Monday, April 13, 2020

Big Dirty Codder: Falmouth to Provincetown by Mountain Bike

It was 1980 something and our ancient powder blue Ford Grenada lurched along the highway with Grandpa Turner’s pop-up camper clattering along behind us.  The wilds of Vermont in our rearview mirror, we sailed down 93 toward Boston, and the Cape beyond.  Dark clouds on the horizon morphed into wave upon wave of severe thunderstorms with blinding rain and howling winds. It was a family travel nightmare if ever one was conceived.  An overmatched old car full of young family being chased by a restless pop-up camper. Whipped by the winds our trailer flicked the edges of the highway, like the tail of some angry cat.  The chain that anchored it to us clinked and clanked against the hollow metal of the trailer’s tow arm.  Pressed to the steering wheel and laser focused on captaining our calamity train through the storm my father was blissfully unaware that the pop up camper door was open and our camping gear was jumping ship into the New Hampshire countryside.  It was vacation time, and we were headed to the Cape.  Minus some cooking gear.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Punch to the Stomach Before Going Home: Day Five of the Vermont to Rhode Island Adventure Ride

I was around five years old when it happened.  I was walking home from the babysitter’s house and decided to take the long way, because it was different.  That’s when a few of the older neighborhood boys surrounded me just up the street from my house.  They held my arms behind my back and took turns punching me in the stomach. To this day I don’t know what possessed them: maybe I said something, maybe I was dressed the wrong way, maybe it was my turn, or maybe it was just because I was five and they were the big kids on the block.  Getting jumped sucks. But it especially sucks when the safety of home is within sight.  Just a half a block more and I was walking in the door, grabbing a snack, and lounging on the couch.  But no, not that day.  Instead I was absorbing blows from clenched fists with my intestines.  All because I decided to take the long way home.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Connecticut's Chlorophyll Superhighways: Day Four of the Vermont to Rhode Island Adventure Ride

The coughing from my neighbor’s room woke me from a dead sleep.  My eyes opened, and I gasped for breath. As I wandered into the bathroom, the air was thick with nostalgia and mold spores.  The grungy and faded mid 1960’s brown, tan and orange tile décor in the bathroom conjured memories from my childhood home. The décor was “dated” in the 80’s when I was growing up.  Now it was on the line between comical and ironically vintage.  After a hot shower I loaded up the bike and escaped out into the fresh air under brilliant blue skies.  I had a lot of ground to cover that day. Luckily Connecticut is criss crossed with bikeways- chlorophyll superhighways that were just what the doctor ordered to transport me across the state and nurse me back to my old self.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Miles of Metacomet: Day Three, Vermont to Rhode Island Adventure Ride

Despite it being part of New England, I’ve never looked at Connecticut with the same respect or admiration as I do to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and yes, even Rhode Island.
It has vast tracts of wildlands, hard flowing rivers, and abundant trail networks, and yet I always felt like the state was one large suburban neighborhood for New York City.  I always pictured busy ten lane highways with jersey barriers, dirty highway rest areas, pretentious manicured “towne” centers, and traffic choked suburban hell. That’s because I was prejudiced against Connecticut.  There, I said it out loud. And like any ill-informed opinion, the cure was experience.  It was time for Connecticut and I to spend some quality time together: and what better place than on the Metacomet Trail.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Seven Levels of Wet: Day Two, Vermont to Rhode Island Adventure Ride

I was on the second day of my Vermont to Rhode Island adventure ride trying to link together trails all the way across New England.  Thunderstorms and thousands offeet of elevation had served up a slice of humble pie on day one.  I was already forced to improvise.  But day two promised to be drier.  At least that’s what the weatherman told me.   Instead I was about visit the seven levels of wet.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Taconicked: Day One, Vermont to Rhode Island Adventure Ride

How far can you get on trails?  That’s the burning question that has motivated my bike adventures for the better part of two years now:  The Kingdom Sampler, Boston to Northampton, Southern NH Overnighter, the Trunkline Adventure, and the Big Dirty South ride. All iterations of the same goal: get as far as I can using as little road as possible.