Monday, March 22, 2010

First Day of Spring

The strange warm spell continued into Saturday morning. 65 degrees on the last Winter morning of the year was a gift well appreciated. Butchie, Scuzzo and I filled up on eggs and coffee at the local diner. Outside the windows our bikes were stationed, waiting for the first good adventure of the year.

"North", Butch grunted. "North is where we need to go." So we quickly sketched a route out that would put us in Danbury, CT by 5 pm. We had to stop in Danbury for a visit. The rest of the day was just us and the road.

Stafford became Bondsville, but Milltown Ink was closed. 10:30 AM is too early for inkers. North more and we came into the tail end of a bike run rolling towards the Quabbin Reservior. I counted 30 bikes in the group. They were well managed and keeping an even pace, avoiding the "Slinky of Death". Well done or not, a group ride isn't on our menu today.

We split off in Shutesbury and in Athol came across the Patriot Guard holding a row of American flags in font of a funeral parlor. Thoughts of our soldiers for a few miles. Crossing Route 2a we went straight across into uncharted lands of farms.

The road turned to dirt after 10 miles, but we continued. The surface was in better shape than the notorious Route 32 goat path that crosses into New Hampshire. At the crest of the hill the surface material changed and we figured we were in "Live Free or Die" country.

We almost followed the New Hampshire Motto as the shadowed, downhill run of Whipple Hill was frozen mud that was thawing. A jello like substance that Dunlop rubber can not even stick to. Visions of three muddy Harley-Davidsons piled on top of each other and the sound of snapping leg bones locked me into a fear paralysis. No front brakes, dammit! Get it slowed down without sliding. Smooth, man, smooth. Somehow we all survived the dirt portion of our ride, it was slippery.

Through Winchester, NH and the next stop was Dunkin Donuts across the Connecticut River in Brattleboro, Vermont. Cup of joe, 4 gallons of Shell and Molly Stark's raceway awaited.

Vermont 9 is wide, smooth and fast. It crosses the mountains East-West across the bottom of Vermont. Long sweepers at 90mph and a couple scenic towns to give you a breather here and there. Snow banks still lined the road up here and it was a bit colder. Bennington was at the bottom of the valley.

We checked out Hemmings Motor News' Sunoco station/coffee bar/gift shop. I remembered many hours with the the thin paged, brown covered bible of car parts.

We also stopped to see the Bennington Monument on the West side of town. A large, stone spike dedicated to the original patriots.

Vermont turned into New York and we aimed South on NY22. Another fast, scenic ride in a valley just West of the Berkshires. We stopped in Millerton to eat again at the chrome diner in town, but went hungry. It was closed for renovations. The owner came outside and invited us back in three weeks for the opening.

More NY22 and then we cut over diagonally past Candlewood Lake into Danbury. We made our appointment and hit the highway towards home before the sun set. Scuzzo had a party at the Quartette Club in New Britain, so we had a beer there and said goodbye.

Now it was Hi-Speed Traffic Chess out to Mansfield for Kellie's 40th birthday at the Stonewall Tavern.
Close friends, surf music and cake.

Put the kickstand down at home at 11:30 PM. As I was drifting off the sleep, I heard the distinctive engine sound the Lifestar helicopter fly through the night sky. I wondered if it was someone I know in stretcher. 370 miles and 5 states made for a perfect start to Spring.

Turns out the patient in the helicopter was a close friend.

Pete was released the next day and should be fine. Thank God.

1 comment:

Hacksaw said...

i sure hope your pal pete is recovering.
thats a great loop, up and over 9 and so forth. i should have hooked w/ya. there is a deli on 9w when ya get off 91 that has some kickazz pulled pork made with maple syrup. i now NEED some! bennington is cool. i like it. danbury? well, enuff typing. happy spring!

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