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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 07-28-22, 06:38 PM
  #10126  
rholland1951
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Took the Rambouillet (fast, elegant) on a maintenance ride on the Minuteman. Most rides on the Minuteman are maintenance rides (cf. "mental health rides"), unless they are "transportation segments". Or your daily commute. Or a ticket to the Easter Parade, of strictly anthropological interest. All that stuff...


Anyhow, today's maintenance ride was wedged between a couple of downpours. Downpour #1 poured down while I was sitting in my house, admiring its ferocity and aqueous vigor. Downpour #2 poured down to the NW of my location, may it have done the parched plants and critters there some good. Downpour #3 has yet to pour down; perhaps it will get the plants in my yard wet, and save me the water bill sprinkling them. In the interval between Downpour #1 and #2, the wind spanked the trees and they cried for their mamma.


A little contention for resources at the waterhole. Harsh words were said, but not by me. To me, perhaps...


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders continue to evolve. If you call the incorporation of plastic dragons into an otherwise plausible Neolithic totemic display "evolution". Cargo cult, perhaps. Or a polymer rendering of the divine afflatus... I suspect young people, a mixed blessing as always (sez grandpa).


In any event, the ride continues. Wheee!


rod

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Old 07-29-22, 10:49 PM
  #10127  
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Friday, I managed to putter around the house aimlessly in the early afternoon, so by the time I found the bike (OAC Rambler), it was already later than I thought. I went spinning off anyway, and managed to get a 28-mile loop comprised of some favorite segments of trail and road in Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, and Lincoln. For some reason the animals came out to play today; this hen turkey with her poults ("poults", who knew?) milled about the Bedford section of the Minuteman like a Thanksgiving dinner flying in loose formation with some light snacks. Make way for poults?


Later in the ride, I encountered an aquatic mammal in Elm Brook near Virginia Road. Otter? Mushrat? Beaver? Google Lens suggested alligator.


One of yesterday's storms appeared to have toppled a tree across Reformatory Branch, illustrating once again the principle that cyclocross is where you find it (or where it finds you).


The Ocean Air Cycles Rambler shod in supple 38mm Soma C-Line tires with Pasela treads handled well regardless of what the ride threw at it. I like this bike. And the Panaracer-derived tires are definitely growing on me.


rod

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Old 07-30-22, 06:30 PM
  #10128  
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My wife and I took a ride on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail today. Unlike my solo ride last Tuesday, we drove out to the Brook St Acton access point.

This was the first time I have had the Checkpoint in the car (RAV4) with another bike. After some experimenting I was able to get my homemade fork mount system to work with this bike combo. The key was that the new bike had to be on the right side for the handlebars to nest nicely. (I had already replaced one of the fork mount blocks with a modular style that supports thru-axles):



We started out by riding southeast to the "Road closed" sign marking the path to the new bridge over Route 2. We spoke to a cyclist who had just ridden over it from West Concord. He said there was no issues except for a short gravel section. That jives with what I read here. Being the law abiding types, we turned around and headed toward Chelmsford.

It was moderately busy, but nothing compared to the Minuteman on a Summer weekend. We went as far as Grist Mill. The artwork there is always pleasing to see:



We retraced our steps back to Acton, enjoying a nice outdoor lunch of sushi from Donelans.

20 miles in total.

Tom
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Old 07-30-22, 10:10 PM
  #10129  
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Took the OAC Rambler and rode East, on a warm and windy day; so windy that the bike nearly blew over while being photographed. Some of the apparent motion is real, this time.


Had the usual hills-and-traffic drill. Here's some traffic, on the Medford-Malden line.


And here's a hill, climbing up High Street from Medford Center towards the Winthrop Square rotary (and more traffic).


The climbs were strenuous, the traffic was dodgy, the descents were exhilarating. All conveniently located just over the nearest hill or two, and with enough of it to go around. Yup.

rod

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Old 07-31-22, 06:48 PM
  #10130  
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There goes an Arlington Police Department cruiser, up the Minuteman towards Lexington, on Official Business (godnose what). I followed, not my brightest move of the week, I will admit. I lost it.


My Rambouillet sits in front of Arlington's Great Meadow. Peak Green has come and gone. We could definitely use some rain.


