Yeah I know, Im in the middle of my 4 day Maine trip report, it should be finished by Sunday night. But I gotta tell ya all about Friday’s ride. It was a blast!
I left WB at 6:45 am. Roads were wet, temps were cool, but the duck is hot!
I had to get to Hartford by 9am, normally it takes just about 1 hr via highway, but I had just a hair longer than 2 to make the ride. Back roads thru Holden, Paxton, Spencer and Sturbridge got me to the CT line. I haven’t been on New City rd yet this year, and its such a fun little road. I never noticed this old sign before, but since reading a trip report from Hulked Up about old signs I tend to look for them now.
New City road is a small, rural, bumpy road that connects rt 20 in Sturbride to rt 19 in Stafford CT. Its only 15 miles long, but fun none the less. A road the multi is made for, not perfect pavement so the tall suspension of the multi just sails over the roads imperfections. The heavy rains from the previous night had made the road just a bit messier then normal
From Stafford I took route 140 south for a bit, then told the gps to get me to Gengas using the shortest direction. She took me off the numbered highways and put me on some nice little back roads. I reached Gengras at 9.
Dave was already there waiting for me. We left the duck with the service guy and went to enjoy a good breakfast. I dont even remember the name of the small diner behind the dealer but the breakfast was good. By the time we finished the bike was ready to roll. A quick stop over at the Harley shop was need for my stamp and this photo for Willy
Dave came in with me on this one, so maybe he is changing his mind about these vtwins after all. As you can see the sun is shining as we leave Hartford and head south.
Our next stop was Bristol CT and Yankee Harley for my next stamp.
We took I84 to rt 6 to get this one off the list. Not very good roads to ride on but i wanted to get this one out of the way quickly. Our next stop would be Brookfield CT and Cliffs Cycle Center
They built a beautiful new shop just outside of Danbury CT. The ride here was fun as well. Rt 109 took us from Thomaston to New Milfod the onto Brookfield. Dave stayed right behind me on his ST while we enjoyed a wonderful ride thru this part of CT.
Once we reached Cliffs we took a much needed break and enjoyed the eye candy that was scattered around the shop. I will apologize for the photos now, I had the camera on the wrong setting and all my indoor photos came out a little funky, but I wanted to show you the cool bikes in this shop.
We talked with the BMW guy for a little bit, then saddled up and headed out. Our next stop would be Bridgeport CT and another Harley Dealership. Getting here was okay, but being so close to I95 or death alley as Phil put it made the riding less fun.
I was surprised to see the shop also sold segway’s and I finally got a shot of Dave without his hat on!
Now here was my first big mistake of the day. A few days before this ride Phil…aka…Hawkmoon offered to lead us from Bridgeport past New Haven and basically get us around the I95 mess. I was supposed to call him from this spot to meet up. But I had lost my internet connection the day before this ride and forgot to write his number down. Then the salesman we talked with at Bridgeport Harley said we would be fine on 95 at that time. ” you will sail right thru to Groton ” some 60 miles away ” might hit a little traffic in New Haven but other wise no problem “
So of we went, Dave took over for a bit..
We had about 3 miles of this….then it just stopped. Traffic was horrible, I cant believe people drive in that day to day. We made it thru New Haven then got off in Branford. Sorry Phil, I should have called you!
Once we got off the highway I let the gps take over and get us thru some small backroads to Rt 80. This road took us east towards Groton. It was getting close to 4pm and I was thinking of just working my way home, but I figured it would be a shame to be this far south and not get Mikes Famous in Groton CT for my tour card stamp. But Dave have had enough, and as I exited to Rt 9 south back to I95 Dave took rt 9 north towards home.
I made it to Mikes by 4:45.
Now here is where mistake #2 happens. I look at my map and see TSI Harley is in Willimantic and not too far off my route home. I call them and find out they close at 5:30. The gps say I can get there by 5:35….hmmm, I can make up a few minutes no problem. Off to TSI I go.
Now if you notice on almost all the photos the sun is shining, but we kept seeing signs of the rain that was forcast for the day. On more than one occasion we were asked “did you guys get wet today?” we kept saying the same thing “nope”
Well as I was approaching Willimantic on SR 87 I could see off in the horizon to the west some pretty dark clouds. I was still on shortest direction with my routing so she led me down some very nice little back roads off of SR87. Like Village Hill rd. As I was on this road it got so dark and the wind started picking up throwing leaves and branches all over the road. Then just as I pulled into the dealership parking lot it started to rain. It was also 5:28. I quickly ran in and got my stamp. The guy behind the counter said “hope your not going near Manchester, they got golf ball sized hail and a twister touched down” Just as he said that a crack of thunder boomed so loud I nearly jumped. They offered to let me park my bike under the front porch area, along with someone that was picking up their new bike.
I called Gary to find out what was coming. It wasnt good he said, the radar looked pretty scary. I called Dave who live about 40 min away. He said it was bad but only lasted about 30 min. I sat there for a few minutes then used to GPS to tell me a place to eat nearby. Turns out a Friendly was only 1 mile down the road. I was hungry, it was thundering and lighting so I rode thru the storm for one mile and went to get some food.
By the time I was done my Ruben the sun was out.The ride home via route 198 was spectacular. Huge puddles were everywhere but the sun was shining brightly. As I approached Charlton I could see these huge white clouds rising above the horizon. This photo doesn’t capture the beauty of those clouds but you might see what I mean
My last stop for the day was in Rutland. I tried to make it to this spot to catch the sun set but just missed it
So on 8/8/08 I rode my duck 350 miles around MA & CT with a good friend, it was a great day!