New England Sport Touring
New England Sport Touring

chasing rivers, OSJ style

Early spring can only mean one thing to me.  Lawn care, or that’s what it use to mean to me. Back when I was more worried about growing my business I spent almost every waking hour working in the office getting ready for the new year.  I was always selling or managing new equipment purchases, fixing old equipment and making sure my employees had something to do.  

Well that changed several years ago when I sold off a huge hunk of my business and kept the easy stuff.  Now that I’m a solo operator and I cherry picked my best clients I don’t really do any marketing for new work.  And with most lawns still half covered with snow no one is ready for fertilizer.  Most week days the kids are in school until 4pm, Michelle works on 2 of those days so I have some time to explore a passion of mine.

Riding!

So on this morning I got to the office by 8am and rolled the new duck out into the bright sun shine.  New sheepskin seat cover and cookies on back.  It looked like it was going to be a glorious day, bright sun with blue skies.  Too bad the temp was only 27 degrees.

My first plan was to head south for breakfast. I had posted up this ride on several message boards I visit hoping someone else would meet up with me and ride.   The plan was to be at EB Flats for 9:30 grub.

A nice small place in East Brookfield MA.  

I was all alone  Sad

But I had a great breakfast non the less.

After eating I mounted the red duck and pointed the fender west.  My only real plan for the day was to drop off some girl scout cookies to a friend of mine that lived in Chicopee MA.  The rest of the day was gonna be exploring.  I didn’t get too far, just 2 towns over when I saw a familiar bike pulled over on the side of the road.  Dave Lee had decided to join me but he just had the wrong meet spot.  He hopped in behind me as we turned onto Rt 67 south and hooked up with our first river.

Quaboug River runs from Brookfield to Palmer MA, and has some nice sections that you ride near on Rt67.

Along the way we rode past a site that I just needed to turn around and snap a photo.  Somewhere between Warren & Palmer on Old Warren Road we came across this guy.

Just sitting in the middle of a baseball field jamming away.  So Boston has its street performers but Western MA has its field performer’s.  We didn’t stick around to see how good he was, we just wanted to keep riding. 

We soon found our selves in the village of Three Rivers.  The spot where Quaboug, Ware and Chicopee Rivers join as one.  We took Red Bridge road west, with the Chicopee River just to our right we let her lead us to Chicopee.

After our cookie drop off Dave & I pointed the bikes north and we made our way to the mother of all rivers in MA.  The Connecticut River  divides the state in Half, running from the Vermont boarder all the way into Connecticut.  Way up north in New Hamphire where it starts there are several sections that you can walk across, but down here in MA its a big river.  

We found ourselves on some back roads Thur Ludlow, Grandy and South Hadley.   Road like Fuller st, Cold Hill rd and Pearl St in this area are nice roads to ride.  We noticed the streets were free from ice, sand or snow.  But we did notice a large LEO’s out on this morning.  We were hoping to get some nice views from the top of Mt Holyoke via Skinner State Park but the road to the summit was closed.
  

So from here we joined up with Rt 47  and ran along the CT. river heading north.  This road is a very scenic road to take your motorcycle on.  You pass many tobacco farms along the way.   We figured if the mountain top was unavailable to visit the next best thing would be a…

Thats right a Ducati dealership.  Valley Motorsports to be exact.  We hung out here for a bit, I found a tank bag that I like and it fit on the multi.  I asked Dave if he would think about trading that ST in for a red bike, this is what I got!

Dave’s a good guy, and a pleasure to spend some time with on 2 wheels.  No matter how much I twisted the throttle on the multi he stayed right behind me.   

Just before we got to Valley we crossed the River and found ourselves on the other side.  Western MA Smiley  Just a short 1 mile ride up Rt5 to Hatfield and Main St.  Which follows the CT river north for quite a bit Turing into River road once you cross into Deerfield.  This is another great motorcycling road.  Not twisty and technical like others in the area,  but long sweeping corners Thur farms and fields with the occasional view of the river to your right.

By this time in the ride the temps were in the low 40′s, but as we went further north we could feel the cold Vermont air engulfing us.    We could also see the summit of North Sugarloaf Mountain. And the spot to get this view

However this summit road was closed as well.  So our journey continued up along River road leading us into Greenfield.  After spending a few hrs chasing the CT river we found ourselves riding along the Green River.  Which runs right Thur downtown Greenfield.  Not a very scenic  river at all but it does lead us to my next stop.
 

After a quick break we mounted the bikes again and headed north.  But first we needed to cross over the CT and Deerfield rivers into Montague MA.  This is a town that has an identity issue.  Many of you must have heard about Turners Falls, Millers Falls, Lake Pleasant or even Montague City?  Well they are all villages in the town of Montague MA.  The center of town is really down near the Sunderland line, but Turners Falls seems like a city of its own. Built along the CT river near Bartons Cove.  

We crossed over the river at Bartons Cove and continued north up Main Rd into Gill MA.  The home of 

If you read Cycle World you should know him, made famous for his TDC colours.  Every time I ride thru Gill I stop at the General store, you know the one just after the Turtle crossing sign,  to see if Kevin is around.  But this time I didn’t stop.  At the end of Main Rd I said good bye to Dave, as he was heading toward Rt 91 and I grabbed Rt 142 north into Northfield.

It didn’t take long before I came to this sign. 

By now there was a lot more snow present on the sides of the road, Vermont maybe gods country but for right now its not the best place to be on 2 wheels.   I had seen an interesting thing on my map and decide to check it out.  

Satan Kingdom Wildlife Area is just over the VT line in Northfield MA.  The ride thru here wasn’t the best, although the road was paved it was very narrow and heavily sanded.  I did manage to stop at a few spots and snap some photos

I didn’t seen any reason for the name, but non the less I was happy to be off Old Vernon Rd.  From here I Caldwell Rd, which in fact is dirt.  But it seemed to be the road that got the closest to the CT river so I figured I would check it out

One of my old maps shows a road next to this railroad bridge, but its long gone by the time I arrive.   By this time its getting close to 2:30 and I’m quite a bit away from home. But before I leave the area I have a craving for a hot dog.  

The wagon wheel is my stop to feed my craving.  Good food cheap can be found here.  Even thought the temps are close to freezing I sit outside and enjoy my snack

I learned from a friend as long as you have fruit with your lunch then its healthy.  There are blueberries in that muffin!

After my lunch and a brief talk with a lunni from Maine I hop on Rt2 or otherwise known as the Mohawk Trail and head east.  I cross over the CT river via the French King bridge and hook up with Millers River for a bit.  


The Miller River was running pretty strong.  There are some very nice sections fo this road that run along the river.  Traffic was light so I was able to see just what the Multi can do .  But I did notice the speedo was off just a bit, notice the speed on the gps vs the speedo

I was not bothered, I had George Winston’s complete collection on the Ipod playing in my ears as I followed rt 2 to Rt 122 home. One of my fav roads to ride.  This road takes you thru New Salem, Petersham, Barre, Oakham, Rutland, Holden and finally home to West Boylston.  No traffic, no LEO’s and no wildlife only a brief ride next to the Ware River in South Barre continued my theme for the day. 

I arrived home some 230 miles since I left.  Happy again for what I have in my life.  Kids that love me, and a wife that lets me do these things on a random Tuesday in March. 

Life is good!

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