There's only so much you can get out of a little ride in the afternoon. At least I made good time.

rod
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Old 08-01-22, 10:33 PM
  #10131  
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I took the Rambouillet out for a quick spin on the Minuteman before dinner. This is one of my basic rides, perhaps THE basic ride, and any day in which I find the time for it is better than any day in which I don't ride. Having the Minuteman so close by for so many years sometimes feels like having won the lottery.

Speaking of the Minuteman, more than a few of its trees have lianas hanging from their branches. Here's one such, in Lexington.


rod
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Old 08-02-22, 02:24 PM
  #10132  
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Rode the MM and Reformatory Branch Trails out to Concord this morning. Anyone who rides the RBT regularly knows that it can be very muddy, especially in a couple of spots (just east of the Concord line, and just east of Monument St.) Well not this year. Bone dry. Mohave Desert dry. Bike covered with dust dry.

The desiccated surface was not the big news of this ride though. The deer I saw crossing the trail in Bedford, near the Mary Putnam Webber Wildlife Preserve, was. I first saw her (I think it was a her - I didn't see any antlers) when I was about 75 feet away, as she was starting down the north embankment as I was outbound. She paused when she heard me coming. Not long enough to get a picture of course! I've ridden that trail literally a hundred times in the past several years and have never seen a deer before. I hope to see one again, as long as neither of us gets hurt...

On the way back I rode down into the main parking lot at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. They've been doing utility work there over the summer. Stacks of pipe were visible a few weeks ago - now there's a backfilled trench down the middle of the access road. At the restrooms building (sadly closed since the fall of 2019) there are pallets of concrete blocks. I've been wondering what they're up to. I found my answer here:


New restrooms there is great news. Even when the old building was open, it was decidedly rundown.

The usual "I was there" photo:



About 28 miles.

Tom
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Old 08-02-22, 10:26 PM
  #10133  
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Had a leisurely ride on the OAC Rambler out to Depot Park and back, in the heat of the day..


I'm not a big fan of the "Are you O.K.?" question that is so often solicitously asked anytime somebody stops to adjust their saddle or blow their nose. But I asked it in response to encountering this young couple, plunked down in the middle of the Minuteman pavement about 20 paces from Mill Street; were these symptoms of heat stress? I was given the fish-eye by both plunkees, and am now of the opinion that they were simply displaying affection in a somewhat more conspicuous mode than is usual. Why don't we do it in the road? Blocks traffic.


I stopped in at Battle Road Bikes for a few minutes, to shoot the breeze with the mechanics. Then I spent a few minutes talking to George, the owner of this elaborate touring rig. George lives in Lowell and rides with full touring regalia on a 50-mile circuit that includes both the Bruce Freeman and the Minuteman. Longer rides are in prospect. In the meantime, he's getting a lot of pleasure out of his equipment in a sort of rolling staycation.


Hot day though it was, there was a lot of traffic on the Minuteman, rolling, running, skating, with and without electric motors.


As others have pointed out, it's getting freakishly dry out there. Here's a ditch that normally carries a little stream along its merry way. Now it doesn't even have decent mud, by the look of it. When wetlands dry up, it is usually bad news.


The Mighty Shawsheen River still has some mud, and some weeds, and a bit of dancing water to flow in and out of its pools. The problem is scale: it's navigable by waterbugs. Warm globally, evaporate locally. Forget canoes and kayaks in the Shawsheen this year. Perhaps it still has a little depth farther down stream.


rod

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Old 08-03-22, 10:47 PM
  #10134  
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Needed a short, intense ride this afternoon, and got it on the Rambouillet with a determined sprint up the Mystic Valley Parkway, along the E shore of the Mystic Lakes.






Summer progresses.

rod
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Old 08-05-22, 06:42 AM
  #10135  
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time waits for no one

love = temporary insanity

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Old 08-05-22, 06:59 AM
  #10136  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
time waits for no one

love = temporary insanity

https://youtu.be/GRJXyn0od9g
Good song.

rod
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Old 08-05-22, 10:46 PM
  #10137  
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I rode the OAC Rambler 25 miles in the heat of the day on Friday, out the Minuteman, with a detour in Lexington and Bedford, out the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail, back on the staged climb up Page Road and a 31 mph descent on Grove Street, picking up the Minuteman again at the Revere Street intersection, and so home.

Crossing Bedford Road, Lexington: that's George riding his touring rig to the little park on Bow Street, Lexington, one of the several places he favors for an afternoon's encampment.


