Sunday, May 11, 2014

Poking Around the Pioneer Valley

If you happened to read my posting Dog Day Afternoon I ended the day in kind of a funk about riding. Since I was hurting so much from that ride, I went to bed early and of course woke up early. I think it was around 5 AM. Put on the coffee and headed for the computer to plan out a trip that I might take today. Today would be probably the longest jaunt so far this year and I was wondering if I could take the ache and pains that it would probably give me.

The sunrise was really beautiful and no doubt today would be the best riding weather so far in 2014. It was suppose to sunny and reach into the 80's. Routes complete, downloaded to the 1490 and 855, I was all set by 7am. MeAsWe got up around this time and we sat and watched Law and Order. Around 9am I got off my ass and pulled the FJR out of the garage and mounted the GPS's. Right around 10am I gave MeAsWe a kiss and headed off.

My first stop was in Chicopee, MA so rather than take the scenic route via US 20, I headed out the Mass Pike to get a jump on the day. It would be good to get the FJR up to 70+ speeds versus trudging along at 40 to 50. I wore a long sleeve wicking shirt under my one piece suit and was glad I did. Even though it was already in the 70's there was a chill or is it my blood thinning out.

Off the Mass Pike, some city streets, back on I391 I am headed south for a couple exits. Into a residential neighborhood, I am starting to think I placed the waypoint in the wrong place. Couple more turns and arrived at the Chicopee Water Treatment Plant. I promise you that this is not going to be how the whole post is going to go. There is really some very scenic places along the way, matter of fact this is the only real dump of a place and just was convenient to knab it because it had Chicopee on the sign. If you have gotten this far and happen to be on a TV game show and the question have you ever been or seen the Chicopee Water Treatment Plant, I hope you keep me in mind when it comes to your winnings.

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Headed out  and back on I391 and I saw a sign for Willimansett. Hey that has double TT's and not on the route. Pulled over and couldn't find anything on my dumb smart phone. Of course I think I was spelling it wrong. Gave up and said I could always come back.

Into Northhampton to pick up a couple of historic places just because they were on the way.

During the planning stage I took the route I had developed and overlaid it on my National Register of Historic Places file and marked a couple of places that the route went right thru. One of them was the home of Calvin Coolidge our 30th President. One would think the a President would live in a pretty exclusive neighborhood, but Calvin lived in a two family home in a pretty normal neighborhood in Northampton. One biographer said, "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions." This is pretty apparent based on where he lived.

Coolidge, Calvin, House Northampton MA

Coolidge, Calvin, House Northampton MA

Stopped here for a bit to eat. It was okay, not great not awful.

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Next up is Leeds, MA for the Double Down Tour. Grabbed 2 spots

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Right around the corner is the Grove Hill Mansion built in 1879 for Lucius Dimock, director of the Corticelli Silk Company.

Grove Hill Mansion Northampton MA

Grove Hill Mansion Northampton MA

The next stop is a ways off so I took a leisurely ride gathering in the sites along Mountain St, Webber Rd, Whatley Rd and Shelburne Falls Rd.

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Grabbed this in case I came across an El Camino for one the NER Tag Games

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Shelburne Falls where the Bridge of Flowers is located

If you read my post yesterday about my bitchin and complainin about riding and why I go to all these places and how much my muscles hurt and the joints just swelling with inflammation. All of those thoughts disappeared today and it all came back why I do this stuff. ITS FUN AND I SEE ALOT OF STUFF

Left on the Mohawk Trail (the nice section)thru Charlemont. Passed this Chief a million times. Hung a right on N Heath Rd.

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Heath was my next destination, specifically the Post Office. Crossed over the Bissell Bridge and I heard the water roaring so I had to stop and take a look on the other side of the bridge. The Bissell Bridge was built in 1951, replacing one that was built in 1881. It spans 92 feet over the Mill Brook and is on the National Register.

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This was a stone dam and the water was cascading over the top or should I say where the top is now.

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Getting closer. I actually could have used this instead of the Post Office for the Team Strange 30th Anniversary Tour. This is the third Grand Tour I am doing this year. The objective to this one is spell Team Strange Airheads 30, in the most efficient manner. Heath covers HEA in AirHEAds.

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Hit the center of Heath, grabbed my Post Office pic and then snapped off a couple to waymark the Heath Center Historic District. Heath started out as primarily an agricultural area, but grew into a summer retreat for clergymen. Reinhold Niebuhr, described as "the most influential American theologian of the 20th century, spent summers in Heath. I also understand that BMW's flock to Heath to enjoy some wine, kick tires and have a good time, as well.

HEA Heath MA

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This was the turn around spot to head easterly. Rode the Mohawk Trail back to Greenfield where I picked up another NRHP place called the Newton School. At the time of its building in 1915, it was innovative in its design as a one level U shape elementary school.

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Oh the Greenfield spot for the Grand Tour. Not as neat but necessary.

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Headed south on US5 to the Deerfields. Old Deerfield is also listed on the National Register. There are a lot of great historic homes in Deerfield Village in very nice shape. Almost perfect. Deerfield was one of Massachusetts Frontier Villages, settled in the 1650's.

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A little further south on US 5, you will pass the Butterfly Conservatory and Yankee Candle corporate headquarters but I chose to visit this place.

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Hanging a left off RT 5 onto MA 116 (the straight section) headed for Leverett, MA specifically the fire house. Taking a left onto Bull Hill Rd at the first go right or left intersection I found this place to satisfy my Grand Tour requirement.

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Still headed for the fire station and ended up at the Leverett Town Hall. Looking around this just might qualify as a historic district. In Leverett you will find the New England Peace Pagoda, which is worth a ride to. Looking for peace and tranquility you will find it here.

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Out Shutesbury Rd to US202 south to Belchertown left on RT9 is quite a nice ride. They are paving US202 again. Don't go too fast I hear they give tickets along here.

My task list is almost done. In Ware, I pick up the Town Hall which is listed on the NRHP. It has a really neat set of doors.

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Passed the entrance to the Winsor Dam at the Quabbin Resevoir. This is a nice spot to ride to as well. Last stop of the day was in Leicester in a section called Cherry Valley.

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Pulled into home right around 6:30PM covering somewhere around 300 miles and 8 1/2 hours in the saddle. It was a perfect day, temps in the 80's but not humid, roads in pretty good shape out west and has gotten me out of the funk I was in. Still might pick up a smaller bike for these short hops.

UL 2014 05 11


Ed Conde said...

Great pics! I am glad that you are feeling a bit better.

Anonymous said...

glad to see you out and about.
Ken & Sandi