|Final ride CT Bears, from left: CT Blogger, Grumpy, Captain, Pogy (down front), Mac, Princess, Token2.|
By: Chris Loynd
Finishing this season's blog has annoyed me like a left lane Prius. Our annual Connecticut Polar Bear Dinner is coming up in a couple weeks, so I figured I had best get to it.
Not many motorcyclists would ride from Connecticut to Cape May, NJ for lunch. Such is the nature of our clan of wacky enthusiasts.
I shortened my Sunday journey by taking a Saturday detour. My folks live in Wilmington, Del. And that shortens the Sunday morning drive by half. It's also more scenic to cut across New Jersey than down its length. A bonus was a brief visit with my sister who lives in Alaska. Timing was just right to catch her on a rare east coast tour.
My Saturday ride was horrible. It took me a full hour to get out of Connecticut, a mere 30 miles. It was so bad that at Norwalk I took Route 7 and switched to the Merritt Parkway. That road was far friendlier than the Interstate. So as I passed the exit to I-287 to the Tappan Zee Bridge, I was confident enough to stick with the Hutchinson Parkway toward the mighty George Washington Bridge.
No sooner than I was locked into the Hutch did the traffic come to a dead stop. Next was a stop-and-go fight with the cheaters and beaters who ride down the disappearing left lane to jump ahead of the reasonable responsible people waiting their turn in the continuing left lane. What justifies such boorish behavior? You do not, I trust, butt in line in person, when you are out of your car.
I slowly clutch-and-braked my bike to the next exit. Off the exit, up and over the parkway, I was headed back north to the Tappan Zee. Smooth enough over the bridge and onto the Garden State Parkway. Ah, but my traffic adventures were not over. No siree Bob!
Approaching the first set of tolls a wankin' big SUV started cutting into my lane. You know those fancy blind spot alerts only work if you actually use your mirrors. I could see the warning blinking in her side mirror, but she just kept commin' on. I rolled off the throttle and beeped my horn. She immediately yanked her steering wheel, hard, to reverse her lane change. The high centered vehicle reacted wildly. She over corrected. The monster wallowed back and forth. I was well back now, picking escape paths should this idiot flip.
Some miles more and I made another traffic mistake. My GPS was directing me to move to the New Jersey Turnpike. I thought I knew better. I've made this trip a hundred times. In a few miles more I would run right into the Turnpike. I ignored the computer's advice.
I should take a lesson from my millennial daughter Annie. If her GPS advises her to run up a tree, she follows it. Me, I think I know better.
Same thing happened when we were both driving to our cabin in Pennsylvania. I hit construction a few miles before the turnoff. When we met up at the cabin I asked Annie about the traffic jam. Annie said, "What construction?" Then she described how she came a different way than she usually did. Her GPS routed her around while I slogged through the construction zone.
My arrogance was paid with another half hour of clutching-and-braking past a traffic accident that closed three of the GSP's five lanes. Ugh!
I cannot comment on our group's Sunday morning ride down to our mutual Cape May destination. I'm guessing it was smooth and trouble free. I was the one with the traffic jinx, which somehow transferred to the Captain who was ride leader.
When we joined up for the group ride home it was one of the ugliest rides I've seen. Captain somehow miscalculated his cruise control and was leading us down the left lane at less than the speed limit. This causes cars to get aggravated in the back and then fight their way up the right hand lane. After enough of them passed him by, Captain relented and cut us over to the right lane.
At one point he dropped his throttle whilst fiddling with his bike and we all had to seriously slow and wait for our leader to get back on the job.
Grumpy suffers no fools gladly. He telegraphed his tension through his riding style and a few Grumpy gestures. We'd all change lanes. Grumpy announced his disapproval by refusing to change with us, defiantly holding our former lane and thereby blocking traffic in both lanes.
When we finally stopped for fuel, we somehow spread across half the parking lot instead of grouping together. Fortunately a short pow wow mollified prospective mutineers. Captain picked up the pace. We had only the usual traffic idiots to entertain us the rest of the way home.
Too, Captain may have been suffering from a prolapsed ego. Famous as our long-standing, points-leading, perfect-attendance-pin-earning Connecticut Polar Bear, this season he was dethroned by Princess. She was less than gracious in her usurpation, dancing around, hugging anyone who got near, flaunting her pin, declaring her superior points. Hardly anyone in our group even noticed Captain earned the same pin and nearly, just nearly, as many points.
Okay, Joanna. If you want the glory, you need to earn the respect. Next year we expect you to take the lead in a few rides. Can't wait 'till October. #motorcyclepolarbeargoals