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 Super Supporter

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    It was ADV weather today so we set off on a 225 mile jaunt, the last GPS waypoint of which before heading home was the Hoosac Tunnel. We rode up to the tunnel, as has been a 6 year, spring tradition.

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    The Hoosac mountains are beautiful and the tunnel is supposedly haunted so spring is the time to toast the ghost(s).

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    Not wanting to waste valuable riding time going out of our way for a bottle of Hoosac Tunnel Amber Ale, we stuck to bottled water to appease our kidneys. Last year, some guy said the memorial stones were put there to appease the ghosts. Using a bit of post hoc, I'd have to say no ghosts have been seen since they were put there. Nor have any been seen when we've stopped there to hydrate. :D
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  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Old Newgate Mine & Prison Adventure - Part 2: On May 18, we rode to E. Granby CT to finally explore the Old Newgate Prison and Mine. There are two parts to this place - what is above ground and the mine below ground. This post and the next will review what we saw above ground, using the site map shown below as a reference.

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    With reference to the map above, we showed area 11 (the nail shop) and area 12 (the infamous well) in previous posts. Just to the right as you walk in from the visitor center is area 1 where the smelters were. There's not much left of the smelters, as shown below.

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    Farther to the right (west) you can see map area 13, the small, roofed structure that covers the visitor entrance to the mine. Shown below, it is in the open roofed structure in the middle of the picture

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    Map areas 2, 3 and 4 are the guardhouse, shown below.

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    The prisoner entrance and exit to their sleeping quarters in the mine was a ladder shaft in the guardhouse. Pictured below, prisoners would descent the 25' ladder at night and then climb back up in the morning to go to work making nails and other blacksmith items.

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    Other than the well and prisoner ladder shown above, the only other way into the mine back then was via a 50' ore shaft, shown as area 7 on the site map, that is inside the small building shown below.

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    More to follow on the other map areas and the mine.
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  3. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Old Newgate Mine & Prison Adventure - Part 3: On May 18, we rode to E. Granby CT to finally explore the Old Newgate Prison and Mine. There are two parts to this place - what is above ground and the mine below ground. This post contains the last of pictures taken of structures above ground, using the site map shown below as a reference.

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    Areas 8 and 9, which are pictured below, are nothing more than old walls.

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    Of greater interest was area 10, which was the old cell block. It was built around 1823 to remove prisoners from the hellish conditions of the mine.

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    The basement of the cell block above contained a 30-person treadmill operated by prisoners to grind grain. The treadmill was considered punishment and probably looked like the one pictured below (internet photo), as they were not uncommon in Victorian era prisons.

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    The final, above-ground pic was taken behind the guardhouse (map item 4) looking at the back wall of the cell block and showing the back, west wall of the prison.

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    Next, we go underground into the mine and understand why prisoners did everything they could to escape. Final post on the prison to follow.
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  4. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    John; those dour, dank prison pics need a train to lighten the mood created. Oh!!!! here's one or three that just happen to be handy. :-):-) From a pleasant ride undertaken in the sunshine yesterday. I had about 15 seconds from being aware that the train was coming to getting stopped and the camera out of my tank bag.

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  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    You're moving pretty good catching a train on the move in just 15 seconds. Ha, it took me several minutes to get not much of anything other than a stationary old tie crane and a good stretch of the legs the other day.

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    I promise to do better in the near future. :D
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  6. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Memorial Weekend Motoring: With the onset of Memorial Day weekend, I rode to the Collings Foundation's American Heritage Museum this afternoon, which is now open Fridays through Sundays, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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    I was there previously for a "soft opening" before the museum was completed. It was very busy that day and hard to get good pictures. Arriving shortly after lunch, there wasn't much of a crowd so I was able to shoot everything on display, this time taking notes on what each piece was. The staff was very helpful and informative.

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    I am planning to post a Tank-A-Day in the coming days after Memorial Day, this time with more detailed information about each.
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  7. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Bring 'em John. We're ready....................and looking forward to the pics.
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  8. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Came across this historic train station in Bristol yesterday and thought of you.

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  9. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Wow, what a great old station - and a great shot! Thank you for sharing it with us. We've a major deficit of train stations.
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  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    We'll start in on the tanks as soon as I get the prison mine pics converted, hopefully tomorrow.
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  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Old Newgate Mine & Prison Adventure - Part 4, Final: On May 18, we rode to E. Granby CT to finally explore the Old Newgate Prison and Mine. Previous posts covered the above-ground portion of the prison. This post shows pictures taken below ground where prisoners were kept in a spent copper mine at night. Originally, access to the mine was by ladder in a 25 ft. shaft from the guardhouse into the mine. Today, there is a visitor-friendly entrance down concrete stairs. Below is a pic of these stairs that was taken about halfway down. I had the guide pose so you could get a sense of scale.

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    At the bottom is a tunnel that leads into the area where the convicts slept, again having the guide pose for scale.

