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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    Don't Hump That Radioactive Stuff: Seen while riding -

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    Perhaps a real rail fan or atomic energy scientist can explain why humping would be a problem. Surely not hump-bump-boom?
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  2. emptyHead

    emptyHead Rookie

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    That's an album cover right there.
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  3. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    One Quick Stop, Two Trains and Six Engines: Once in a while the train Gods take pity and smile down upon you. That happened this month. I was within 25 miles of the Palmer diamond, swung by and saw an NECR train blocking the crossing. It was a "whoa horse" moment where we motored up to the tracks, got off and grabbed the camera before the train got away.

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    The NECR train didn't move, which has been most the story of my train-watching life so far this year. As I was about to head out, another rail fan with a radio told me a (relatively) large CSX freight was holding about a mile or two down the line, waiting for the diamond to clear, so I stuck around. A trainman eventually walked past and on up to the two GPs, got into the lead and the train started to move.

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    Once the diamond was cleared, the CSX unit started moving. As it got closer, I saw there were four power units. I hadn't seen this many engines on a train since my last trip to the UP/BNSF diamond in Rochelle, IL.

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    The CSX units pulled about half way across the diamond and came to a stop.

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    I hung around a bit, taking a lot of pictures, including this lens-compressed shot of the four engines.

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    With not much else happening, I walked away down the NECR track and left.

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    The chances for catching a train were slim but I took it, swung by the station and got lucky.
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  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    More On That Dam With No Water: Not having run across too many dams whose sole purpose is maybe hold back flood waters that aren't likely to happen, I rode out again to the one around here and took 4 more pictures. The sat view below shows the dam and spots where I took pics from the bike. Being in somewhat of a hurry to get somewhere else, I didn't get off the bike.

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    Picture 1 below was taken looking east from in front of the Army Corps of Engineers shack.

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    Picture 2 was taken looking north towards the picnic area.

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    Picture 3 below was taken from the picnic area looking northwest.

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    Finally, picture 4 below is taken looking west.

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    On down the road back/south from pic 1is some gravel when the gates are open.
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  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    New Pig Sauce: Stopped by my favorite smoked meat place to pick up more of that maple apple drizzle and saw they had a new offering - maple blueberry drizzle. So into the bag it went.

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    I am happy to report it adds yet another great taste dimension to pork roasts, chops and ham. As is the case, I have no affiliation with or interest the makers of this product and am not promoting it. Just letting you know - bike adventures can lead to taste adventures.
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  6. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Cooperage: Dating back to the mid to late 1700s, the building known as "the Cooperage" has housed a number of enterprises, including barrel-making. As I often ride near or by the building, it wasn't hard to stop, stretch and get a few pictures. The place has some history.

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    Starting around 1733, the area around this property was developed into a number of early mills. Records show that a dam and a ditch were built for a sawmill on this site. Sometime after that, a grist mill was constructed to encourage area development. By the end of the 18th century, the site also included a potash mill and blacksmith shop. There was also mention of a "fulling" mill, which is the of processing woolen cloth to make it cleaner and thicker. Below is an internet picture of a fulling mill apparatus, As best I can tell, fulling involved washing, stretching and pounding the cloth. In Roman times, the wetting agent was urine and the process was done by slaves. The industrial revolution made fulling unnecessary.

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    With buildings on the site having seen a number of uses, the particular structure pictured here appears to have been built in the latter part of the 1700s. Records show it contained a carder, spinning jenny and loom after the turn of the century.

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    Use of the building as a cooperage began after the Civil War but lasted only a decade or so and the mill switched to leather board.

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    Today, the building is owned by the Townsend Historical Society and is leased out as an antique shop

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    The Cooperage is located at coordinates 42.652691, -71.672490.
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  7. Strayarider

    Strayarider Been here awhile

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    Beautiful part of the world, thanks for sharing :)
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  8. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Hard Times At A Hardware Store: I stopped by my favorite, small-town shopping mall the other day. It has only two stores, general hardware and pizza, but that's enough to qualify and more than enough for a day trip. Unfortunately, the pizza place (i.e. my favorite in the whole world) was still closed. The hardware store, though, was open but they had taken the virus scare to the extreme.

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    My local hardware store is also non-chain, family-owned and, aside from some folks wearing masks, does business as usual. In the Ashfield store above, you have to knock at the door, wait for someone to answer and then tell the clerk what you want. You stay outside on the porch (i.e., no browsing for you) while they bring out your goods. You put your payment in a basket and get the feeling that instead of their being happy to see you, they're happy to see you go.

    I didn't put on my mask for that porch encounter. Perhaps that was the reason for the less-friendly business transaction. The other day I read a report in the New England Journal of Medicine (perhaps one of the more prestigious trade mags of its kind) that masks were of little value to people other than medical workers who have special, form-fitting ones. I believe the exact words were "little, if any, protection from infection". That seems about right when you compare the size of a covid molecule with that of mask fabric pore sizes and openings .
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  9. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Passing By Some Heavenly Wisdom: Sometimes a ride is just heavenly and the one I took on May 31 was that, both figuratively and literally. It was a beautiful morning with great weather expected for the entire day. Being in no hurry to get anywhere, quiet, if bumpy, back roads were the tour du jour.

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    Frost heaves not withstanding, these are the kind of roads you can really enjoy riding, which was what I was doing by setting the suspension to "soft" and just letting the scenery roll by. It was so pleasant that I had to grab these two pictures while on the roll.

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    All of a sudden, the woods gave away to fields and I came up the gate shown below. The immediate impression was that it was a cemetery; however, no gravestones were in sight. Thinking it might be something like the Cathedral Of The Pines up in NH, I stopped, pulled out the old pocket camera (Cybershot DSC-HX20V) and took a picture and GPS reference to check out later.

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    Once back home, a quick check with google satellite view, showed the image below. The yellow arrow points to where the above pic was taken (coordinates 42.465271, -72.090282).

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    A little research showed this was the work of a late John P Harty, who was a long time tool salesman. According to Harty's own telling, when he was about 62 he heard a "loud and clear" voice telling him exactly what to build and he spent a following number of years building it, as shown above. Once completed, Harty opened the grounds to the public as a place of inspiration and faith. A 2017 obituary article said that Harty was also an avid collector of vintage autos and steam engines on his 240 year old farm.
    KMichael, klaviator, black 8 and 8 others like this.
  10. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Heavenly Wisdom...good one. Pretty too!
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  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Months Late And A Few Gallons Short On Information: Sometimes it takes me some time to figure out what was going on with things seen on day trips. Such was the case with the recent activity at the Hoosac tunnel. I was there in early April to see what was going on, as there had been a cave-in. Up close, it didn't seem like much was happening, as some work woman was chasing folks away from the entrance. and causing me to use the zoom lens rather than shanks mares.

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    In looking around on that day, I didn't know that the first train had just come through earlier but repair work was continuing between trains. Thus, the reason for materials and equipment laying around. The work, however, was at the other, west, end of the tunnel and this end was just a more convenient delivery and storage area.

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    Now that the dust has settled, we just learned that a good bit of steel plates, some 40 plus steel arches and tons of shotcrete were used to fix the cave-in. Most of the tunnel had no liner previously, but there was a similar cave-in in 1972. No idea about that fix. This cave-in took tunnel specialist contractor LRL Construction some 52 days to assess, design and make the repair. I wonder if the railroad (i.e., Pan Am Southern) had the good sense and money to raise the roof in that repaired area so the rest of the tunnel could be enlarged to handle full double stacks in the future.

    In normal times, six to 8 trains would run through the Hoosac every day and the tunnel's east portal was a favorite train watching hangout. Rail fans and photogs have been known to have watch/photo tailgate parties complete with beer, hotdogs and other foodstuffs. Regardless, the area in the vicinity of the tunnel makes for some good riding, which is more fun that sitting around waiting for the occasional freight to come through.

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    More often than not, I ignore the tunnel when riding through the area. IFR (I Follow Rivers) rides are the most relaxing.
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  12. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Seen While Riding - Some On-The Road Shots: When you come to a fork in the road, take the one less traveled. There could be adventure around the bend.

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    Sometimes, that adventure is a restful bit of quiet water.

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    Below is a new, old covered bridge, built in 2010 to replace an older one . There has been a bridge on this spot since 1740. Around 1775 a group of area women patriots, ambushed a group of Toriys riding across the bridge. One Tory, who was one woman's brother, got away but the others were captured as spies, along with their dispatches for British troops.

