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

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    In any war, there are key battles that turn the tide and fortunes of war. In WWII, the battle of Midway was key. In the civil war, the battle of Gettysburg was key. In the Revolutionary war, the battle of Bennington was key in that it stopped Major General John Burgoyne's army, depriving him of supplies that led up to his defeat at Saratoga, galvanized colonial support for independence and helped bring France into the war. We had seen the Bennington Battle Monument, shown below, numerous times; however, the battle wasn't fought in Bennington but in Walloomsac, NY. That was our destination.

    [​IMG]

    In the prelude to Bennington, Burgoyne was marching down the Hudson River valley from Canada with the intent of splitting the rebellious colonies into two parts. In the process, he had won victories at Fort Ticonderoga, Hubbardton, and Fort Ann but those victories and the terrain traveled had put a big dent in his supplies. To solve the supply problem Burgoyne ordered Colonel Friedrich Baum to raid the American supply depot at Bennington, VT, (coordinates 42.888991, -73.216317, which is at the site of the monument) thinking it was lightly guarded. Baum set out with 800 men to do just that.


    [​IMG]

    Enroute, Baum got intelligence that the stores were more heavily guarded and he halted his advance at the Walloomsac River and requested additional troops from Fort Miller. His Hessian troops built a small redoubt on the heights overlooking the river and they waited for the reinforcements to arrive. Brig. General John Stark had been shadowing Baum and on August 14 and 15 he reconnoitered Baum's postion, saw Baum was outnumbered and attacked the position on the 16th. Below is a picture of the redoubt area (coordinates 42.938473, -73.304299) and peak of the overlook hill.

    [​IMG]

    Rider Two decided to walk up the hill (there was a park ranger who didn't want us to ride up) and look at the monuments. We asked the ranger what was going on with the tent and all the "fixins". He smiled and said Colonel Baum was going to speak later this afternoon. Walking to the top of the hill gives you the following view.

    [​IMG]

    Below is a map of the battle area, showing the redoubt area.

    [​IMG]

    Another view from the top of the hill, noting there is a stone map of the battlefield.

    [​IMG]


    Things I learned from the visit to the battle ground:


    1. Burgoyne had as many as 1500 men in total, including Brunswick dragoons, French Canadians, Hessian artiller and other German detachments, Native Americans, Loyalists and British regulars and marksmen.
    2. General John Stark had 1500 reinforcements camped in nearby Manchester, VT.
    3. Baum's forces drove off a small American scouting party before encamping on the hill.
    4. Stark attacked Baum from all directions, scattering the Loyalists and causing the Indians to flee.
    5. The relief column sent by Burgoyne to help Baum initially put Stark in jeopardy but Colonel Seth Warner's Green Mountain boys arrived to drive them from the field.
    Just down the road a bit from the NY battlefield on Rt 67 West is a classic old covered bridge - Buskirks Bridge. It doesn't really have anything to do with the battle but was in the vicinity so we paid it a visit.

    [​IMG]


    If you continue west on 67 to Mechanicsville and then go north on 32 until it splits onto Rt 4, you will come to the Saratoga battlefield where Burgoyne was defeated. This is a subject for another day.

    More pictures taken on the Bennington run will follow in a subsequent post, hopefully later today or tomorrow. BTW, there are some great views in the area if you/your steed doesn't mind getting off into the gravel.

    [​IMG]
  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    Many dirt/gravel roads around here tend to be heavily shaded, making them an ideal route for cooling off when it gets warm. If the road isn't too technical, just set the ride mode on enduro, bop down the road and cool off. I did just that this afternoon, stopping only long enough to take a picture.

    [​IMG]

    Of course if you're working up a sweat negotiating the bumps, loose dirt and gravel, this method of air conditioning doesn't work. I encountered a vision of my past when a cruiserface type was trying to wrestle his bike down the same road. You can tell when they're not having a good time when both feet are out trying to paddle walk the bike through the gravel in stops and starts. He was definitely not cool, either literally or figuratively. I smiled and waved.
  3. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    Central MA
    Rider two, here - I was working up a sweat all right...MOWING...much dismayed to discover over dinner tonight that Rider three was exploring shaded dirt roads while I was toiling away in the hot sun! Not even a text message!! Oh well, at least one of us got out today.

    Anyone local looking for good routes should definitely take VT Route 9 between Brattleboro and Bennington or Route 2 between Route 22 in NY and Route 7 in MA. Those legs were included in yesterday's 320 mile jaunt. Great stretches.
  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    If you like planes and have never heard of the Collins Foundation, then we're happy to provide you some information. If you've never been to their Wings & Wheels Open House on their family farm, you should. Below is a pic of Rider Two having the time of his life at a past event.

