were based on the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, explained Moore, a chiropractic specialist in West Lebanon.
For the past 14 years, Moore said he has been working on his Batmobile-like vehicle, admitting he is doing the renovation “half for me, half for other people.”