Sometimes you just have to stop and take in the road
(but then quickly get the hell out of the road!!)
Somewhere along Rt. 116 in MA
Mass loop included : CT routes – 34, 302, 53, 37, 7, 44, and 183 into Mass.
MA routes: 183, 23, 8, 116, 112, 2, to I95, onto I90, then 32 back into CT
CT again: 32, hopped on 84 for a sec, got to 320, 44, I384, I84, to 15 to school!
Odometer: 355 Miles in pristine weather
Accommodations: Single day ride, only my home away from home on the saddle
Meals: Breakfast at home, brown bag lunch (note to self, never pach a pear in the side case again). Saved a bunch and just stopped for coffee to go with my sandwhich at lunch.
As I mentionedI had the morning off in mid November and I planned on checking out what I might have missed in Mass on our way back from VT the last time. I mean, there has to be some fun stuff right? Well as I set out in the morning the air was brisk, probably about upper 30’s. I had on all of the layers of my Olympia GT Air Transition Jacket (Review Coming soon) and Jeans under my new Rev’It! Zip Textile pants (Also soon to be reviewed) but I was still chilly after the first hour. A first hour which, much to my chagrin, was filled with slow moving morning commuters and stop lights. Note to self: Stay the hell away from Danbury or any of 34 in the morning. I even had the pleasure having some crazy woman pass me on the right. With nowhere to go ahaed of me. In the break down lane. Wanted to kill her…
Anyway, eventually I got to 37 which was a nicer road with some longer sweepers, so speeds picked up and traffic went down considerably. After that I hopped on 7 which is a nice road at the time I hit it, about 9:30AM on a Wednesday. I’ve been on this road with traffic and it can be a bit boring, but with lighter traffic and a bit more speed its an absolute pleasure to ride. This shot is from the parking lot at Kent Falls. If you’ve never been, pack a picnic and spend the afternoon climbing next to these gorgeous falls. This day, however, I didn’t get any farther from the bike than to take this photo , as I was a bit tight on time. Quickly hopping back onto 7 and continuing on.
The leaves were turning and the ride kept getting prettier. The long sweepers often followed along river and provided beautiful sights to accompany the Inline 4 soundtrack. A bit farther up the road I ran into something I’ve been meaning to see, the Cornwall covered bridge. Frankly, I stopped because
a) I like wood bridges, woodwork gets me going.
b) I don’t have a bike photo in front of a covered bridge
c) Everyone seems to think these things are awesome
It was cool, but I doubt I’d stop next time by.
After I turned onto 44 I got to this Dairy farm that has a great view. If you’ve ever been on 44 up near Canaan you’ve seen this, and possibly the soon to be veal section. Sad, but oh so delicious. Now my original plan was to take 44 to these back roads that would cut across to Rt. 8 so I could head north into Massachusetts. Well those roads were fun. An odd, pothole dodging adventure. But since I wrote the route onto a scribbled note, I forgot that the first major road these back roads take you to is 183, not 8. Sooooo…. some 25 later and out of the way I finally get back to 8. The detour wasn’t bad, but I wanted to do that section of 8, as I seem to remember some good roads in that area. Oh well, a ride for another day.
A good look at the traffic through much of these Mass. routes. Nice and Sparse. 8 was a fine drive, and most of the time I was able to go for miles at a clip without getting behind a car. The Temps came up to the the 60’s by mid day and it was quite a warm ride in the afternoon. As I got a bit further up Rt. 8 I started getting hungry, so I pulled to enjoy the sandwich I packed and a cup of joe from a local coffee shop.
This shot was the scene at my table for one on the patio, courtesy of the camera on my EnV, which is actually not that bad. Enjoyed by lunch, sipping on Gin n’ Juice, hold the gin. And the Juice actually. After about 15 minutes I was itching to get back on the bike so I cleaned up and hopped on, gun ho to get to 116 which a fellow rider had recommended as an alternative to Rt. 2. I’m glad he did, because 116 was empty and a nice high speed sweeper road, which I managed to lose as I inadvertently missed the turn on 112 where you need to go to keep on 116. Instead I rode onto 2, which even at mid-day Wed. was full of traffic. From there I wanted to head south so I could make it down to CT to check out 320, which is supposedly a fun twisty road.
So trying to make good time I got on I91 and headed south to catch the Mass Pike. As I was about to merge onto 90 I remembered that it’s a toll road and I didn’t have a dime on me. So I detoured to find an ATM. I’ve never had such a hard time finding a bank on a crowded retail strip. The whole process wasted 30 minutes. I was a bit perturbed by the time I got back to the highway, but seems like God wanted to tell me to calm down. At about 80MPH I glance down and see a red spot on the tip of my windshield.
A lady bug clung to the screen at highway speeds like it was hitching a ride. It made me smile after the whole toll ordeal. Thanks little lady.
So I made it down to 320 Finally, which was a neat road, but not the kind of twisteys I really try to find. Although it had some decent turns, it was only about a mile lo ng, and a lot of it was residential with turn ons. Still I gave it a few passes as i had gone all this way just to check it out.One area was a nice turn that came down a hill and then back up. It was fun, but as I headed through the second time on the return I came upon what looked like a shadow in the road. I truned out this was no shadow, but a good sized rock that I proceed to ride directly over. This rock did not take kindly to being run over, and promptly threw my rear tire off to the side. Pucker moment if there ever was one.The Culprit (Pictured)
On the way back I pulled over to kick them off the road. Who knows, maybe some other rider will come through here later and benefit.
After hitting this stretch I got back onto 44, this time on the other side of Hartford, and headed back towards school. All highways from there, and I made in time for class. The trip took me a little less than 9 hours, with a few stops here and there for photos and the one lunch break. No Fancy Shmancy GPS so I’ll figure out my own average speed- 355/9= 39ish. Of course that’s not average moving speed, but who cares. Now the weather has turned cold and the time change brings down the sun before I leave work.I haven’t been riding as much lately, but I’ve still got some left in me before the white stuff comes down and I switch from two wheels to two skis!