    [​IMG]

    There is a grass strip on their family farm where they give (reservation-based) rides in the PT-17 and an AT-6 during the open house, as well as provide admittance to their car and other collections. The foundation owns other warbirds that are too large for strip but often do flybys. At various times, there are also staged reenactments. They also have a pretty nice man-cave, shown below.

    [​IMG]

    The open house is Father's Day weekend and their farm is easy to get to without having to go through heavy Boston traffic. If you ride, and we always do, remember you will be on some gravel and parking in a mowed field. The location is 137 Barton Road, Stow, MA. The road leading into their place is at coordinates 42.403124, -71.504811.

    If you like planes and cars, this is a good one to attend. In any event, it is on our riding agenda. Note: We have no affiliation with the Collins Foundation. We just like what they do.
  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    On our way to the Battle of Bennington grounds in NY, we passed through Bennington VT, where there are numerous places of interest. We tried to capture a few of them, beginning with a stop for the serious motorhead - Hemmings.

    [​IMG]

    Aside from publishing a definitive source for buying and selling old cars, Hemmings operates an old-time, 1950s type service station, complete with attendants.

    [​IMG]

    Inside, they have a coffee bar plus paraphernalia for the motorhead. Why go to Starbucks?

    [​IMG]

    On down Rt 9, just past the Old First Church is a real oddity - the Walloomsac Inn, shown below.

    [​IMG]

    This old inn has some historical importance but is in pretty rough shape. For more information, see the video below.

    <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nAoYq_zRB7o" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>

    You can see the historic Old First (Congegrational) Church from in front of the inn. Robert Frost is buried in its cemetary next door.

    [​IMG]

    A little farther down 9 is the Four Chimneys Inn (not pictured) and the Bennington Center for the Arts and Covered Bridge Museum, shown below with the requisite moose. Moose are everywhere.

    [​IMG]

    Several years back, when traveling through Bennington on the old road sofa, I encountered this see-through Moose.

    [​IMG]

    Along the way, we saw several covered bridges, including this one.

    [​IMG]

    Our path also took us into North Bennington, which has the following, scenic view downtown. It reminds me of the town I grew up in back when it was a nice place.

    [​IMG]

    Just across the bridge is an old mill building, currently for sale.

    [​IMG]

    Also in North Bennington is one of the finest, best preserved old Victorian mansions in the country - the Park McCullough House. The grounds were closed but we did get a shot from the road. For more information, see Historic Park McCullough.

    [​IMG]

    Our final stop in North Bennington was the beautifully-restored old railroad station, shown below. That all of these old stations could be so preserved.

    [​IMG]
  6. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,856
    Location:
    Frosty Hollow, Idaho
    I wish they were too. In the past, way to many were torn down. Good thing there are still quite a few around. I have done a bit of research on some of the old train stations around my neck of the desert!

    This one looks similiar to a few I've found as well. This one has been nicely preserved. Good history lesson, thanks.
  7. LudemJo

    LudemJo Iron Butt Dreamer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    832
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA, USA
    Popscycle, you have commented several times in this post about the benefits of the GS over your past touring bikes. I am interested in any experiences you, or your partners, have had riding a GS two-up. I currently have a Harley Electra Glide that my wife and I ride constantly. Other than commuting, I rarely ride solo. I am just curious how it handles and if the passenger is comfortable riding back there.

    Your posts have sparked an interest in potentially adding another bike at some point. Needless to say, the Harley is truly a hog in the dirt/gravel.

    Thanks for the ride reports, I will continue watching.

    John
  8. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    John, I cannot give you any 2-up experiences or comments since the wife no longer rides. Personally, I think it is one of the best handling motorcycles made but may not be the best for passenger comfort. The wife was quite comfortable on the previous GL1800; however, it was one of the worst handling bikes I ever had, with or without a passenger - I think size/weight, a crappy suspension and the laws of physics had something to do with that. I am now a great fan of bikes lighter than 600 lbs that have a healthy HP/weight ratio.

    Let me conclude by saying that all the riders in the family have had big Harleys and/or Goldwings and we all now ride solo and have GSs. Rider Two still has his Glide but only occasionally commutes into Boston on it. The bottom line for all three of us is that we are more comfortable on the GS than on the bigger cruisers and suspension/handling has a lot to do with that. Also, a being able to get off road when you want to is a big plus (adds a another dimension to your riding) but that may not be the best environment for riding 2-up as you can slip/slide around at times. My best advice to you would be to go to your nearest dealer and do a demo ride, 2-up if you wish.

    Best regards,
    John
  9. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    Central MA
    My two cents: the GS would not be a comfortable option for two-up on the slab, and would not be an option at all for two-up off the slab. Perhaps one GS for you and another for the wife? Note: now that I have the GS I rarely ride my Street Glide.
  10. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    Central MA
    I think Rider Three posted a very nice picture of the railroad station in Bennington. Did you catch how he left out my ride? So, personally, I think this version is better!

