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Old 04-02-12, 12:03 AM   #1
cranky old dude
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The View From My Saddle; March 2012

Well it’s in the history books now as the warmest March that we’ve ever had in this area. I have never been out on my bikes as enjoyably during the month of March as I have this year. Goodness, I already have tan-lines on my legs and arms!! The weather has since moderated to a much more normal pattern both thermally and precipitationally (hey! If I typed it, it must be a word.).

These little fellas often pop up this time of the year so we weren’t too awfully impressed…

…but then one afternoon before starting my night shift as I was sitting on a bench outside the Chemical Plant I had quite a shock when glancing up at the sky I spied this….

Spring had definitely arrived in Rochester!! The arrival of Spring demands that I reacquaint myself with my three good friends and it sorta seemed to me that they were thrilled to be out in the fresh air and sunshine again (not that they spoke to me or anything crazy like that).

By the middle of the month the temperatures were hitting 70+ degrees and the sun was shining brightly and my riding grew from simply commuting back and forth to work to include several leisure rides around the immediate area. I took the Tour Easy out on one such ride on Sunday the 18th.

The trails and streets were populated by happy people jogging, biking, walking dogs, or just strolling about. It was quite a thrill for the entire area. The river was alive and teaming with activity too. Watching these critters never ceases to provide me with hours of peaceful enjoyment…

Back in ‘the day’ my neighborhood was very busy with rail traffic with rail lines on both sides of the Genesee River. Most of those old rail lines have long since been abandoned and some have been re-purposed for recreational use such as MUP’s. The Hojack Line ran along the east bank of the river and is tentatively slated to be built into an MUP. It’s visible to the sharp eyed folks and it can be seen across the river in this picture.

I understand that it’s a bit rough but passable on a rugged enough bike. Gyro and I intend to hit it sometime this season.

Here’s a picture of the old NYC passenger station in Charlotte. It almost became a restaurant recently but there were insurance issues with CSX and the rail line that runs along side of it. It would be necessary for patrons to walk across the tracks between the parking lot and the building, so it still sits empty. I’ve also include a picture of a plaque that explains a bit of the history around the station along with an old faded photo showing just how busy the area was.

more on next post...

Last edited by cranky old dude; 04-02-12 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 04-02-12, 12:11 AM   #2
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Just a few hundred yards farther to the north, closer to the lake, you can see the remnants of a rail line that’s been blacktopped over.

There were three warehouses just left of the blacktop area where the grass and benches are now. Lake Freighters would dock along the river to the right. Two sets of tracks ran parallel to the river between the water and the warehouses. I can remember back in the late 50’s this was still a very busy freight depot. The warehouses are gone now, replaced by a passenger terminal complete with Customs for international travel. Ferry service across the lake never materialized but we are a ‘port of call’ for a few Great Lakes cruises.

This is either an eyesore or an historical artifact, depending on your point of view. It’s the railroad swing bridge for the old Hojack line. It was built around 1905 I think, by the King Bridge Co. and is believed to be one of two of their swing bridges that are still in existence.

Here's a link to a lot more history on this bridge including some cool photos...

I would hate to see it go but I understand that its days are officially coming to an end. After seeing it there in the river for sixty+ years I believe there will be an empty spot in my heart when it’s gone. Interestingly, K-Line toy train co. offered a similar operating swing bridge several years ago. I have one and hopefully I will actually put it to use on my model RR someday.

On Monday the 19th I rode with Gyro. I took the Volae and we spent the afternoon riding along the river reminiscing over the old days and wondering exactly where all the old rail lines were. On a previous ride I had noticed what appears to be an old ‘Right of Way’ monument along the River Trail leading to where the old coal trestle used to be.

Here’s another old relic from the railroad that is now in someone’s ‘extended’ back yard. My wife calls it an outhouse.

There was a small switching yard up in this area which I believe was used for coal transport. As one continues closer to the river it’s hard not to notice the remnants of several concrete pilings from the now gone coal trestle. Here is a pic of one just to the right of the trail.

This concrete wall was the point where the trestle started out over the river bank on it’s way out to the docks. Two tracks, one for full cars taking ore to the waiting lake Freighters out on the river and one return line for the empty rail cars.

The trestle was torn down in 1974. I don’t remember ever actually seeing it. I have included a link here for those who find this kind of stuff fascinating.

If you open the link and view the pictures of the trestle and docks, it’s hard to believe that all the remains are the concrete stumps and this falling apart old dock…

more next post...

Last edited by cranky old dude; 04-02-12 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 04-02-12, 12:23 AM   #3
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Enough history for one day…Here’s a pic I took of my Volae in front of the entrance to Riverside Cemetery

Notice how bright and sunny it is. It was warm too.

Now here’s a picture taken about 1 miles farther north down in the river basin just a few minutes later..

Notice the slightly cloudy appearance in the background. It was a bit cooler here but I didn’t think much of it since I was so close to the water.

Here’s the next picture take just a mile farther downstream at the O’Rorke Drawbridge…

Wow! No wonder it was getting cooler! Needless to say I headed back south after taking this last picture!! The fog never did lift off the lake that day.

The arrival of Day Light Savings along with the nicer weather has allowed me to add a little spice to my commutes. On a whim, I started looping down to the lake and then up along the River Trail on my morning commute home. I was hoping to catch a few sunrises. The rides were /are great, the photographic results are just so-so. It's hard to describe the tranquility down in the river gorge just before dawn. It's also hard to describe the suprise I experienced the first time I heard the thwop, thwop, thwop of air being displaced by the powerful wings of a large swan skimming just above the surface of the water! Here’s a few parting shots from one of those early morning rides home…

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Old 04-02-12, 12:30 AM   #4
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No wonder you want to take people out to see these sights.
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Old 04-02-12, 06:20 AM   #5
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Excellent pics, thank you. I've spent a lot of time in upstate NY near Cobleskill since 1958. My dad bought some land up there, built a house and eventually moved there about 50 yrs ago. I used to spend my time in the woods up there as a youngster and now I ride my Ducati up there at least one weekend a year. Love the state.

Here in CT I put 215 mi. on my Masi in two weeks in March and then cold and drizzle hit the state so I haven't been able to ride for a week now. Hopefully this week we will be riding again.
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Old 04-02-12, 06:21 AM   #6
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That route would definitely be a nice addition to your new endeavor. When the wife and I get up to Rochester doing our US riding tour, you will have to take us on that route.
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Old 04-02-12, 06:26 AM   #7
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Very nice pics Lenny, you live in a beautiful area. Glad you posted this series.

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