A WEEK OUT,
AND THE "BEGINNING" OF THE BIKE TOUR.
First Day: New Haven, CT to Ansonia, CT
It's about a week and a half into the trip. I've stopped so far in Glacier National Park, Montana (beautiful, of course, and sparsely populated due to it being the end of the season), Minneapolis (dodging tornadoes and participating in "bicycle culture"), and Chicago (the big bad city.) I got into New Haven Monday night and stayed with some very gracious folks who I only knew because of a listserve!
And Monday I caught a cold and it came on strong on Tuesday. I kept a low profile, though that didn't stop be from riding around in the 80 degree humid heat (or from eating pizza, but hell, I'm back in New Haven!). I was deliberating the first stretch of bike tour, the 15 or so miles to Ansonia, my hometown and where my mom still lives.
Y'see, I never actually biked between the two. And the prospect seemed daunting with my fully loaded bike, since any route out would be (a) high-traffic, (b) hills, or (c) a combination of the two. I almost chickened out and took the bus, but I figured I have to start this thing somewhere.
I left today around 2:30pm, right at the peak of the humid heat and traffic. Not the best choice, obviously. I decided northward first via Route 63 into Woodbridge and then west on 114 would be the best option, since the hill wouldn't be that bad. Well, I was wrong. It was quite the hill! Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but the heat plus cold plus not used to the heavy bike did a number on me and I had to stop for a bit in a park. (One of the things I love about the ritzy "country" towns in Connecticut, Woodbridge being one, is they will make sure you know that the parks are for "Residents Only." Nowhere else in the country have I seen such territoriality.) After that, things weren't so bad, as I got into the rhythm of things, and started to get excited for the road ahead.
But it would be a short day. I whizzed by the house I grew up in, the downtown of Ansonia (which instantly depressed me), the original house of my grandma (and where my mom grew up), and finally, my mom's new house. There's a lot of history in this here Naugatuck Valley. A lot of history I've been trying to escape. But I'll try to enjoy the day I spend here, and on Friday I head north to Watertown to visit dad.