|From Behind My Eyes - The Adventures of Tim Stubbe||
Thursday found me in Framingham Massachusetts (pronounced “frame’ing’ham) taking the MTA (train) into Boston to see the sights. I woke up with the sky blue and a nice 60 degree temp, a perfect day for seeing the sites. The fare was $6.25 round trip which was significantly better than riding the bike into Boston, fighting for parking and riding back through the commute traffic. The train ride was quiet, I had to sit and reflect on the hollow look behind the eyes of most of the riders. I guess after you retire, doing some of those mundane things like commuting to work take on a different perspective.
After getting off the train at South Station, I walked about a mile to the “Old Town Trolley” starting point. I had taken the trolley in San Diego in the past and Savannah on this trip. They are an excellent way to see the city without fighting traffic and parking. They are a hop off/on service and run about every 15 minutes. So you can see a place then get back on the trolley and go to the next stop. I did the entire loop the first time to see what places I would be interested in jumping off at which was a good overview of the city. The loop took about 90 minutes and covered everything from Little Italy to Fenway Park.
After completing the look, I decided to I’d get off at Little Italy which was recommended by several friends and then walk up to Paul Revere’s house and North Church, then take the freedom walk to the U.S.S Constitution, Old Ironsides. It was interesting walking the streets that Sam Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere had walked 200+ years ago, though unlike the historical places I had visited in other states, it was more difficult picturing the events with the small buildings surrounded by high rises. The feeling was still there.
The “Freedom Walk” is a 2.5 mile brick trail that goes from the Boston Common (a large park) winding its way through the streets of Boston. Impossible to get off track, the red brick in the sidewalks lead you on your way to points like North Church, the Revere house, The Massachusetts State House and the U.S.S Constitution among some. There were several old cemeteries where noted patriots were buried. I found it interesting that these historical cemeteries in Boston are called “Burial Grounds”, which I guess is more palatable to tourist than a place called a cemetery , but that’s just and observation.
As I walked the trail I came to a place where a large statue of Paul Revere stood with the white steeple of the Old North Church stood against the blue sky a quite impressive view to say the least.
I crossed the Charles River Bridge and walked to where the U.S.S Constitution, oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy. Old Ironsides as she was called got her name from the war of 1812 where the British Captain shouted out that the cannon balls were bouncing off her sides like they were iron. Though the ship was made from Live Oak not Metal. The ship was impressive and polished up like a ship of the line, her guns, brass and Oak sparkling in the sun. A very impressive tour despite the body scans and searches that came with walking on board. DHS was doing their jobs.
From there I pick up the Trolley again and headed up to the Massachusetts State House, the site of such noted events as the Boston Massacre 1773 and the reading of the Declaration of Independence by John Hancock from the balcony. Walking east on State street passing several Irish Pubs, I got back to the wharf area and commenced my search for a great bowl of Clam Chowder which I found at a spot called the “Barking Crab” After enjoying the Chowder and a couple of pints of “Barking Crab Light Ale”, I walked back towards South Station where I boarded the MTA back to Framingham.
That evening I met up with Jeff a fellow rider that I had chatted with on the Motocampers forum. Jeff and I had a nice dinner talking about riding, camping, camping trailers and the trip. We made plans to ride the next day up into New Hampshire and Maine, where he would turn back at the end of the day and head home. It was another great day.
It seems like forever since I actually got some serious miles in. After a very hot 95 and humid 95% day in New York being topped off by a violent Thunder/Lightening and Rain storm last night, I headed out from Cornwall, Ny in a light mist this morning early 6am. Dressed in my best rain gear and expecting the worst. I rode a few miles north from my motel to the Newburgh-Beacon bridge to cross the Hudson River. After paying my $2.50 toll, just a note, if your on a motorcycle pulling a small trailer, its EXTRA!!!.. I headed east on I84. The mist subsided and I got off the interstate in Danford CT to refuel and have a bite, and do some email. By then the mist had stopped and I decided that I'd find an alternate route with more scenery than superslab provides. Heading out a series of state highways, the ride was very enjoyable and the roads mostly 2 lane highways was a very pleasant change to the plethora of 18 wheelers that had been keeping me company the first hour.
