GOLDWING ASPENCADE

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Riding a Goldwing Aspencade Touring Motorcycle was something that I enjoyed doing for many years.

Back around the year 1980, I started to take a liking to riding a motorcycle, but just didn’t have one at the time.  I then bought a Honda 400cc and gradually learned to drive it going further and further with it.  Of course, you had to have a helmet, riding apparel, and learn the in’s & out’s of how to drive.  What to do and what not to do.  Over a period of about 2 yrs. I got darn good at it, and never had a accident.

Then I got tired of riding a 400cc engine and decided I wanted something bigger with more power, so I could go further and ride a bit more comfortable. I traded in my 400 for a Kawasaki 750cc, that I rode for a few more years.  This bike took me down into Virginia, and all over the State of PA.  I bought  bunch of extra’s for it and it lasted pretty long.  Again, I wanted to step up to something bigger, so I traded up to a 1983 Goldwing Interstate, 1100cc engine that had a whole lot more power. It had a radio, a Touring Trunk, and Side Saddle Bags where I could store much more gear.  I added more lights and Chrome to make the bike more pleasing to me.  This Touring Bike took me up into Glen Falls, NY and down into West Virginia, and Virginia.  Touring the USA on a bike is a whole different experience.  Feeling the freedom of the ride, and the wind in your face offers a “biker” a whole new perspective on what is around you.

Then, I up graded again.  This time to the one you see above. It had a Intercom System, AM-FM Radio, Stereo Cassett, CB Radio, and Progressive Suspension. This Bike was a whole lot heavier than the ones I had before.  It weighed over 800 lbs. and if it fell on you, it would crush a bone!  Again, I “dressed it out” with more Chrome and Lights and then added a Kompac Kamp 18 cubic foot Trailer that just pulled right along behind me.  It had to have some getting used to.  You always had to remember that you had a “tail” behind you and not to forget it was there, which I did once!  The Trailer came in very handy when traveling a long distance.  You could load most everything in the Trailer, and keep your saddle bags and Touring Trunk for light things, such as a Rain Suit which you may need at times when it pours rain while on the road.

With this Bike, my Wife and I went up into Burlington, VT and down South as far as Georgia. This Goldwing was so comfortable to ride, that my Wife would fall asleep in the back.  Along the way we always met other riders and sometimes rode with complete strangers that were riding our way.  We also enjoyed so many very nice people from all over the USA.

Then, over the time of more than 20 yrs, I started to get tired of the nit-wits on “4 wheels” and them not paying attention to us on 2 wheels.  We almost got hit twice, and after that it did me in.  I sold the bike and trailer to another person that liked it so much that he paid me in cash the day he saw it!  I never saw it again or see the man who bought it.

There is so much to describe about “Riding The Wind” as it is sometimes called that it’s just to much to put here.  You must experience it for yourself and find out.  I have ridden this Bike and Trailer in pouring rain, freezing cold, hot as hell weather, and a bit of light snow.  I was not a “fair weather rider.”  If the sun was out and the temp. was above 30 degrees, we would go for a ride.  There were times that we went more than 60 miles just for a cup of coffee.  Just for the fun of it all!  Now, I don’t do it anymore.  I miss it, at times.  Especially when the weather is so nice and then go for a ride into the sun.  Just for the fun of it.

AL CAPONE’S V-12 ARMORED CADILLAC

Greetings to all my followers on this New Year!

Since I enjoy Posting about things in History, let’s take a trip back into the early part of the 1900’s when the Country was in the Probation Years.  In these years, whiskey and beer was totally banned from being consumed.  No more bars and no more drinking was allowed until later years, when it was repealed and booze was once again allowed.

During those years, there were a number of Gangsters that profited big by smuggling whiskey and beer into the Country to make a big profit.  One of these famous gangsters was the notorious Al Capone.  Al Capone and his gang controlled most of the North Side of Chicago while the Purple Gang watched over the South Side.  There was always friction between these two to get the controlling interest in illegal booze.  Killing and shooting each other was a common thing in Chicago back in the 1930’s.

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Al Capone, being one of the big boys of Chicago, had a special car made just for him to protect him from all his enemies.  This is a 1:24 scale model of his famous car that is in my car collection, and cost me $130 to buy.  Like my other cars, it is kept in a Plexiglas cabinet to protect from dust and dirt. One of the very first armored cars that was ever built, it had a V-16 452 CID engine that could drive the car to speeds over 120 mph.  It had many other extra’s that were added as precautions to keep good ole’ Al alive.

