Sunday, May 2, 2010

Connecticut Weekend Ride Ends in Mexico

Our weekend ride started out with the purest of intentions; to celebrate the anniversary of our friend’s arrival into this world with a weekend ride along route 7. The plan unfolded nicely as we rode route 2 into Pioneer Valley. I inhaled deeply the scents along the way, amazed at the crab apple tree limbs heavy with blossoms. While nature let us know beyond doubt that spring was indeed here, the remnants of the harsh winter did not go unnoticed in the white birch that lay felled by the brutality of the season just past. Those that survive struggle to keep their slender trunks erect stretching their limbs tenuously toward the sky.

The masses turned out to celebrate this glorious May Day too. Kayakers bobbed by the dozens in lakes and rivers, anglers stood sentinel in their waders, cyclist in spandex gear filled our vision right and left. In Kent, the motorcyclists traveling the opposite side of the road out-numbered the cars so that it seemed we rode for mile upon mile with our hand held in greeting as they passed. We arrived tired but satisfied at our destination in Norwalk. It was there while removing our tour-paks that Lee noticed his worn tire was now cracked!

A worn tire is bad enough to be riding on, but Lee felt he had enough rubber for one more ride. He didn’t count on the rubber cracking. This is a serious concern. We retreated to our rooms, me and Andy to shower off the day’s grime, Lee and Debbie to begin research on where to find someone to change a tire late on a Saturday or even Sunday. Andy is familiar with this scenario as we all know and feels if he can find someone on a Sunday in a sparsely populated town in Maine, Lee should be able to do so in a vastly populated area such as Norwalk. After a bit it was clear that no tire changing would be taking place on a Saturday evening after business hours. Our minds turned to where to eat within walking distance.

The Italian restaurant adjacent to the hotel seemed convenient, but my gluten sensitive stomach wasn’t too keen on the prospect. In the end we selected a tavern Andy discovered on his reconnaissance mission, across and diagonal to our evening digs; The Tavern on 7. We were enjoying drinks on the deck, waiting for our orders when the owner, Dominic, approached us with an invitation to join the Mexican Fiesta; on the house. That's when we fell through the rabbit hole, and right smack dab into the middle of Mexico.

This Saturday special was plainly visible on the menu as a beer dinner. I do like a beer now and then but a whole dinner of beer? Top that with $45 per person and I was happy with the Angus burger (minus the roll) for my evening meal. So when you’re invited to the Fiesta on the house you wonder “what’s the catch?” We were escorted to a long table and the patrons already seated happily shuffled to make room for us. Dominic assured us we were only responsible for the drinks we consumed already, and soon, the waitress set before us the first course, cocktail de ceviche. Gulf of Mexico baby shrimp marinated in bloody mary mix with Cerrano chili, tomato, avocado, cucumber and cilantro; paired with Dos Equis Lager. Then it all became clear when Francisco Figueroa, Business Development Manager of Wisdom Import Sales, stood and told us all about Dos Equis. We were part of a sales promotion.

Our table mates did not seemed fazed at the addition of guests to their table. We introduced ourselves around, and began to party with Dave, Lerone, Eric, Bob, Denis, Lori, Joann and another Andy. As each course was consumed we showed our appreciation to the chef with the shaking of our maracas. Francisco quizzed us after each course on the beer we consumed and Lee, paying attention as he always does, won the first prize of the night; a great looking jacket with the double XX of Dos Equis emblazoned on the front. On the back is embroidered “stay thirsty,” a great saying for anything you do in life! Lee won this as he remembered that the source waters for Dos Equis come from the Kachuna Mountains in Mexico.

As the evening progressed we followed the appetizer with Ensalada de Nopalitos paired with Cerveza Tecate; Pollo con Mole Pablano, paired with Dos Equis Amber; and the grand finale, Chimichanga de Plantano paired with Bohemia. I particularly enjoyed the Mole Pablano sauce on the chicken. Francisco informed me that this sauce contains 52 different spices. We Frenchmen love our deserts so the banana and rum filled tortilla topped with vanilla ice cream slid down without a problem. Of the beers that were paired with our meal, I enjoyed the Dos Equis Lager the most. We had a great time with our table mates, enjoyed Francisco’s friendly personality, and Dominic’s hospitality. It was a perfect celebratory event for Lee’s special day, topped off by arriving alive and intact to our destination. The next morning it was clear we had climbed back out of the rabbit hole, and back to Norwalk, when we all took a closer look at Lee’s tire.

Rolling the bike slowly forward, the extent of this bad tire became even more evident when we spotted canvas. As the morning unfolded and all leads had been chased down, it became clear there would be no help in this town despite its size. We hatched another plan. Lee and Deb would ride two up, I would take Debbie’s tour-pak on my own bike, and we would follow them home. Tomorrow, Lee and Andy will ride back to Norwalk with the van and trailer and bring the Nomad home. However, despite the blip with our original plans we had more unplanned fun than one could have imagined. Lee is indeed fortunate too, that he’s able to plan ahead for more great birthdays to come.


Debra said...

What a great summary of a fun trip! It was a really serendipitous selection of a dining place that had us celebrating Cinqo de Mayo early. But no photo of that bald, cracked tire? (You should see the replacement, LOL).

PatnWilton said...

Debra, There is a photo of that tire. Watch the slide show again!

Richard said...

Just catching up with your blog. It sounds like a great weekend with wonderful friends. I've seen Lee and Deb in many pictures of different gatherings. They look like such a nice friendly fun couple. I've always wanted to meet them. Someday.
All the best,

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