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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    We all pass things and places on a regular basis with no thought to the idea that others who are out of the area might find them interesting. To that end, here are a few places I often pass by when going on or coming from a ride.

    One common sight is the old stone church that sits on a point jutting out into the Wachusetts resevoir. The church was built in 1891 just east of the confluence of the Quinapoxed and Stillwater rivers, which formed a branch of the Nashua River. From 1896 to 1905 the Nashua river was dammed, the area around the church flooded and the church was abandoned. It was rebuilt in 1977 after a partial collapse of the roof and walls.

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    Up the road (Rt. 140) in East Princeton, is this old church, which is now a private residence. The lady of the house was out in her garden and I asked permission to take a picture. She had very little information on the history of the church other than it was for poor mill workers.

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    A little farther up the road is a historic landmark called "Redemption Rock". In February of 1676, several hundred Indians attacked Lancaster, MA and captured Mary White Rowlandson, who was the wife of a Lancaster minister. John Hoar of Concord negotiated Mary’s release at this large granite ledge, shown below.

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    The attack was part of a larger event known as "King Phillip's War". This war was an important event in the history of the country as it gave colonists a sense of identity separate from the Crown and Parliament of England.
    #61
  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Old houses in the woods are always interesting.

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    Sorry, but this place was just crying for a ghost.
    #62
  3. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Just a note that we havn't gotten very far down the G&U tracks yet, having run out of time yesterday and today. Because much of the line looks like below (i.e., boring and not scenic), we need to ride to those places on the line that are more visually interesting.

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    So, in the face of nothing else yet but very non-scenic trackage, here's a pic of the GS hanging out with the F7.

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    #63
  4. mikejjmay

    mikejjmay Been here awhile

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    Took me a minute to notice the upper window...creepy!
    #64
  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Glad you noticed. It took me a while to fix the upper window but I thought the house merited some additional creepyness.
    #65
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  6. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We were out and about today in glorious weather (65 - 70 deg.) that really brought out the bikers, many of whom had serious cruiserface (i.e., that pained scowl reminiscent of someone who's greatly constipated). Then there were the squids, most of whom who were going too fast to really see much of anything. By contrast, our rides were all smiles as we went down roads, trails and into the woods in search of interesting things. We found some that were older.

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    And some that were newer, but not quite as pristine.

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    The caboose above was discovered down near the tracks.

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    Leading into a rail yard east of the Hoosac near the CT River.

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    Along the way were some great back roads - the rough but scenic kind that used to bust my fork seals, wear me out and make getting home the major objective.

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    Now, who wants to go home with all of these bucolic rivers and streams.

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    Mostly, we were scouting out some new roads and trails and revisiting some old ones. Seen below, rider number two was enjoying the Bardswell's Ferry pumpkinseed.

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    I wonder how many riders in the area know what (very) famous TV personality lives just over that bridge and up the hill to the right.
    #66
  7. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Too many things on the plate and not enough time for more photos. Apologies. We did get out for part of yesterday and covered some ground (approx. 250 miles) looking for new places to explore but didn't stop to take many pictures. The scenery was great, though.

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    And, we found some nice, unpaved roads that weren't all muddied up from the recent rain.

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    There were several trails not meant for the GS and we had to resort to shanks ponies to get around. We've a tendency to get so busy looking at things that we forget to get out the camera. Nevertheless, here are several shots.

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    Always looking for new roads and things, we hope to finish the previous G&U RR report this week but the weather was just too good not to get a little further out from home. More on these as we do some follow-ups.
    #67
  8. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Time to ride the RR. When you have an entire railroad practically in your back yard and it is one where you can readily ride on, by, near or alongside the track from one end to another in an afternoon; why not do it? Enough with the piecemeal pictures, it is time to devote an entire post with pictures from one end to the other. This little trip has moved up on our riding dance card and will be undertaken in the very near future.

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    Today, we got out of the office for a bit and started following the G&U route. The northern terminus is in Grafton Ma and looks like this:

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    Hopping the tracks and heading down the service road (with permission), you can see that the line curves into the CSX mainline that heads into Boston.

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    As previously noted (somewhere on this forum), they have one of the last GM/EMD F-series locomotives in continuous daily service and we posed with it some more.

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    Down the track from the northern terminus, the rails head into Grafton proper.

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    Looking back:

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    Heading down the track towards Grafton Center:

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    Went out looking for trains but the only thing running when I was about was this:

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    Having to make a run to Grafton for some errands today (5/20/14), we took the time to follow the tracks into Grafton center. They run right beside the church in the center.

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    You can see the church better in this view of Grafton center.

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    After the church, the tracks run behind the Grafton Inn, which is to the right of the picture below.

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    The Grafton Inn is shown here from the common.

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    A view of the common.

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    We heard the train down the track and went chasing after it down the kind of roads the GS loves.

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    Down the track a bit and still no train.

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    The tracks run along slide a small reservoir called Lake Wildwood - a place where I hooked the largest largemouth bass I ever caught in NE (10 lbs.) Just on the other side of the lake on Rt. 140 is a great little eating place called Red Rock Grill & Bar.

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    Found the train.

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    The train had to stop and let a flagman off.

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    There are no signals, so every crossing needs a flagman.

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    I then followed the train into the G&U's Upton rail yard. More on that to follow.

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    #68
  9. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    For those of you who might be riding Rt 32 through Petersham, MA, make note that the old Country Store (at 42.488591, -72.186216) has reopened under new management.

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    The new owners have certain fixed up the place as it is no longer dirty and dingy.

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    The seating/eating area in the back is really quite nice now.

