Day 31 – Arriving in CT
Date: 07/02/2016 Saturday
Starting Location: Elmira, NY
Ending Location: Shelton, NY
Starting Odometer: 13,050
Ending Odometer: 13, 313
Mileage Today: 262.8 Miles
Mileage Total: 6475 miles
Today’s MPG: 41 mpg
Total Average MPG: 41 mpg
States Visited: CA, NV, AZ, UT, NM, CO, UT, WY, ID, WY, MT, WY, SD, MN, WI, MI, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, CT (19 States so far)
I must admit, the Mark Twain Motel was not exactly like living in the lap of luxury. Nevertheless, it got the job done, provided me with a roof over my head, and was 30 miles closer to CT.
The Road to CT
The roads in this portion of NY tend to be very busy highways. Any road with a designation as an Interstate can quickly become very busy, and full of drivers that are distracted, and focused on things other than driving. So, when I set the route to my Brother’s house, I intentionally set a route that used secondary and tertiary highways, where it would be a nicer ride, and certainly a safer ride.
I’m certainly not afraid of these highways, and while I was comfortable riding on the Interstates in California, I was always apprehensive when driving in I-80, approaching the Bay Bridge toll plaza. That section of road in CA exhibited many of the same traits of the Interstates that I am describing, and which are located between Elmira and Shelton.
So, my route took me over a number of very nice, and very remote roads, until I finally arrived on I-84. I-84 through Eastern NY is a reasonable and pleasant ride, and I traveled this road for about 60 miles. However, all of the sudden, as I hit the Connecticut border, the road became very congested, and had a whole lot of cross traffic.
The first 10 exits of I-84 in CT go through Danbury, and Brookfield. While neither of these cities or towns are especially large, they happen to be very complex highway systems, where Rt 7, I-84, and Rt 6 all share the same road, and which cross one another. Because they cross and because the exits are Left-hand exits, there are lots of drivers that want to change lanes from the slow lane, to the fast lane, in order to exit, and travel North on Rt. 7.
And so it was… I dealt with lots of insane drivers, cutting across lanes, often cutting over right in front of me. Even if I’ve left room for me to be able to slow down and roll slowly as traffic slowed, I found that a car always filled the space I left. It was like a game of Tetris, where I’m always under pressure to move my piece and complete the row, before I’m faced with the same situation again and again.
Once I got to Exit 9, the traffic had subsided, and it was time to exit the highway, and get onto local streets.
How much of the roads of CT do I remember?
It’s certainly been a number of years since I’ve drive the roads of Western, CT, traveling from Danbury to Shelton, but I’m generally over-confident, so I figured that once I was off of the Exit, I would remember the roads, and it would all come rushing back. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Once off of the exit ramp, and after traveling about 2-3 miles, I recognized a familiar landmark. This landmark was the “Flag Pole” on Rt 25, in Newtown, CT. I expected to head South on Rt 25, and at some point, one of the many shortcuts would present itself to me, and I’d remember the way, and start to travel by memory, rather than by GPS. But, as I said, this approach was not going to work.
It seems that much of Rt 25 has been developed, and all of the portions of the road that might have looked familiar, have been transformed into strip malls, and individual commercial buildings.
So, I gave up on using my memory, and relied completely on the GPS. Of course, my trusty GPS did exactly as it was supposed to, and it directed me to my destination without so much as a momentary pause.
And so, after traveling 262 miles on that day, and traveling almost 6500 miles since leaving California, I had arrived on the East Coast, where I would spend a week visiting with my family. It was certainly good to be home.
Arriving at noon, I got off the bike, and walked into the house to announce that the road warrior had arrived.
So, what’s next
For the next week or so, I’ll be spending time in CT, visiting old friends, and getting my bike serviced (including getting a new Michelin Anakee Wild front tire). On or about the 13th, I’ll set out for Hamburg, NY, where the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association (MOA) rally is taking place.
I attended the rally in MN two years ago, and found it to be a lot of fun, and I learned a great deal from the seminars and vendors. I was surprised at how big the rally was, with more than 5000 riders showing up, and with more than 150 vendors located in the main hall.