|CT Polar Bears in Blue Bell, Penn., from left: Grumpy, Anonymous Ed, Captain, CT Blogger and Pogy down front.|
By: CT Blogger and Pogy
Photos by: Grumpy
First of all, what a great Polar Bear location! This place is huge. They put the Bears out on a big enclosed, winterized and heated deck. Food was delicious, fast and reasonably priced. The servers were fun and bubbly and attentive. This is a new destination for the Polar Bear Grand Tour. Thank you PJ Whelihan's for a great job of hosting.
Kudos to our Ride Coordinators George Piegaro and Roy Bober! They have the tough job of finding restaurants with the right mix of capacity and attitude and willingness to host a couple of hundred motorcyclists on a Sunday afternoon.
Because of the proximity of our destination to my parents' home, I rode down Saturday late afternoon for a dinner and visit with Mom and Dad. I also had the luxury of getting out at 10 a.m. Sunday morning instead of 8:00 a.m. like my Connecticut compadres. Mom indulged me with a scrapple breakfast.
For my ride down Saturday I was sailing along just fine until I hit Norwalk. There I saw I-95 dead stopped in all three lanes. I had just enough room to make an ill-advised four-lane change from the far left passing lane to exit for Route 7 and the alternate Merritt Parkway south. I put on my blinker and fortunately was not the only one with the same idea. So the guy next to me in the big Cadillac Escalade beeps his horn, waves and then starts blocking lanes for me to get all the way over. He followed me off the exit and onto Route 7. Awesome! Thanks man, whoever you were!
It was a good risk; the Merritt was a breeze with no traffic. It was free-wheeling all the way down, over the Tappan Zee Bridge, Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike. I figured to keep it easy and so rode all the way down the Turnpike to Exit 2. That offers a slightly longer route but a straight shot across a country two-lane road to the Commodore Barry Bridge. Except it wasn't last Saturday night.
Just a short way across Route 322, I ran into a detour. Props to the local cops. They had cars with lights flashing at every turn of the well-marked detour with traffic control. There was still an unexpectedly long line of cars. All in, it was probably an extra 20 minutes, not bad at all by Connecticut traffic standards.
Sunday morning the rest of our Connecticut crew enjoyed an uncharacteristically traffic-free run down to Blue Bell. Turns out this part of Pennsylvania is well known to Pogy. So he took the lead. I think it may have been his first time leading a Polar Bear ride? They got to PJ Whelihan's at like 10:40. I'd figured them for for 11:00, which is when I arrived. I accused them of speeding but with Pogy at the lead he swore he kept a steady and reasonable speed. His fellow riders attested to same. The only answer was light traffic.
Going by the Pirate Code, they'd already ordered lunch by the time I arrived, knowing full well I was on my way. But our waitress was quick to get my order in too, including two progress reports on when my BLT would be arriving.
My sandwich was exceptional with the bacon generous, thick cut and crisp, the tomato thick sliced and the lettuce just right. The fries were right too. It was delicious, even though I rushed it a bit to catch up with my pals.
Polar Bear Grand Tour Grand Poohbah Bob Hartpence and Quartermaster Gary Rosen presented me with a staff hat (see photo below). They had special hats made in memory of Flight B Leader John Bachota who passed away recently. I'll wear it with pride.
Lunch done we gathered for the group photo. Grumpy was working a bit longer on his camera settings and Captain was being extra snarky, which led to the group photo you see above.
I joined up with my guys for the ride home, Pogy in the lead, Grumpy as sweep.
Pogy led a pretty smooth ride. We had a car get in between us once. There were a few instances where our pack riders were impatient, moving before Grumpy had cleared. That's not easy to do, by the way. Grumpy is an affirmative lane clearer.
Pogy said nothing happened on the ride. Well being at the back you see a lot, to quote you (Chris). There was a car that cut into the group. I saw the Time to Tappan Zee sign saying 62 min. and my heart dropped and I just said s**t. But it was a great ride over the Tappan Zee. See you next Sunday.
John B (Grumpy)
Once again the traffic gods smiled on us. We all stuck to I-95 for the whole trip home. We sailed through even Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk. Captain and I were the last ones headed north with no traffic in Bridgeport. All the traffic trouble spots were quiet.
Maybe we should have Pogy lead all the rest of the Polar Bear rides if he's truly our traffic good luck charm! Here's his report:
Todays ride started off a balmy 22 degrees – The troops picked me up in Darien at approximately 0820 – The Captain somehow got me to lead the ride today – which was fine – there were four of us – Me in the lead, then the Captain to keep me from getting lost in New York, then Anonymous Ed and sweep was Grumpy. The ride down was without traffic and we arrived at the destination at 10:40. We got seated and just as the clock struck 11:00, the waitress took our order and shortly thereafter Chris showed up – he was in Delaware visiting his family so he joined us for lunch.
We were back on the road (all 5 of us) by high noon – traffic again coming home was with very little traffic and I was home by 1500 – the rest of the guys had another 15-20 miles more to travel north
Great traffic day for the Bears, the food was good at Whelihan's, priced right and we now can look forward to next weeks ride
Thanks Guys – Ride Safe
|Polar Bear Grand Tour photographer Bernie Walsh.|
|"Yeah Kathy, I led the ride, no really."|
Grand Tour photographer Bernie Walsh captured a couple photos of the Connecticut Bears arriving and a great picture of Polar Bear Grand Tour Chairman Bob Hartpence.