Sunday, April 19, 2015

Arrr!! "settin' sail t' Cape Cod"

Since this is a Pirate Theme Grand Tour it is appropiate that a Pirate picture is pictured promptly and purposely...wicked pissa...arrrrr

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Pirates Cove South Yarmouth MA on RT 28

Woke up around 5am, which is a good thing. I have a decision to make so early. Ride with Giff and 2 other riders or be off to some distant land by me self. (trying to talk like a pirate). Bring up my master 2015 GLMC Mapsource file to choose the direction I might go. It's April, nice day, but the Cape should be not too touristy and begin the plan. With my Master 2015 GLMC towns and Mapsource indicating where to go, I use Google to find a place with the town name in it, using street view to confirm there is some kind of sign, mark it in Google and copy the coordinates into Mapsource, creating a waypoint. A lot of tedious work, but I have been doing this for years and generally very successful in the process. It really bugs me when Google changes how their mapping program works, which they did this year. Other choice is to arrive at the town and wander around looking for a sign. Some of the towns are off the beaten path, leaving this to chance, which  is not how I like to treasure hunt.

Finished the targets around 8am and decided to relax a bit, letting the day warm up abit.

As a side story, went to Walmart yesterday to buy some frames and bought a wicking long sleeve shirt (highly recommended even in the summer, especially under mesh) and saw they had some long wicking pants (I think women call these leggings) (I prefer to refer to them as cold compression under armor) (gives it that knightly sound). When I got to the register the pants must of been on sale because they only cost $5. I already have a drawer full of this stuff, but some how they all seemed to shrink over the winter, go figa. These we a perfect accompaniment under my mesh riding suit. So what is the point to this sidebar. It was actually friggin chilly on the Cape and glad to have them.

Left right around 10:30 or so and headed east and immediately the GPS sounds off Recalculating. I forgot it is taking be thru RI and then heading East to the Chartley General Store. This store is suppose to be the cats meow for meat. It makes me think of the butcher/grocer I use to go to with my mother. It was a narrow store with high shelves and the owner would use that stick with springed claw on the end to grab stuff off the shelves that you couldn't reach. I remember her buying Corn Flakes, which I hated. I liked my Dad's favorite, Grape Nuts, which makes me think of Euell Giggons who said "reminds me of eating wild hickory nuts". 

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That stop was for the clean up from last weekend. It just kind of hung out there and it was sort of on the way. Full court press on I-495 south (man it's cool at 70+mph)to West Wareham. This stop is abit iffy. I saw the school in Google street view and guessed it had writing over the door. My guess did not disappoint, especially with this being the only place I could locate. There was a pizza joint, but it was OUT OF BUSINESS.

Tough handing the flag, getting the bike in the pic and being able to read the writing over the door. You would think they could of taken the time to paint the letters a different color. All part of the journey thou.

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I was betting on this school would be on the National Register of Historic Places, but it isn't.

Grabbed another West Wareham sign. Either I forgot where I just was or thought it would be a better sign, but I got West Wareham 2 times. It only counts once in the Grand Tour.

Out of the way, looking like an sticking out elbow on the route in Mapsoure is Marion, MA. I thought about getting this when I went for Barrington, but it was just a little out of the way. Nothing special about the shot for Marion. Marion was known for its sea captains and sailors. Augustus Saint-Gaudens (designed of the Double Eagle gold coin, actually his sculptures were more noteworthy), Grover Cleaveland, Gerldo Rivera and James Spader were summer residents of Marion. Maybe we can expect a Blacklist episode taking place in Marion.

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Actually it is quite boring but the letters are big. Right down the street was this place. Think summer.

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While I was on line, Mannie indicated he lived by a diner, which makes my eyes widen and ears perk up. (well maybe only the eyes). I love old diners and have a collection of T-shirts and coffee mugs for the places I have visited.

The Mill Pond Diner has quite the interesting history, at least for us Diner lovers. The original diner was a 1930's Worcester Lunch Car No 816, built in Worcester. The WLC No 816 was brought back to Worcester, becomeing Charlies Diner, which was moved again to Spencer (the food there is pretty good). This was replaced with a used Jerry O'Mahoney that was located in Fall River called Earnshaw's Diner. In 1974 the Jerry O,Mahoney diner was moved again to it's present location. All this time retaining the Mill Pond Diner name.

