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 may be what is known as the Poland Gate on the Main Poland Road out of Conway MA at about coordinates 42.499298, -72.731580. I did find a postcard that seems to depict it at CardCow.com - Poland Gate but that's about all. We may have to ride out that way and see if any of the Conway oldtimers that gather in Baker's Store know about it and the old log shack. If you have any other information, we'd love to know about it. Thanks.

    UPDATE EDIT: I called Helen at Baker's Store and she verified that the cleft was called the Poland Gate but didn't know if it was man-made or natural. She's going to ask around among the old-timers. I am thinking that grades were too steep in places for a rail bed. If natural, it looks like a great place to construct a toll gate at an earlier time. I remember reading that Conway MA was, at a time, larger than Springfield MA and this could have been a main road south out of town. If so, a toll gate would have been the ideal way to relieve travelers of their money, something this state is very good at with its cash cow turnpike.
  2. TM1(SS)

    TM1(SS) Matthew 24:36, Ride today, ride now :-) Supporter

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    You'd have lost me right there for a couple of hours, would have stripped down to shorts, stepped in and stayed until I looked like a prune !!
    :clap
  3. BBQer

    BBQer Who Me Supporter

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    Very nice.

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    Before my time the road continued on and spanned the river,
    not sure if that is still the Burnshirt or the Ware yet,

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    Now only the remnants of a dam remain

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    In my youth, before Boston felt the need to guard their water so securely, I could hop on my trusty XL 175 in Holden and ride through here on old rail beds all the way to Keene.

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    Poscycle,
    I am liking the way your reports have me reliving some of my past adventures. However I think that I have to get out this weekend and live some current ones.
  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    We appreciate your pics and replies BBQer. Keep em coming cie vous plait! You have probably been places we haven't and any pics you have may encourage us and others. Thanks.
  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    For much of this week, all we've done is short afternoon get-out-of-the-office rides with very little exploring. Here are most of the few pics we've taken: The first is obvious to those from the area - the road up to Mt. Wachusett.

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    Below was just a fun road.

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    A nice little waterfall.

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    A quiet little pond.

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    I saw Frank Maguire out in his field. drove out to say hi and pose with his classic old milk truck (1955 Divco). I'd hoped he would have the cows on top the the fence or the truck but he said he'd been too busy to move them and didn't want to disturb the fox living in the truck.

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    I didn't have a pic of the 2014 GS with this church, so it was pose time after stopping at Rose32 for coffee and a danish.

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    Saw what looked to be a nice sandy trail.

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    And immediately ran out of trail when I wouldn't fit over the bridge.

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    The trail had a nice view, though.

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    More to follow if time allows.
  6. BBQer

    BBQer Who Me Supporter

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    Love this kind of stuff, only thing missing is the moose.

    Ya got me stumped with the church... Hardwick has a Wren?
  7. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    '
    I was looking around for a moose as there were signs saying to look out for them, but, alas, none were to be found. As for the church, you're not stumped. It's in Gilbertville, a village in Hardwick, at coordinates 42.307213, -72.210194 - right across from the old station that's now the Whistlestop Cafe/Restaurant.

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  8. brian72

    brian72 URBEX

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  9. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    If there was a dirt road or trail anywhere in the state that Rider Two didn't want to ride, whether he should or not, it wasn't apparent today. He wanted to take off down every bit of passable off-road path/road/trail he could find and most of it was devoid of things other than trees. His motto seems to now be "If it isn't on the GPS than I know I am having fun. We spent a good part of today with him in that state of mind.

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    Although older than dirt, I am continually learning and getting more comfortable off-road; however, not seeing anything but trees can get boring. Fortunately, there were some vistas and other things to be seen along the way today. One was the following overlook.

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    After coming off one bit of gravel leading up to North Leverett Road, we did happen upon the old structure that looked a little like an old warehouse or store.

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    It was situated next door to this old mill.

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    Farther out in the western part of the state, we came across this bit of automotive nostalgia - a 50s era (1953?) Pontiac.

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    It seems as if no excursion is complete without riding the rails. I did ride partway out on a rail trestle over a river. Now I do enjoy riding in gravel like this but just not on a trestle over a river. The thought of going down here persuaded me to back off the bridge and turn around.

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    We did find a very nice steel bridge to go under, though.

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    On the way home, we discovered the remnants of what looked to be an old farm out in the woods. Below is what I think was the root cellar for the house, as it had a well next to it.

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    A much larger, above-ground structure was nearby. The size would suggest this was the barn.

