Saturday, December 7, 2019

Jeeping on Pearl Harbor Day....

But first...toy...err, tools of the week -- X Bull traction boards. I don't anticipate using them much, and while the MaxTrax reviews say they take more abuse they're also four times the price o_O.




On call this week, really don't feel like lugging two backpacks, and wanted to have my good camera in case I found anything cool...took a bit to figure out how to "fit" my MacBook into the bag :)


First hot cocoa refill from the thermos when I got to Voluntown.


Second refill at Charlestown Town Beach...I've probably passed within 300' of this spot a hundred times over the years, but mostly when it was busy during the season heading towards the Breachway. Holy fuck!



Holy cow, look at how blue the water at the breachway is!


Same pond, but from the East Beach parking lot...and still amazing blue.




...and Quonochontaug while I'm in the neighborhood.


Hey wait, I've never seen this gate open before. I'm thinking they may just open it for hunting season.





...and then I see the gate on Route 138 open for maybe the first time in 15 or 20 years? Like closing the entrance to Natchaug on 44, it's one of the stupid things DEP has done over the years reducing public access because best I can tell they barely tolerate the public actually using them and figure less access means an easier job patrolling.

I came around and came in from the Green Falls Campground way to make sure the gate was open on both sides. I was surprised the road was in as good shape as it was (which may be partly from the closed gates) given how long it's been mostly closed.




And on the way home through the main unit of Pachaug...Trail II I think. I wish they'd clear a few more hilltops for scenic, road accessible vistas. ...and then I see the gate on Route 138 open for maybe the first time in 15 or 20 years? Like closing the entrance to Natchaug on 44, it's one of the stupid things DEP has done over the years reducing public access because best I can tell they barely tolerate the public actually using them and figure less access means an easier job patrolling.

I came around and came in from the Green Falls Campground way to make sure the gate was open on both sides. I was surprised the road was in as good shape as it was (which may be partly from the closed gates) given how long it's been mostly closed.


Let's call it Mission 8 for the shoreline, and unplanned Missions 9 for Burlingame and 10 for Green Falls / Pachaug.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Jeep Mission #7: The Silos

This one is full of nostalgia for me -- lived in the 2nd to the last house on the dirt road leading here from 16 to 25(?) years old.

Had permission from Mr. Gluck to shoot my air guns on his land, then later got Kate Rukstella's permission to shoot firearms down on her land. Used to be a very popular party spot in town with a regular stream of traffic; until the early 90s there was another exit out to Wauregan Road in Canterbury, but they put a mobile home there foreclosing that exit.

Early 2000s the town gated off the two roads leading here, but they have since been either removed or left open again. While I know from another dispute (over hauling gravel down Maynard Road) from the early 90s, the town attorney believes town highways in Connecticut can be legally gated...I suspect they can not be locked if you really follow the law back in time. At least New Hampshire refers to this practice as "subject to gates and bars" which is intended to keep livestock in -- not people or their vehicles out (and very similar to the description in James Herriot's novels of having to get out and open multiple gates on the way to clients isolated homesteads in Yorkshire).





Have to enter one of the upper cornfields and go around the windrow now.


Here's where the road used to come into the fields. The bridge further down had washed in the Hurricane of '38, the town road was passable to this point in the late 80s and completely overgrown until almost the brook.


The impending doom -- I don't even mind the gravel mining provided the topsoil is returned afterwards. There was a historical cemetery on the line between the former Gluck and Rukstella properties that I'm not sure was respected. But the crying shame is the plan is to take 300+ acres and industrialize it as a solar field -- fencing out wildlife, fencing out people, making it effectively unavailable certainly through our lifetimes. Farmland / working land preservation should be about keeping these open spaces for benefit of all, not some greenwashing enabled by misguided environmentalist sheep (the same types of folks in character if not actual person who were protesting against nuclear power back when that was the only practical technology that could have moved the carbon curve downwards when George H. W. Bush included climate change on his campaign plank).



Where the old path after the road used to go through...it amazes me the old gravel has completely grown into grass, and this section totatlly grown in. To the left of this grown in section was a 8' x 32' concrete pool built back in the 1930s. My understanding is the first Rukstella came from Long Island and bought the entire farm which would have been quite large by the standards of the day.


The barns by the silos burned in the early 60s. Kate told me the silos were new enough no one wanted to attempt to tear them down. I believe the farmhouse burned in the early 70s. Kate's husband Rocky inherited the lower field, his brother Peter(?) got the upper farm and continued to milk for a number of years with the cows just living outside.



The lower field.


I'm not positive, but I think this is where the old trail to the campsite by Blackwell's Brook was. I took Kate down here in the mid/late 90s (pretty sure it was in my '96 S-10). She hadn't been down in many years and wanted to take a look.



When Rawson's purchased it, they initially developed access over Rukstela Road from the Beecher Road side. This is the fixed up road in that section.

They seem to have since switched over to using predominantly a new road out to Wauregan Road they built partly over the old trail that went that way.


My nemesis.

Last time I had to ask for help getting unstucked, I was 17 and went in to check out smoke (the dump was burning their brush pile)...made it over the brook, didn't make it back. Had to walk home, Dad called Tom Herriot, Tom was glad he hadn't taken delivery of his new pickup yet when he came down and give me a pull.


The road was washed out at the time, you can see how much higher it is now that then.

Back at the top, the old road growing in. The concrete blocks came in with the town gates came down.



35 minutes, 4.7 miles, and no need for 4wd :/

Rolltop Desk

To be added to once I get the top delivered.

And to be printed and tucked into the desk for future generations.

This desk has been in the family over a century. It was in this building in New York City (the people being my great-great grandparents Ferdinand & Marie Doyen, and the tallest kid my grandfather Raymond and his brother Serge):











Strapped around where there are cross-pieces on the front to reduce the stress. Then flipped on it's back to put in the bottom screws.



Feet sliders customized by Ed. Since the felt won't work well with weight on them on the carpet, I put a smooth slider under the slider. I didn't figure glue would work well.





It did take the use of an airbag so I could get the placement right :)