Friday, June 9, 2017

In Search of Dinosaurs

I took today off to simply go riding. Haven't had any vaca days yet this year. Come August it will be vacation every day. After re-reading GLMC Americana Extreme tour rules I concluded the capture of Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut probably would not qualify. Rules state;

Dinosaur – statue, mural, or sign of a dinosaur

Being a sign of a dinosaur and not simple the word spelled out, headed back out to knock off the Connecticut Dinosaur and then some more.

First stop of the day heading thru Woodstock was this 1 Room School House. The original school was built on this site in 1734, which burned in 1873. This one is the replacement and served as a school until 1929. This is located at the intersection of CT 198 and 197 in Woodstock CT. I don't how many times I have passed this building, but not in a big rush today, I stopped.

On Westford Rd, CT 89, was this rock I have passed a couple of times in my travel. This is a marker for the Old Connecticut Path that began in Cambridge area and let to Hartford, CT and the first trail that led westward.

Continuing on into West Hartford to The Childrens Museum, which has 2 dinosaurs, Velociraptor & Allosaurus, ready to gobble up the younglings heading into the museum. If I was a little kid and had seen Jurassic Park, the scene when Wayne Knight in the Jeep goes of trail, getting himself cornered might make it tough to get to the entrance.

Perhaps the friendlier Moby Dick would calm me down abit. Still looks hungry.

While I was in the neighborhood I picked up some places on the National Register of Historic Places.

Old Center Cemetery NRHP - established in 1714 and was the town's first cemetery.

Noah Webster Memorial Library - now a hair salon, built in 1915 and used for books for 20 or so years.

Noah Webster's Birthplace - a National Historic Landmark. Noah authored the American Dictionary and the Blue Back Speller, used to teach kids how to spell and read in a secular manner.

From here I jumped on I-91 to get past Springfield, since I was already there last week exiting onto US 202 heading into Granby. Found this much friendlier critter than the last 2.

Heading to my next spot I came across this incredibly scenic spot. This is the Christopher C. Aldrich Grist Mill perated as a distillery at first and then from 1836 to 1870 operated as a woolen factory supplying blankets for the Civil War.

Not too far away was Nash Dinosaur Tracks. Interesting story with this one. From my posting at

Discovered in 1939 by Carlton S. Nash. It is now run by his son Kornell. Admission is cheap at $3 and they sell dinosaur tracks prices ranging from $50 to $900. The dinosaur tracks can be found out back of the building wandering down the pathway. Carlton discovered the tracks one day as a teenager by kicking over a rock and there it was. He placed the rock back until he could purchase 2 or so acres around the rock. From there Nash Dinosaur Tracks developed.

Did stop at the Mt Holyoke Range State Park for the Americana Tour, even though I have enough State Parks for Mass.

Driving into Amherst I saw this lenticular bridge, which are becoming rarer and rarer these days as they are replaced. This used to carry vehicles and now a pedestrian bridge.

In Amherst I stopped at the Goodwin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church ( on NRHP) which is located way off the street. The church was built in 1910.

stopped at Hampshire College and drove around the campus. This is the college that removed all American flags after one was burned on campus the night before veterans day. The school's president said that going forward, "no American flags will be flown on campus. Getting rid of the flag will allow us to focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors," Given that, I don't think it deserves a picture on my blog.

Drove around downtown Amherst for a place to grab a bit to eat and nothing really look appetizing so headed out of town of Rout 9. I have gone thru Brookfield hundreds of times and was always struck be the arch to the Brookfield Cemetery. Today I stopped and took pictures. Found out the cemetery is on the NRHP.

Picking up an "E" town for the Love and Merci Tour.

Another one of those spots I constantly pass. I am sure most riders in the Massachusetts area will recognize this one.

Last stop of the day was Wagner's BMW for the Americana Extreme tour. This is one of the specific stops. Looking at this pic, think the Spyder needs a bath.

