60's early, 70's later; morning drizzle, sunny afternoon
Unfortunately your blogger Chris Loynd was busy at The Maritime Aquarium this Sunday. I was working with a troop of Girl Scouts from Monroe to build a wigwam to promote our showing of "Where the Wild Things Are" appearing now in IMAX.
So I put out an invitation to my fellow Connecticut Bears for correspondent reports. Here, with a bit of minor editing, are their reports.
From Captain John Kammerer:
We had a good turnout for Port Jervis, N.Y. Roll call in order of appearance were: Russ, Johns K., J. and B., Bernie, Rollin (Rolly) Dawlin, Steve D., William (Billy) Gargone, John H., Bart, and Matt G. (Full names provided for our new riders.)
We formed up and departed Dunkin' Donuts at 9 a.m. sharp with John J. taking the lead and John K. as sweep. Heading south on Interstate 95, the route turned onto Route 25 north into Newtown, Conn.
(Editor's Note: Newtown retains a bit of its Yankee charm with a flagpole right in the middle of main street. Here the Conn. Bears turned right and a short distance down the road merged onto Interstate 84 west at speed.)
John J. took exit 2B to pick up our more northerly members, the group arriving at 9:45 on the dot with John H. and Bart scrambling to get going.
Once the two final bears finally caught up, John J. settled the group into a steady pace west for the Delaware River.
We encountered fog at mile marker 57 in New York. It lasted for two to three miles. Visibility was a hundred feet or so.
The group navigated the mist without mishap arriving at Cornucopia at 11:10 a.m. Adopted Conn. Bear Matt was there already and after the group photo by John B., we went inside to check-in and have lunch.
As sweep I was trying to keep track of everyone. (Editor's note: The Captain takes his Road Captain duties very seriously.) During lunch I was looking everywhere for Steve D. and finally realized he bailed without saying a word to anyone. (Editor's note: Considered poor Polar Bear manners when riding in a group.)
At 12:15 we left the restaurant and headed to the gas stop on the New Jersey side and yes, John H. was right about the crash site!
After fueling we headed east on Interstate 84 to our pit stop at the Starbucks in Danbury, Conn., exit 2, arriving at 1:30 p.m. This week John J. treated.
John H. split off at Interstate 684 to head for Ridgefield. Billy G. left after coffee.
We were on the road eastbound by 2:10 and Bart split off at Route 7 north. From Interstate 84 the group took the more scenic Route 34 south. I arrived home at about 2:50 p.m.
It was a great day with good company and I managed to piss off everyone by noon.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Next report from a first-season Connecticut Bear . . .
From Bart Cole:
Because of the early morning rain and wet roadways, I had decided to leave a little later and hook up with John H. at exit 2. After receiving my text with my change of plans, John H. called John K. to let him know that I would not be coming down to Stratford and not to wait. John K.'s response to the Token (John H.) was basically, "what the hell do I care!" It's just so nice to be loved and embraced by John K.!
Then when the boyz rolled down exit 2 to meet up with John and I, upon being waved into the pack I didn't give my Dyna Low Rider enough throttle and proceeded to stall the engine. John K. took note of this as he saw me rolling back to restart my bike. We rode through some dense fog in spots on I-84.
We had some major issues at the Newburgh Bridge toll. The EZ-Pass wasn't reading our tags and the toll booth attendant proceeded to give some of the guys a hard time for trying to drive through. John J., Russ, Grumpy and myself made it through and had to wait for a good five minutes plus for the others to rejoin the ranks.
Stopped at the Starbucks off exit 2 on the way back. John J. treated everyone to their favorite beverage. Grumpy didn't care for his hot chocolate. He claimed it tasted like a dark or semi-sweet cocoa.
I'm sure the others will fill you in on some of the other events. Some guy, I think named Steve, rode up with us and then disappeared without telling anyone!
The day was so short that I didn't know what to do with myself when I got home so early.
Even Russ busted on you in your absence for you propensity to take forever to get your gear on and be ready to roll after we stop. Russ was being Russ!
You were missed Chris!
From one of our founding Connecticut Bears, everyone's favorite people person, Grumpy . . .
From Johnny Bowlan:
Hi Chris! I hope your project went well. We missed you.
We had 10 bikes and riders today. Weather was great; we needed no heated gear at all.
The ride up was good. We had to stop only once for a red light. John J. did well for his second, maybe third, time leading the group.
Ten bikes may be too much. Next time we might want to break it up into two groups.
We got there after 11:00, stood around shooting the (stuff) and took the group photo.
Lunch was edible. The menu included: French toast, chili and rice, something the server said was mini-sausage meatloaf, a chicken dish and mac and cheese.
About 12:30 we headed out to New Jersey for gas, missing Steve D. He left after taking the group shot.
Then toward home we went. We had some problems at the toll on Interstate 84. It took a little while for everyone to get through. Guess this is another toll road we can't use.
