Day 35/36 – The Granite State
Date: 07/05/2016 Wednesday / Thursday
Starting Location: Shelton, CT
Intermediate Location: Hillsborough, NH
Ending Location: Shelton, CT
Starting Odometer: 13,322
Ending Odometer: 13,387
Mileage Driven (2 days): 65 Miles
Mileage Total: 6549 miles
Today’s MPG: 44 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, MA, VT, NH, MA, CT (22 States so far)
Please proceed due North, and then turn right
Marcello is a friend and co-worker that I know from my days at Velocity Technology. Marcello and I had offices next to one another, and we seemed to have the same sense of humor, and evil streak. So, when I learned that I would be in CT for a week or so, I figured I’m make the pilgrimage North, to say hi to a good friend.
New Hampshire is part of New England, and of course, we all know that. But, I’ll bet that many of us are not used to how close the states of New England are to one another. So when I tell you that over the course of a roughly 190 mile trip to New Hampshire, I traveled across Connecticut, through Massachusetts, through the corner of Vermont, and then into New Hampshire, you might not believe it. But trust me, it’s true.
OK, it’s really not that hard to believe, but once again, it’s my ‘Blog…
Getting to New Hampshire is really pretty easy. From Shelton, I made my way East along the Merritt / Wilbur Cross Parkway, turned North on I-91, and followed that route all the way North until I got to the corner of Vermont and New Hampshire. At that point, take a right, and go about 60 miles. Easy Peasy.
We had a fun day planned and I arrived at noon. After parking the bike in the garage, we sat down for a beer, and some cheese and crackers. After spending a few hours getting caught up, we made our way to the boat, and prepared for a tour of the lake.
It’s Pizza time!
Cheryl baked a couple of pizzas, and we packed them, along with some beer onto the boat, and headed out into the lake. Now, I’m not really what you might call a boat person, but I have to tell you that floating around on a pontoon boat, and a calm lake, with fresh pizza and beer makes for a really nice Wednesday afternoon.
It’s dinner time
it always seems that when you’re visiting folks, you’re basically getting caught up, and having fun, while you’re waiting for the next meal. This get-together seemed to follow the same basic pattern. After getting back onto shore, I spent a few minutes relaxing, and working on this ‘Blog, while Cheryl and Marcello got dinner ready.
Now, before you think me a cad for now helping, It does need to be said that I offered to help, and would have been glad to help, but they were the consummate host and hostess, and they seemed to have it all under control. So, after waiting for the “Kids” to come home, we ate some dinner, and then guess what we did?
That’s right, we jumped back on the boat, and had dessert out on the water. After dessert, we eventually headed back in to park the boat at about 9PM, and went inside. A brief 45 minutes of news, and by then, I was in a state of collapse.
I enjoy getting up early, but it takes its toll on you, and by 9PM, I’m pretty tired. So, it seemed like it was time to retire.
Yesterday’s weather was beautiful, so I woke up in the morning, assuming more of the same. I looked at weather.com, and quickly learned that it was likely to rain in New Hampshire, starting at about 2:30 PM. I checked the weather for Shelton, CT, and found the exact same thing. So, it looked like if I wanted to avoid riding in a downpour, I was going to need to leave New Hampshire earlier than planned.
No more Interstates for me
Rather than retracing the steps that I took on the way to NH, I decided to take an alternate route. Looking at the map, it looked like Route 202 would be a nice alternative. Route 202 is a secondary highway that meanders its way from New Hampshire, through Mass, into and across Connecticut. Marcello and I talked about the route, and agreed that it’s the best alternative, and so at 9AM, I hit the road, and waved good-bye.
I’m not really much on taking pictures, and while I’ve been trying to take photos along the way for most of this trip, I sometimes forget. And in this case, that’s what happened. But I’ve got a picture of Marcello and Cheryl smiling, and enjoying their boat.
The Route back to Shelton
The route to New Hampshire from Connecticut was about 176 miles, and it took about 3 hours. If I wanted to take an alternate route, it might be a longer distance, but it would certainly be a greater amount of time. I estimated that the 3 hour trip, would take about 4 hours, when taking this alternate route.
Below, you can see the route, and comparing it to the route to New Hampshire, it appears to be a little bit longer, but notice no Interstates at all.
So, what’s the plan?
By leaving NH early, I had hoped to avoid getting rained on. Setting out at 9:00 AM, should have allowed me to arrive by 1PM, and since rain was not supposed to come until 2:30, it looked like I had concocted another brilliant plan. But, as the great generals have said; “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. While rain really isn’t the enemy, it certainly makes riding a motorcycle more difficult.
So, here’s the problem with the plan (It’s not a perfect plan)
The plan seemed to be working just fine. At the point where I was about 60 miles from my brother’s house, I could have turned off of HWY 202, and taken HWY 10 into Hamden, and then the Wilbur Cross Parkway to Shelton, and then on to my brother’s house. But, when Marcello and I looked at the map, it seemed like the better choice would be to continue on 202 until it meets up with CT RT 8, and then take RT 8 South to Shelton, and then on to Carl’s house.
But, there are three problems with this plan. First of all, from the intersection of RT 10, HWY 202 began to become a very busy highway, with lots of stop lights, and lots of traffic. Secondly, if I stay on RT 202, it is about 10 miles longer than if I had taken RT 10 to Hamden. With the rains coming in from the Southwest, by taking RT 8, I found myself on a highway that was closer to the weather cell than if I had taken HWY 10
Who’ll stop the rain
But of course, I did not know any of this while I was riding. So, I continued to RT 8, and began to head south. Almost immediately the skies started to darken, and it looked ominous. And then, within minutes, the skies opened up and it started to poor. I did my best to rid in this downpour, but visibility was limited to about 150 feet or so, and visibility within my immediate riding zone was pretty poor. So, I decided to pulll off of the highway, and seek shelter.
As I reached the exit for Highway 6, I exited, and made my way South for about 1/2 mile, until I came to RT 8, and pulled under the overpass to wait for the rains to subside. Funny thing was that under that same bridge, there was already another motorcycle, and a convertible with an open top. So, there we were, three of us waiting for the rain to stop.
This is no time to dawdle, let’s roll
After about 5 minutes under the bridge, the rain subsided, and we all hit the road. The good news is that after a few miles, and just a few minutes, the rain eventually stopped. The bad news is that I still had 40 more miles to go.
The 40 mile test
Over that 40 mile stretch of highway it started and stopped raining about 5 more times. None of them were the explosive rain that I had seen a few miles earlier, but it was rain, and it introduced a level of risk each time.
In each case, as it started to rain, the question in my head was; Should I stop, and wait for it to end, or should I ride through it, hoping that I can outrun it. In all cases, I chose to try to outrun the rain, hoping that I would eventually get back to Shelton before the real rains started.
So, I guess I was lucky that the rain never really came with aggression, but it did make several appearances, and with each appearance, came the apprehension about whether it was safe to ride, or whether my visibility was good enough to ride.
In the end, I arrived in Shelton at about 1:30 PM, and was glad to see that I made it.
Let’s stop the golf game, OK?
At about 4:00 or so, it started to rain. And when I say rain, I mean it was really raining. My brother was trying to play golf, and he called me at 4:15 to say that it was raining so hard that they had hidden under a tree, and they would wait it out. I guess it rained pretty hard for at least 45 minutes, but then it slowed enough for him to finish the golf game, and get home by about 7:30.
So, it was a long day of avoiding rhe rain, and trying to ride a motorcycle or play golf. None of these things turned out really well, but we both managed to finish our day, just as planned.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring