Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cape Cod to Norwood and the Reunion Events

Bourne Bridge over Cape Cod Canal

We left Brewster on Cape Cod on Monday, knowing we were scheduled to meet friends at Norwood High School at 5 PM Wednesday to celebrate the completion of our journey.  We allowed three days to get from Brewster on Cape Cod to Norwood just in case the weather did not cooperate.  We retraced the route we had taken a week earlier along the Cape Cod Canal, through Onset Beach, and into Wareham.  The next day the forecast was for a 40% chance of rain.  We decided to ride anyway and experienced only light rain as we rode to our hotel in Norwood.  Our daughter Cheryl drove up from New Haven Connecticut to meet us and drove us on a brief tour of the town, including the new high school and the house where Hank grew up, followed by dinner at a Conrad’s, a local restaurant in downtown Norwood.   

Onset Bay
15 Florence Ave Were Hank Grew Up
Carolyn and Hank at Norwood High School
Wednesday morning we took the hotel shuttle into down Norwood to do some shopping.  Wednesday afternoon we rode the tandem to the new high school to meet celebrate with friends and take some pictures.  The new high school was built behind the site of the school Hank attended.  Many of the architectural features of the old high school were incorporated in the new high school.  After taking a number of pictures, Skip, who organized the reunion and to whom we had shipped the bike boxes and our suitcases, brought the luggage to our hotel while we rode the tandem back from the high school.  After unloading the luggage and a quick change, we joined friends at the Old Colonial CafĂ©, formerly the town fire station, for a celebratory dinner.

Thursday we picked up a car at the Norwood Airport and began disassembling the bike and packing it the two “airline friendly” cases.  Friday night we joined about 25 classmates and spouses at the Forum Restaurant and Bar in downtown Boston.  The second of the two Boston Marathon bombing occurred directly in front of the Forum, which was the last of the businesses damaged by the bombings to reopen.  Later that evening as we waited for the car, it was eerie standing in front of Forum, looking at the mailbox and security camera across the street and remembering the horror that had occurred there five months earlier.

New Norwood High School
Saturday morning we took a tour of the new high school.  The building, which is now three years old, was just gorgeous, much nicer than any we have seen in California.  The principal who lead the tour was extremely proud of the school and his teachers and students.  It is easy to understand why Massachusetts’s high school students score better on standardized tests than those from any other state.

Tour of New Cafeteria

Tour of TV Station at Norwood High School

Tour of New Library
Saturday night we attended the reunion with about 125 classmates and their spouses.  It was fun to see many classmates I barely remember as well as those with whom I had many classes.  Sunday morning we attended a reunion brunch with about thirty classmates and spouses.

Post note:
We worked with Jean Lang at the Boston Globe on a story about our adventure, which appeared in the Boston Globe Southern Edition on Thursday, September 19.   The attached link is to the electronic version of that article.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Connecticut to Cape Cod

Hank, Debbie, Carolyn, Marion, Cheryl, Haley

After resting for four days at Carolyn’s niece’s home outside Hartford, we headed east, first to visit another niece in Chepachet and then on to Cape Cod.  We crossed the Connecticut River from Rocky Hill to Glastonbury on the oldest continuously operating ferry in the United States.  The ferry first operated in 1655.  The ferry has been powered at various times by poles, oars, a horse treadmill, and a steam engine.  The current ferry consisted of a small barge and a tugboat to tow the barge across the river.  The ride from Kensington to Willimantic and then to Chepachet involved considerable climbing and we arrived at Chepachet totally exhausted.  

Historic Ferry across the Connecticut River between Rocky Hill and Glastonbury
Railroad Bridge over Cape Cod Canal
In Chepachet, we enjoyed our visit with Carolyn's niece Debbie and her son Gregory.  After resting for a day, and with most of the climbing now behind us, we left Chepachet and we headed southeast to Taunton MA and then down to Wareham where we spent the night with one of Hank’s classmates, Karen.  From Wareham it was a short but very scenic ride through Onset, across the Bourne Bridge and along the Cape Cod Canal to Sandwich where we spent three days with another high school classmate, Curt. 