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    Now we have to set about trying to learn more about some of these places. More to follow.
  11. BBQer

    BBQer Who Me Supporter

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    Truely inspired by this thread I felt the need to explore, but where to? With the 4 yr. old chedder finished this week the answer was easy. I put on the happy face and off I went.

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    Another brick of 4 yr. old, cloth wrapped cave aged and a surprise - Baley Hazen Blue. Not made by Grafton but sold there.
    I usually see fishermen here, this morning just the waterliles and me.

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    The CT river was calm

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    I love finding stuff in the middle of no where and wondering why? Investigation answered that there was a railbed about 50 ft. above.

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    I was going to say something about everybody travelling over this bridge

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    But few travel under it

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    It appears that you beat me to the punch

    This was almost on the way home, unfortunately the rhodeys need about 3 more weeks.

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    I hope you don't mind me posting in your thread, you did invite it after all. It seems we travel in the same circles. I look forward to meeting both of you.
  12. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    First, let me say we greatly appreciate and enjoy your posting in this thread and we look forward to meeting up. Also, we were up in VT today checking out some back roads and had lunch at Mikes in Grafton. We didn't buy any cheese this time, though,

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    More pictures to follow, probably tomorrow. Finally, you did good on that rail bed find. Kudos.
  13. hippiebrian

    hippiebrian Long timer

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    You just brought tears to my eyes. I grew up in Northbridge, but my Dad used to live in the Grafton Inn. At the time, in the 70's, it was pretty much a flop house for drunks with a bar downstairs. I stayed with him a few times there, and used to ride my Honda 70 and my Rickman up and down those tracks while my dad would drink in the bar. He passed in '84, and I haven't been back since I got divorced in '89. Been living here in Cali 30 years now, but it looks like Grafton hasn't changed a bit. It may be time to fly into Boston, rent a bike and do some exploring into some childhood places. Maybe next year.

    Thanks, they were tears of sadness and joy.
  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    You are most welcome. We like it when our pics bring happiness. Sadness, not so much but I understand that it can happen when we look back. My father let me get out into the world on a Cushman Eagle (that I bought and paid for myself) when in grade school. When we moved out east, I made it a point to ride back on a motorcycle to visit him. I poignantly remember seeing him standing in the bay window, looking out and crying as I was leaving from a visit. I never saw him again because was dying and he knew it. I didn't. Looking back at those type of moments hurt - a lot.
    Macsporran likes this.
  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Sunday was another beautiful day with temps in the 60s to low 70s - a perfect day for both riding the slab and off-road. In fact, we did about 50% of each. We met up for breakfast at the usual spot (i.e., Dinky's Blue Belle) and found this gem sitting outside - a 1957 Nash Metropolitan.

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    Some of you young whippersnappers (e.g. Rider Two) may not remember that Nash merged with Hudson Motors to eventually become American Motors and the Metro was also sold as a Hudson Metropolitan. The Metro was designed by a group of Nash designers in cahoots with Pininnfarina, who publically disavowed all participation for obvious reasons, and built by Austin Motors in the UK using existing parts. It was the first post-war car marketed to women. It appears to be quite collectible.

    After breakfast, it was off to some back roads, such as the one below. Those we rode this day were relatively smooth (smoother than many of the paved roads along the way) and we could readily zip along at 30 mph or more on most of them. We do, however, slow down and exercise caution on gravely switchbacks and tight turns.

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    Enroute we passed some nice ponds, including this old mill pond.

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    As I recall in talking to someone years ago, this particular pond is reputed to hold some monster bass.

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    We stopped for coffee and a break at the Country Store. I do hope these folks can make a go of it.

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    We took some scenic roads up to NH and into VT and started hitting back roads as soon as we got north of Brattleboro. There wasn't much to see except for a few water features.

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    We made our way up to Grafton VT and had lunch at Mike's. They make a good sandwich with area-baked bread.

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    If you've never been to Mikes, it is adjacent to the Grafton Cheese store and has a nice eating area out back. Rider two was so relaxed out there that I think he fell asleep looking at a map.

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    For those of you looking for a relaxing stay in this scenic little VT town, the historic Grafton VT Inn might serve as a great base of operations for exploring the area.

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    We headed out of town west on gravel and saw little other than skiing-related houses and stores. There was, however, this nice little school house.

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    There was also this cute little cabin with a bear out in front.

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    The only other thing of interest we saw was, unfortunately, a puzzling motorcycle accident where the bike, by whatever means, landed perfectly upside down. We paused long enough to make sure the injured was being attended to and did a quick point-and-shoot of the bike as we were leaving the scene. Shown below, the accident victim is not in the picture.