There was an unexpected (by me, anyway) detour of Minuteman traffic at the Hartwell Ave. crossing. This followed Maguire Road to Wiggins Avenue, and so back to the Minuteman.


Picked up the NGRT at Depot Park, and headed North.


At that point, I hadn't really planned how this ride would play out. I had an urge to revisit Dudley Road (it's been a few years, or feels like it). But I hadn't really reconciled that with other commitments. So I cranked along on the stone dust trail, with that mix of novelty and familiarity that can come from revisiting old haunts. For example, this little streambed usually has at least some running water in it. Not today.


A small folk art installation in the vicinity of the Bedford VA Hospital reminded me of others a few years back. One of my previous ride reports had several photos of those. Worth a look back, maybe.


I rode past Fawn Lake, and then under a dandy young tree making an archway across the trail. Liminal, for sure.


I stopped to admire this (quite dead, I think) field-form tree, in one of the pieces of conservation land that the NGRT transits. A basso rumble, unmistakably thunder, got my attention.


The cosmic sub-woofer woofed a couple more times for emphasis, and I started pedaling home. Applauded the helical strakes while riding by; I'm not sure why these tickle me, but they do.

With the Minuteman detour in mind (once was fun, twice, not so much), I turned onto Pine Hill Road, which turned into Page Road after a short block. I executed the staged climb up the big hill on the Bedford-Lexington line. The hill climbing drills I've been doing while riding East have made Page Road seem a little less formidable. It was, however, something of a construction site itself. Put in the proper gears, the Rambler spun up the hill smoothly enough. After cresting the hill, the Rambler plunged into the Grove Street descent. I once again said a silent prayer of thanks for whoever keeps Grove Street smoothly paved, and reached the bottom of the hill with a cool, dry jersey, having started down with a hot, sweaty one.


I rejoined the Minuteman at Revere Street, and paused to admire the Tayler Lane horses.


Mostly, I would simply hear the storm that appeared to be chasing me, but from time to time I would see it. When that happened, it counseled haste.


The rain started to fall five minutes after I put the bike away. I appreciated the delay, and my garden appreciated that the delay wasn't unduly prolonged.

rod

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Old 08-06-22, 10:06 PM
  #10138  
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You know it's a hot day when the cicadas come to visit.


Took the OAC Rambler and rode East on a tropical Saturday afternoon.


As I crossed the Mystic River into West Medford, the More Than Different Summer Basketball Tournament was in progress at Dugger Park in the heat of the day. When I returned at the end of the afternoon, the courts were empty.


This was my usual Saturday afternoon hills-and-traffic drill on the roads of Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham (with options on Wakefield, Saugus, Lynn, and the Northern Strand), except that the weather gave it a somewhat different character: hills-and-heat-and-traffic-and-heat-and-heat. I was hydrating conscientiously, and soon enough began to resemble a drip hose riding a bicycle. Mercifully the traffic was lighter than usual, perhaps a vacation effect.


Only a minority of the drivers remaining seemed to have been crazed by the heat. And they can jump in the lake.


rod

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Old 08-07-22, 06:55 PM
  #10139  
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Time was short and the temperature and humidity high when I rolled out on the OAC Rambler along the Mystic Valley Parkway before dinner, cranking along and taking in the various scenes unfolding on this Deep Summer afternoon.

What was seen? Upper Mystic Lake, Shannon Beach:


Upper Mystic Lake, Tufts Bakow Sailing Pavillion:


Lower Mystic Lake, taking a dip at the boat ramp:


Lower Mystic Lake, dufus cutting capers on a jet ski:


I believe the aforementioned dufus had been gunning his jet ski down the early stages of the Mystic River, raising a wake through the narrows. Some dufus did, and I'm hoping for an economy of dufuses here...

After the ride and before dinner, the long-promised thunderstorm came along and soaked me as I sat on the porch, sipping a glass of wine. The rain was cooling, and welcome, as far as it went. No pictures of that.

rod
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Old 08-08-22, 01:44 PM
  #10140  
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almost went for a ride on Saturday but I was resting my elbow ... lol
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Old 08-08-22, 10:29 PM
  #10141  
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I took the Rambouillet out for a ride in the shade on the Minuteman on yet another hot afternoon, Monday this time. The shade was working nicely, but just a bit after I cleared Mill Street, I ran into a barricade indicating a stretch of the Arlington segment was closed for what looked like serious tree work. Don't know whether this was connected with Sunday's storm, but it wouldn't surprise me.