(Editor's note: We have had troubles before on the last parkway toll before the GW Bridge. Captain had a famous gate-busting adventure there a few years back.)
We lost the Brit at exit 2 as we got off for coffee.
No Dunkin' Donuts, so it was Starbucks. It was a small place so we got our drinks and went outside to chat.
We then saddled up for home, losing people along the way.
It was a NICE day, there I go using four letter words again.
Next report from this week's ride leader.All paragraph and sentence breaks are best guess estimates by the blog editor . . .
From John Jackson:
Sunday morning arrived a little misty and 58 degrees. Side roads were covered with slippery, wet leaves, so the ride to Dunkin' Donuts was slow and steady. That will be an important standard for the day.
When I got to Dunkin' Russ and John K. were enjoying their hot beverage of choice already. John K. informed me that this Dunkin' Donuts was now offering Same Day Service. So I took them up on it, and damned if it wasn't true! I got a muffin and a cappuccino within five minutes!
By the time I got back, Bernie and Rollie had arrived. Later came Steve D., who was greeted appropriately by Russ, Johnny B. and finally Bill.
John K. asked, to no-one in particular, looking at Russ and I, "Who's leading today?" Russ answered in the negative, so, by default, I said I would. I had it in my GPS.
John K. and I briefly discussed the route to the meeting point on Interstate 84 where we were picking up John H. and Bart. Taking Interstate 95 to Route 25 to Newtown to Interstate 84 was the preferred route.
Promptly at 9 a.m. we lined up and off we went. As I was reading my GPS, I noticed the "arrive" time was 11 a.m. So I planned to keep the pace on the moderate side after we picked up our two northern polar bears, which we did at precisely 9:45.
Onto Interstate 84 west, the train of 10 bikes sauntered. Speed limit 65 mph, I set my cruise control at 64.
Weather was gray with some hint of sun breaking through off to the southwest. But up ahead it was just clouds. We rode through a cloud going up one one those mountains. Visibility was next to nil, so I kept the pace down a little.
I didn't want to slow down too much to prevent riders from bunching up unexpectedly. And I stayed in the lane we were in because I sure as heck could not see my sweep John K. in my mirrors. If he was clearing a lane for me, I couldn't tell.
After about a mile of clouds, we broke through. I do NOT like not being able to see ahead!
I cranked the speed back up to a blistering 63 mph and the GPS still says "arrive" at 11:01.
We got stuck behind a creepy crawling Toyota Camry on the Newburg bridge, doing about 45 to 50 mph. I saw this as an opportunity to knock our arrival time back a notch or two, so I stayed behind, later to be ragged-on mercilessly by our Captain when we arrived and unsaddled at 11:10.
John K. is the best sweep that I have ridden with. He just KNOWS when you want to change lanes. I look in my mirror for a lane change and he is already there, waiting for me to turn on my signal. Perhaps this is why he was so fast to comment on why I stayed behind that slow poke on the bridge.
Anyway, we arrived, all 10 of us, early.
Bob Hartpence (Polar Bear Chairman) was out in the parking lot and came over to say hello. We took the group shot, Johnny B. having figured out his new camera's timer mechanism. Then we went to sign-in and have a lunch a litle before 11:30.
The buffet this year was pretty good: chili, biscuits and gravy, mac and cheese, little meatloaf patties in gravy and some sort of chicken thing, all very edible.
During lunch I asked where Steve D. was. Nobody had seen hide nor hair of him. When we finished lunch and went outside, I, being the leader, searched down the line of bikes where we parked and noticed that Steve's custom painted Fat Boy was no longer there. Some metric cruiser of a similar color was parked where Steve's bike used to be. John K. asked where Steve was. Nobody had heard from him. The evidence pointed to him no longer being anywhere near the Cornucopia anymore, so I felt secure in leaving as a group of nine, knowing the tenth had gone on by himself.
The ride back was at a more brisk pace, more like my speed, cruise control set higher and throttled up to pass the occasional slow moving truck.
Back at Port Jervis it had been decided that we would stop for coffee at Starbucks in Danbury, off Exit 2, which we did. John H., having to be home early, rode on. And Bill left before we went to get coffee.
I treated, with the caveat that if you wanted anything special, you would have to pay for it yourself. Of course Johnny B. took this to mean I would not buy him his hot chocolate. But I calmed him down with the explanation that "special" meant lattes, cappuccinos and espresso drinks. Bernie slipped a frappuchino by me anyway!
So after we were all properly juiced up with Starbucks caffeine enriched coffee we continued on our way.
Bart took off up Route 7 and various others slipping out of my slipstream as we wound our way back down Route 34, arriving home at 3:10 on a 70 degree afternoon.
The day was very enjoyable. John K. exaggerates his power to piss off. I think he does an admirable job. But we all look forward to it, the same way we look forward to Russ' crude innuendo.
That's MY story, and I'm sticking to it.
Finally, here is Russ' report . . .
John K. missed me. I don't think I was pissed off all day. I did miss Chris not showing 'till the last second.