Our first stop in Mass (as they call it) is at Cape Cod. We set up camp in a very
large space and head for the end of the Cape. What a traffic jam that is! It takes
us over an hour to go 27 miles. But we made it to Provincetown where they had special
motorcycle parking. Which is good because parking was nonexistent or very expensive. The
pedestrians had the place overrun and cars had to thread their way through the crowds
that wandered freely everywhere without a care for the vehicles. But then some drivers
were there to be seen and not trying to park!
Now on to Boston and "The Freedom Trail". This "trail" is a two and a half mile
long walk through Boston visiting many of the sites famous in the history of the
formation of this country.
There is a double row of bricks laid into the sidewalk and streets to lead one along
the correct path. And there are periodical maps with explanations along it also.
It starts downtown at the Boston Common and zigs and zags through the city, across
a bridge and up to Bunker Hill, known then as Breed's Hill.
We arrived here from our campground by taking the subway. The ticket machines were
poorly marked as to what to choose for tickets. We bought what we thought we should
have but they didn't work in the entry gate. We ended up calling for help and finally
made it onto the train.
But as it was Sunday they were working on part of the tracks so we had to get off,
take a shuttle bus and get back on to get to the Boston Commons.
We did finally get there and we started the trail.
Our first site is the Granary Burial Ground. The site of Paul Revere's and Sam Adams
graves as well as the woman who created the tales known as "Mother Goose". Her name
appropriately enough was "Goose". At one time Ben Franklin was also here but he
has since been moved to Philadelphia.
Also notice the thin grave markers of that century that I mentioned before.
Along the way we had a beer in "The Bell in Hand" tavern dating from 1795, claiming
to be the "oldest tavern in Boston". At the end of the walk we had a beer in the
"Warren Tavern" which claims to date from 1780 but does not claim to be the oldest. Confuse d?
The inside of the church had private boxes instead of pews. It must have been the
style of the day.
Paul Revere's house is reconstructed on the original site and open for tours, but
no inside photos. Paul was a relatively rich gold and silversmith employing several
apprentices and craftsmen. He also cast bells and small cannons.
Along the way is the Naval Shipyard with the USS Constitution. It is still a commissioned
ship in the US Navy, staffed with Navy personnel that give talks on the history of
the ship. This is the original ship that sailed in wartime for the US Navy and is
kept in pristine shape. I'm sure glad that I was not a sailor in those days. It
would have taken me months to learn what each line did and when to pull on which
one. The ship still goes sailing on trips to various ports for goodwill gestures
and "tall ship" gatherings.
The Freedom Trail end at the monument on Bunker Hill. On June 16, 1775, two months
after the fight at Lexington, the Americans held the high ground but after several
attempts were overrun by the British troops. Although the Americans lost the battle
it cost the British half of their troops and was considered a success by the Americans. This
is where the famous statement "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes"
comes from. This battle prevented the British from fortifying the heights.
There is a narrow circular staircase of 294 steps to the top of the monument. The
small platform in the top was crowded but with patience one got to look out the small
windows. Back down the same staircase, against traffic this time and we headed down
We started back down the hill looking for the Warren Tavern. Finding it we took
a much needed break. We have walked over two miles and climbed 294 steps. It is
time for a beer in a tavern frequented by Paul Revere. The taverns of Revolutionary
times were gathering places as well a place to eat, drink and sleep. They were a
place where men met to discuss the events of the day, read a paper and plan for the
That is the end for Boston. We had planned to go to Lexington (the other side of
Boston from where we are) the next day but there were heavy thunderstorms in the
forecast. We decided to stay in camp. That was a good thing because there were
tornados in Boston that did some damage and made the national news. My mother called
to make sure we were all right when she heard about the tornados clear out in Washington
We are now headed to Vermont with our first stop at Purgatory Chasm. This is a giant
crack in the ground that has a hiking trail through it. Calling this a hiking trail
is a gross misnomer. It is more of a climb, scramble, slide, trip and fall trail. The
rocks had cracked and fallen from the sides making it a difficult trip. There is
a warning at the beginning and the park people are not responsible. We got there
just in time to see it. It would be closed the next three days for fire department
rescue teams to practice rescue and recovery operations. The personnel were already
there scouting out the rocks and cliff that they planned to use in the training.
