Archive for the ‘Rides’ Category

Happy Frideday

Posted: August 10, 2018 in Frideday, General Musings, Maps, Rides, Travel
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Yesterday I enjoyed some open road and during my two-wheeled alone time I realized it wasn’t just a regular Friday. It was the first day with no rain; the first day with little to no humidity; it was the first day I was out in a while. Friday wasn’t Friday at all. It was a Frideday. And with that, a new feature was born in my mind. Of course, this might be a bit ambitious on my part as every Friday I will not be able to make it out for a ride, but let’s see how well it goes. If anything, maybe it can be a simple collection of enjoyable rides.

The Players: My friend Mike joined me on his 2016 Triumph American LT. We had no passengers, no time constraints, and no expectations.

The Plan: Ride to Newport, RI for lunch. Spoiler alert: it never happened. The morning was rather leisurely, and Mike and I spent some time putting the highway pegs back on my bike, which I took off a few years ago when I was unimpressed by their feel. We had one thought on our minds when we finally donned our gear and twisted the throttle. We wanted food. We were hungry and there was no way we were making it to Newport without filling our gullets first. A quick change of plans for a few of our favorite B’s: barbecue and beers.

The route: We departed Enfield, Connecticut about noon. We worked our way into Massachusetts and north on route 83 into Hampden, then to route 20 east and finally on to B.T.’s Smokehouse (previously reviewed here). The trip was approximately 45 minutes and included back roads, some smaller twists and sweeps, and a touch of two lane highway. After a little more than an hour at lunch we again headed east on 20 to Treehouse Brewery in Charlton. The lot was full and the lines were long. The brewery was just an add-on to the trip so we did not mind skipping out on can sales. We left almost immediately, continuing east on 20 until we hit 169 South and followed it into Connecticut.  Mike lives in Norwich and this was a route that would take him south and hook me up with a road west to head home. I decided not to turn away. “Go west, young man” was not in my cards for today – and this has little to do with the my age. I was enjoying my ride and other than my dog, I had no reason to get home early.

Route 169 is packed with gorgeous scenery. The only downfall of 169 is that the route is a little straight, but a nice canopy protects riders from most of the sun on hot days. The cool part about this impromptu ride is that it covered the main portion of our original planned trip to Newport. We stopped for a quick 5 in Putnam to figure out the remainder of the plan. We were only 45+ minutes from Mohegan Sun Casino. So… why not? We swapped bikes for the next leg. We eventually hit Route 12 in Norwich and continued on to Mohegan Sun.

Mike made a comment to me after we parked, but I’m not sure if it was a compliment. It was something along the lines of “you worked that bike harder in 45 minutes than I ever have.” In my mind it was a compliment. Who knows though. One beer and a leisurely stroll through the casino later it was time to head back. For Mike, the commute was no more than 10 minutes. For me, just a tad longer.

I was dedicated to the back roads home, including route 87 in CT, however major traffic delays in the middle of nowhere altered my plan slightly. No one really knows this, but sometimes I refer to Garmin as Chewbacca because of its ability to get me out of, and sometimes into, trouble. I took a random left and let my electronic Wookie-for-a-first-mate figure out the best way home. I was back on track. When I hit Route 6 and 44 in Coventry I made the choice to jump on 384, and enjoy the pace and peace of empty highways.

The ride was a great way to reconnect with both myself and with my bike. I would be remiss if I said riding with Mike wasn’t too shabby either.

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Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

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