The really great thing about this trip is that I can make adjustments to my route to enjoy the local rural roads.
Someone on my route had suggested that if I was near Hartford CT that I stop at Mark Twain's home and take the tour. Since the ride today was only about 200 miles, and since I was going through Hartford, I decided to do just that. Mark Twain, one of America's greatest authors, who's real name was Samuel Clemens, lived in Hartford for a large portion of his life. Like the other homes I have visited, Mark Twain's home is uniquely his. The architect had Twain's Missouri early years in mind when he designed several parts of the home like a river boat. The home all red brick was beautiful both inside and out. The use of stencils throughout the home gave the appearance of a inlay of leather in some rooms and wallpaper in others. Combined with the dark woods used the home had a very warm feeling and one could almost feel and hear his children running about through the home.
Continuing from Hartford Ct, I decided that if it wasn't gong to rain, I'd keep heading east into Rhode Island and then turn north into Massachusetts to Framingham where I'm spending the night. Tomorrow I'll climb on the Train and ride into Boston to take a tour of the city and its historical sights. The weather is projected to be pretty good so I'm counting on some good picture opportunities. So today was a good day not nearly as hot as the past 10 have been and other than some mild mist this morning not much rain. A good day riding and exploring.
Well after a week hanging out at the N-Laws in Flander New Jersey, a week of rain and only one good day of riding the local roads, I'm ready to get back in the saddle and head north.
Tuesday I'll be riding up some rural roads to West Point New York, where a friend has promised me a very special lunch at the West Point Academy Officers Dinning Hall. For me this will be a very special day for me. Being a avid American history buff. West Point is a major stopping point. Both as a place where Treason reared its ugly head in the form of Benedict Arnold but it is also the resting place of many notable historical figures. George Custer, George Patton to name only a few. I'll spend then night in Cornwall NY then Wednesday Morning, head eastward toward the birthplace of the American Revolution, Boston. I'm really getting antsy to get back on the road, and though the N-Laws have been very nice to me, I need to get back on the road.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Memorial Day and spend some of it appreciating the sacrifice that Americans from the Revolutionary War to Today have offered up for our way of life.
The below picture is one I took at the VIetnam Memorial in Washington DC and seems fitting to post on this Memorial Weekend.
As promised here are a few more pictures from my 2 days in Washington D.C.
1. Vietnam Wall Memorial with Washington Monument in the background
2. Myself in front of the statue of 3 Vietnam Soldiers.
3. Korean War Memorial
4. Lincoln Memorial
5. Arlington National Cemetery
6. The crypt of "Robert Todd Lincoln" Abraham Lincolns lone surviving son.
(note: Robert Tood Lincoln was a junior officer present at Appomattox when Lee surrendered)
7. Though not in DC, This stained glass was at Mt Vernon (Washington's home) which was beautiful.
Well its been a few days and my internet connections have been sporadic at best. I apologize for the delay. I left Fredericksburg, Va Wednesday the 16th and headed North to Mt Vernon, the home of our first president George Washington. It was as I had remembered it when I was 13 visiting it for the first time, though the house was more tan than I had remembered it. The Guide told us that they have repainted the year before with something closer to the type of paint used in the 1700's and that it would be bleaching out.
Here us a 360 of the front and back of the home.
I was struck by the opposing contrasts of the Jefferson home in Monticello, a home of invention and the not of someone that had traveled the world, and the simpler gentleman farmer style of the Mt Vernon estate. When I queried the guides on the ground, then answer intrigued me. "General Washington was a soldier who fought battles, and Jefferson a politician who traveled and didn't know battle". Not exactly the answer I was expecting to hear, but I guess there is even competition amongst historians and the private estates of both men. I'd be interested to hear the answer to the same question at Monticello.
