We have four riders in the family, 3 of whom are local and active, and between us there should be close to a century of combined time with motorcycles. Most of that time was spent on one slab or another, taking longer rides across country to visit friends and family, going to Sturgis or some event, participating in Rolling Thunder or just seeing the sights. Nothing terribly difficult or eventful about any of this. It was just a matter of getting or making the time, throwing some stuff in a bag on the cruiser, putting on your cruiserface along with some gear and going with no thought to taking pictures or posting on the internet. The ride was everthing - the means and the end, with no thought of sharing the experiences with others. Then somebody said, "I wonder what's down that road?" and things changed To make a long story very short, said riders quickly rediscovered the forgotten fact that Road/Street Glides, Goldwings and other big cruisers didn't really handle all that well off the slab. Well, rider number one sold his Harley and Goldwing and got something better suited for dual purpose. A year or more later, rider number two got a similar bike that he lent (when at work) to this rider, who started exploring unpaved roads and paths. This rider subsequently sold his Goldwing and joined the other two and we now go exploring. Cruiserface has been replaced by a happyface, gear has replaced leather, regular short rides to interesting places have replaced occasional long trips and the ride has become a very happy means but not the end. The end is seeing, exploring and learning about interesting places to some depth, which will be the stuff of this thread. We will start off with our first exploration of the season - the supposedly haunted and very historic Hoosac Tunnel. Please feel free to join in with your own pictures and/or experiences. Above is the west portal. Our objective was to ride to both ends of the historic 4.75 mile long Hoosac Tunnel, built from 1848 to 1877 at a cost of $21 Million and nearly 200 lives. It was (and still is) called "the bloody pit" and "abode of the damned" and is said to be haunted, with ghosts hanging out at the "Hoosac Hilton" (i.e., an area where a large portion of the tunnel collapsed and killed a number of workers). Both ends of the tunnel are the private property of Pan Am Railways and you are warned to stay off. The west portal, located in North Adams, MA, is the trickiest to get to. There is a dirt path turnoff 8A in North Adams that is 1/4 mile north of West Shaft Rd. That dirt road is on the east side of 8A at coordinates 42.677823, -73.097230, which is just before a house. A little ways in is a gate, beyond which is a dirt road/path that leads to the tracks. You have to ride down the tracks for a bit to get to the tunnel entrance. When we rode in, the ground was wet, muddy and slippery in spots not covered by loose gravel. Below is a picture looking back at the way in. There was a good amount of water flowing out of the tunnel, which was dug at a slight incline down from the center for drainage purposes. As a result most of the ground leading up to the entrance was soft and spongy. You can see how the ties have sunk into the somewhat soft ground. As much as the younger one (shown below) wanted to ride in, lack of train schedules, being on borrowed time (before RR folks happend by) and common sense ruled the day. Aside from being unlawful and (according to those who've tried it) dangerous, there is that issue of quickly turning around in a dark, wet, tight mud/gravel area when facing an oncoming train. The east end/portal of the tunnel is in Florida, MA at coordinates 42.675212, -72.998020 and is easily reached by a very scenic ride down Whitcomb Hill Road off Rt 2 (Mohawk Trail) down to River Road. We first rode this last year, where we encountered this bridge that led to where the water-powered compressor (for driving the air drills) building once stood. It is very short and easy to ride up to the east portal, provided no RR personnel are around. On two previous occasions, we have found them in trucks parked nearby. As previously mentioned, there was a large, water-powered compressor building just past this end of the tunnel that powered the drilling equipment. No longer there, it looked like this: The location of the compressor building would have been right beside where this bridge now crosses the Deerfield River. The bridge presents a terrific opportunity to ride out onto it and get a great picture for the "show us your bike @ the bridge" thread. We were about to do just that but thought we'd wait for the trees to leaf out. For more detailed information check out Hoosac Tunnel or any of the Google sources thereon. More to follow, including the mysterious, bloody tower.