We Flew Solo to Connecticut – Day 1

Our Shadow

Diana and I took our first motorcycle trip by ourselves on the Lowrider over Labor Day weekend. Previously we went to Rhode Island with a friend, but all of our other trips have been with our HOG chapter. As the rider it was alot less on my mind to just be concerned with myself and traffic. I’m the kind of person who is always thinking and worrying. To only be concerned with myself was much more relaxing. On the other hand there is a small amount of discomfort knowing that if anything should go wrong, I’m on my own. The trip went very smoothly and we had a fantastic time.

Diana is almost ready

Jay is ready to roll

The mission was twofold. This was officially the pre-ride for our 2008 Fall Peeper trip in October. We were also going to reconnect with my best friend and roommate from college who I lost touch with over 10 years ago. John and his wife were hosting a Labor Day barbeque and family party. We were invited as weekend guests. I was also going to try to meet up with the Assistant Director and Head Road Captain of the Ghost HOG chapter who visits Road Captain USA and often leaves comments under the handle Doorman.

Leaving Delaware

NJ Turnpike

Friday August 29th:

We left Delaware at 9:00am and traveled across the Delaware Memorial Bridge to the New Jersey Turnpike. It was an overcast morning and Diana took alot of pictures on the turnpike as we got up to the Newark, NJ region. I have always wanted to take these pictures. Although this area literally stinks, I find it very exciting. To me this is the heartbeat of America! I am constantly riding through sleepy farms that feed the country, but they are sleepy. Northern Jersey is the opposite. Chemicals, fuel and other products are being made in factories that are discharging smoke into the sky. Planes are taking off and landing at Newark International Airport. Cranes are unloading and loading ships as products are imported and exported. Trains take the cargo away. Bridges made of huge iron girders cross the highway and the meadowlands like the veins of industry. Billboards plaster the highway letting you know commerce is alive in this country. In the distance you see the financial mecca of the world known as The Big Apple. You can almost hear the action on Wall Street as you admire the Empire State Building from afar. The factories, bridges, cranes, trains and planes have always struck me as industrial art. Check out our pictures, I hope you see it too. Click here to view all the NJ Turnpike Pictures.

the turnpike

Bus

Busy turnpike

Construction

cranes

more cranes

overseas containers

factories

Newark Airport

The Big Apple

I exited the highway at Exit 72 in Fort Lee, New Jersey and banged an immediate left onto Fletcher Ave. We gassed up at the Lukoil Kwik Farms and got onto the Palisades Parkway. We had lunch at the State Line Lookout which we found by accident coming back from our Rhode Island trip with Skip. It is 2 miles north of Exit 2 on the Palisades. They make a great 1/2 lb cheeseburger fresh on the grill. Good wedge style fries too. You can’t beat the scenic overlook from the cliffs along the Hudson River facing New York City.

Me and my jacket, 2 peas in a pod

State Line Lookout

We hopped back on the Palisades Parkway and continued north. This time we passed the Tappen Zee Bridge which everyone seems to agree is a piece of garbage. As we entered Bear Mountain State Park we hopped onto Route 6 east which crossed the Hudson on a cute little bridge called the Bear Mountain Bridge. The funniest part of this trip was Diana holding the EZ Pass in one hand while taking pictures with the other as we went through the toll booth for this little bridge. I followed Route 6 east all the way to our Motel in Bethel, just past Danbury. Just after the bridge we hit some awesome cliff side twisties. But after that we rode through lake side towns one after another and the traffic lights wore on our nerves.

Bear Mountain Bridge

We arrived in Danbury at 3:00pm. We visited the Danbury Harley Dealership which was nice, but nothing unique to write about. As we were leaving this guy from New York pulled in on an amazing theme chopper. Probably the nicest theme chopper I have seen outside of a show. It was a Boston Red Sox bike with autographs from the players. But it had a New York plate on it!

 Red Sox Chopper

Red Sox Custom Motorcycle

Red Sox Bike

It was early so we did some exploring before checking into the Travel Inn of Bethel. We unpacked and headed to Rosy Tomorrows for dinner where we were hoping to meet up with Doorman. Unfortunately he was not able to make it. That didn’t stop me and Diana from making friends with the bartender and a buzzed patron at the bar. One problem… no Yuengling in Connecticut! Oh well, they did have our second favorite beer. Sam Adams Light! That stuff is greeatt!!! Much better then the regular Sam Adams. I ordered a bowl of Fisherman’s Chowder which was incredible. Big meaty clams, shrimp and scallops filled the bowl. I can’t even describe how cool it is inside the bar, but I will try. There is a mermaid statue swinging from the rafters and a half dozen large model airplanes dive bombing from the ceiling. There is a working model railroad train circling the bar. There is a piano stage over the bar. This place gets a 10+ and if you are in the area you have to try it. The bartenders are very nice, the food great and the atmosphere unique.

It was still too early to hit the hay and we needed to pick up some camera batteries… so we stopped at Best Buy which was behind the HD Dealer. Then we caught a movie at the movie theatre across the parking lot from Best Buy. We saw the new Mummy movie which was my bad idea. Not as good as the two earlier ones. Then we headed to the Motel and bed. This was probably the nicest of all the cheap Motels I have found, but there was one problem. The pillows are too big. Can you say “pain in the neck”. Diana got so pissed she threw hers across the room and slept with no pillow. I managed to find a position that was comfortable and slept like a log.