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    About the same time the women were deflating the egos of some Torys on a bridge at the spot above, a town was impounding stray animals in the corral below.

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    The above is a very quiet and serene area to stop, stretch, hydrate and/or eat a packed lunch. The older I get, the more I look forward to these kinds of stops in such places.
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  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The Train Gods Laughed And A Rare Bird Was Shot: It scared the crap out of me. I was right in the middle of crossing a backwoods, Providence & Worcester RR line when the dings started up the the gates started down. Not having seen a train on this line for a long time, mu first thought was a false signal. That thought changed with the horn blowing. Knowing this a P&W freight was a rare bird in these lean times, I goosed it down the road a few hundred yards, turned into a gravel crossing and pulled out the camera just in time to catch a pair of P&W dash-8 units rumbling by.

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    This gravel crossing was constructed last year by RJ Corman folks who had a bunch of trucks and stuff parked on the other side. Judging from the equipment, it looked like they were rehabilitating the tracks. Anyway, the gravel turnout gave me the near-perfect spot to grab some pics.

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    I didn't have any time to mess with the camera but managed to shoot a few.

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    The train's passing gave me time to walk out on the tracks for the parting shot below. The other bit or rarity for me was seeing the P&W units in (owner) G&W livery.

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    Another happyface ride!
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  14. CamoColton

    CamoColton Adventurer

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    I know real trains are more the focus here, but I think we've discussed model trains a little before.

    Sad times ahead for hobbyists:

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  15. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Nice pics John. We have a couple of short lines here in Ontario that are operated by Genesee&Wyoming.The closest to me is the Goderich & Exeter that operates out of Stratford and one of their busyist clients is the salt mine at Goderich...the largest underground (and under lake Huron) salt mine in the world. Weather today was ideal so this afternoon I took a ride up Woodstock way to see if I could catch the OSR Woodstock job. Caught the train just as it was going over the CN/CP diamond at the edge of Woodstock. Took a couple of pics near there and a few more at the old CP station and yard further up the track.Great day for riding and train spotting.
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  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    A train and a bike, what's not to like! That FP9, though, would look better with a B unit. Great pictures again, Dave.
  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    When I read about what Mike Wolf went through with his problematic off-shore manufacturing (i.e., in S. Korea), the theft of his designs and death struggle with Lionel, you can't blame the guy for folding up. All that aside, you do tend to slow down as you age. I wonder who owns the tooling.
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  18. CamoColton

    CamoColton Adventurer

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    No dislike or ill will towards Mike Wolf from me at all. I did not know about the design theft. I'm gonna miss those yellow RailKing boxes at my local store.

    I found some articles about the theft if others want to read up like I wanted to:
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2004-06-08-0406080234-story.html
    https://www.inc.com/magazine/20050201/mth.html
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  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    In the spirit of model trains and adventure rides, here's a pic from the model train layout in Strasburg PA that was taken on a ride back some years back.

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    That layout is or was located at coordinates 39.982375, -76.165792. As you know, Strasburg makes for a good adventure destination if you're into trains. God willing and creek don't rise, I'll likely show up there again should the RR Museum of PA ever get around to building their planned roundhouse (likely a funding problem at present)

    I remember thinking ill of the 3-rail nature of that model railroads. Railroads had two rails and models thereof should have no more. Back when I was a kid, the purists among those of us with model trains had American Flyer sets, not Lionel. My AF set was only major, love/hate Christmas gift I ever got as a child, I eventually loved the Gilbert/Flyer stuff. What I got on Christmans was a heavily discounted "seconds" set that didn't work out of the box. Aside from making me cry as a young child, that soured the love affair right off. Some months later, though I got one that worked. I eventually sold that train set for $60 to help buy my first scoot. I still have the "hots" for model trains but not the time, space or inclination to fiddle with them that much. Should I ever build one in this life or next, it will be nothing more than a big hump yard plus roundhouse and turntable enclosed in big oval.
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  20. ItsNotTooLate

    ItsNotTooLate Adventurer

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    Their stuff was top notch. They modeled the "Sunrise Special", a G5 Steamer that literally ran through my back yard, before I was born. I loved that model but hard times forced the sale. A testament to MTH, I sold it for exactly what I paid for it after enjoying it for years. I wish everything held it's value like that train did.
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