Monday, October 20, 2014

The Finishing Touches

Sunday and Monday I put the finishing touches on 2 Grand Tours. The first one was Team Strange's Anniversary Tour, involving spelling TEAM STRANGE AIRHEADS 30 with town enter signs or post offices using the first letter of the town. There was an alternate method spelling the phrase in the least mount of towns such as using TEAneck NJ for the first 3 letters of TEAM. I grabbed the last town for that method in IRA, VT and was getting ready to post my results, deciding to reread the rules. There would be only 1 winner with this method and all others that submitted this way would get zilch so I opted to fill in the missing letters.


Needed 2 E's and 1 A, Sunday grabbed Attleboro, East Greenwich and Exeter.


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For this one I had to ride down the sidewalk and park right in front of the door. One person said I looked I was all prepared for Ebola, because of my one piece riding suit. I smiled. Others just gave me this kinda of look that my bike did not belong where it was.

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Slideshow of all 20 towns and routes (route 30) CLICK HERE

The President Tour sounded easy in the beginning of the season. Grab towns and/or counties that are named for Presidents, earn 1 point. Get the birth places find evidence of such get 4 points, limited to 5. Big Bonus locations (10 Points), the closest location for me was Washington DC and the Washington Monument. 30 points for a picture of you, your bike and any living current or ex US President. For both of these tours, you had to score at least 25 points to finish.


Finishing this tour up I grabbed Lincoln RI on Sunday and headed into the Boston area for John F Kennedy's birthplace in Brookline and George H Bush in Milton.


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CLICK THIS for the places I grabbed for this tour. Less than 20 pictures.


Sent both in on Monday night. I don't have a clue how many folks are competing in these. The Double Down tour has at least 100 participants and results will be announced October 25th or so.


What do I get for these, entry into some prize pools, a pin, a T-Shirt and some great roads getting there.






Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Last Double Down

Well this could be the last time
This could be the last time
Maybe the last time
I don't know. Oh no. Oh no
Well, this could be the last time
Mike Jagger /Keith Richards ~ Rolling Stones ~ 1965

At least it is the last one for this year. This was right in my back yard and almost forgot to get it. Keep saying I can pick that village up any time.

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And so ends the Double Down Tour for me. Captured 290 points and visited 273 towns. 




The Double Down Tour is sponsored by the Glacier Lakes Motorcycle Club based out of South Dakota. I have been participating in them for the last 5 years. Lots of fun and you go places you wouldn't normally go to. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cape Disappointment - Run for Points.

Earlier in the week I had planned this ride and was amazed at the amount of tons that qualify for the Double Down Tour were on the Cape. Figured I throw in some post offices for the Team Strange Anniversay 30 Grand Tour made it an almost must go ride. Morning comes and there is a bit a chill in the house, so I put on a long sleeve wicking shirt, figuring my arms would be cold. Got the GPS's ready, put everything in the little cloth briefcase and walked out the door to the get the bike ready. BAM it's only 7am and the temperature is in the 70's, then the chilly crisp air one would expect in Fall. Damn the leaves are falling off the trees and it feels like August. Must be Gores fault.


Entries for the Double Down Tour need to be mailed on Monday, Sept 30th, making this the last hurrah for towns. On the road by 8am heading for Rehoboth, MA Post Office for the Anniversary tour and then Assonet, MA for both the pizza place and Post Office.

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Now I am not going make you read about all the places I gathered today because A> they are pretty boring B> The skies are blue blue blue and there are not clouds, making for some piss poor photos C> The Cape just ain't that interesting.

Here's Assonet Pizza and it is for lease. This doesn't surprise me. Assonet has a population of 4,000 or so. Looking at Google Maps there has to be 50+ pizza places in the area. If I take a quick math stab at this figure rent, electric and help runs 2500/month (that's on the cheap end) or 30K a year. Figure average pizza in 15 with 10 margin, to break even they gotta sell 3000 pizzas a year to break even. So with the 4000 folks in Assonet for all of the places to break even would be 3000 * 50 or 150,000 pizza or 37 pizzas a person a year or 1.5 pizzas a week for each person in Assonet. This in not families this each person from age 1 month to 100+years old. I just don't understand how pizza places stay open in so many numbers in a given area. I guess Assonet Pizza figured this out too, but their bank account was empty and then the light went off.

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The Post Office was right across the street.

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Passed thru Freetown, stopped in Mattapoisett.

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While we are not on the Cape, we are close, a local land mark in Mattapoisett. I pulled up on the side walk for this picture and still had to step into traffic for the picture. It was right by an intersection so I had the traffic light to regulate the flow of vehicles. Given that a lady still felt compelled to remind me I was standing on the road with her horn and a hand gesture. I returned it.

