Goodbye Cruiserface, Hello Happyface: The (old) Long and (new) Short Of It All

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by popscycle, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    It is the rare friend who builds a tower as a monument to your life and friendship but that is exactly what Stephen Salisbury did for George Bancroft. Few people around here know who George Bancroft is or that he has a tower memorial in Worcester MA, not far from WPI at coordinates 42.2765,-71.8158. Yesterday, we decided to go see this tower (first time ever - didn't know it was here).

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    A little closer look at the monument:

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    At the foot of the tower is this explanatory plaque:

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    The location of the tower is on one of the noted 7 hills of Worcester. Looking back, you get this view.

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    More on Bancroft (below left) and Salisbury (below right) to follow.

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    In life, George Bancroft was a towering personality, as a writer, politician, historian, diplomat and academic, with numerous accomplishments. He may be best remembered as the founder of the U.S. Naval Academy but is worth a look for all the other things he did. Bancroft was also no academic slouch, having graduated from Harvard at 17 to go on and get a doctorate from the seriously-academically-bad-ass University of Göttingen. That place makes your brain hurt just walking on the grounds. When you think of Göttingen, the names Gauss, Goethe, Einstein, Schopenhauer, Born, Teller, Courant, et. al come to mind.

    Stephen Salisbury was a local (Worcester) politician and business man who's remembered for being one of the founders of the Worcester Art Museum, pictured below (internet pic).

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    #41
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  2. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    Rider 3 (Popscycle) was AWOL today, claiming he had to work. So, I motored south, solo. In Sutton, MA I came across this marker for the Boston Post Road. Thought it was pretty cool so here it is. There's a lot of information on-line about this subject so I'll mention only that it was a mail delivery route between New York City and Boston in the late 1600s through the 1700s. Markers like these were every couple of miles -- not sure how many remain.

    Photo 1 of 2: here's the "front" of the marker.

    Attached Files:

    #42
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  3. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    Photo 2 of 2: here's the "back" of the marker, which is a commemorative sign from the town of Sutton.

    Attached Files:

    #43
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  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    My grandfather was an odd fellow, both literally and figuratively and used to babysit by taking me to the local IOOF hall with him so he could play cards. Thus, I had some interest when rider two had the old Worcester Odd Fellow's Home on his list of places to see. Although on the National Register of Historic Places, it is about to be demolished so we rode up there. This is what it looks like this week.

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    This is what it looked like before demolition began (pic from internet):

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    The cornerstone for this building was layed in 1890 and it served as a senior's home for nearly a century. The replacement home is just down the hill and, looking like a Super-8 motel, was of no photographic interest. Several more closeups of the old place follow.

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    We will go back periodically to follow this grand old building's demolition.
    #44
  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    On the way home from riding, we often stop off to watch the Greater Boston Soaring Club operate in Sterling, MA and see what's flying. This week the stop was good for a "birds of a feather" pic.

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    Whenever we ride in, someone usually comes over to chat about the bikes and/or tries to get us to join the club. This week was no exception as one of the originating founders of the club came by to chat. He's in his 80s and still flying. Although soaring looks more interesting than powered flight (which is expensive and mostly boring, IMHO), we'd rather spend our time and money riding. For those of you who might be interested in soaring, here's a nice video made by the club. Should you stop by, chances are you will find the group to be friendly and welcoming.

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    #45
  6. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    In Northbridge, MA at the end of a dead-end road I came across Castle Hill Farm. It began in the mid-1800s as a hobby by a local and wealthy mill owner. During an economic downturn in the 1870s, rather than furlough the mill's workers, the owner offered them employment building the incredible stone walls that surround the 70 acre farm. Most of the buildings burned down in 1957. Only one remains, which is the boarded up dairy barn you see in this picture. A preservation group is working to save the land from being developed. Rider 3 (Popscycle) is lactose intolerant so he didn't make this stop.

    Attached Files:

    #46
  7. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    In Woodstock, CT -- along route 169 (great sweepers and elevation changes) -- you'll come across Roseland Cottage. This historic property was the summer home of Henry Bowen, a successful NYC businessman. According to Wikipedia, this was the location of the best 4th of July bashes back in the day, and was visited by 4 presidents (who, with all due respect to Mr. Bowen, must have lied when they remarked how much they liked the color of his home). Also unique in this photo is a rare glimpse of Rider 3, the elusive Popscycle. You can see the strain on his face from having to park the 1,000 pound Hoda-Potamus road sofa in soft sand. Happily, parking a GS is much easier.