It was the first car to ever have bullet proof glass all around the car.  3″ Portholes on the side windows for shooting the Thompson Sub-machine gun, also known as the “Chicago Typewriter” from it’s distinctive sound.  1/4″ Armor Plating around the drivers side.  It was also the first of it’s kind to have a tube leading from the rear floor down into the street where 1″ steel roofing nails or oil could be dumped to scare away the Law.  There was also oil that could be sprayed into the engine to create a smoke screen.

Al Capone was also known for murdering members of the Purple Gang in what was known as the “St. Valentines Day Massacre.  Al Capone denied having anything to do with that shooting in Chicago and was never proven in Court to have done it, even though everyone knew that he did.

After Al was convicted of Income Tax fraud and sentenced to Prison, his fancy car fell into disrepair and was almost forgotten until it was found and put back into it’s original condition.  The original car was sold for over $350,000 and is now in the hands of a private collector, thus preserving a fascinating car from a by-gone era.

Thank you for reading.

Les

CHRISTMAS EVE 1965

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A MEMORY FROM MY PAST

It’s Christmas Eve in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  The temp. is in the low 80’s and I have been assigned to stand the 8-12 watch on the pier to guard the ship.  Dressed in my Dressed Whites and my night-stick to walk the pier in front of our Destroyer to challenge all who should not be there.  The ship is lit up for Christmas Eve with a string of lights from the Main Mast to the Bow.  Lights from the Mast are also strung down to the Stern.  Other ships are also decorated in similar fashion.  There are about 6 other ships the same way.

I go out onto the Pier and start my patrol.  Not many Sailors on board.  Everyone else, except the Duty Watch, is “on the beach.”  Not me, along with many others that have to stand a watch.  It’s warm.  Something that I’m not used to for Christmas.  This is the first time I’m out there on my own for Christmas.  It’s lonely out here.

There is no one to talk with. Just walking up and down the Pier alone with my thoughts of Home.  I’m wondering how my friends and family are doing tonight.  What they are doing.  Is it cold and snowy in Fleetwood?  Everyone is probably getting ready for Christmas Day.  I think of how lonely it can be.  Starting to get bored with this watch thing.  I wanted to just leave and go home, but no chance of that.  It would not be a good idea.

Christmas away from home can be a very lonely time.  When you are on your own for the first time and away from what you are used to.  In a foreign land that you have never been too.  Everything is lit up for Christmas and it’s 80 degrees.  It was something all new to me.

December 26th,1965, our ship left Pearl Harbor for Vietnam.

Happy Holiday’s to all

Les

LOCK #47

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All that remains of old Lock #47

Close to my Home is part of what used to be the Old Union Canal that was once a major transportation means in the early 1800’s.  Canal or River Barge’s used this to transport coal, wood, stores, and people up and down the Canal. The Schuykill River is just off to the right of this Image and out of the picture.

The Union Canal once stretched from the Coal Region Area all the way down into Philadelphia, PA.  Not much of it remains today, except some places where you can still see where the old Canal once was.  Most of it has been filled in with ground or has been torn up for other progress.

The Old Lock operated much the same as the one’s we have today, just in a simpler fashion.  Water was let in on one end of the Lock to raise or lower a Barge to a different level.  Barges coming down the Canal would be lowered, while those coming up the Canal would be raised.  The Lock doors on either end were made of wood and had to be opened and closed by manual labor.  The opening’s are now sealed shut, and the doors are no longer there.  A fence has been placed around the Lock so people don’t fall into the 10 ft. deep space where the Barges once entered.

With the coming of the Railroad, and it gaining more and more popularity, the method of transportation by Canal grew less and less.  It was cheaper to ship by rail than by boat and it was faster.  The “Iron Horse” is what made the Canal meet it’s demise.  There are a few of these old Locks still around and some of them are in working order.  This is what made our Country what it is today.

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The above Image shows the Old Union Canal and Towpath.  The depression off to the left is where the old Canal used to be.  The path to the right was once the Towpath where the Mules & Horses walked pulling the Barges up and down the Canal.  The path is now used for walking, jogging, & bicycle’s.  It’s 7 miles long.  During the Fall all the trees change color, making it pretty to see.

Happy Holidays to all

Les

COVERED BRIDGES

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Here in the State of Penna. we have lot’s of Historical places and remints from the past.  Just one of these are the Covered Bridges that still remain from long ago.

The Covered Bridges that dot the country side of PA are getting few and far between as more time goes by.  Most of them were built in the 1800’s, but are now falling into disrepair because some of the Townships don’t have the money to keep them in repair.  Some of them have been lost due to falling apart, truck & car traffic, or catching fire.  However, there are a number of them still left.

The Bridge above is called The Red Covered Bridge and was built in 1851.  Originally at a different location, it was dismantled piece by piece and rebuilt here spanning the Schuylkill River at the Berks County Heritage Center.  Long before the automobile horse and carriage were the main type of transportation.  These Bridges were built to cross Rivers and to keep out the bad weather for horse & buggy.  It’s one of the longest bridges that was built.  It was designed as a Truss Bridge, from the supports that hold it in place.

The Bridges are also known as “Kissing Bridges”.  Back in the old day’s couples could cross the Bridge, stop, and steal a “kiss” from their partner.  Thus the name.

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Here is a shot from last year when it snowed more than 10 in. of the same Bridge.  Since the Bridge is located in a Historical Park there are no vehicles allowed on it.  Just walkers and bicycle traffic.  This is another one of my favorite area’s for photography.  One of the residents in the Bridge are a few Bats.  They don’t bother anyone, but are there.  You have to look close to see them hanging in the supports.

Happy Holidays all!

Les

US NAVY

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Here I am!  More than 50 yrs. ago.  I’m scared half to death and have no idea what is going to happen to me or where I’m going.  I am 18 yrs. young here and don’t know what the world is about yet.  Right out of High School I wanted to join the US Navy and see the world, like I was told about many times.  Transferred here to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii from Philadelphia Naval Base in Nov. 1965 to report aboard the Navy Destroyer USS Carpenter DD-825.  I got my orders and had just 4 hrs. to call home to say good-by, pack my sea bag, and catch my flight to Honolulu, Hawaii.  Scared the heck of of me for awhile.  For the first time in my Life I’m out in the big wide world on my own.

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Here is a shot of my Destroyer along side the Carrier USS Ranger in the South China Sea getting ready to take on fuel, ammunition, and stores.  The sea was a bit heavy then, and it made me sea sick for 3 day’s.  I could not even keep a cracker in my stomach the first time I went to sea.  I think I lived on the Fantail most of the time, but I got over it.

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Here I’m arriving in Sydney, Australia in Dress Ship for the people of this wonderful city.  We had 4 day’s of R&R (Rest & Recreation) is what we called it.  In my time of visit, I have never had such a great time in this City.  The people of Sydney were so kind, polite, and giving.  I will never forget what a great time I had here.  Girls were calling the ship to ask us “Yankee” Sailors” out on the town!  Found that girls are called “A bit of Fluff” down here or “Birds”.  Something I never knew.  I thought that “A Bit of Fluff” was fitting for them.

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Taking on Fuel in Heavy Sea’s

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During my time aboard the Destroyer and while over in Vietnam, this duel 5″38″ Gun Mount is where I was assigned for Battle Stations while off the coast of Vietnam  I operated the Left Gun and helped fire more than 1,007 rounds at Vietcong emplacements, troops, villages, and shore battery’s. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to say what I saw and did in detail, because there is so much.  This is the reason that I don’t hear out of my Left ear very well to this day.  Both ears are bad, but the VA has provided me with Hearing Aids to compensate for my loss.

I had to grow up real fast while in the Navy.  No more shy, county boy.  I learned allot of what the world was like.  Ports of Call in Guam, Philippines, Japan, Okinawa, Midway, Australia, New Zealand, and Pago Pago.  I will remember all of my Life what I saw in these Countries.  Most of it was good.  Some real bad.

Happy Holidays and Thank you to my followers.

Les

THE EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY

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I have just recently purchased a program called Photomatrix 3.  I had tried it for about a week and finally decided to buy it.  It’s a good program for the price and will enhance your Images into HDR.  The above is just one of them

The Eastern State Penitentiary was built in Philadelphia, PA around 1830’s to confine felon’s to serve their time in Prison.  It was build in a “spoke fashion” where all the “wheels” of the spoke radiated out from a central area.  Inmates that were confined here back then had no air-conditioning, very little heat, and the cells were very small.  Water was turned on once a day to bathe and flush toilets.  Let out for 1 hr. a day for exercise. The famous gangster, Al Capone, was held here for 7 yrs.

Most all of the cells on the right and left look much the same.  There was not much difference from one to the other.  This old Prison is open for Tourists most all year long and is considered to be very haunted by some of the hundreds of Inmates who died here.

When I was here, it was quite warm to walk around in.  The temp. was in the high 90’s outside so you can imagine how hot it was inside. I was quite wet after touring the Prison!  There have been many reports of people seeing and hearing things that can’t be explained.  I really didn’t see anything or hear anything that was not unusual, except for one thing. While photographing one of the area’s of the Prison, my camera would not work for some unknown reason.  It took me 4 times to take the same shot!  I double checked my settings to see if I had something wrong. Everything was set right.  Walked outside and it worked just fine!  Why?  It was an area that was known to be Haunted.  I really don’t know for sure if a Spirit prevented this or not.  You decide.

Thanks for reading.

Les