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If you pass thru Bourne you can't miss the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge. Can't you picture going to the movies to see Pirates of Buzzards Bay ?? Great name. Bridge was built in 1933 by the Public Works Administration. When it was built it was the longest vertical lift span in the world. Today it is the 2nd longest.

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Headed for Pocasset, MA for the Pocasset Nail Salon, picture purposely omitted. However did stop at Hoagie's Diner.

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What a great place to have a meal. Classic Mountain View Diner built in 1954. It was originally the Berlin Diner in New Jersey and then moved to Connecticut in 2001 and then relocated to Pocasset in 2004. Now the diner itself is pretty neat but I had 2 eggs flipped and broken with hash, home fries and sourdough toast. Hash was home made and so good I didn't put any ketchup on it. Cooked perfectly with just a hint of charring making it just a little crispy. The eggs were also perfect, with a slight browning on the edges. Waitresses were a pleasure.

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I really should have checked the focus on the plate, but I was too much in a hurray to dive in and eat.

Riding down 28 see a sign for Sippewissett. That's a hat trick town and figured I would follow the road to see if I could find a sign. BINGO

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Next stop is the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Established in 1930, it is the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the US.

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Passed thru Falmouth, on the green they were holding a car show. What made this different was Ferraris, Maserati's and other such exotics. Really wanted to stop but I had other places to go.

Fast forward to Hyannisport Club. Some wiki info. The Hyannisport Club is a private club with an 18 hole golf course, located at 2 Irving Avenue (at Scudder Avenue) in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. The club was founded in 1897 and the golf course was finalized in 1903. The course is an original Donald Ross design which plays 6,257 yards from the blue tee markers. While the course is short in terms of yardage, it is often called "the toughest 6200 yards in golf" because of the famous Hyannisport wind which usually blows directly off of Nantucket Sound. The club boasts some of the most scenic views on Cape Cod and is known for having water visible on every hole although coincidentally, there are no water hazards on the course. The course is located adjacent to the Kennedy Compound and the Kennedy family have long been members of the club.

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One of the scenic views

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Then the drudgery. Thru Hyannis, the Dennis's and Bass River. Wanted a picture of the store but it would have been to difficult to get the bike up on the sidewalk for the picture. Instead I grabbed this one and then road down the sidewalk right passed some folks having lunch on the tables outside a little café. I don't even think they noticed me.

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My turn around point was 20 miles away in Wellfleet. Once I hit the movie theater, I turned west on 6 and headed back to the traffic. Really there is some beautiful ocean views along the way and nice lighthouses, they just weren't in the cards today.

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On the way back off the Cape I hit Dennis again and did not remember if I got Dennis itself. Grabbed a pic of the Dennis Library and turned off on this side street because they GPS said I could turn around this way. The road got narrow, kind of choppy tarmac, just like it was going to turn to dirt and then this. I had a hard enough time turning the bike around and I wasn't going to see how deep the hole really was. I wasn't that far into this to not turn around. Wouldn't want to get the FJR dirty.

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Hit the Cummaquid Golf Club. I just love those Indians and their names. Great for tours like this.

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Picture of the Sagamore Bridge crossing Cape Cod Canal. You can't tell from the picture, but the sun is dropping fast.

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Off the Cape and riding on RT 6 was brutal because the sun was directly in your eyes. Glad I don't travel this road frequently. Can't imagine what it is like in the winter with the snow and ice working as reflectors.

Hit Middleborough High School. Decision time, head to Elmwood or head home. Elmwood is only 12 miles away, so really not that far.

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Elmwood satisfied both the Double Down with the florist shop and the Team Stange with the Post Office. Actually inched the bike forward for the PO shot.

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One more stop in Rayhnam for the Post Office and 35 miles to home. Almost skipped this but according to the GPS it was only an additional 2 miles, I think it was more.

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Pulled into home right around 8:30 or so to eat and then head for the airport in Boston to pick up my daughter Dani. MeAsWe told me their flight was changed and they were coming in tomorrow so I got to throw my legs up on the couch and watch the LMN Channel (Lunatics, Maniacs and Necrophiliacs) movie MeAsWe had on.


Click >>> Slideshow for previously filmed scenes not shown.





Trip was 321 miles, good for getting some points and a great breakfast, other than that it was Cape Disappointment.

T 2014 09 27

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summers Last Ride

Took Monday and Tuesday off this week for vacation. Planned a 3 day trip hitting the Catskills, Adirondacks and coming back thru. Vermont. After last weeks Ton Tour and rain on Sunday I figured I would shorten up the ride and chase Ira, VT for an Entering Ira sign for the Team Strange Anniversary Tour. That could be done in a day.


This is going to be much more relaxed and enjoy the roads and scenery ride. The ride last week was a bit grueling but got alot towns done. Gonna smell the roses, well at least pine trees. I let Mapsource pick the roads to my first stop, just reviewed to make sure not hitting any interstates for long stretches.


