Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Aching in Acra, Fighting off Medusa, Zooming to Zoar

We are heading out to the Finger Lakes purely to capture Z to A towns. I did throw some National Historic Landmarks just because they were on the way. This is going to be our first short longish trip of the year, some 850 or so miles in the 2 days.  Pictures are clickable and will enlarge

We traveled all the way out to New York via the Mass Pike and I 90 over the Castleton Bridge. First stop is Ravena NY, target is a welding place.

Having left about 7:30 and being ravished in Ravena, we stopped at the Ravena Diner for breakfast. Nothing real special about this diner. Good food, ok prices and was just there. There was no other place we passed by in the next hour, where I said "Darn we should of waited".

I been taking a lot of run down / collapsing buildings lately. They are just neat. Today is to be no different. I passed this and then passed the turn I was suppose to take to the next town, so I had to make a U-Turn anyways and not to let a U-Turn go to waste I went back for this barn.

This one involved no U-Turn, I was dead square in front of me.

I could tell MeAsWe was struggling getting on and off the bike. It was at this point we started discussing heading back home and cutting the trip shore. MeAsWe said lets go a little further and see whats up.
We grabbed Acra and I pulled out the map of where we were and how far we had to go. We were into this trip at right around 180 miles, with 140 miles to go we at 10+ stops.  I said to MeAsWe  the next stop is our drop dead do or die go or no go stop.
 Medusa reared here ugly head but we stopped and got pictures anyways. Population right around 400, first settled in 1786 by Uriah Hall and his son. This is the Medusa General Store and also is the post office.
Having the feeling this was gonna be our turn around point I headed into the store to see what it look like. Pretty neat place. The shelves reminded me of the store my mother would shop in the 50's.
The original owners I presume
The complete outside view
The neighborhood. Right across the street.
Out came the map and programming to be done on the GPS. Yup we are heading back at this point. MeAsWe is really hurtin. I am sure we could have lasted the day, however we had all day tomorrow to hit up places too. Looking at the little map I could see the miles would be essentially the same if we headed for North Adams to get home. We this we could pick up Florida, Zoar and Zylonite. Ok most of you MA riders know Florida Zoar, but how about the 3rd one. I know of one NER that does.
Picked up a couple of Post Offices for waymarking on the way. These were stops but no getting off, just shoot from the bike.  MeAsWe was ok with this.

This one use to be a school house. District 5,  I think. We are on route 2 in New York and will ride all the way into Williamstown on this 2. What a nice road. Very scenic. 
There was something about this bridge I liked, not sure what is was but its there.
We hit Williamstown and saw this little house on a common. I figured it just had to be on the register, so we rounded the roundabout and parked in the library driveway.
Come to find out that this was built with tools for the 1700's  for some celebration. Still neat thou. Right behind the library are some rather sizable homes. This one is for sale. I can't imagine how much it is. Too bad they didn't have an open house.
Break over we head looking for Zylonite. I found where it is and maybe a sign, but this one gonna remain a secret. Did get this really neat Green House. Full resolution picture can be found HERE
With the Zy town grabbed only 2 targets left. Florida and Zoar. First hit was in Florida was a bust. The library does not say Florida. Back on RT 2 the Mohawk Trail and the fire station is presented to us head on.
One more to go. An easy one. I have been here a couple of times for Chases.
With this we have no more stops. Garmin is trying to route us down I91 to the Mass Pike. I figure a nice leisurely ride across RT 2 and then down RT 122 and home is a much better way. Had to stop in Charlemont for this joint. The size of this place is immense for a general store, built in 1855.
There was construction along RT 2 making quite a few of the bridges one lane. Each one had one of those portable stop lights. Grabbed the last photo of the day. I had a feeling there was something special about this school. This is oldest one room school house in Massachusetts and it is the second oldest one room school house in the US. Built in 1828, it had its last class in 1944.
Well there was one more stop, McDonalds in Greenfield for a bit to eat. I had one those Pomegranate / Blueberry smoothies. MeAsWe warned me it was gonna give me a massive headache like they usually do. As usual she was right, but we were one with the pain. Her shoulder, my head. Mine went away and I finished the smoothie with a spoon. We pulled right around 7:15 clocking just shy of 400 miles.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mounting Ida, Carousing with Chelsea, Wooing Wyoma

Another one of those days. Do I head for Zoar for a Z town or head toward Boston for some A towns. MeAsWe is hmmm hawing about going. She is trying to decide on the ride or yard work. I went back to create 2 routes, one heading west, one heading east. Said to MeAsWe, I'll give ya 10 miuntes to figure it out. She opted for the yard work. Can you believe it !!!????!!!. With that said I figured I might as well hit the Boston route.