Heritage Auto Museum

On Monday, Labor Day, we toured the Heritage Museum in Sandwich in the morning and the Sandwich Glass Museum in the afternoon.  The building housing the Heritage Museum's car collection was modeled after the Shaker Round Stone Barn in Pittsfield MA. The museum houses a collection of classic cars, many of which were concept cars.  Hank’s favorite was a Buick Wildcat two seat sports car.    We also walked the gardens and took a ride on an antique carousel.  The Sandwich Glass Museum documented the history of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, which prospered in Sandwich in the first half of the 19th century.  The factory was built in 1825 after the federal government placed a high tax on imported glass from England.  The factory, which closed in 1888, was located in Sandwich to take advantage of the abundance of timber to fuel the glass furnaces.   In addition to the traditional glass blowing, the Sandwich Glass Company developed processes for making pressed glass.
Buick Two Seater Concept Car 
Curt and Elaine
Hank and Carolyn on Carousel at Heritage Museum
Wild Turkey on Curt and Elaine's Bird Feeder
Steve, Susan, Carolyn, Hank
We left Sandwich on Wednesday and rode east to Brewster where we stayed with our daughter’s in-laws, Susan and Steven Logsdon.  While in Brewster we also visited friends from our Pennywise Cycle tours, Dave and Jane Buck and Hank’s childhood friend Betsy and her husband Cedric.

Cedric, Betsy, Hank, Carolyn

Friday, August 23, 2013

Silver Lake, Perry, New York to Kensington, Connecticut

Erie Canal

Leaving Silver Lake on Friday we headed north to link up with NY State Bicycle Route 5, which parallels the Erie Canal and the NY State Thruway.   Unfortunately Hank didn’t check the route carefully before we left.  Part of the route turned out to be on the Genesee Valley Greenway, which was little more than an unpaved cow path, which meandered through the woods along the Genesee River.  After jamming the derailer into the uneven ground, bending the derailer hanger, and later fording a washed out section of the trail, we got back on a road south of Avon and made our way to Henrietta.  

Erie Canal
Saturday we continued northeast to Pittsford where we picked up state bike route 5 and head east along the Erie Canal, past the B & B where we stayed 5 weeks earlier with the Brumbaughs and Glasgows.  

Lake Oneida
We continued east on bicycle Route 5, spending the night in Weedsport.  Sunday we rode north of Syracuse and along the lower edge of Lake Oneida, spending the night in Verona.   Leaving Verona, we rode to Rome, NY to do some banking and to visit Fort Stanwix, an important fort during the French and Indian Wars and the Revolutionary War. 

Fort Stanwix, Rome NY
Touring Tandem Couple
We spent that night in Herkimer and the next night in Amsterdam.  Riding between Amsterdam and Schenectady, we met another couple touring on a tandem.  They had left Albany that morning and were headed to Niagara Falls.  Later that day we jammed the chain again as a result of repeatedly bending and straightening the derailer hanger.  Unfortunately this time we kinked the chain.  After stopping at a farmhouse and borrowing two pairs of pliers in an attempt to straighten the chain, we ultimately had to replace a link.  We limped into a bike shop in Schenectady where we replaced both the chain and the cassette.  Stoker Carolyn says that her captain did a great job as an emergency mechanic keeping is up and rolling.

Close Bridge on Route to Westerlo
That day we also rode through Scotia where some of Carolyn’s relatives had lived.  From Schenectady we rode into the foothills of the Catskill Mountains to visit Carolyn’s cousin in Westerlo.  Along the route, we came to a closed and barricaded bridge.  We unloaded the panniers and packs, picked the bike up over the barricade, walked across the bridge and repeated the process on the other side.  The ride up to Westerlo was a tough climb and we arrived totally exhausted.   We spent Saturday with the relatives, in the morning visiting two cemeteries, including the Westerlo Cemetery where Carolyn’s parents are buried and in the afternoon visiting more relatives.  Sunday we left Westerlo and rode, mostly down hill, to Schodack NY.  Along the way we stopped in Albany at the USS Slater where Carolyn took a toured.