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    #47
  8. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Having talked about the Abbey in this thread and riding nearby today, I thought some pictures of the place would be in order. This is what you see driving up the road that leads to the Abbey.

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    Farther up:

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    As previously stated, this is a very quiet, peaceful and restful place.
    #48
  9. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    While out and about today, some old structures happened to present themselves to be photographed. The first is one we visited last summer but was somewhat obscured by trees. Currently inhabited, this is what it looks like before all the foliage takes over.

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    This is what it looked like last summer - really spooky.

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    Right across the street is another view of an old store that dates back to the 1800s.

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    Then, we happend by this little house that was a little off-road and not inhabited.

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    A unique little place, I wondered about the lives of people who lived in it.

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    #49
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  10. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    Blue GS 1200 meet grey ACF Industries box car. Is 125 horsepower enough to pull this 100 ton straight side sill? Nope! Made for a unique photo though.

    Attached Files:

    #50
  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    This bridge is called the Crossman Bridge and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Planning to get more pictures of if, we passed by there yesterday on the way to other sights (old RR stations), stopped and added to this collection.

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    Also known as the Gilbert Road Bridge, it crosses the Quaboag River in Warren, MA. It was built in 1888 by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of Connecticut, which patented its lenticular truss design.

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    The bridge was removed and restored between 2004 and 2008. Contrary to some web information, you can drive across it now.

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    On the other side is a sweet little road of the kind the GS likes.

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    Coming back across give you this view upriver.

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    This is one of the few surviving lenticular pony truss bridges in the area. Often called a "pumpkin seed" bridge, there is another on Bardwell's Ferry road that is on our list of places to check out. It was built by the same company as this one. More to follow. For a history of the Berlin Iron Bridge Company, go HERE.
    #51
  12. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    I first considered the merits of exploring vs. riding back in 2010. That summer I took my street glide on a 5,500 mile cross country trip. On a ferry from Muskegon, MI to Milwaukee, WI there were 50 something chromed out bikes just like mine (see photo below) and 50 something guys just like me on board. However, one rider and his mud caked bike stood out. He was an ADV rider, whose GS proudly appeared as though it had lapped the world. Although I didn't capture his bike in the picture that day, I never forgot how impressed I was with his ability to confidently stand alone. Now, with the benefit of several thousand exploration miles under my belt, I understand how he felt.

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    #52
  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    For the last half-dozen years leading up to last year, I never gave much attention to ADV riders or their rides other than to log onto this web site and look at pictures. A couple of years back, I did a short stint on rider number one's GS and didn't like it. Rider number one is pictured below on one of those all-to-rare outings (at the time he was also preparing for a TAT adventure). It was rider number one who, thankfully, started us all down this path.

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    Similarly, I didn't care for rider number two's GS either as I thought a proper motorcycle should have things like shiny bits, front and rear speakers and other cruiser accoutrements. I didn't know what a good suspension was as the result of not having one for two decades.

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    With the wife no longer riding, the Goldwing didn't get out of the garage that much. None of the kids wanted to ride it and I was getting tired of the weight, low-speed handling, unpleasantness of going over less-than-stellar road surfaces and other issues. That I couldn't stay up with or follow the other two GS bikes was another factor. I made the mistake of expressing things I would like to see changed (i.e., lighter weight, removable/expandable bags, better suspension, better placement of controls, etc.) on another web site and immediately fell afoul of a number of their members, who believed I was riding perfection personified. After being dogpiled, accused of being a troll, having PMs published, receiving hate mail and even a veiled death threat, I decided it was time to move on and away from this group and accepted the gift of loaner GSs. After several thousand miles on the loaner, I decided to make the switch, the gods smiled and a 2014 GSW arrived at the house on Cristmas Eve day about mid afternoon. Now it is fun again - a lot of fun! Had I been smarter or better informed, I would have listened to rider number one and given advrider.com more attention sooner than I did.
    #53
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  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Railroad tracks, that is:

    We find RR tracks to be interesting, not only as a place on which to find trains but as a path to ride, whether on or beside them. Sometimes the tracks are so old and seldom-used you can easily and (relatively) safely ride right down the middle. This is not something you should do on tracks that have more than odd-occasion traffic.

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    Getting off easily is often a matter of just getting to the next intersection, something worth thinking about ahead of time. Busier RR tracks often have maintenance vehicle paths beside that can be used to get to interesting places or things to photograph.

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    Some of these maintenance paths lead to very interesting places (e.g., the historic, Hoosac Tunnel)

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    It goes without saying that watching out for moving or approaching trains is a good idea. Railroad tracks can be dangerous, especially when trains can be moving fast.

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    Always be wary of intersecting tracks, especially in semi-blind corners.

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    RR tracks lead us to interesting places and fun times.

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    We find old mills especially interesting.

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    A service road got us to this bunch of engines late one Sunday afternoon.

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    A pic of the once-active RR station in Clinton, MA, a town that still has a good number of mill buildings.

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    Fog pouring out of a very wet RR tunnel.

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    Farther down the same line (Pan Am), it's not so soggy/foggy

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    Can you tell that we like RR tracks? More to follow in this post.
    #54
  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Here is a consolidation of all my picture of the old industrial mill bridge at coordinates 42.385920, -72.098210.

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    These are the shots from when both number two and I went back for a more detailed look around. We were wondering if anyone might know the purpose of the tower on the bridge. There is another, similar tower farther down the canal.

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    #55
  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    I set off this morning shortly after 7 to search out the other lenticular truss bridge (a.k.a. pumpkin-seed, cats-eye or eleptical truss bridge) in the area. The structure is known as the Bardswell Ferry Bridge. It was a beautiful day for a ride.

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    Heading for breakfast, I made the necessary stops to hydrate and stretch the legs.

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    When headed out to the western part of the state, we always make an effort to stop at Baker's Country Store for a quick bit of breakfast, lunch or pie.

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    Today Helen rustled up two over with sausage.

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    Heading out, we passed two covered bridges, the first just outside of Conway.

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    The second covered bridge was just south of Ashfield. We went out of the way just to check it out.

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    The bridge is for a private drive so we just looked at it rather than drive into somebody's yard.

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    Moving on, there were a number of bridges to cross.

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    Spring scenery along the (Bardswell's Ferry) road is always great.

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    Lots of things to see and enjoy.

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    Coming down the road and around the bend, this wonderful old bridge comes into view. It spans the Deerfield River at coordinates 42.555374, -72.677763.

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    The bridge is worth a dismount and look-see. The locals at Bakers Country Store in Conway say there is great fishing in the area around and under this bridge. We saw a good number of fishermen wading, floating and shore-fishing. All were fly-fishing.

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    Another view.

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    Time to head home, pick up the wife and take her for a mother's day spin.

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    View from the bridge:

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    #56
  17. r3mac

    r3mac Been here awhile

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    Wanted to say thanks for pointing out the Rose32 bakery - Its was an awesome spot for coffee and a sticky bun while out exploring MA yesterday. The smell of the bakery in the parking lot was fantastic.
    #57
  18. poster

    poster Adventurer

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    It's very interesting to see your opinions of switching to ADV.

    I am myself trying to convince my father (53 years old) to start going on dual sport rides with me.

    He loves his Kawasaki Concours, though he rarely really rides it. He is a cruiser guy, so it breaks his heart when he sees me taking my brand new spanking Vstrom 650 and going off roadding with it.

    I am almost done persuading him to sell the Concours. He bought it to ride with my mom, but she never liked riding on motorcycles, so now it just stands collecting dust in the garage.

    My own transition was very similar to yours. Although I am only 24 years old, I grew tired of the pavement, and I craved the exploration and discovery, that ADV riding gives me.

    I still want to supplement my V-strom with a Triumph Speed Triple for those sportier rides.

    looking forward to next pictures from you guys!
    #58
  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    You are most welcome. I have been known to ride all they way out there just to eat a raspberry danish - scrumptious!

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    #59
  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Tell your dad that a really old fart says he wishes he'd switched earlier and to give ADV a try. It gives you the best of both worlds - cruising to get where you want to go and off-road for getting to those really interesting, out-of-the-way places. For those of us who were born into the world of keeping shiny bits clean, taking your new baby into the crud, mud and grime is a bit of a shock, which is why we clean the GS religiously after most rides. Also, we will make every effort to keep the pictures coming (not that riding is all that much effort). Good luck with your father.
    #60