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    We have no affiliation with the place and have not tried the food yet. If anyone has, please let us know. We hope this owner makes a go of it. The last several haven't.
    #69
  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We very often go by old mills on our day trips and seldom pass them by without doing a little exploring. Here are a number of pics of mills taken this month. The first of these is the old mill in Barre, MA with the unusual arch bridge posted earlier.

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    Here is the back of a mill in Ware, MA. There really wasn't much to see.

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    Given our propensity for raspberry danish at Rose32, we have been known to get off the road at the old Gilbert Woolen Mill.

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    It is just too inviting, so let's head down.

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    Back up in front:

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    We noticed that the wonderful old tower cupola, shown below earlier this winter, was now gone.

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    A look back while riding off for some danish:

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    A little farther down the road is an old paper mill.

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    As best I can tell, it is being used as a warehouse.

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    Below is a mill in Warren, MA.

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    #70
  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Went through Palmer, MA, where there is a classic RR station, and got a couple of pictures.

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    The building houses a restaurant called the Steaming Tender that is supposed to be very good. The parking lot was so crowded that you couldn't get near the place to get a good picture, so I went to the other side of the tracks.

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    #71
  12. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We have had a good amount of rainfall over the past several days. Looking out from the garage, the rain has really brought out the greenery but made the dirt roads a slippery mess.

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    It was time to stay in for a bit and clean up the GS.

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    The itch took over and we got out for a bit today between showers to look over this old farm.

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    Needing to get back, we ran out of time to explore the extent of this place and, fortunately, got rained on. I say fortunately because rider two's GS had been covered with road dust as the result of his commuting into Boston. Wish I had one of these when I was riding into Boston regularly, which was during the "Big Dig" - a time when things were really a mess. Dug up roads, gravel, crud and construction used to make me cringe when riding the road sofa. Now, it's all good and fun.
    #72
  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We were out meandering along the Blackstone Canal, shown below, and river valley and thinking that this area was one of the most important industrial areas in the country in its day. Built in 1824, the canal opened in 1828 and, along with the Blackstone River, became central to this mill region.

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    One of the earliest industrialists in this area was Asa Waters (1769 - 1841), who was an early American industrialist and gunmaker in the region. Around the same time as the Blackstone Canal was being built, Asa decided to build his wife, Susan Waters, the finest house in the country, which he did from 1824 to 1829. That house still stands and is shown below (coordinates 42.190063, -71.762266).

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    A quick walk around the house:

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    Out in back:

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    Farther out in back is the stone cistern for the house.

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    #73
  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    There were remnants of RR tracks leading into an old mill. The sign said Danger.

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    An open gate with no "Keep Out" sign is an invitation, right?

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    A little further in:

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    No big whoop back in here. The other opening lead to an uninteresting road along the mill pond.

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    Nothing ventured, nothing gained at the mill. We did find an old railroad bridge down some tracks.

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    And we found this old railroad car with lace curtains.

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    Lace curtains?
    #74
  15. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Great pictures of your rides, good to see another rider get off the obsolete cruiser bikes. But all those rides could be done on any bike how about some off road so we can see how you like a 500lb plus so called " dual sport " bike where it was designed to go
    #75
  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We do a fair amount of off-road into the sand and mud; however, there's generally not much to take pictures of except trees and the occasional bridge.

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    The bikes seem to do fine in gravel, sand and mud that isn't too slippery. Being ex-cruiser types, we are into exploring rather than chasing down more technical trails that have nothing on them. All we could find on this one was a house on a bluff and an old cemetery. It did have standing water in the low spots, though, and that was somewhat interesting if not photogenic.

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    It is worth remembering that the bikes did well riding in the crud shown below, all of which was damp or wet, including standing water and some deep and nasty, water-filled dips (not shown - about a quarter mile back). As for any bike doing this, smart money would bet against a half-ton behemoth making it over this run.

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    We've been known to get a little far afield at times. Riding in grass that isn't too high (so you can see what you are riding into) or too wet can be fun; however, it's also not that photogenic.

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    Of course, the great thing about these bikes is that you can chase down roads/trails/paths that would ground a big Hog or Hondapotamus. But then, LOL, we have some paved roads that will do the same thing. We will make a concerted effort to take more off road pictures; however, we can't suggest they will be all that interesting.

    Bottom Line: We like these bikes, both for (1) cruising/getting to places on the slab and (2) getting off the slab to explore. Of all the bikes laying around in family garages, which includes some "dirt" bikes, it is the three GSs that get ridden the most. As for me personally, the GS is the only bike I want to ride.
    #76
  17. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    No need to be snarky, man! Anyone who rides a big "dual sport" knows it isn't a true dirt bike, but it does handle dirt roads and ratty asphalt beautifully. When my wife and I are loaded for a trip and riding two-up we're running about 900 pounds of total weight. I don't get too crazy on the Big Pig, I save rides like that for the WR250R! :evil

    I like your photos with trains! I've taken several and it's always cool to juxtapose the little free-wheeling bike with the big lumbering train.

    Durango - Silverton Narrow Gage RR, some years ago:

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    The Cass Scenic Railroad in Cass, West Virginia (two days ago):

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    I like your ride reports, keep it up! They give me ideas about places I'd like to ride some day.

    Doug
    #77
  18. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We are happy you're enjoying the reports and thank you for the pictures and for reminding me about the Cass Scenic RR, which belongs on my (rather lengthy) to-do list. You can never have too many pictures of steam engines, especially a Shay's. If you have more, we'd love to see them. Here's one of our train pics from several months ago.

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    #78
  19. PowersUSA

    PowersUSA Adventurer

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    Checking in from North Central MA. Many familiar sights in this thread and a couple of new ones now added to my must see list. Keep them coming.
    #79
  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    We welcome your check-in and any suggestions you might have for future ride/photo opportunities.
    #80