So why would anybody pick a route toward Boston. While there are some very nice scenic roads inside the 128 belt, this was going to be city riding. So why ? Because there are towns that end in A that way. The agenda today is a relatively a short list. Mount Ida, Kenberma, Chelsea, Wyoma, Billerica and North Billerica.  Camp Nashoba is on the list, but a soft hit. Usually there are 25 or so places we hit in a day, today is gonna be a leisure ride.

There are 2 ways to run Grand Tours like this one. Just head for the location and find a sign with the name on it or target a specific place to capture. I usually (98% of the time) target my places so I know there will be a sign there. Fire stations, police stations, city halls, libraries are all good bets. Libraries are not as good because people have a tendency to etch someone's name in stone on them because of some donation or contribution to the town. I use Google Maps to find the town, then search for the town name to find specific targets, then try to use street view to see the signs. Yes alot of work but my success rate is pretty high. 50% of the time while riding into the town I fnd a sign that will work and just pick that up.

Originally I had my self heading to Mount Ida via city streets. I got a late start, so I bring up Mount Ida College in the favorites, request the  fastest route and hop on the Mass Pike. This will be the only interstate until the end of the day.

At Mount Ida College I pass the guard shack. I did stop, but the guard simply nodded and rode in looking for a good sign. Right at the entrance was a good sign, but I figure I got plenty of time I would have to ride around the campus. Pretty deserted. Didn't have to stop once for students crossing the street. Either they are in the dorm rooms studying or getting over a hangover. It is Sunday. Found one banner right outside the athletic field, which is the only place that shows any life. Opted for the sign at the entrance.

All photos are clickable and will enlarge for a more complete experience

Not sure what this is, maybe a perpetual oil rig, water pump, pumpkin thrower, thing for hurling tar at the warring attackers, or simply a piece of art.

Next stop is Kenberma. Stopped along the way to take some photos of stuff.

Passing thru Weymouth I just had to stop for this school. It was so bold and bright. Maybe why the place is called Stars. Jefferson School was built in 1889, which reflects Queen Anne (Victorian Age) architecture. This place has numerous waymarking category opportunities, clock, dated building, on the National Register of Historic Places, and a couple more I am missing

I passed these bikes in Hingham, MA and actually turned around to go back and take pictures of them. It was not because there was anything special about the bikes, it was the colors that caught my eye.

Hingham is full of historic buildings and need to come back here with a list of places. It was settled in 1633 and incorportated the next year. History lesson over.  Right about here on, the breeze kicked up and the temps dropped. While I was not freezing, I did get to see how meshy my new riding suit was. Plenty of air was flowing thru it.

Hull is on Nantasket Penisula  , so you get the wind from both sides. My destination is Kenberma  a town neighborhood of Hull. The creator of Napstar (remember them) spent alot of time in Hull.

Before I got into Hull proper, I stopped here for this wonderful panoramic vista. It was much better coming out of the my eyes than my interpretation with a camera.

The bath house at Nantasket State Reservation is a really neat Art Deco building built in 1930. 

MeAsWe and I came here a couple of years ago specifically to get the Massachusetts State Park Passport Stamp. The box had been smashed to pieces and the stamp was gone. This time the box was intact with the padlock on it. In the passport book they provide the combo. One problem, the salt air had welded the tumblers to the lock body and they would not spin. Not to be deterred, I walked back to the bike and got my handy four in one screw driver. I tried to force one of the tumblers but all I did was jam the screwdriver into  my hand and make it bleed. I looked at the lock, the hinge, looked up to see if there was anybody official looking and then flipped the phillips head bit in the screwdriver and unscrewed the three screws that held the hinge to the box, reached in got the stamp, stamped my book, and screwed the hinge back onto the box. Mission accomplished.

On the way into Hull I passed this joint. Parked the bike, dismounted and asked the 3 guys if the dogs were any good (as I was pointing the joint), to which they said, not bad if they were open. Being off the bike figured I might as well take some pictures of Massachusestts Bay. The 3 gents were riders so of course the conversation got around to bikes. One guy had the premo spot on the wall where he could lean his back against the railing.  Perfect for those really hot days to watch the young girls all oiled up struttin their stuff. This was not one of those days, but he was saving the spot.

Back into Hull, thru Hingham and meandered up 3A toward Quincy along the coast. Brrr it was breezy and chilly.

In North Weymouth caught this out of the corner of my eye and went back for a pic. This is an old Cities Services gas station built in 1928. The section that juts out was actually a portico that you could drive you car under. Cities Services is now CITGO. I stopped for a few more pics on the way. At this rate I am never gonna get to my next stop.

Some how I got rooted up onto 93 (bad routing on my part) (and I lied at the beginning about interstates)(actually I forgot) and found myself stuck in traffic with the wind whipping, the mist cooling the air even more than it was and no where to pull over to put a jacket on. It was nice finally to hit the tunnel, it smelled of fumes but it was warm. For that moment warm was more desirable than fresh air.

Thru Boston and over the Tobin Bridge. My exit was 4th street, but it came up so fast, it looked like a turnout out not an exit, I missed it. Not a big problem in term of miles it cost me maybe 2 extra miles, but in city traffic that is like 20 miles of forest rat infested roads, except the forest rats are made of metal, have four pieces of rubber instead of legs, but are just as unpredictable. Arrived at Chelsea City Hall and grabbed a couple of pictures.

At this point the sky had a serious deep gray tone to it, the kind that water pours out of, and considered heading home. Wyoma is so close. Now if you are not from Mass, Wyoma means nothing to you. If you are from Massachusetts, I bet most are saying where the heck is Wyoma. I found it and targetted 2 places, the True Hardware, and the Dairy Twirl. The Dairy Twirl is on a trafficitty road with no place to dismount, so I pulled right up on the sidewalk. Between the Dairy Twirl and the street was a guardrail so I had to stand in the street to get the shot, at least the bike was protected.

While I was taking the picture a car stopped and asked me what the heck I was doing. My answer I needed to come to Wyoma and take a picture with my flag. They both laughed and continued on.

While on route I crossed over this bridge, got a quick glance of a stone structure to my right. At the next street I made a U turn and headed back. What really caught my eye was a little plaque in the structure that looked like the plagues to designate a Civil Engineering Landmarks. Sure enough this was part of the Middlesex Canal built in 1794 and completed in 1802. The Middlesex Canal connected the Merrimac River in  Lowell, MA to Boston Harbor. The canal was  the first to use hydraulic cement.

Not even to my next destination and the clouds are still darkening, I just couldn't resist stopping for this. I almost have the complete collection of the New Hampshire markers and  I have been doing a pretty good job of knocking these off as well. Of course this is on the NRHP and good for waymarking.

Skies haven't lightened up, matter of fact they were a tad more ominous. Billerica is on the way home. Picked up Bellerica High School and headed for North Billerica Baptist Church. It was the only thing that came up North Billerica in Google. Not knowing really where I was, I thought it was unusual I was routed onto US 3 North. Now that I look at a map I realize I am inside the 495 belt and this was on the way home. Felt a couple of drops.

Grabbed the needed picture of the church and realized it was well over 100 years old and qualifies for a waymark in the category of This Old Church and will also qualify as a Baptist Church and probably on the NRHP. Walked around and took a bunch of pictures of not only the church but a couple of the houses that I thought would be historic places too.

All targets but one have been captured, the next stop is Camp Nashoba. This is a real iffy place. I don't have a clue if there will be a sign there. Hopped on I-495, headed south and the rain began. I am 50+ miles out and opted to get Camp Nashoba another time, if at all.

All in all I had a great ride. Lots of urban streets with plenty to see, some coast line with their  panaromic vistas, and county type roads once I headed out of Wyoma. The ride had a little bit of everything, but most of all it was a ride without incident, matter of fact not any thing I would call a close call, not even a horn.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Twist and Shout

Last night I had selected a couple of places to go on the bike. Open house at Whitehorse Gear in NH was a possible shot. Then there was a run to Bubs BBQ with the Mass Motoring group. I got a call from Magilla saying he was gonna be at Giff's tomorrow with his new bike to him for a sticker. Then there was the deep contemplation on how I was going to open an account for the half billion I was going to the win in the lottery. All this thinking made me tired. (you can click any of the photo's and they will get bigger, then you can just blast thru the picks and skip the commentary if you want, I wouldn't but you can, if you want that is, you really shouldn't)

By the time this morning rolled around I was still exhausted and just opted for Giff's. I was headed to McD's for coffee and passed this guy.  My morning started out much better than his for sure. They needed their morning coffee much more than me.

Being inspection time in Mass for motorcycles I expected to see a huge crowd there. Kind of like an opening day at a HD place without the free food. Some interesting bikes always show up at Giff's during this process

Mike (Magilla) finally showed up 45 minutes late for his appointment. This is his new Valk to Him. This bike is not quiet but not annoying loud like some. It has that Mark Donahue Cam Am Porsche sound, if you can remember those.  He also had a very loud horn installed to make sure any cars crowding his space are jolted back where they belong with the sonic boom. With that said his apparel has to be just as loud. Can you say VISIBLE !!

Oh that's Doug standing next to Magilla admiring the new bike. He was in for a sticker as well.

As I said interesting bikes and people show up during this time of the year. There was the kid on the sport bike with 50,000+ miles on it and this was his back up bike. He actually rides his bike. For a good part (wanted to say most part) the bikes show up with less than 10,000 miles on them and the trip to Giff's might be the longest one of the year to boot.  Then there is the vintage ones

With Mike and Doug here, Bill running around working and me, it is almost like a mini gathering of the second wave NER folks. (NER= New England Riders). Conversation wanders in and out about age, car tires on bikes, brownies, new jobs, old jobs and just about anything that comes to mind.
This guy had a similar morning to the guy up there.

One of the topics gets around to heading to Twisted Throttle after Giff gets done looking at brakes, rotted tires, and telling the guy to come back next week with the baffles put back in the pipes. They are holding their annual open house.

I finally have a place to go. I am having real problems this year about getting on the bike. With only one grand tour I am competing in, I feel like a sail boat without the wind, or the canoe with no paddle or Lizzie without here axe. I head home to get ready. If were are gonna go I might as well grab some towns down that way I need.

We got there without incident, Well sort of, Giff flipped his flip phone out of his flippin holder to the the freakin street. I am sure his flippin flip fone is in a least four pieces now. As soon as we rounded the corner we ran into Linda and Jay (I sure hope I remembered that name right), new riders with the NER. I followed Linda a couple of weeks back on her Bandit and she can really ride that thing.

And then there were some folks we didn't know. Actually we didn't know most of them.


And there were vendors too.
There was the neat bikes.

And then there was the entertainment

Right behind these guys was one of Twisted Throttle vendors presenting classes on safe riding skills. Not sure if those guys teach this stuff.

Back in 2007 I went to Twisted Throttle's open house. Matter of fact I had just gotten my Connie that weekend. It was in an old warehouse (which was really neat). I think the guy who started it was just in business for a little less than a year at the time. I remember this because I met his parents there and we got to discussing his catalog (which was a piece of art work) and his mother said "Not bad for being in business for a year".  In the last stunt picture I think the owner is standing by the Continental sign. Impression of where he has come. WOW, his store is unbelievably laid out. This is not your run of the mill motorcycle apparel and accessory shop, this is a well thought out boutique. Display, color , people, classes, knowledge, great products, products you can't get just anywhere, this place has GOT IT ALL and has a really cool name to boot.

Then it was time to depart. But I still had daylight even if the clouds were trying to squeeze out the sun. Next stop a Z to A town. This years GLMC Grand Tour are towns that begin in Z or end in A. There are not many towns that meet this criteria in New England, so it is going to be a tough time getting a lot of towns. Last year we hit 212 towns, this year it is gonna be hard to get to 100, I could always expand the boundary to OH and KY.

My tasks for the day were done. Now it was the ride home. Before I left I planned a route that was not exactly the most direct way to get home. Choices, Choices, head home the quick way, beat the rain and the chill. or see where the purple line will take me. Purple line won out.
Stopped to take a picture of this house. This place just struck me. The rippely roof, the falling down entry way roof, over grown bushes, peeling paint. It was just screaming "pay attention to me, I got some history here". What was really neat the cars to my right and left would realize I was taking pictures and actually stopped while I was aiming the camera. Not just one, but a couple of times.
There was the rusted water tower, also saying What about me
I stopped here because of the pink tree. I just stood out and emulated spring. So to contrast the shot I swung about 90 degrees and grabbed this. Needed to finish out the rust series.

Of course who could pass up a dam and waterfall.
At this pace I am never gonna get home. But I have to, to see if I won the half billion dollars in the Powerball Lottery.
I grabbed this one to waymark, it's a state park. Kind of neat light in the trees. The sun finally came back out.
So all in all it was a great day, only thing missing was MeAsWe to see some of these places.