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    Below is where prisoners slept. The climate is just plain nasty. Water drips everywhere, it's not warm and the floor is damp and slimy.

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    With the mine floors being damp, slippery and having a significant slope to them, I passed on going too far down various mine tunnels, shown below. This place is not for those with old bones and the wrong shoes.

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    In the shot above, the camera is level, but the mine floor is not. You can certainly understand why those colonial prisoners made every attempt to escape from this dismal place. After taking these pics, I hightailed out of there to get back on the bike.

    It should be noted that the RX10 IV was able to get these shots in the dark mine in Auto mode without flash or tripod. You do need a steady hand, though.
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  12. Tool.Nerd

    Tool.Nerd An idiot that owns a bike

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    This brings back a memory. I went to Ireland a few years ago. Rented a car and busted my ass trying to visit about 4 dozen things I wanted to see. On day 4, I had the epiphany that I wasn't enjoying myself to the extent that I should be considering my whereabouts. I recalled seeing an amber glow from a window in Adare when I sped past 2 days prior, and decided I was going to make a point of seeing what it was, and from there, exploring aimlessly instead of trying to check off my itinerary.

    I did a U-turn and a few hours later, made it back to that shop window and the picture above is just about what I saw inside. I loaded down on foods I shouldn't be eating, and loved every minute of it. I got a basket of random pastries to put in the backseat of my rental car and eat along the way, and I had the time of my life exploring aimlessly with no purpose until time to fly out a week later.

    Not sure why pastry displays make me think of that every time.
  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Tank A Day Adventure - Matilda: At the onset of Memorial Day weekend, I rode to the Collings Foundation's, newly-opened American Heritage Museum and spent some time photographing and obtaining information on each exhibit. Below is the first of these - the Matilda Mark II tank.

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    The British Matilda Mark II was built starting in 1937 as an infantry support vehicle. It had armor up to 3 inches thick, which was more than twice that of any German tank when it was first designed. Called the "Queen of the Desert", it could resist most guns in 1940 but the advent of Germany's more powerful Panzer tanks and Pak/Flak guns ended the Matilda's superiority. After the North Africa campaign, Matilda's saw service with the Australian army until the end of WWII. Also, around 900 of these went to the Soviet Union.

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    Some 2,987 of these were built between 1937 and 1942. Matilda weighed 30 tons and was powered by two, 6-cylinder, 95 hp diesel engines. The tank had a crew of 4, a range of 160 miles and could travel at 16 mph on roads or 9 mph off.
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  14. panzer

    panzer The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go Supporter

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    160 mile range! It must be the Adventure model
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  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Definitely. It had an off road drive mode (i.e., slow), rough terrain shoes and, like Dakar, made good tracks in the desert (i.e., North Africa). Some more info:

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  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Seen While Riding: Several days ago I was riding 116 east out of Ashfield, MA toward Sunderland when I saw this trapeze rig off to the side of the road (at coordinates 42.518531, -72.781582).

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    I spent a few minutes talking with the man in the hat you see above and he explained that the rig was used to teach 'flying' to disturbed and troubled youths. He said the program was very successful. We chatted for about about trapeze work (my father was a 'flyer' for while after high school) and how it had been a major part of the gymnastics program in dad's high school. As the man went off to greet another flyer who'd just driven up, we got a last pic of a young lady about to practice.

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    The hammock is a nice touch. Needless to say, this is what riding's all about.
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  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Tank A Day Adventure - M3: At the onset of Memorial Day weekend, I rode to the Collings Foundation's, newly-opened American Heritage Museum and spent some time photographing and obtaining information on each exhibit. Below is the second of these - the M3 tank.

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    The M3 was an American medium tank that had armor up to 2 inches thick, had a 37 mm gun in the turret and a larger 75 mm gun in the tank body. The larger gun was in the tank body because American manufacturing didn't have the design experience at that time to develop and build a large gun into a rotating turret. Originally built based on Churchill's telling FDR that Britain needed all the tanks she could get, the M3's performance was less than satisfactory and was replaced by the M4 after only several years. The high point of the tank's career was its use in North Africa, namely with Operation Torch and at El Alamein.

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    Some 6,258 of these were built from 1941 to 1942. The M3 weighed 27.4 tons and was powered by a 400 hp, Wright R975 radial engine. The tank had a crew of 6 or 7, a range of 120 miles and could travel at 26 mph on roads or 16 mph off.
  18. panzer

    panzer The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go Supporter

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    I had no idea that radial engines were used in tanks, thanks pops!
  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    You're most welcome. The concept didn't stick with me either until I found one (a radial tank engine) last year sitting off in the corner in its original crate during the museum's preliminary, 'soft opening.' That radial is shown below.

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  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Power In The Yard: Below is a 'train fix' shot taken at the Deerfield yard some days ago.

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    Whenever near, I make it a point to always stop by there to see if anything's moving. If not, I grab what I can and quickly move on. This was one of those.
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