From Mt Vernon I road up to Washington DC. Entering from the Memorial Bridge near the Lincoln Memorial, it felt as if I was being sucked into a vortex of traffic I had no control over. Like a whirlpool spiraling me deeper into the quagmire until the inevitable end, GRIDLOCK. I sat through 3 signal changes observing how everyone else was managing and basically followed suit. Turned on my turn signal and pressed on. Amazingly the traffic parted and I pushed on until I had gotten back to the Capitol Mall and my exit back onto the Memorial Bridge. I then rode a short distance to Arlington National Cemetery where I parked and walk the grounds. The Arlington House perched a top the hill overlooking the resting place of many brave warriors and presidents. I views the resting place of JFK with 3 other markers next to the eternal flame and a short distance away the very simple makers of RFK and Teddy Kennedy. a simple white marker with a plain white cross, much different than I had thought they would be. As moving as those were, I stumbled off the main path to view a small crypt that held the body of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincolns Son. I wondered how many people had seen this or just walked by after seeing the other notable plots.
After walking the ground of Arlington, I decided to again press on into the vortex of DC and see if I could get to the 3 memorials that I had really wanted to see. The Capitol Mall is now undergoing major renovation and getting to the 3 memorials was a test of patience and perseverance, but I succeeded in finding a parking spot and finally got to the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial and finally the VietNam Memorial. The last one probably as emotional a visit as I've had on this trip. Seeing the names of those that had fallen, and the name of one that I knew touched me more than I had expected.
After the visit to "The Wall", I decided that my stay in DC had concluded and I wasn't really interested in looking at bulldozers and fork lifts any longer. I headed North west to Harper's Ferry WV the site of John Browns Raid and a Civil War battle. I will post more pictures from DC when I get the opportunity and a better internet connection.
Weird night in Fredericksburg.. I'm sitting watching the weather channel and I hear some thunder and heavy rain. I open the door and I can see a pretty violent storm is passing through. Wind, Rain, Thunder, Lightening the works.. So I stand there a few minutes and then walk back into the room. about 5 minutes later I hear water dripping and I look outside and the rain has stopped. Curious I follow the sounds bac...k to the bathrom in my room and there is WATER POURING from the vent fan in the ceiling into the toilet.. Now this isn't as unusual as the fact that I'm in a LOWER ROOM, which begs the question whats going on upstairs.. I go to the office and tell the girl her answer is "I'll give you another room" and "I can't leave the office".. at which she give me a key and I move 2 doors down.. Now there are fire/rescure and ambulances running up and down the road here... Very strange night in Fredericksburg...
After leaving the Museums I wandered up the Capitol Mall toward the Capitol building. I found it interesting in my meanderings how many monuments to the Civil War were around. The bronze statues in front of the Capitol Building were especially epic in their design.
The day of wandering the Smithsonians and Capitol Mall ended with a walk to Union Station and finding the train ready to leave, hopped onboard and headed back to Fredericksburg. Through my travels that day the rain had completely stopped. I got back to Fredericksburg and rode my bike back to the Hotel, once the bike was covered up, the skies opened and the rain fell. I felt very fortunate to be able to spend a day in DC. I'll be going back tomorrow to see more of the outdoor memorials and monuments, WWII, VietNam and Arlington Natioanl Cemetery. The weather should be better.
One observation.. JayWalking in D.C. seems to be the norm rather than the exception including Metro Police... Whats up with that???
I did get a surprise today when a guy I had been corasponding with called me from Richmond and drove up to see me. Mike Marrion and I had a great morning chatting and having lunch together. Thanks Mike, it was a great time and I'm glad we got to meet...
I Woke up in the morning to a light rain falling. So light, that I decided I’d ride to the Fredericksburg
train station and take the train into Washington D.C. My reasoning was that I could at least see the Smithsonian Museums. I arrived at the station and covered my bike and walked to the station. Not knowing when the train would be there or when it would leave. I entered the station just as the VRE (Virginia Regional Express) pulled in. I purchased my ticket and climbed on board. Riding the train
to DC took about 75 minutes, ending at Union Station. Boy people that do this every morning are GRUMPY!! I guess I’d be grumpy too if I wasn’t retired and had to do this every day.
I climbed off the train and walked out of Union Station, pretty much lost. After asking some directions from a DC Metro Policeman, I started my trek to the American History Museum about ½ miles
away. I light drizzle accompanying me as I made my way there. Passing several iconic buildings as the U.S. Capitol, Attorney General, National Archives, and FBI buildings. Construction on the Capitol Mall, was everywhere actually damping the image of the Capitol for me. I walked down Constitution Ave where police bagpipers were tuning up in the morning rain, apparently nothing stops for weather in D.C.
Finally getting to the Museum of American History I entered after a brief body cavity search, just kidding, actually they just looked into my camera bag and let me in.
The Museum of American History 4 stories of it was immense so I climbed the stairs to the top to work my way back down. Start with the first exhibit “Wars in American History” A period from the French
Indian War to Afghanistan. There I found uniforms worn by English and Amercans a restored French Gunboat, pressing on to the Revolutionary War letters from Washington, Maybe the most interesting was the Civil War with a large stuffed horse ridden by “Stonewall Jackson”.
I then progressed through the largest portion of the exhibit, WWI & II with many artifacts from that timeframe, then Korea and the Viet Nam war (been there done that). The next exhibit was Jefferson and his stance on Slavery, some interesting artifacts there also. Then on to a Colonial Exhibit, with a suit worn by Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson’s Bible.
Although some might find it interesting, I passed on the dresses worn by the First Ladies and progress to
the Industrialization of America, where there were some of the great inventions of the 18th and
19thcentury. Edison’s first phonograph was quite interesting. Several of the sections were closed and new exhibits were being built so after wandering the halls, I moved up the street to the Museum of Natural History. I got some pretty bad pictures here. 1. Stonewall Jacksons Horse 2. Jefferson's Bible 3.Benjamin Franklins Suit.
There at the Museum of Natural History, I saw something I had seen when I was 13 years old when my parents brought my Sister and I to Washington in 1960. There in the middle of the center of the entry hall was the Elephant that so mesmerized me when I was 13.
It seemed like every school had brought kids there that Monday morning and not very interested in seeing stuffed Lions, Tigers and Bears, made a fairly quick exit in order to see the Air and Space
Museum. This of all the museums was really exceptional since this one had more exhibits in it than I could remember from my 1960 visit. I can remember the Wright Brothers, Spirit of St Louis and WWI &II aircraft. Real Space flight had not be achieved then so it wonderful seeing things like John Glenn’s
“Freedom 7” space craft, the first to orbit earth, the first Russian/U.S space docking modules, A full size replica of the Hubble Telescope. Moon Landers, Mars Rovers and Space Suits that had been on the moon. Very Fascinating stuff. The WWI bi-planes brought me back to my love of history and I thought of ships without all the technology they have today and marveled at the pilots that flew them by the seat of their pants.
Picture 1. Freedom 7 2. Spirit Of St Louis 3. Soyouz U.S docking Modules 4. Hubble Telescope
The WWI bi-planes brought me back to my love of history and I thought of ships without all the technology they have today and marveled at the pilots that flew them by the seat of their pants.
As many of you know I’m a history freak. Especially American History, and even though I consider myself fairly educated in these periods I’m always amazed and fascinated when I visit a historical site. Even with today’s technology and ability to see pictures and video’s of places, there is no replacement for being there. The one thing that pictures can’t replace is topography. The feel of ground, the hills and valleys where you can stand and see and imagine what went on. In every place I’ve visited from Vicksburg to to Appomattox to Monticello, this has been true. These places take on a feeling of walking on sacred ground and are more than just a place to see.
Sunday I retraced my steps back to Yorktown, Bob and I had visited the town itself but had missed the
battlefield since it was late in the day. After Bob left for home Sunday morning, I decided to ride south and cross the bridge at Yorktown over to Glouster VA then up to Fredricksburg ,York town, a short ride of 11 miles from Williamsburg.
As I got near York town, I decided to detour and ride around the battlefield and then visit the visitor’s center. Standing on the earthworks where the British stood and seeing the view really did solidify understanding of what went on there. The desperation Cornwallis must have felt of being bottlenecked by French and American troops, with very little chance of escape due to the French Navy's blockade. The old saying being more true than we want to think. The Revolutionary War was stared in the North, Fought in the South and Won by the French.
Here's a 360 of the British Fortifactions. and another cannon still
Riding from Yorktown to across the bridge to Glouster then up VA-17 north was a pleasure. Being Sunday morning the traffic was light with most church parking lots filled. I’m a lover of historical markers, those signs along the road that show what happened at a place. Problem in Virginia is the are literally 100 ft apart lining the highway in some areas. It would be impossible to see all of them and I was
mildly saddened that I couldn’t stop and see them, but I pressed on.
Getting to Fredericksburg shortly after noon, I stopped at the Battlefield Visitors Center. Fredericksburg, a place of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Civil War with several battlefields close
by was high on my left of places to see. Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Chancellorsville and “The Wilderness” were all only a few miles apart. At the
Fredericksburg site, I walked the “Sunken Road” on Marye’s Hights where Confederate Soldiers held off thousands of Union Soldiers that were sent by Gen Burnsides like cattle into a slaughterhouse. Again I got the feeling of being in a special place something I’ve often felts while touring these types of
Here are a few shots from Fredericksburg Battlefield.:
The fisrt two are from "Sunken Road" where Confederate forces held off Union infantry. Though the confederates were outnumbered by the Union Forces, major tactical mistakes by General Burnside allowed Robert E Lee's forces to hold them off at Marye's Heights. The third of the graves of Union soldiers who lost their lives as Burnside affraid of a counter attack by Lee's forces, continued to send the men into a meat grinder. Thousands of men in Blue were sacrificed.
Packed up the tent at Pocahontas State Park and headed east toward Williamsbrug. A busy Saturday had a large bicycle race going on along our route making traveling slow. We stopped at Jamestown for a few minutes at a place called the "Glass House" this was where the first settlers made glass for the Jamestown settlement. There were several artisans making glass in the same manner that the settlers did except they had a gas furnace. After purchasing a very nice oil lamp that they would ship home for me we continued on to Williamsburg. Once there we took a few hours walking the streets of one of the oldest english settlements and home of WIlliam & Mary the oldest college EST 1608. The streets were crowded with a street fair at one end but once out of the crowds I was able to get some pretty decent pictures.
Availing myself the use of the town punishments called "Stocks" proved for a light momemt as we wandered around the town. My wife especiallly likes this and wants it enlarged and hung in the hallway.
We ended the day with a nice meal at "Red Hot & Blue" BBQ restaurant which was quite good and put down for the night at the local Econo Lodge. This was the last day Bob was going to be with me, as he was headed home to Greenville S.C. My Time with Bob was great and we enjoyed many new sights on the road durning our travels. I'll miss our friendly banter and jokes and Bob's company.
Today I'll head up to Fredericksburg. Weather forcast for Sunday night through Tuseday is not looking good rain 80% Monday, 50% Tuesday will probably find me holed up somewhere, but I've been considering taking the train to Washington DC to visit the Smithsonian Museums on those days,if the weather is to bad. I've been pretty lucky with weather with only 1 day of rain riding. A day of rest after 5 straight riding will also be welcome.