Sunday, June 5, 2011

Going South, by the Water

I randomly headed south from East Hartford with the intent of logging a longish ride, between 60 to 80 miles.  Stayed close to the Connecticut River and see what there was to see.  I hadn't been much past Portland along the river and was clueless on routes and features of interest.  The roads picked with the help of google maps and a personal bias for hills, low traffic, and dirt roads ended up creating a new favorite 60ish mile loop.

I started out heading South on Rt 17 and hit the mandatory Old Maids warmup hill.   Crossing the river into Middletown, I continued South on Saybrook Road, taking a left on Brooks Road and heading up into the hills.  A rewarding reservoir view was the bonus at the pinnacle of the steep winding climb.  Crossing Aircraft Road near the gates of my illustrious employer's Middletown location, I turned onto bone rattling River Road.  Until now I'd never seen a gravel road laid with railroad grade stones, but don't worry, it got better.

Higganum had a small grocery where I picked up a grinder and some Ben & Jerry's, a guaranteed calorie bomb.  I stashed the nosh in my small trunk bag.  A couple miles further down Saybrook Road was Haddam Meadows State Park where I dined overlooking the swollen waterway. 

Continuing South I came to the swing bridge adjacent to the Goodspeed Opera House.  While stopping at Eagles Landing State Park to take in the view I found a group organized in protest of a land swap ( that would give private developers access to 17 acres of protected riverfront in Haddam, an interesting issue that I'll now read up on.

The massive bridge rotated open to allow the passing sailboats and sizable yachts to pass.  I've always wanted to see one in action.  Unfortunately my phone decided to fail on photos today, the reason for a photo free missive. 

After waiting for the bridge traffic to clear, I headed across and started picking my way North.  Near Moodus I took a left into Macimoodus State Park and rode one of the dirt roads to a river view and a potential future stealth camping haven.  From Leesville Road I turned right onto Wopowog Road and the promise of more dirt.  A right onto Tortia Road plus a couple other swizzles dropped me onto the Airline Trail.  I was back into familiar territory, recently traversed on Salem's DeTour.  A pass through Mesh SP brought me back to South Glastonbury.

Looking back on the route, I've already thought about improvements and potential variants.   I'll probably head down next time with the intention of hiking a couple of hours.  The parks I visited were particularly lightly utilized.  This is fine for me personally, but limits the number of folks motivated to fight a land swap.  I worry sometimes that the coming Virtual generation will value wilderness and our environment even less than my Suburban generation, if that's possible.  Not sure what to do about that, other than enjoy the wilderness while it lasts.

I'm toying with a future tour from Sound to Source (in Canada) and have scouted from Haddam to Springfield.  A ride to Saybrook will be forthcoming, and I will explore a bit further North than Springfield a couple times this summer.  Others with adventurous leanings are welcome to tag along.

1 comment:

Brendan said...

My grandma & pa lives respectively in Old Saybrook and Ivoryton, I head down that way periodically. Great roads. I don't know much about the eastern side of the river, though.