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    After that we headed south into western MA and then home. The intent of Sunday's ride was to get a balance of off- and on- road riding. Needless to say, each time out builds both confidence and experience off-road. I am now 99.9% confident my road-sofa days are history and Rider Two appears to be rapidly coming to the same conclusion. Having a bike that will do both well is just too much fun. Coming off a half-ton road sofa, the weight of the this bike is nothing and it's superior (IMHO) handling and speed make riding far more fun in either environment. This is not a plug for GSs so much as it is for an appreciation of Newton's laws and reliable, powerful (in terms of HP/Weight), lightweight bikes with superior adjustability of suspension controls/ergos and throttle mapping.

    The GS was, incidentally, so dirty that some nefarious scamp wrote "Harley" and "Davidson" in the dust on the back of my panniers. Rider two laughed, snickered and chuckeled all the way back.
  16. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    More outstanding photo's. This is nice too!

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    Thanks for sharing...more:clap
  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Yesterday was work and clean the bike day. Today I was passing through Sudbury MA and thought it would be a good opportunity to get a few pictures of Longfellow's Wayside Inn for those out-of-area folks who've never seen or heard of it. So, I dropped in this afternoon.

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    Looking at it from down the old Post Road, you can see that it has been added on to since first becoming an inn in the early 1700s. Originally opening as Howe's Tavern in 1716, the inn went through a number of owners, including Henry Ford who established a non-profit institute that operates the inn to this day.

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    It became known as Longfellow's Wayside Inn as a result of the popularity of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn, a book of poems published in 1863. Longfellow took his inspiration from a visit there in 1862.

    When you first enter the front door, there is a museum room to your left.

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    To the right is the original tap room, which is still operating today. It was too full to get a picture when I stepped in so here's one from the internet.

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    Straight down the hall are the other dining rooms, including the large areas in the additions.

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    Just down the road is a non-denominational church that Henry Ford had built. He named the church after his mother, Mary, and mother in law, Martha.

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    Ford also commissioned a fully-function grist mill that sits across the road from the church. The grist mill was to be another part of his model historical village, a scheme that didn't pan out they way his Greenfield Village did. Note the clean bike - it's an old cruiserface habit.

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  18. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    I have this thing for old mills, having grown up in a midwestern town that had one and where the main street through town was called Mill Street. One of the many stupid things the town did was to let the mill fall apart and be torn down. Not being as stupid as those in my hometown, Henry Ford also had a thing for old mill and is, as previously stated, responsible for the Wayside Inn mill. This to say old mills, including this one, are attractions worthy of their own post.

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    Commissioned by Ford, the grist mill was designed/built by famous Philadelphia hydraulic engineer J.B. Campbell. Construction begain in 1924 and the first grain was produced on Thanksgiving Day 1929. Millstones were imported from France and the internals sourced by Ford's hired antique hunters (i.e., pickers).

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    For close to 20 years, the mill produced grain for the Inn and the Wayside Inn Boys School that Ford operated. They ground corn, wheat and rye to produce flour. When Henry Ford died in 1947, the mill stopped operating. In 1952, Pepperidge Farm leased the mill to produce grain for its products. The lease ended 15 years later in 1957 and Pepperidge Farm ceased operating the mill. From 1967 to 1969, the mill produced flour for the King Arthur Flour Company, after which it produced flour for the Inn only. Today, the mill still produces flour you can buy in the Inn Gift Shop.

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    The mill wasn't open or operating when I was there, so I just walked around in back and took some pictures.

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    Particularly inviting is a walk down the mill race.

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    I am planning to go back there and get pictures inside. The mill is not that far away but the traffic between here and there can be unpleasant, especially on a hot day. Once there, though, the place is very cooling and relaxing, provided it isn't packed with tourists.

    A message to the town I grew up in: (rant) Wake up your morons, rebuild the mill and create a river walk if you want more tourist traffic. (/rant)
  19. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Kilroy was here

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    Do you know the story of those mugs hanging from the ceiling? Are they used by regulars?
  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    As I understand it, the mugs are somewhat commemorative in nature and belong to the past colonels of the Sudbury Militia Company. The Sudbury Militia Company (i.e., the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute or Sudbury Minutemen) are reenactors who try to preserve knowledge of the American heritage and revolution. Members of the Militia muster at the Inn monthly.

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    The minutemen model the Sudbury militias of 1774 and 1775, particularly the South Militia that was commanded by Colonel Ezekial How, who was the Innkeeper of How's Tavern (i.e., The Wayside Inn).