Kate, Carolyn, Hank, Alvin (Carolyn's Cousin)
USS Slater, Albany, NY

Shaker Museum, Mount Lebanon NY
Monday we rode into Massachusetts, spending that night and the next night in Pittsfield. MA.  On the climb into Pittsfield we stopped for a picnic lunch at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.  Although this was the most influential Shaker community, many of the buildings are much need of renovation.  Because of the time and the climb in front of us, we only visited the museum and did not tour the other buildings.  Later that day we rode past another Shaker community in Pittsfield, MA, which had been restored.  Again because of time constraints, we did not take the tour.  

Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Tobacco Drying Barns
On our day off the bike we relaxed in the morning and went to see “The Butler” starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey in the afternoon.  Heading south from Pittsfield we had a 900 ft. climb, which, combined with the temperature and the humidity, was possibly the toughest climb (actually a long walk pushing the bike uphill) of the whole trip.  We also lost a front brake pad along the way, probably while using the brake to hold the bike on the hill.  Riding into Westfield, we stopped at the New Horizons bike shop for new brake pads and a new brake cable.  We told the owner where we were headed and he recommended taking the Columbia Greenway bike trail, which runs from Westfield, MA to Farmington, CT.  The next day we took the trail, part of which is a “rails to trail” route.  We like these because the grades are always very gentle.  Along the trail, we rode past a farm where they were harvesting tobacco.  
Harvesting Tobacco
Thursday afternoon we arrived at Carolyn’s niece’s home in Kensington CT, where we will stay until Tuesday.

Greenway Trail Sign

Greenway Sign

Greenway Sign

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Silver Lake, Ridgeway Ontario on Lake Erie, Silver Lake

Carolyn and Steve on Steve's Sailboat

When we returned from the Upstate New York Rambling tour, Carolyn’s niece Karen and her son Billy joined us at the cottage on Silver Lake.  During the time we were together, Hank enjoyed fishing with Billy while Carolyn enjoyed reconnecting with her niece.  On Thursday we rode 74 miles from Silver Lake to Ridgeway, Ontario to visit Hank’s fraternity brother Steve and his wife Karen.  The ride went very smoothly, even through Buffalo and the border crossing, and we arrived just in time to join them on the race committee boat for the evening sailboat races.  Friday we kicked back and relaxed.  Saturday we went for a sail on Steve’s 35 foot sailboat.  The wind was quite strong, with 3 foot waves and some rain.  Sunday Hank went out again with Steve, Karen and some friends while Carolyn stayed at their home and relaxed.  The wind was again strong but the skies were clear with no rain.  
Hank at the Helm of Steve's Sailboat
Corn Fields in Upstate NY
Monday Steve and Karen had a barbeque with five other couples.  Most were from Buffalo with second homes in Ontario.  Some of the conversation focused on border crossing issues and Canadian regulations regarding US citizens residing in Canada.  Tuesday we left Ridgeway for Silver Lake, spending the night in Batavia.  Silver Lake is about 800 ft. higher than Lake Erie and we felt the additional climbing on the return trip was more than we wanted to attempt in one day.   

Fresh Picked Blueberries 
Wednesday we arrived back at Silver Lake before lunch.  Friday we went to a nearby blueberry farm and picked 8 quarts of blueberries.  Over the next few days we enjoyed fresh blueberries, blueberry pancakes and two blueberry pies which Hank made.  

Saturday we visited the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo.  The plane shown in the picture to the right is a C47. This plane was the lead aircraft of the 37th Troop Carrier Group and dropped 17 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division near St. Mere Eglise in Normandy on D-day.  The museum is planning to fly the plane to Europe for a reenactment of the jump on the 70th anniversary of the D-day invasion.  

Carolyn's Brother Fred (on far right) in Choral Group
Sunday we attended the Pioneer Picnic and listened to Carolyn’s brother Fred sing in a barbershop choral group.   

Farm Near Silver Lake
Monday we went for a 40 mile training ride around the lake in preparation for our departure on Friday for points east, ending in Boston.

Hank and Carolyn with Fred and Priscilla