And it was not only the earth that had a crack in it. This rock is called "Fat Man's
Misery". It is about 12-14" wide, 8 feet deep and 20 feet long. The return trail
along the upper edge of the chasm goes through it, or around it if necessary.
We continue on to the Vermont Marble Exhibit. It is across this all marble bridge
and thru the marble arch to the building in the background. Th is is a combination
museum with pictures of historical work and examples of fine art in marble. There
is also a display area where you can choose the color and type of marble you want
for your building or statue. This is where the marble for the Lincoln Memorial,
Jefferson Memorial, WW II Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier came from.
Just down the road is the Maple Museum where we learned about collecting maple sap
and making maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup that
sells, retail, for about $45 or more in smaller quantities. We also got to taste
the various grades of syrup to judge the quality.
Another small but interesting museum was the Nash Dinosaur Tracks. It is a multi-generational
family museum that has a shop and digging area. The layered rock has numerous dinosaur
prints in it. The owners are uncovering them and some have been removed and are
for sale in the shop. Beyond our budget and ability to carry on the bike. The picture
on the right shows several tracks just to the left of Kathy. The museum/shop has
information on the formation and recovery of the tracks.
One of the things I tried to collect before leaving was information on the best motorcycle
roads in each area. In Vermont it is Hwy 100 and Hwy 17. And I agree these are
good roads. They are not in the "Tail of the Dragon" class but more like our mountain
roads in the Pacific Northwest. Good curves, rising and falling hills and trees
and rocks for scenery. Very good.
But we almost didn't make it. We saw a very, very black cloud over the hill ahead
and stopped to check the weather radar on our smart phone. It was bad and in our
path. We took shelter in a US Forest Service office and waited it out.
As a retired forester Smokey and I are old friends. And we are the same age, having
been born in the same winter. Smokey has since passed on but his friends still carry
on his message of protecting the wildlands from fire.
Next stop is the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. They make 750 bears a day here. Kathy
has been collecting souvenir bears from various stops we have made and this was a
must stop. We took the factory tour and learned how to make the bears. And also
that if, for any reason, your bear is injured you can send it to their hospital and
it will be fixed up free of charge, even if it was run over by the lawnmower! (Then
you get a new bear, they can only do so much in the way of repairs.)
Our last full day in Vermont is at the town of Barre. This is a granite mining area. They
have been cutting it out of the hillside for over a hundred years. Each of the horizontal
faces in the quarry is 20-30 feet high. It is an especially even colored granite
making it excellent for statues, mausoleums and headstones.
The area was heavily settled by immigrants, especially Italians that worked in the
mine and the finishing shops by the hundreds. Today less than a dozen are employed
in the quarry. The bicycle rack to the right is an example of what they can do with
More examples of their art are in the nearby Hope Cemetery. (Isn't that a great
name for a cemetery?) The headstone on the right is of a couple lying in bed and
holding hands. There are several thousand grave markers and crypts here with many
carved in fine art and in memory of the deceased interests.
Like this NASCAR headstone.
Or the couple that is chained together for eternity.
Carving any of those out of granite must be quite an art.
Our last night in Vermont was at the Lake Champagne Campground. We had met the owners
when they had camped beside us in St. Bernard SP in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We
had said we would stop by if possible when we made it to Vermont. And I have to
give their campground a plug. I don't often recommend a campground. We have stayed
in good ones, mediocre ones, bad ones and worse ones. This is one of the best! Most
sites are wide spaced and open. This is the view from our campsite. The restroom
was modern and CLEAN! Just because we had met them before does not get a mention
but the fact that they are great people and have a great campground does. It is
seasonal which is why they could go south during the winter. So come by and enjoy.