    Attached Files:

  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    LOL, did you catch how I rode my bike up on the platform so it could pose with the whole station but he didn't because was too busy going off to see if he could ride down the tracks.
  12. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    Central MA
    Hey, speaking of riding down railroad tracks, someday soon I will make my way through the Hoosac Tunnel. Before I do that, though, I need new tires. Would appreciate feedback on options from readers of this thread. I've had Michelin Anakee III's on order since February. I've lost hope that they'll ever arrive. Any recommendations on alternatives? Thanks in advance.
  13. sixspeed

    sixspeed Put on the WHOLE armor

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    525
    Location:
    Exiled from the land of gum bands & bottle of pop
    I'm not really into the GS scene, but a little gravel or mud never really stopped me and my big boy.

    Not sure I'm going to be riding down ties or ballast any time soon though. :D

    [​IMG]
  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    Nice ride you got there sixspeed! If it's moving you where you want to go, all is good. Thanks for posting a train pic (we love train stuff). Now, about riding down those railroad tracks and ties . . . . . .

    [​IMG]

    . . . . how inviting is that? Just put your suspension to soft, your face to smile and carpe diem. :D :D
  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    Sometimes you run across places where objects to be photographed just beg to be shown in a different light. One such situation occurred last weekend from our trip up into NY where we passed the supposedly-haunted but definitely ramshackle Walloomsac Inn. If there was ever a better location for a Psycho-Movie-like hostelry, I don't know what it would be. Regardless, the place didn't look all that spooky in the heat of a bright, sunlit day and, not having the time to ride back up that way for a night shot, I did what I could with what little time I did have (a few minutes).

    [​IMG]

    The was an earlier such incident on page 5 with apologies for any photographic butchery. It, too seemed to cry out for more spookiness.

    [​IMG]

    The above two pictures, however, are examples of my just goofing around. On a more serious note, there are times I am guilty of wanting to lighten/brighten, de-noise or de-haze an interesting shot because the picture taken was a little south of being normal looking. One example is this shot, taken at the AF Museum. Not HDR, it was originally very noisy with a lot of jpeg artifacts.

    [​IMG]

    There are other HDR examples in a post below
  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    Having stuck my head into that tunnel, the only way I'd make my way through it is on a train with a gas mask? :lol3 It is like a dark, damp, stinking 4.75 mile long mud and slime puddle with rails sticking up out of the primordial ooze (a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea). Lord knows what kind of bad air and gas is in there (think carbon monoxide, radon, etc.) when they don't run the central shaft fans.

    As for the Anakee 3s, your local dealer says they're on a boat headed this way but given that's what he said several months ago, the boat must have sunk. :lol3 :lol3
  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    Here is a basic (minimum pop) HDR bike shot taken on the day trip to NY.

    [​IMG]

    We greatly prefer these to the less-realistic, shots that seem to have an excessive, neon-like glow from too much vibrance. Below is an HDR shot of the Buskirk Bridge in Hoosick, NY. We played with that picture a little by removing a bunch of power and phone lines to the bridge. Other than that, the picture is pretty realistic of the actual scene.

    [​IMG]

    Below is a view of the inside of the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    I found it interesting to compare the inside of the Buskirk bridge to that of the covered bridge in Gilbertville.

    [​IMG]
  18. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,856
    Location:
    Frosty Hollow, Idaho
    I've never seen nor heard of a covered bridge out here in Idaho, but I sure wish we did. They are pretty darn cool. Thanks for sharing this and all your photo's.:thumb
  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8,103
    Location:
    Central MA
    You are most welcome and you just might have a couple of bridges out your way. Check out Idaho Covered Bridge List. If you ever get out this way, we have some more laying around. During a period of frustration waiting for the GS to arrive last winter, I plotted the location of some in this neck of the woods in Basecamp thinking we'd get to them this summer. With off-road excursions taking more time than I thought, It will take years to get to them all. I head out and then get diverted by some interesting road or place on the way.

    [​IMG]

    I verified that these were still there by locating and identifying with Google sat view.
  20. BBQer

    BBQer Who Me Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    Mass Hysteria
    115 in Vermont alone. List courtesy of the BMW motorcycle owners of Vermont club. They have several RAT (road anomaly tour) rides laid out. If you get a pic of your bike at each location they send you a "got it done" pin.

    I am really enjoying following along on your travels. Even though I have been at, by, over, under, a majority of the places you have shown it is kind of cool seeing them through someone else's eyes.

    I am a little curious about riding on the RR right of ways. Because of a misspent youth I can tell you pretty confidently that RR police, especially P&W, don't take kindly to smaller displacement dirtbikes on their ROW.:deal