Sitting in Giff's garage, still amazed at this time of the season he is still getting bikes in needing stickers. They were due at the end of May. I asked him do you want to take a ride to Cummington, MA. It is the only town I need for the Double Down tour in western MA. He nods and continues to wrench the car on the lift. I rode the FJR that morning because I wanted to check the air in the tires, and see if Giff thought I might have leaking front forks. Consensus was yes. Jeff, the metric mechanic, was coming over around noon, so it would be a good time to ask him if he could fit me in.
Right at noon we head down to our regular lunch spot in Whitinsville. Today I ordered a new item (it said it was new in the menu), the ham, apple and cheddar cheese Panini. It was everybit as good as it sounded. I could even taster the cheese, which most of the time I can't.
Right around 1 or 1:30 we headed for Cummington MA. Bill indicated he had to be home by 6 and would probably turn off somewhere along the way. Bill took over for the first leg to get us to RT 9 to head into Amherst. Once we hit RT 9 I took the lead. The temps were rising, however the breeze over the handlebars caused both of my hands, specifically the pointer fingers to cramp up. The pain was excoriating and I ended up pulling over to put gloves on, which I should be wearing anyways. For some reason the gloves always seems to cure the cramps.
In Amherst right around the intersection of RT 9 and 116, where the traffic can get a little beefy, I decided now was the time to figure out what the waypoints were that were appearing on the screen. So I start playing with the GPS. Can you see where this is going. Push that, push this and I happen to look up and the rear end of the car in front of me gets huge. It was like a fast zoom on a computer. Full right hand grab of the brakes, I am thinking I (very quickly) this is the end, I am going to rear end this car. Damn damn damn. Well the bike is doing this humping thing and I must have instinctively aimed the bike left. The bike lists, I stick my leg out and I come to a halt in the upright position. WOW and PHEW. People at the intersection are looking at me with expressions of bewilderment or was it a look, how stupid that biker is. The humping thing was the ABS modulating the front tire, which enabled me to guide the FJR to the left. This all happened so fast, but in slow motion. Mayhem (the Geico person) had been thwarted by my angels. Thank you thank you thank you. I don't claim any talent in these maneuvers, just shear luck. (Didn't win the lottery since I used up all my karma on this event.)
I forget where Giff and I talked about this little incident, but he thought for sure I was doomed. He watched with cringing eyes and gritted teeth. It was not too soon after this that Giff turned off and headed back home. I believe he hung a right at RT 116 and 47 and I continued straight to hit the twisty section of 116.
Having completed 116, hung a left on RT 112 in Ashfield and then a right on Spruce Corner Rd. Having not taken a photo all day I stopped at this one room school house along the way. This was built right around 1874 and serviced a bunch of kids until 1939.
Cummington was not too much further, I grabbed the old fire house on Main St because it had the best sign. One more town down for the Double Down Grand Tour.
It was decision time. Do I head back home via RT 112 South or head further west and north to Adams. I hit RT 9 and headed west, the day was young it's only 4:44pm. As I headed out I caught a sign out of the corner of my eye that said West Cummington. Hmmm nothing ventured nothing gain, how much of a diversion could it be. Found a sign !!
The road came right back out on RT 9 and as I approached RT 8A the GPS indicated a right turn is warranted. The Windsor Congregational Church and Windsor Town Hall are both good Waymarking opps, brief stop and continue on to Adams.
RT 8A intersects RT 116 and I hung a left and came to Adams, much quicker than I expected.
While this pic qualifies for the Presidential Grand Tour (must be a Post Office or Town Entering sign)I head into Adams anyways for the post office and some places on the National Register of Historic Places for Waymarking. Glad I picked up the Entering sign, because the post office will be hard to prove it was Adams, but Photo Post Processing is a wonderful thing.
While these don't look like much to the average person, other than they are old buildings, they all have their own unique histories
The Mauser Block, built in 1850.
A view down Park St
The Jones Block, built in 1895. Simple commercial building with very little ornamentation.
The Park Avenue Firehouse built in 1890, is now a restaurant called the Firehouse Café.
The Armory Block, built in 1895 by A.B Daniels. It was originally the armory for the National Guard.
The First Congregational Church built 1870.
Right across the street is the old Miss Adams Diner, now Izzy's Diner and Pizza
A little ways down the street are a couple more on the Register. The PJ Barrett Block built in 1880 and Simmons Block built 1885. Out of all of the buildings the Simmons Block was neatest being a Queen Anne style home.
This was the new National Guard Armory built in 1914.
A couple of blocks away is the Berkshire Mill #1 built 1889 which is pretty much the same today as when it was built. This was owned by the Plunkett and was built on the site of the Adams Paper Company which burned to the ground. It was equipped with 35,000 spindles and 700 looms for making cotton. Today it is an apartment building
The Hoosac Street School was built in 1890 due to the expanding industries in the area.
The Pittsfield and North Adams Train Passenger Station (the official historic name) was built in 1889. Today it is a bar and dining establishment called CJ's. The tracks once located out in back is now a Rails to Trail bike path.
Located right across the street from CJ's is the Mohawk Hotel built in 1900. It is gutted and refurbished in the 70's for elderly housing. When I was there, there were folks hanging around the front door that were a lot and I mean a lot younger than me, so it may have changed.
It's after 6pm so I call it a day and head for the burn. Plugged in the home address and the GPS plotted a route. It was NOT what I expected it was taking me all the way down to the Mass Pike in Lee, but what the heck, the weather was nice and how much more time could it be. Once on the Mass Pike I knew there was this sign I have always wanted. I actually spotted it (not bad for old eyes), made my way over to the break down lane and stopped. Of course all the MassHoles were honking their horns at me. I just shrugged and snapped a few. I blew past all of them when I got rolling again.
If anyone is wondering where this is, it's in Becket, MA, the coordinates are 42.244678,-73.078739. Now that I can sit and read this sign, not sure what it really means.