Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chasin Submarines and Town Halls

That is the penalty for going too fast on the FJR. It’s Sunday, an absolutely gorgeous November day out and not many left in this year. MeAsWe and I decide to head for the Submarine Base and Museum in Groton CT.

Now we can head out RT 16, pick up I-395 South and be there in about 45 minutes, but that is not the way the FJR wants to go. We could take CT 169, a national scenic byway, but we have been on that many times, so I plot a route using Town Halls between Uxbridge and Groton as points to vary our roads. The Vanilla Bean will act as a stop, maybe see Jack and Kathy there. They did mention they were going there from Leominster on the boards the previous night.

Our travels take us first to Webster. We pass Gracie’s Diner, we decide to stop for breakfast here. This is a no pressure day, we don’t have to be anywhere at any specific time or chase those OSJ treasures. This is a ride for riding that just happens to have some photo ops on the way. Gracie’s Diner turns out to be a great little place to eat, and as a bonus I figure I can turn it into a waymark somehow. Breakfast done we head for the Dudley Town Hall.

We never did find the Dudley TH so we headed off to Thompson, then Putnam and land ourselves at the Vanilla Bean. Dismounting we wander around looking at the various bikes. MeAsWe points to a table and Kathy and Jack are just sitting down. We wander over and spend the next 45 minutes or so talking bikes, kids and other subjects.

Pictures along the way to Pomfret CT

We stop at the Pomfret TH and then head for Hampton down RT 97 and some other back roads. What really neat about using little destinations such as TH’s, you end up on roads you would never travel on. Before Hampton we pass one of those CT historical markers and of course I have to make a U’ey and capture the mark.

We find ourselves at the Abington Meeting House, the oldest meeting house in CT (see above). This just has to be on the NRHP. Scotland is the next destination, along with Samuel Huntington’s Birthplace, a National Landmark.

Continuing a southerly direction, we head for Sprague and Norwich. Sprague is a bunch of little villages combined such as Versailles, Baltic and Hanover to make up the municipality. Heading further south we hit Norwich Town Hall. This is a really neat old building and has quite a bit of history associated with it. I circle the block a couple of times to capture all of this building. When I get home something went a flooey with my camera and only captured 3 out of at least 9 pictures I have taken. This has happened to me before where I snap the picture and somehow never gets saved on the card. What a disappointment, but Norwich is really not that far away and we can return.

Anchor outside Groton City Hall

Back on the road we pick up RT12 that follows the Thames River to the Sub Base. Waymarking has a category for military installations, however the last time I took a picture of the entrance of one of these places, I had 4 cars screaming out of the entrance, surrounding me and 4 military MP’s standing around me as I stood there with my camera in hand. The military is a bit sensitive about having their picture taken.

We pull up to the museum at the Sub Base to find it closed and will resume its schedule tomorrow. Disappointed yeah, but it really is a beautiful day and we can always come back here. Adjusting our route we head for the Groton TH and then coffee at Norm’s Diner.

Norm’s is one of the first diners I visited back in 2005, and is one of the original places that started this whole chase the place down thing. Norm’s has changed hands many times in the last 4 years, but still remains one of the last 24 hours diners in New England.

Coffeed out, about 3:30,we don’t have much sunlight left. Leaving Groton we had a little side excursion which can be read at Side Bar with the Law

The rest of the day was heading north grabbing towns like Griswold, Preston and some more marks like Smokey the Bear and Gurdon Bill’s Store.

Gurdon Bill's store and major stage coach way point

The sun disappears, the temps drop 15 degrees and we make it to RT 6 hanging a right. We stop to put on additional layers and find the closest highway for home. Damn these days are getting too short.

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