The layover in central Connecticut included not only adequate rest and abundant socialization opportunities with family members I don’t often get to connect with, but I’ve eaten so many delectable dishes that I’ve restored any weight that I lost over the five days of pedaling to get here. Yesterday, Petunia and I changed modes of transportation, opting for a watercraft intstead. My dear friend and TouringTunes fanclub president Pam picked us up in her convertible and we spent the afternoon at Bolton Lake, joined by my cousin Helen and her sweet, trained therapy pitbull, Diesel.
Petunia wasn’t so sure about Diesel at first, the latter K9 being a bigger and very affectionate, playful boy, and once she gave him a single, firm bark to establish her power in this dynamic, they easily warmed up to each other.
Outfitted in his stylish yellow Personal Floatation Device, “D” enjoyed a kayak cruise with his mom, and Pam went out on a nice yellow kayak, although she left her two aquatically disinclined kitties at home. I attempted to stand-up paddleboard with a kayak paddle and then a short paddle before ultimately taking a seat to avoid accidental cow-tipping, as Tunes was between my feet.
We paddled across the lake and made it to a small beach, where Tunes and D bonded over their shared love of running in huge circles and bounding along invisible racetracks, enthusiastically welcoming the opportunity to play on dry land. Still wearing their PFDs, they were quite a sight, these two happy dogs in puffy vests, careening around patches of trees and over sandy beachfront.
The rest of the afternoon was equally blissful, with a fantastic dinner on the water (including half of this rather uterine-tessellated watermelon), quinoa with tofu and tomato sauce, spicy green chips that were like healthy Doritos, and all sorts of tasty goodness.
Following that, I had a lovely visit with my Aunt Pam and her partner Tim, and we caught up on life and travels and she made me a delicious gelato dessert with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Mmmm. I was certainly not going hungry, but I felt like I’d need to get back on the bicycle soon before all of these treats caught up with my waistline.
As for now, the day’s intermittent rain just concluded with a huge storm crackling with thunder, lightning, strong winds, the whole bit. Tunes was actually pretty nervous, so she was glad we weren’t out in the tenements of the tent and elements. I took some time to visit with Aunt Nancy and her dog Willow, had an indoor cookout feast with my mother and my brother Greg, and read up on my maps to discover that I’d eventually be facing the task of summiting Kancamagus Pass in NH, at over 2,800 feet in elevation (starting from just ~400′ at the start of the 34 mile highway). On the heels of that revelation, I also took some time to re-evaluate my pack load, relinquishing even more camera equipment and cables, batteries, personal care items, a book, and my first completed map in the set of 12.
I have a lot to look forward to and I am eager to pedal on to new pastures. But meanwhile, I haven’t been bored in the past couple of days here, and with the forecast of steady and needed rain for the next 48 hours, I may find myself some other temporary adventures, if I don’t ship out before then. It’s been fun to remain open to the possibilities!
Week 1 TL;DR: (Too Long; Didn’t Read): a bit under 300 miles covered from central-western NJ to central CT, adventure, farms, hills, wild camping, new friends, great times with family and old friends, decadent comestibles, fantastic weather, including the large, loud storm that just wrapped up this otherwise drizzly day.
PS: Aw yeah, nothing like a Connecticut grinder.
Song of the Day: Watching the Wheels, acoustic version, by John Lennon.