Archive for June, 2012

We clocked nearly two hundred miles on an all-day ride throughout the state of Connecticut today.  The best part of the ride was the company, followed by the ride itself, and last, the food.  This would be my wife’s second (and longest) ride. Our dear friends Todd and Kim once again were our riding partners. Although should be more about the journey rather than the destination, it never helps to have a good mid or ending point in mind. For this Saturday journey, we headed down to New London to eat at Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock; although it wasn’t our first time eating there, it was Todd and Kim’s first.  Previous to their life in Connecticut,  T and K did live in Maine so the quality of New London seafood would be judged fairly harshly.

We left Enfield a little behind schedule, roughly 9:30 in the morning. After performing the appropriate pre-ride inspection, we gassed up and hit the roads. On the ride we followed the yellow highlighted roads on the Motorcycle Roads map of Connecticut to see what the eastern part of the state had to offer. The route was simple – cross northern Connecticut on Route 190 East, wind our way to 169 South, follow the country roads toward the shore, and eventually end up at the eatery.

Route 169 was the highlight of the day.  The landscape was plastered with rolling farmland, hills, valleys, beautiful greenery, and homes and restaurants I couldn’t live in or eat in even if my salary was doubled.  The sweeping roads made for very pleasurable riding, as the canopy of trees shaded us from the day’s beating sun.

Our lunch break came about 1:00 pm. Between the 6 of us (friends from New London joined us for lunch), we had a smattering of Captain Scott’s finest… lobster rolls, fried shrimp, fried clams, fried scallops, fried fish (see a trend here?), clam fritters, onion rings, steamed mussels, and baked scallop salads. Although the food didn’t compare to it’s Maine equivalent (nor aparently its D’Angelo’s equal), the atmosphere and break did offer us the much needed rest to mount back atop the saddles and make our way home.

The route home had us singing “follow the yellow inked roads” throughout the central portion of the state.  These were rather disappointing; perhaps because of the great roads experienced on the way down; perhaps because our butts were sore; or perhaps because the sun was beginning to take its toll on us. We  often took necessary breaks (see photo below) and finally pulled into the driveway shortly after 7 pm.


Route to Captain Scott’s:

East on 190 to 171. Bear left onto 197 and take a right onto 169. Follow 169 to the intersection of route 14. Follow 14 to 14A.  14A intersects 49. Follow 49 to 184. Follow signs 95 south.

Route home:

Route 85, take a left onto route 82. Follow to 163.  163 ends. Merge onto 2 East and take the first exit for 32. Follow 32 to 207. 207 will rejoin 85.  Take a left onto 30 and follow to 83. 83 rejoins 190, or feel free to take the back roads like we did! 

Total Miles: 195.1


Captain Scott’s: 80 Hamilton St., New London CT (website, directions, and menu)

Although not mentioned in this article, or visited on this ride, also consider checking out The Vanilla Bean Cafe when riding on 169!

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile!

The Thinker

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Photos

The Thinker

Yesterday morning had the makings of a wonderful day.  That is of course, until you looked at the weather forecast.  But that didn’t stop us from getting out for a little ride. Leather jackets or sweatshirts?  Opted for the sweatshirt.  Rain gear?  The thought never crossed my mind. The ultimate goal of the day was to take the Mrs. on her first ride on the new bike.  We would head north into Massachusetts, stop at a local BBQ joint for lunch, head over to the Yankee Candle factory outlet, and then head home. We aimed for a noon departure, as that was the approximate time our good friends Todd and Kim (as you’ve met in previous posts) were planning to arrive.

The morning started with some tinkering on the bike. Assembly of the passenger backrest was completed while I enjoyed my morning coffee.  I then swapped out the tri-bar fender tip running light in favor of a tri-bar running light/brake light dual, and although a tight install, it was the proverbial piece of cake. My visibility had increased in less than a half hour.  I proceeded to swap out the seat for a demo model of the HD hammock style seat. Checked appropriate tire pressure, and increased the psi in my shocks to 48.  As this was our first two up ride, I wanted to prevent any and all potential bottoming outs. [As it turned out, the comfort of the hammock seat made the ride seem softer than the stock seat with 25 psi in the rear shocks. This may be addressed in a later review.]

We left a little before 1:00.  Slightly behind schedule, but the beauty of riding is that there is no schedule.

Previous rides have taken us a similar route, route 190E  into Stafford, turn onto 319 and follow to 32N into MA.  Although it wasn’t new, it always is fun… and although a year later, the storm damage in Monson, MA from last year’s tornado is still a sight that should be seen!  There were no complaints to be made.  The weather was beautiful, the bike was responding great to two up riding, and the demo seat was all too comfortable.  We hit a sprinkle here and there, but all in all it added a little character to the trip.  Eventually we hit route 9, passed the Quabin Reservoir, rode into Amherst, and turned onto 116.

For lunch we stopped at Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland, MA. My wife and I had eaten here once before, not on the bike.  The appeal at the time was all you can eat hot/cold sides buffet, and relatively reasonable pricing.  Between the 4 of use, we had ordered a pretty good sampling of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and deep fried alligator tail.  We also tasted almost all the sides, including beans, hickory smoked potatoes, collard greens, dirty rice, macaroni salad, coleslaw, french fries, and others.  Now that I look back on it, I am pretty bummed I didn’t take any pictures.  I guess another trip is in order – especially for more pulled pork.  It wasn’t until after I ordered that I learned their specialty is in fact, the pulled pork.  Burgers, kielbasa, sausages, and chicken begin to fill out the rest of the menu.

The final stop was the Yankee Candle Village Store at the factory.  This is how I got my wife to get on the bike in the first place!  And boy, was she happy we had saddlebags!

Cue black storm clouds with, as Todd noted, the look of having toronadic (is that even a word?) activity. Flashback… leathers or sweatshirts… leathers or sweatshirts… leathers or sweatshirts… I just watched the replay in my head again.  And again.  And again.  And each time we never mentioned rain gear.

After a short debate, it was decided we might have had a window of no rain. We mounted our iron steeds and road off towards the clouds.  The window of rain was apparently closing.  Three minutes into the trip home the skies opened up.  I still stand by my original statement that rain adds to the character of the ride.  Of course it helps tremendously when you’re on your way home and plan on making no more stops.

The most interesting part of the ride, and the scariest, came when a white and brown hawk swooped down into traffic on 91.  And of course, it chose my lane to fly, or I should say glide, with it’s wings outspread (thankfully it was moving with traffic as opposed to against it!). The bird had a wingspan measuring 4-5 feet in length, taking up the majority of the lane I was traveling in… furthermore, I was traveling too fast for the bird. No matter how quickly I decelerated, I was still gaining on it. There wasn’t enough room to go around it, and I couldn’t scoot into either lane.  Flying at fairing height, a collision seemed imminent. Although slowing down, I continued to gain on it.  As we approached collision with the bird, my wife and I both crouched to the left. Finally, at the last moment, the hawk started to veer to the right; I seized the moment and veered slightly the left.  With a car to the left of me, it was the motorcycle equivalent of threading a needle. Fortunately our good friend Hudson (that is the name I now, affectionately, call the hawk) gave me enough room to pass.  And in doing so, his wings made contact with my wife’s arm.  Close?  Yes.  Did I have any buffalo sauce?  Unfortunately not.

All in all we didn’t let the rain dampen our day.  It was a great day of great food with great friends on a great ride!  Heck, or I should say hawk, even the birds came out to play.

For more information on Bub’s BBQ, including a menu, hours and directions, please visit their website.

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.