Left right around 9:30 this morning and got home right around 6PM. Full day with some 225 miles or so. Dinosaur update, I have three of them for Massachusetts, can only use 1. I forgot I had gotten one in April on top of a building, so the 2 today were not needed, but then I would not have found out about the Nash guy.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hoops, Mills and Pollution

Heading out kind of late today, but I don't have a lot of miles to get in. Decided it was a perfect day to head for the Springfield area to pick up a couple of Extreme Americana Grand Tours spots and a TeamStrange location. Of course I filled in with a couple NRHP's spots. Right around 1:15 or so headed out and picked up Rout 20 thru Oxford following it thru the Brimfield area. Turned off onto Monson Rd and then Carpenter Rd, coming across the S.F.Cushamn and Sons Woolen Mill built in 1886. This wasn't a scheduled stop, just came across it and couldn't resist. This particular site has some problems with fires in the mill, with 2 previously burning down until this brick was built. The mill manufactured broadcloth, satinet, cashmere, doeskin, kersey and cloaking at various times. It has been abandoned for quite sometime

Right down the street before you hit RT32 in Monson is the William Norcross House built around 1775. Originally built as a tavern with a large ballroom on the upper floor, then became a boarding house for the Monson Woolen Co and finally restored as a private residence.

On Main St in Monson is Memorial Town Hall built in 1884 with stone quarried in the local area. The quarries near by supplied the granite used in the Springfield Armory. As mentioned above many taverns were built in Monson, since it was along the Bay Path, the primary route between Springfield and Boston. During the 19th and early 20th centuries many mills were built along the Chicopee Brook.

Before I got out of Monson, came across another abandoned mill. This was originally the power plant for the A.D. Ellis mill which was across the street and has since been torn down. In the 1980's Omega Metal Processing let go 2,800 gallons of cadmium cyanide into the Chicopee Brook. As it turns out the fish and this stuff don't like one another causing the fish to sleep with the fishes. Omega couldn't afford the clean up and abandoned the plant

Right next door is one of the Warehouses for the A.D. Ellis Mill built in 1871.

Turn around is the serene dam that helped power the mill. When I first walked up to take the picture, I must of spooked a crane, which was just rising from the dam. Of course I wasn't ready and I don't speak crane, so the shot was missed.

Made my way via RT312 south picking up May Hill Rd and passed one of the places I was suppose to stop at. Actually I did stop, was not sure if I was in the right place, pulled out my phone to confirm the spot and got the wrong place and moved down the street. I took a picture of what I thought was the place, when in fact where I was, was the place. It's off to Springfield for the Basketball of Fame.

I would have jumped on I91 to get to Chicopee, but the interstate is a mess right now and traveled thru downtown Springfield to eventually get up on the highway. Found myself at the Chicopee Safety Complex for another Americana Tour spots. Not sure why this place was selected, it just was.

Firemen's Memorial at the station.

Across the street is Edward Bellamy House built in 1830. Ed was an American author and socialist, most famous for his utopian novel, Looking Backward, a tale set in the distant future of the year 2000. I wonder how true his novel was. This is National Historic Landmark.

Right around the corner is T&L's Antiques. Neat old Victorian home built in 1875 for Amos Page, who was president of the Page Knitting Needle Manufacturing Company. The house was sold to the Chicopee Falls Masonic Home Association and then became T&L's preowned antiques and furniture.

One of the items I presumed is for sale and maybe used at one time, Twarog must have stopped making payments on the stone. The weather forecast today was maybe rain around 4pm. Forecast was right, it started a light rain.

What would one of my journeys be this year without a post office.

I love bridges so I couldn't resist. This is the Green-Towne Bridge, built by the American Bridge Company in 1939. It is on Chapin St just before it merges with RT 20 in Wilbraham. The bridge crosses over the Chicopee River where the Collins Paper Company built this dam in 1872. Today it is generating some electricity, about 1480Kw/

I am still out about 60 miles from home, the rain has picked up a bit. I still had 2 stops in Spencer, but decided I would blow these off and just head for the stable. Mileage for the day was just around 140 miles, but the roads taken were really scenic and interesting.