Left right right around 9am, letting the cool nights warm up abit. I am and was thankful I decided to wear my long First Gear tops and bottoms. At 70mph it is a bit chilly out. Around 11am or so I hit Chester VT and figured it was a good time to stop for something to eat and drink. I almost bought a mug, but after looking at it for a while realized I had one. I must have 50 Diner mugs in my collection, so I tend forget what I have.


I have eaten at the Country Girl Diner a couple of times, having one of the best reubens I have ever had. I remember the last time I was here there was a For Sale sign and it must have changed hands. No more reubens like they were. The Country Girl is a 1951 Silk City Diner.

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Heading out of Chester into Chester Depot this intersection just grabbed me. It reeks of history and had to pull on the camera. Chesters roots date back to the 1750's.

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Heading up RT 103 I knew about Cuttingsville VT, however when planning the trip I could not find any signs for the town so it was not a target. Caught this out of the corner of my eye and turned around to go back for it. There was a older gentlemen (notice I didn't say old, it is a kettle pot thing)on a tractor that dismounted and came over to see what I was doing. Gave him a brief explanation and he begins rattling off Double Down towns. We spoke for a good 15 minutes.

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Chittenden wasn't too far away. The Eddy Brothers, traveling sideshow psychic twins, grew up in Chittenden. I think they knew I was coming.

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Heading for Pittsford, North Chittenden Weslyan Church crossed my path. This church was built in 1831 and was bought for 125 by the current congregation. They have moved into a new building in Pittsford, however do hold services here from time to time.

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Pittsford was named for William Pitt, first settled as a frontier town in 1769, about 60 miles north of Bennington. It is the location of two historical picket forts used by the militia during the American Revolutionary War: Fort Mott (built in 1777), and Fort Vengeance (built from 1780 to 1781).

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Found my way into Proctor VT. This bridge was so stunning that I had to stop for a picture. In 2004 the Proctor Marble Arch Bridge restoration project was the recipient of the Marble Institute Award of Merit for "commitment to preservation of the original stonework. When the marble quarries in Italy became unserviceable Proctor became the leading source of fine marble to much of the world. The marble quarries were shut down in the 1980's

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Finally hit the main destination of the day, the Entering Ira sign on the west bound side of RT 4. Spelling Team Strange AIRheads 30 efficiently covers the IR in Air. Choices for this tour is a Post Office or Town Limit or Entering sign.

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A delightful ride down RT 133 into Middletown Springs brings me to my next destination. Population right around 750 was established in 1784 due to the difficulty getting to other towns for meetings and worship due to the mountains.

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Hit North Bennington right around 4pm. The ride down RT 7 was nice and fast.

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Knocked off the Hoosics (North Hoosick, Hoosick and Hoosick Falls) 1-2-3. Real interesting places eh.

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Also grabbed this post office in North Hoosick. I thought I had seen the smallest post office in Henderson Harbor, NY but this one is smaller

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Heading into Bennington VT stopped for the scenic shot. Taken along NY 102.

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Last stop of the day was at the Bennington Museum. I pulled up, positioned the bike and dropped the kickstand, leaning and then leaning so more and then even further until the bike was properly set. Dismounted took a couple of shots. Mounted and tried to upright the bike. A big pull didn't budge a bit. Again, nothing. There is no way I am going to get this bike up. Start looking around the parking lot for help, it's pretty empty and no one is outside. Get off and was actually able to push the FJR uphill a bit to a spot with decreased the lean angle on the kickstand. Abit of a struggle but it worked. Maybe my age and the weight is catching up with me.

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From here the route was to home. I am 150 miles out and 3 hours of travel. Will hit home in the dark. As the sun disappeared the temps dropped, DAH. They got into the high 40's for a bit, while the Frogg Togg over the mesh suit worked, my finger tips were getting real cold. If they are cold, seems like the rest of you is chilled. Glad I had a set of winter gloves in the GIVI. Rode down RT 7 thru Pittsfield, Lenox, and Lee picking up the Mass Pike. Right around Charlton MA about 25 miles from home, my hands started to cramp up, the thumb joint on the right and the index finger was getting so I could not bend it. Stopped at the service area for some water and french fries. It is amazing a simple 10 / 15 minute stop, how refreshed you feel getting back on the bike.

All told some 410 miles for the day and the last ride of summer completed. Tomorrow is the first day of fall.

T 2014 09 22

Having completed the Efficiency Mode of the Team Strange Anniversary 30 Tour, I reread the rules. The objective was to spell those words out with the least amount of towns, hence the ride to Ira, a lot closer than Irasburg. Well it seems there is s only 1 person that will qualify for points in the Efficiency mode. All others who submit this way get nada, zilch, duck egg, nix, a big fat zero. I just know someone will find a town called Team and Strange. Thank goodness this one ends October 31, I still have time to pick up a few more towns.