Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fort Mott

Wow, I can't believe it's already February and I have had nothing worth posting since December.  It's been a slow start to 2012, I have been busy trying to get my life in financial order to be able to enjoy the rest of the year riding.
It's not like I have parked the Tenere and put her into hibernation, I have been riding, but only locally and mostly short rides just to keep the gas circulating and prevent the injection system from clogging.  The bike has passed the 3500 mile mark and is fast approaching the 4000 mile service, a simple oil change.  The engine seems to be getting looser and a little more anxious to hit the red marker on the tachometer. It's been a lot of fun as the miles pile up, I'm able to extract a little more fun out of it.
Last week my brother asked if I wanted to go visit Fort Mott, I looked up the weather and  Saturday was expected to be in the low 50's, Sunday was going to be in the low 40's with the possibility of some rain.  He suggested Saturday and so it was, I would meet him at his house and then continue south to Fort Mott situated on the edge of the Delaware River.
Wiki: Fort Mott

Construction of the fort started in 1872 but stopped in 1876 with just two of the gun emplacements and two magazines in the mortar battery completed.

It was 35 degrees when I left the house, I still haven't installed the heated grips or plugs for my heated vest, it was a long and cold ride to my brother's place.  We leave his place and continue south towards the Delaware Memorial Bridge veering off towards the town of Pennsville. We passed the sleepy town and then turned into Fort Mott Road that leads you straight to Fort Mott State Park.  It was almost lunch time when we arrived, the temperature had lazily climbed to 50 degrees.
There isn't a lot to see, the Fort was never completed and the guns were removed a long time ago.

We walk along the top of the fortifications and step inside one of the observation rooms.  You can see the Delaware River in front of you and Pea Patch Island in the middle of the river with Delaware on the other side.  Three forts were part of the defenses, Fort Mott in New Jersey, Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island and Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Delaware.  There's a ferry that runs in season to Pea Patch Island but the service is closed at this time.
There's a couple of towers, the one below served as the spotting and fire coordination control room but was closed to the public.

We walk along the back where the guns would have been setup stepping into the ammunition rooms but I was a little disappointed the guns had been removed a long time ago.  I love to examine old weapons.

The tower below is in bad shape, rust has taken it's toll. It also served as a spotting and fire control tower.

 We then visited the Guard House but it was closed too, that's what happens when you visit parks in the middle of winter, most park services are closed.  We moved behind another building where we saw a few  gun barrels that were taken from a ship, they are not from the gun batteries of the fort.

We also saw a towed gun that had been brought to the park by the rangers, not sure where it came from or the size but it's probably a 5" gun.  It's in bad shape, being so close to the river and in the rain is not helping.

This gun is probably WWII, it had electric elevation and fire control.  I loved the little gears and gearboxes, some more rusted than others.

We leave the park and travel less than 1/2 a mile to Finn's Point National Cemetery.  Not much to see, a few graves and 2 monuments, pretty sad place, there's a few thousand souls buried here.
Wiki: Finn's Point
Originally purchased by the federal government to build a battery to protect the port of Philadelphia, the land became a cemetery by 1863 for Confederate prisoners of war who died while in captivity at Fort Delaware. One hundred and thirty five Union soldiers who died while serving as guards at the prison camp are also buried here. The death toll among prisoners of war and the guards was high, especially in the latter part of 1863 and throughout 1864. By July 1863, there were 12,595 prisoners on the island at nearby Fort Delaware which was only about 75 acres (30 ha) in size. Disease was rampant and nearly 2,700 prisoners died from malnutrition or neglect. Confederate prisoner interred at the cemetery totaled 2,436 and all are in general unmarked graves.

We leave the cemetery just as we feel a few rain drops, it was time for lunch, we ride back to Pennsville and find the Greystone Cafe.  Nice little place and only one other couple eating.  I had a nice Panini and a warm cup of coffee, my bother had a salad.

We leave Pennsville and start heading north towards my mom's place.  We had told her we would stop there on the way back.  Rain is now falling continuously.
The ride back was a little over 2 hours, we took the long route through local roads pass the town of Hammonton catching rain for the first hour and a half, we even managed to find a muddy dirt road the GPS didn't know about it.  It was a cold and miserable ride back, my right boot has started letting water in and by the time I arrived at my mom's house my sock was soaked.
It was still a worthy trip, it's always a good ride when you get to ride with your brother.


  1. What a great day even if you did end up with a soggy sock.

    Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. I love to tour historic sites and parks. The country has so much history especially back east.

  2. This reminds me of our Fort Stevens State park. Fun to explore and learn the history.

  3. @Trobairitz
    I wish I had more time and money to be able to visit historic sites across the country, the US has such a historic background. Than you.

    Since I probably won't be able to visit Fort Stevens any time soon, how about you do a post on it? or have you already done?
    I never get tired of visiting and seeing old forts and military installations.

    1. Hi George,
      I had to go to the archives to see if I had pics. None of the fort. I'll have to back to the film days to find any photos, me thinks.

      I do remember my last visit in 2008, a family camp out and the weather was as miserable as it gets at the coast (and the north Oregon coast can be pretty miserable). Rained the whole time. We didn't do much beyond hiding in the tent. I swore off camping after that weekend (have since softened a little toward camping if the weather is perfect). I have a few measly pics, but nothing of the fort. :(

      Might have to make a ride of it this summer. There are some great roads up that way, and I haven't been there on motorcycle.

    2. Bluekat
      I'm going to try to visit a few forts this summer too, I have to start looking for forts within a day's ride.

  4. George:

    I also like anything Historic. We don't have many military stuff here in Canada. I don't want to say anything otherwise you would assign me this task of reporting, like you mentioned to BlueKat.

    I thought you were riding to Alaska this year ? If so you should meet up with us in Oregon, around July 21st. RichardM is coming and heading up through Banff and going home back to Fairbanks. You could ride with him

    Riding the Wet Coast

  5. @Bobskoot
    Ha ha, I hope Bluekat doesn't think of it as an assignment ;-) I just thought since she's close to it I would like to see the Fort.
    I'm still thinking about Alaska, money is tight now, I'm still not working, still looking. If I do go, I will leave June 24th to arrive in Whitehorse, Yukon by July 30th for the big Tenere gathering running from July 1st through the 5th. We will celebrate Canada day, July 1st and then July 4th, US day :-) I will then leave and head north if possible to Alaska.

  6. What a great day! The fort is interesting with cement ramparts. I'm used to all of the brick at the forts around here of the same era.

    1. I have to go visit some of the forts in your area. Please remind me when Roger comes over :-)