The bad news is that the detour associated with this closure was strictly left as an exercise for the reader; no breadcrumb trail of DETOUR signs, no map, etc. So I set out to find my way back to the Minuteman, a little further West. I note here that there was a certain amount of grumbling on the part of the several cyclists who were finding their way at the same time I was. On the upside, some of the route-planning mistakes were interesting, giving a sort of back-is-front view of the Minuteman.


After a couple of false starts, I found my way to the Washington Street ramp, and resumed rolling shadily along.




Went as far as shade and time permitted, then turned around and headed back. I was occasionally conscious of an unusual volume of firetruck sirens. When I got to Lexington Center, I discovered the celebrated transformer fire was adding a fair bit of heat and smoke to an already hot day, a full-blown conflagration. After a pause to take this in, I got rolling again.


The tree-work closure appeared to still be in effect. As before, the necessary detour was unspecified, another opportunity to discover some of the Minuteman's more obscure nooks and crannies. So I did that, then found my way back to the trail again, and so, home. Sometimes, distractions are salient.


rod

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Old 08-09-22, 09:00 PM
  #10142  
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After the heavens opened and the heat wave ended, I took the Ebisu All Purpose Bicycle out for a spin up to Lexington Center. There were no detours and no fires, just a swift and physical ride on a mostly empty Minuteman. It has been over a month since I last rode that bike, and I reacquainted myself with its virtues.


rod

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Old 08-10-22, 08:03 PM
  #10143  
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Took the Rambouillet out for a quick sprint along the Mystic Valley Parkway before dinner. The ride took less than an hour, but woke up any bits of me that were playing possum. Made good time.


rod
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Old 08-11-22, 09:10 PM
  #10144  
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Took the OAC Rambler out for a spin on the Minuteman before dinner, yet another ride-I-had-time-for. I cranked along at a good pace. Wind damage from Sunday's storms caused Monday's tree work and detours. On Thursday's ride, I remarked souvenirs of the catastrophe. This suggested a new meaning for the term "split-rail fence".


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders are back at it in their classic form, if you ignore the occasional plastic dragon.


rod
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Old 08-12-22, 10:32 PM
  #10145  
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Took the OAC Rambler for a low-energy spin on the Minuteman Friday afternoon. The thing I was particularly struck by was just how dry things were: green, mostly, but dry. This drought has gotten old.


I saw several different recumbent tricycles on the trail today, along with numerous e-bikes and e-others, plus the odd Elliptigo (which would be any of them, of course). Since the weather broke, people have been turning out.


Spent a few minutes in Lexington Center, watching a crew clean up after the transformer fire. Among the tools used was a truly enormous vacuum cleaner.


After the ride wound down, an email message from Battle Road Bikes informed me that Pete had built me a new front wheel for the 1987 GT Karakoram, so I threw the red bike on the car's bike rack and took it for integration and tinkering. They returned it to me later that afternoon. I love those guys.

rod

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Old 08-13-22, 11:13 PM
  #10146  
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I took the Rambouillet out Saturday and rode East.


Per usual for these rides, I was looking for hill climbs and descents, along with the peculiarly social pleasures of riding in traffic, conveniently located in Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, just across the Mystic River from my East Arlington starting point.

I generally cross the Malden River when I go this way, but it is seldom such a lovely shade of blue.


Hills: a rolling section of Fellsway East, the gentle beginning of a long descent that imparts a good deal of speed if you let it. It's well paved, so you might as well let it. Wheee!


Hills: one of the Fellsmere Park jets d'eau at the bottom of that long descent down Fellsway East. It appears to be doing the hoochie-coo.


Traffic: actual gridlock at the corner of Salem Street and Fellsway West, Medford. Eastbound traffic on Salem Street is blocking one lane of Northbound traffic on Fellsway West; the inconvenienced drivers honk lustily; the inconveniencing drivers ignore them.


