Thursday, March 28, 2013

You meet the nicest people in a Hot Dog Joint

And Honda thought they were the only ones with this secret.

I don’t know why it holds true, it just does. I was in Webster taking pics of the buildings by the railroad tracks. Stomach growling, right around 1pm and a Dunkin Donuts across the street from the Eddy Block, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Eddy Block

I started to cross the street when this woman tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to this sign

Now my friend Giff, has got me going on Dunkin Donuts Ham and Cheese and Turkey sandwiches on a French roll, but this is HOT DOGS. Who can pass up hot dogs, so in I go and order 2 chili dogs with cheese and onions. There was nothing special about the dog, but like diners, dog joints aren’t just about the food. There were 2 gentlemen and the woman cook. She quickly delivers the 2 dogs, I grab an orange soda.

We talked about where the Spaulding Block was. (it was right next door) We talked about concerts we had gone to in the past, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rush. We talked about Coney Island and other amusement parks. We talked about the number of other hot dog joints, one gentlemen started rattling off about them.  I found out this place had been open just about a year. All of this and more, in less than ½ hour.

A tad colorful, ya thnk ?

They are located at 119 Main St, Webster, MA. When I tried to find these guys on the net I came across this  Get Your Red Hots Here

In these little joints you really do meet the nicest folks. Too bad MeAsWe missed out on this.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times,The Fix

Headed out about 12:15pm this afternoon to pick up a spot I forgot to grab yesterday. While I was en route I remembered one of the NER riders said something about a RTE (ride to eat) at the Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, CT. Being a nice day and having a sun roof in the MINI, endless great music on the Flash Drive, I searched the GPS, found the VB and said Take me There.

The Best of Times

Met 4 fellow riders at the VB. They rode their bikes, mine still is parked in the garage.

We told some stories, listened to some stories and then it was time to go. I headed for Webster on the back roads of CT.  Picked up some scenic spots along the way.


The Worst of Times

I saw it. There was blood oozing from my MINI. A wound, a stab, a slash. It was ruined.

Maybe my MINI had been unfaithful to me at the Bean, Lipstick on it's collar. A closer look.

My MINI had been raped. How could this had happened. I was pissed. One month old and it has been marred and I didn't even get to do it.

I went about my travels, traveled through Webster, picked up the spot I needed and headed for the showers. The MINI felt so dirty and violated it needed a shower.

Well the MINI felt clean but evidence of the violation was still present, just a bit cleaner.

The kid finished wiping down the MINI and I was about to leave, when this Chrysler 300 pulled up beside me. The guy in the car waved to me to put the window down. I complied and he said pull up over there and I will fix that for you. It will be a minute.

The Fix

And it was gone. The gentlemen was behind me in the car wash and saw the mark. He said I just couldn't see a brand new car leaving with that mark on the bumper. I can't say how happy I was. 

Better than the mark being gone (which is pretty damn good) is the customer service this guy offered. He did not have to do this, but just did because he did. It doesn't get much better than that. This was at the Imperial Car Wash in Mendon, MA. I had my Chevy detailed here just before I traded it in on the MINI (another dumb thing I did, having it detailed) and they did a superb job at a great price.

The World is back in balance. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done ....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bring It On Home to the Hanover

This weekend MeAsWe and Me (or is that I) went to see ClassicAlbunsLive performance of Led Zeppelin II. This is not a tribute band, but the sole purpose is to replicate the sound of Led Zeppelin. When I bought the tickets, I said to myself I really wish they were playing Zep I, but II was just as good. One of the band members came out to explain stuff to the audience. He stated we would not see any costumes, nor would there be any videos or change of clothes and they even may not play the same instruments as the original artists. What we could expect was to imagine coming home, pulling the album from it’s jacket, placing it on the turntable, sitting back, closing your eyes and become immersed in the music. The only thing we didn’t have to do is flip the album over to side 2.

They nailed it to a Z. (for Zeppelin, a little play on a Letter)

The first 15 seconds of their performance was a bit disappointing, but I had to remind myself that what I heard on the album was recorded in a studio and this was live. From then on I was amazed how good these musicians were.

To me the star of the show was the guy on Lead Guitar. I have always had an appreciation for Jimmy Page, for the blues and for a Gibson Les Paul. This guy had multiple Les Paul’s, but the one that really stuck in my mind was the Goldtop Les Paul. I don’t have a clue if it was authentic or not, but this particular LP was built primarily between 1952 – 1958. Based on his performance I am betting it was authentic. He also played a blonde Telecaster, which if original, dated to the 50’s as well.
This guy was a master and made me realize just how complicated Page’s riffs were. It also made my understand that Led Zeppelin’s music was pretty darn complicated because almost every piece started out and end completely different at the end with several transitions in the middle. I have always known this but seeing the music played live made you doubly aware of it.

The singer essentially got Robert Plant spot on. I never really paid much attention to the bass line in Zep. The drummer, while it’s tough to beat Bonham, he did an A++ job. He did Moby Dick just as if the group was there live. Page and Jones, initially on stage, leaving to let Bonham have his way with the skins, and came back at the end.

They finished up Led Zeppelin II and the lights came on. The  group speaker said they were going to take a little 20 minute break and come back and play some more. Out we went to the lobby to pee and have some more beer and went back to our seats.

Back in our seats after 20 minutes, the group essentially played the Led Zep I album in it's entirety and made strong cuts into III and IV.

We saw these guys at the Hanover Theater in Worcester, which is a great venue for this type of stuff. I can’t wait for Pink Floyd to roll around from ClassicAlbumsLive. I am sure I won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's Getting Close

Maybe a week a way, maybe 2

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Zip Zippin thru Woosta with the MINI

This being the first weekend with the MINI, it being new, I just had to think of somewhere to go. MeAsWe didn’t feel like going out, so off I went to visit with Giff for a while and then a small road trip. Of course I had my camera with me. What is a road trip without a camera? (all photos can be clicked and enlarged)

First stop was one of my favorite breakfast places, when I am not worried about calories (and by the looks of me I am never worried about calories) and having a hankering for French toast. Their Crunchy French Toast is worth the travel to this place.

Next planned stop is the Hanover Theater (the excuse for burning up gas for no other reason than the fun of it) and passed this Iconic place. Actually we ended up eating here on Sunday on our way in to see The Beatles. I had 2 of The Works and bought a mug to add to my collection of diner mugs. Hot dog places are in the same kinda of world as diners.

Having completed the required "absolute necessity to drive all the way to Worcester", which was to pick up the tickets for the Beatles performed by Rain on Sunday, I was zipping in and out of traffic, testing out the MINI’s handling capabilities and 6 speed transmission. I never got it out of third, because the turbo boost works best above 3,000 rpms and it sure is a blast. I found myself next to Holy Cross College. This is on the National Register of Historic Places and hasn’t been Waymarked yet. A quick tight right hand turn, which the MINI handles like a charm. Almost wants launch itself out of the turn and head up the hill to where St Joseph’s Chapel, Fenwick and O’Kane Hall are located. The 2 halls are on the NRHP. Snap off a couple of pictures, and start to head out for Franklin, MA.

Fenwick Hall - College of Holy Cross

O'Kane Hall - College of Holy Cross
St Joseph Memorial Chapel
College of Holy Cross
A bit of a history lesson. Holy Cross College was started in back in 1832 when Rev. James Fitton purchased 60 acres of land in Worcester. He sold his boarding school to Bishop Fenwick and the Diocese of Boston in 1843. Since the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were not granting charter to Catholic based schools, degrees were issued thru Georgetown College in Washington DC. After the Civil War was over and the anti-Catholic sentiment was relaxed Holy Cross was chartered and began offering degrees on their own. O'Kane and Fenwick Halls were the primary buildings for the school in the 1843. End history lesson.

Seeing that I was really the only one around, I just had to go into the Chapel, before leaving. It was pretty dark and the only light was the natural light coming thru the stained glass windows. This is pretty much what I saw when I entered.

Inside St Joseph Chapel

Since I had plenty of time I went back to the MINI, grabbed my tripod and set myself up almost to the end of the pews. What a perfect opportunity to practise taking some bracketed photos and creating an HDR version. I took 9 bracketed photos. Actually I took this sequence a couple of times. I was pleased and shocked by the outcome. Please click at least this one to see a bigger image.

I bet I was in the chapel for about an hour taking photos. Time to head for home. Another reason to be out was to return a Olympia 1 piece riding suit I bought from Motorcycle Superstore, so I was heading for the UPS store in Franklin, MA, a mere 38 miles away. You would think I was on the FJR, well it did kind of feel like like the FJR, except the helmet is bigger and this one has a stereo in it.

While I am heading down 146, MeAsWe calls me on the phone wondering if I am OK, I have been out since 9 and it is 3pm.  She is used to this when I am out on the FJR, but not when I am in a cage. She tells me there is a UPS pickup place in Northbridge and I don’t have to go all the way to Franklin. I could here her words as we were hanging up the phone “Just Sayin’. Oh one really neat thing about the MINI (and there are alot of neat things) it has a bluetooth connectivity and I don't have to hold my phone up to my ear. How kewl is that.

Get into Sutton, MA, passing the strip center and make a hard right into the parking lot. I don’t have this post office yet for Waymarking. The disease, affliction and need to chase stuff are in the MINI as well. Damn, will I ever get rid of this malady and find a cure for the problems within me ??

I couldn't end up on a plain ole photo of a pretty bland Post Office could I. Note how clean the MINI is.