The two cheapest Motels I can find in this area are the Travel Inn of Bethel and the Howard Johnson across the street. The Travel Inn is a Motel with exterior room doors facing the parking lot. Ask for Vinny the manager at the Travel Inn and mention my name, Jay Green, and maybe you can get $5 bumped off the room rate. He might remember me. For you high brow travelers with more cash, there is a nicer Motel down the street called The Stoney Hill Inn which has a swimming pool and golf driving range. All are on Stoney Hill Road which is Route 6 at Exit 8 on Interstate 84.

Travel Inn of Bethel (203) 743 5990

Howard Johnson (203) 743 3855

The Stoney Hill Inn (203) 743 5533

Please leave a comment on this story if you enjoyed it or found it informative.

11 Responses to “We Flew Solo to Connecticut – Day 1”

  1. I still don’t get Jay’s infatuation with the north end of the Jersey Turnpike. Sure, it kept me very busy taking shots of everything in the bustling area. But for real, that area is the reason why most people refer to NJ as “the armpit of the nation”!!!

  2. LOL. I have to agree with you Di. Great pics of everything though. I love the shadow picture…I’ve been taking a lot of those as well as reflections in windows or the sides of big trucks. I love the way they turn out!

    I’m lovin’ the New Yorker with a Red Sox themed bike! Brave soul!

  3. Cool ride. I am going to head east here next year. The only thing I dread is toll roads and crap like that. I am afraid it might vex my riding spirit and kill my free riding.

    Cool bike. I laughed at the oversized pillow throw. I would have cut it open on the seam and ripped some of the stuffings out of it, then put it back into the pillow case with the new opening towards the closed end of the case. heh.

    I absolutely have no desire to visit New York. I would like to visit N.J. (I know, ass backwards)

    I think riding by myself, or with one or two people who you really know well is the best way to move. Anymore than that and the whining starts and someone gets their feelings hurt because someone else decided to speak their mind.

    The idea that you were out there alone and it was all up to you, without the group. I think that is a rush. Sometimes I prefer to travel alone just for the “I can only rely on myself” factor. Makes you feel small, and huge at the same time.

  4. Hey, cool ideas BB! I’ll have to look for oportuntites of the reflections. Jay just says I take strange pictures when I’m bored…like the 35 shots of my foot on the swingWing peg until I finally got one that turned out! LOL

    Dave,
    One word for tolls…EZPass!
    And that damn pillow…you know the king size ones that are extra long? Well this one was like that only is was fat and round like a 1-ft diameter log!

  5. That’s why I love digital cameras. I do the same thing, just really random stuff that sometimes turns out kinda cool!

  6. Nice trip!

    I must say I found more romanticism in your descriptions of the cheeseburger and fisherman’s chowder than of Northern Jersey. I’ve been through there and though I acknowledge all the working cogs of capitalism, I can’t say I care for the smell!

    Sorry about Di in the motel. I’m always sad to see a woman complain about anything too long and too thick! My latest on Milwaukee is up and since you clamored about my “public” waiting, I’m surprised you haven’t weighed in yet? Are you my public?

    You two need to hook up with Blackstone. By the time you get to the motel, neither one of you will notice or remember the pillows!

  7. Thank you everyone for your comments. I guess I am crazy, no one see’s the raw gritty art of Jersey besides me. I also like farm equipment! The older and rustier the better. Apparently Joker saw some of the Zimmerman water irrigation systems on his trip to the mid west. At least I’m not the only one who thinks these are cool. I have a few pictures of these sideways crane things on my Flickr site under the Delaware & Maryland Moto-Maps set.

  8. Once again Jay and Di, I am truly sorry that I had to miss you guys. For the others: I got stuck in a crisis-aversion-type meeting at work.

    Jay, if I had thought about it or realized that you were planning to ride up Rte.6, I’d have sent you to Rte 202 instead and the best chocolate cream pie on the planet (Grandma’s Pie Shop in Yorktown, NY).

    The Bear Mountain Parkway (just east of the bridge) is a lot of fun. Proviso: It is not for the faint-of-heart, or for the newbie rider without some serious pre-ride coaching. It has killed more than a few bikers.

    Look forward to hooking up next month!!!

    –Rob

  9. Thanks for the warning, we were planning on using the Bear Mountain Pkwy on the next trip. With a large group I doubt we will go fast enough to get hurt. If you can be more descriptive I would appreciate it as I did not get a chance to pre-ride it.

  10. At the end of the Bear Mountain Bridge did you take a left or a right?

    If you went right you hit the semi-hardcore hairpin twisties, if you went left you hit the more moderate twisties. The problem with the right sided road is that NYC riders with zero twisty experience see it as a challenge and ride up here and fly off the thing.

    If you give me an approximate itinerary I’ll try and take the day off, come up and meet you guys and give you the really nice way though Westchester County (hint NY Rte 129 to NY Rte 118 to NY Rte 100, to NY/CT Rte 35 to CT Rte 7)

  11. We didn’t know about the Bear Mountain Pkwy so we followed Rt 6 which goes to the right. Loved the twisties but after our experience in West Virginia it just seemed too short of a section for us. It was a tease!
    Seeing how we got up there so early last time and having found out about Rt 301 and also being told about a certain Road on Road Runner Forum I have something totally different in mind. I was going to head up Rt 9 and go into Clarence Fahnestock State Park using Dennytown Road to catch Route 301 to Carmel where we would catch Route 6 again.
    For the return trip I was going to catch the Taconic Pkwy from Rt 301 in the Clarence Fahnestock State Park and this time take it all the way to the bear Mountain Pkwy.
    That’s my plan!

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment