Monday, May 24, 2010

We Ride Our Own;
Otherwise, We're Just Luggage

One aspect of my personality is that I strive for deeper self awareness. It often reveals itself unexpectedly as epiphanies not to be ignored. The weekend women’s ride organized by Jan Halliday, serendipitously became such an epiphany for me. In addition to understanding that we do not enjoy being luggage; which is what you become on the back of a motorcycle, we came to understand that we, by varying degrees suffer control issues. We want to handle our own bikes, point the fender where we want to go, depart when we choose, and arrive when we please.

For Jan, her joy came in planning the route, organizing the stops, arranging lodging, leading the group, and in general taking very good care of us this past weekend. A complete and total one woman planned event, independent from the influence of men, yet interdependent, with us taking care of each other on the road. Of the waypoints she popped into the route, it was the Frog Bridge that grabbed my attention. In words made famous by a movie of same name, this waypoint was in my “bucket list.” As is often so true about life, on our way to checking things off our list, we stumble on forgotten truths that strike us like lighting bolts to the very heart and give us renewed appreciation of what we take for granted each day.

From the Frog Bridge we made our way to the Governor Jonathan Trumbull House, home of Connecticut’s American Revolutionary War Governor. As we came around the lane, two individuals, in period dress stood at the end of the drive, Steve Messier as Minuteman and Jody as a daughter of the American Revolution. Their presence stuck in me such profound feelings of grateful thanksgiving for the country we live in, that I was momentarily lost for words. Our group of independent women spoke more eloquently of our freedoms than could a group of our male counterparts. The independence in our lives not even considered, when the men in our lives waved us goodbye. They did not need to give us permission. We are not their chattel; property to manage and monetize if lost, but concerned over because of their love for us. Our very arrival on motorcycles, dressed in riding gear, speaking for ourselves, pointed squarely to the very fact that our present and future is firmly anchored directly to our ancestors who envisioned these freedoms for us. Thank you Steve, for the visual aid.

For this ride, Jan not only kept to New England Rider tradition (pie and ice cream), she also focused her attention to routes along waterways, which is appreciated by someone like me, born under a water sign. Not only did we travel along water, we traveled over water. With pie purchased at Panfili’s Farm Stand safely tucked away for later we boarded the Hadlyme Ferry. Our short ride across the Connecticut River offered up a view of the Gillette Castle that can only be appreciated from such a vantage point. Then on to enjoy twisties along Waterhouse Pond, sweeps along Forest Pond State Park, and of course ice cream near Southford Falls State Park. Then on to our evening digs at the Rocky River Motel and an evening of fun at the pub. This however, is hardly the end or our adventure.

We Ride Our Own;
Otherwise, We’re Just Luggage
Day 2

After breakfast at the Bank Street Coffee House, we head to Lover’s Leap State Park. Jan first finds views from below, and then takes us to the gorge itself. We have a bit of fun here and recruit a few locals, Leslie, John and Diane, to take photos of us. I ham it up by swinging my leg onto the railing. I realize then that a person would have to be serious about taking a leap as the railing is quite high. We spend the balance of our morning in sweeps and twists, my favorite being route 199. We arrive at Haight-Brown Vineyard in time for lunch. No, we don’t drink and drive but we do purchase bottles of wine, enjoy an array of cheese with crackers and of course; the pie.

Mid-afternoon after more great roads, we arrive in Riverton Connecticut. Here we stop at the old Hitchcock Museum. The museum no longer exists, but here is where the Hitchcock Chairs were made. The General Store is open and we refresh ourselves with beverages, take time to smell the flowers, and inspect the local colonial period structures. We spend our day leisurely riding the People’s State Forest, American Legion State Forest, Barkhamsted Reservoir and Enders State Park. By days end, I feel I’ve seen the best of this fine state.

Our ride concludes at Dresser Hill Farms in Charlton Massachusetts. Our loved ones have traveled here to greet us along with a handful of New England Riders. Jan had posted this as a Ride to Eat, a pleasure the New England Riders enjoy. The treat however, was all ours in seeing their friendly faces at the conclusion of our weekend adventure.


A special thank you to Jan, for organizing and planning this ride.

To Kathy, Sharon and Debra for their enjoyable company; I hope we will do it again.

To the accommodating folk at the Rocky River Motel, we will make sure everyone knows this is a motorcycle friendly destination, with group rates available.

For any of you who would like to take this weekend adventure, I will happily send along the Streets and Trips version of our route, along with Jan’s outline. Simply contact me through the link in the side bar.

Now take a few moments to enjoy all the photos taken during this great weekend adventure.

Photos Here


Debra said...

Great writing, as usual. The company and riding was excellent! (And yes, I have control issues; not that there's anything wrong with that).

Cynthia Q. said...

looks like a great ride!

Kate said...

Looks like all you women had an awesome ride. We are lucky to be able to ride our own rides. Not every woman is able to for one reason or another, and so in that light, being 'just luggage' is a way that she is able to enjoy the pleasures of motorcycling. I think these women are also lucky :)

I actually still really enjoy being on the back of an able rider, to relax and take in the sights and movements of the bike. That's how I cut my teeth on motorcycling, and although it has been a very long time since, I would still love the occasional revisit to the feeling!

Great write up, as always, Pat! Thank you!

matarheel said...

nice writeup, great photos, looks like you gals had fun. we didn't arrive at Dresser Hill till almost 7. missed most of you, but got to see Jack & Kathy, Jan & Alan.

Willie aka NomadWillie said...

MeAsWe and I saw you guys go past Douglas State Park. First Jan passed and I said hey I recognize thta bike, then I saw the Purple Jacket and then your red bike, which I knew. Then I remembered I forgot breakfast, which was right around the corner from us. Nice read !

Unknown said...

Nicely done. You captured the spirit of the ride and the joy of being with like minded ladies. I think Jan had a great idea with this ride. There are very definite differences between men and women and they show in the type of ride we each would plan. I always enjoy your writing.

Unknown said...

Nice article Pat. Sounds like ya'll had a very good time on your ride. Good photos to accompany it too.

Axel said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures. Informative and well written, and so far away from where I am...