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Since I didn't eat today, what better place to try out than this place. Sat down, ordered a cup of coffee and a bacon, sausage and cheese omelet. Walked around and took some pictures of the place.

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Breakfast arrived, so while I eat have a look around.

Mill Pond Composite

While I was there (how else would I be able to tell you this) a guys pulls up in a (I'm guessing) 1950 4 door Caddy with original paint, lots of patina. The guy that got out of the car had a beard like the one in the Coca Cola Santa Claus pictures, with a rubber band holding in a wrapped fashion, about 2 inches below his chin. Then another older guy came in with a beard and rubber band (or do you guys call it an elastic band). He sat down in the stool next to me and is pictured below. It became quite apparent that all of us guys in the diner had beards.

The guy next to me, at first glance didn't appear to be so friendly. (don't judge a book by its cover). As I was eating, he struck up a conversation that lasted a good 30 minutes or so. He graduated in 1959, has been a bachelor his whole life (my guess he is a millionaire), his family were bar room brawlers (I asked if he was Irish, wrong again, Polish and French), worked in Stop N Shop, was a cook, drove a canteen truck, knew the owners of the diner, and a bunch of other stuff. Each one of those comma separated subjects was a separate conversation. Diners are so GREAT in many respects. Food, people and atmosphere make for a great experience.

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I noticed in the rack of washed cups, there were some with a logo on it. I asked my waitress (the tall one in motion) if they were for sale. She said "all we have are used ones and they are $5", to which I said "I'll take it"

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Right around the corner is the next stop. Wareham Barber Shop. What struck me about this place is the 3 Barbers sign. That stirs some more memories about going to the barber shop with my Dad. What I remember is a place with a tile floor with probably 8 to 10 chairs, had shoe shine seats like you see in the old movies in the train station. Then there was the bottle of green hair tonic, talc powder and the tall circular glass container with the blue stuff in it for the combs. They still have the same stuff today !!

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East Wareham is up next with a totally uninspiring picture. Not even gonna post it. I am right at the Bourne Bridge, but the GPS has me toot along RT 6 to the Sagamore Bridge. I don't question the GPS anymore because it is generally right.

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This next shop I try to frame the picture of the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge within a frame (the posts and bottom of the billboard), being cutesy. When I got home realized the picture of the billboard was more far more important than the bridge.

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Buzzards Bay has been covered by the last 3 tours. ZZ for the Double Down, Bay for the Affair with Water and this one. Having researched this a couple times looking for a target I remembered that there was the Buzzards Bay National Bank.

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Now for the mandatory picture of the Cape Cod Railroad Bridge. Remember the guy in the diner, we had a discussion on how much it costs to raise and lower the bridge. He watched a show this week. It is so well designed it cost $1.00 in electricity to move the bridge up and down.

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Off to Marston Mills. I using a different picture for the Grand Tour, but I found this sign striking, with its Royal Purple background and Gold lettering. A real eye catcher. For some reason it makes me think of the emperors for the Roman Empire.

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The picture I am going to use.

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Marston Mills was settled in 1653 by Roger Goodspeed. Steve Bernard, founder of Cape Cod Potato Chips was a resident here. So was Siobhan Magnus of American Idol fame.

The roads now become the part of the Cape ride that is such a chore, RT 28. The traffic is pretty light for the Cape, so I get to look at all of the stores and shops, which is an array of colors, semi interesting trinkets, like elephants, crashed planes, waterfalls, neon signs and other crap. Make a loop west on 28 and back to RT 6A which includes (you ready), West Yarmouth, South Yarmouth, West Harwich, Harwich, Harwich Port, South Harwich, East Harwich, Yarmouth and Yarmouthport. Phew.

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With that out of the way and in Yarmouthport I get to ride along RT6A. Today I own the road, there is almost no on it. RT6A meanders on the bay side of the Cape and actually pretty scenic. Stop in Barnstable for the Unitarian Church.

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The first church built on this site was in 1717, later replaced with another building in 1835. Because of theological differences between traditional Congregationalists and the new Unitarian movement, the congregation separated into 2 different factions. In 1876 another church was built by the Unitarians, subsequently burning down in 1907. The pictured church was built to replace this one in 1907.

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Right across the street from the Unitarian Church is the United States Customs House and Carriage House. In 1776, the Revolutionary Massachusetts Legislature placed armed privateers under the command of the "Naval Officers". Their mission was to harass the British shipping, intercept slave ships, seize crews, ships and cargo and collect import fees. As an outgrowth of this activity the Custom House was built in 1855. The Port of Barnstable was one of the busiest ports in Massachusetts until the Cape Cod Canal was opened in 1913. The Custom House was active until 1913 and the Post Office until 1958.

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Leaving Barnstable, on the way out of Barnstable picked up West Barnstable.

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This was the last scheduled stop on the Cape and was heading for the bridge when I came across the West Barnstable train depot. I got a thing for these places, they make good hits as well. Pulled in a fired off some shots.

West Barnstable Depot

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Over the bridge and up RT 3 heading for Plymouth and see Cedarville sign, a town that I had missed in my research. Off 3 onto 3A and make a hit right off the exit. Back on, heading north.

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Last neat stop of the day. (notice I qualified the last stop) A Whispering Giant called Enisketomp. This one is located at the Tourist Information Center Exit 5. Finally broke down and put my Frogg Togg rain jacket on as windbreak and pulled out some warmer gloves for the ride home.

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Three more stops and we can call it a day. South Carver, Carver and North Carver. I knew the South and North ones would be iffy, but I still wandered around the area a bit looking for something I could use, but NADA.

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Pulled in right around 6:30pm or so after a full day of riding covering some 250+ miles, not a lot but enough. Today I collected 19 Pirate Towns and 1 Whispering Giant. I have met 2/3's of the minimum requirements for Team Strange and have qualified for a T-Shirt for the GLMC Talk Like a Pirate Tour.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Arr!! This Jack Tar Goes Looking for Booty

It's about 6 am in the morning sun is out and it is suppose to be a spectacular day for a ride. I planned the ride yesterday, so all I have to do is send the route to the GPS. That goes without a hitch, which is not always the case. Sometimes you don't find out until you are in route and the GPS just doesn't want to cooperate. Somehow a route shaping point, a waymark is corrupt.

Out of breakfast with MeAsWe and back home. Earlier I tried on my riding suit and zipped it up with no problem. Breakfast seemed to just push my midsection just a wee bit more and it was a struggle getting it zipped up. I did have another layer underneath since it is mesh.

First stop is Harrisville, RI for AR in the name. I must have 3 pictures of this place. One for the Villain tour for Ville, one for the Double Down tour for the RR and now the Talk Like a Pirate Tour .

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Not the greatest photo or the most interesting but it does do the trick. I do try to provide some history or interesting facts about the places I visit. In Harrisville there is nothing really interesting. Kind of goes with the picture.

Headed for Harmony, RI. I didn't even know there was a town called Harmony within 100 miles where I live. No a whole lot here. In the beginning of the 20th century there was a place called the Yan-Yan-Kee Club. Kind of sounds like a New England version of the KKK. I was headed for some church but came across this place.

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With the last stop and this one, I realized I left my spring clamps home (someplace in my room)that hold the flags in place so they don't blow away or blow around and have a way to mount them somewhere on the bike. Note to my self stop at the first hardware store.

I am headed due south, well sort of, heading west first and then south for I-395. Most of the time I avoid the interstates but figured it was good to get the bike up to speed, blow out what ever is in the internal part of the engine and exhaust and see if any weeble or wobbles that shouldn't webble wobble. Like stretching your legs. Plus I have been down CT 169 a ton of times.

Somewhere between Harrisville and Harmony or Harmony and I-395 I stopped at this place. Why ?? Well the totem pole caught my attention and the colors were so springy.

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Off the exit around Mohegan Sun and come across a Tractor Supply Co. These have been popping up here and there. They claim to be the largest operator of rural lifestyle retail stores in the United States. (their words, not mine)I would have guessed they originated out of someplace like Kansas, but it was Tennessee.

Before I got into the store, I kind of expected an Aubuchon look and feel store, one like I used to go to with my father in the 1950's with lots of shelves, drawers, wooden floors, crummy lighting, something with a nostalgic feeling. First thing I see is a whole section off to the right of Boots, not a Walmart presentation of boots, but a rather nice display, sort of like the old department stores. Lighting was bright, but not too bright. Got my clamps and got out of there.

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Tried to be artsy in taking a picture of the clamps. Having the background out of focus, focusing you on the clamps. Almost pushed them right out of the frame. I should stick to chasing down places.

The clamps are way stronger than what I needed. All I wanted was something I could squeeze between 2 fingers. I could use these to permanently fix a muffler that's hanging down from a car or clamping a mirror back to the bike that gotten broken off. However I do have a roll of duct tape in the GIVI for such an occasion.

Back out on Voluntown Rd. Dang I missed the turn, so I simply let the GPS decide the route versus making a U Turn. Sometimes things happen for a reason. The road I ended up on was very picturesque even if the trees didn't have leaves on them. A couple of shots enroute and one I just stopped because I liked the shape of the road.

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Ledyard just has to be a Pirate town. It sounds like a yardarm to me. Ledyard was named after Colonel William Ledyard, who was killed with his own saber after he surrendered to the British. Those BASTAHS. Comedian Andy Dick supposedly grew up in Ledyard, but I think that is a stretch. He may have spent some time there. Doc Hammer of Venture Bros fame was born in Ledyard.

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As I made my way toward the ocean or is it Block Island Sound, I figured I would have to come back down this way to capture some of the historical places. It just oozes history. I pass the Ninigret National Wildlife Preserve and make note to myself to come back down here with my Blue Goose Passport book for the stamps. Off on Scenic 1A and into Charlestown. See the Historical Society building, just no where to comfortably park the bike. I have the fire station as a target, but just don't like the size of the sign. Too small and I have to park a bit away. Settle on this.

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Now I know why this place oozes history, it was settled in 1738 and named after Charles II. It is also the headquarters for the Narragansett Indians and the location of their reservation.

Down the road a piece or should I say up RT 1 is Narragansett for the highlight of the day. At the corner of RT 1A and Strathmore Rd is Peter Toth's Whispering Giant I have to get a picture of the giant, with my bike and the rally flag. I also have to get a picture of any plaques that are available.

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A much better focus on the carving.

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Now for the really exciting part of the trip. Head north to West Warwick RI. Most folks try to avoid the cities on the bikes, but I get just about the same enjoyment of seeing an urban setting as a rural setting. Yeah ya gotta pay a little more attention to the drivers, the pot holes, the pedestrians, the traffic lights, but once you get over that there is some beauty in the cities.

West Warwick exists solely due to politics. West Warwick was once part of Warwick, and the Democrats at the time wanted to consolidate their power and isolate their section from the Republican part of the town. Lots of old textile mills in the area.

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One of those mills I happened to pass coming in.

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Next up is Warwick, which was settled in 1642, making it pretty damn old. Lots of history in this place. James Woods, the actor, grew up in Warwick.

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This is what I wanted to tag for Warwick, just no place to park.
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My itinerary had me heading for Barrington and Warren, but decided I got all season and can hit them up another day. I brought up my favorites in the GPS and headed for Chartley MA. Up thru Providence, which I really don't like, matter of fact I detest riding on I-95 thru Providence, I miss me exit and end up on RT 146 heading north. With that miss I am on a path for home and just decide to head for the barn.

Off onto Quaker Highway pass the old Quaker DriveIn and see a monumental picture that I just had to have. Make a U-Turn and head back, turn into the street, make another Uwey and park the bike kinda of in the middle of the street so I can the bike and sign in the frame. Dismount, get the camera out of the tank bag, lens cap off, bend down do I am pointing the camera up at the sign. AND THEN IT HAPPENED. In the matter of seconds it went for 70 degrees to 69 degrees. Really now, I was just about ready to pull the trigger. Did anyways.

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Given the winter we went thru 70 degrees was monumental.

Last pic of the day is a fun type picture. This remind me of Charles Lee Ray aka Chucky or Stephen King's clown in the movie It. Don't let the smile on this guy deceive you.

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So the day was suppose to be just around 200+ miles and ended up around 170 or so. Still a great day of riding Willie style.

UL  2014 04 12