Hills: Cloud Cuckoo Land floats above High Street, Medford, generating fanciful tweets and press releases, while the traffic below ignores them. Or so it appeared to me. The temperature began to drop, so I headed back to Arlington.


rod

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Old 08-15-22, 04:07 AM
  #10147  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
After the ride wound down, an email message from Battle Road Bikes informed me that Pete had built me a new front wheel for the 1987 GT Karakoram, so I threw the red bike on the car's bike rack and took it for integration and tinkering. They returned it to me later that afternoon. I love those guys.
they do have a front door! :-)
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Old 08-15-22, 06:38 AM
  #10148  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
they do have a front door! :-)
It's true! Also parking.

rod
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Old 08-15-22, 10:37 PM
  #10149  
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Took the 1987 GT Karakoram out for a preliminary shakedown cruise Monday afternoon, to see what the new front wheel was like. It rolled smoothly, and, shod with a 559-55 Rene Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralight tire, it rolled over all the broken pavement I could find for it in a little run up to Lexington Center on the Minuteman. Made good time. Over the next few days, I'll test it further.


Arlington Center: a pedestrian regards her pocket devil as the traffic rushes by. What could happen? Typically, nothing does, but why that is is a minor mystery. Heads up!


rod

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Old 08-16-22, 11:11 PM
  #10150  
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Took the 1987 GT Karakoram rigid MTB with the new front wheel (Sun Rhyno Lite rim, laced to an Origin8 front hub with 32 DT Swiss double-butted spokes) on a somewhat more demanding shakedown ride today, 28 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, and Billerica, on the Minuteman, the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail (NGRT; stone dust or worse), and an assortment of paved roads, most notably Dudley Road in Bedford and Billerica, notorious for crocodilian pavement and spooks. The 559-55 Rene Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralights were up to all surfaces traversed, but were indifferent to spooks. The bike in general, and the new wheel in particular, passed all tests they were subjected to.

Lexington Center: clean-up and repair work on the damage caused by the transformer fire proceeds apace. Reminds me of an ant farm I had as a kid.


Minuteman at Valley Road, Lexington: the GT rolled very well at speed on the downgrade. The new front wheel does what it should: rolls. Brakes and steering work, too! Everything stable.


Depot Park, Bedford: civilization's back! It only took two years...


NGRT, Fawn Lake: the old patent medicine factory, one of the profit centers of the healing waters of Springs Road, now nicely repurposed by developers.


NGRT: Bedford has added a very helpful system of way-finding trail markers, indicating where a branching path leads. For example, "To Springs Rd" is crystal clear. "To No Rd" is a trifle zen, but I guess constitutes fair warning...


NGRT, Billerica: the first 100 yards or so of the NGRT after the Bedford/Billerica line has been spoiled with a deep layer of sand. This appears to have been renewed since the last time I rode it, so somebody is either misguided as to what constitutes a good MUP surface, or somebody is trying to suggest NO BIKES. In either case, I was able to ride through this on the 55mm HTR knobbies, although the experience was more like roto-tilling than cycling. After the first sandy bit, the surface quality, though rough, does improve.


I turned left off the NGRT at Springs Road, then right onto busy Concord Road for one block, then left onto the beginning of Dudley Road. It has been several years since I'd ridden Dudley Road, and was pleased to see that the Billerica segment of it had been nicely repaved. Much of this runs through wetland (not quite so wet this year, of course), and boasts raucous frog choirs in the Spring, when Froggy goes a courtin' in earnest.

Dudley Road and Route 4: As I prepared to cross Route 4, I observed one of the nuns from Ste Thecla's Retreat House walking down Dudley road. Spirit? Devil-worshipper? Nun of the above, I think. But perhaps those kids on the motorcycle should be careful for a bit...


At the Bedford-Billerica line, the pavement abruptly degrades. I hit that at speed, and while it got my attention, the bike was fine with it. Good test of the new wheel, and the fat tire. This is a sort of Yankee speed bump, I think. "Greenwood Farm, 1689," the sign says. I suspect it may indicate the last time that stretch was paved. In any case, this is one of the regional geographic features that I associate with jimmuller , who has previously posted about it on this thread.


Stearns Farm, Dudley Road, Bedford: this is perhaps the most elegant of the old properties surviving on Dudley Road. It used to have a witty sign indicating that either direction got you to Route 4, but that appears to have been dispensed with. Dudley Road, old and well-loved as it is, continues to change. There's more to see and more to say, but not today. Ride it while it's still there.


Bedford Peace Pole and Kindness Stones: back in Bedford, on the NGRT. Of all the various civic and patriotic displays along this route, this stands out. Thanks, kids! Don't throw the Kindness Stones, unless someone can't get the message any other way...


rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 08-18-22 at 10:15 PM.
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