Author Topic: Hartford to Brooklyn over Water  (Read 1962 times)

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on: May 12, 2009, 03:09:56 am
OK, as promised, here's the report of my trip from Hartford, CT to Brooklyn, NY via the Orient Point (Long Island) ferry. It was a total of 184 miles, from 7:15AM to 3:45PM, with three stops, one for lunch, one for gas, one for coffee. I rode almost entirely on country and coastal roads until I got into Queens, where it was city riding and then a brief jaunt on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE). On taildraggin's advice, I took the road that F. Scott Fitzgerald described as the trip from Roslyn to Manhattan in The Great Gatsby.

Couple of interesting things I saw:

  • On the ferry, a bumpersticker for with the tagline "who needs remote control?"
  • Motto on the hood of an electrician's van: "We fix your shorts."

Leg 1: Hartford - New London

Leg 2: Orient Point - Brooklyn

I was going to record video of the trip highlights but my camera's battery died, so I attached a few crappy photos from the ferry ride. They show the view off the stern, a lighthouse on the Connecticut shore, and a lighthouse in the middle of the sound.

The day before the trip, I took the Bullet out of my parents' garage, where it was stored for the Winter, and got it running within minutes. A check of the valves showed that the pushrods had contracted over the Winter, so I tightened them to remove the up and down play. Took a shakedown ride out to Wesleyan university and all of a sudden heard some really loud metallic clacking coupled with a loss in performance. I immediately pulled over and opened the tappet cover, where I saw that the pushrod for the exhaust valve was shortened all the way and lock nut was loose. I must not have tightened it well enough during the initial maintenance. I fixed it right away and fired it up. The sound was gone and it ran great for the rest of the afternoon. Then I got gas for the big trip the next day.

Today I left my parents' driveway in Wethersfield at a very cool and fresh 7:15AM. Rode RT-3 down to Middletown, where I changed to RT-66/RT-17, and went out to Colchester on RT-16. A lot of people were starting their morning commutes and I saw a number of young schoolchildren getting on buses. In Colchester I hung a right on to RT-85, which goes straight down to New London and right up to the ferry (though that didn't stop me from getting a little lost and I had to look around for the ferries). I ended up getting there early enough that I caught the 9:00 ferry, instead of the 10:00 on which I had a reservation.

The ferry ride was absolutely beautiful. It was a sunny, cool, and windy morning. The Long Island Sound was a dark blue, and the colors along the Connecticut coast were vibrant. We passed several islands that were interesting to look at. I'll upload a couple of pictures here once I can figure out how to do it.

After about an hour and fifteen minutes, we approached a very sandy shore and they announced that we were arriving at Orient Point. I was surprised to hear the destination pronounced or-I'-ent.

From Orient Point, I took Sound Ave / RT-48 amd RT-25A along the northern shore of Long Island. Temperatures were in the mid 60s and sunny. It smelled alternately like farm and ocean. These roads were perfect for the Bullet, with speed limits mostly of 45 and 50mph. I started getting tired in Smithtown (128 miles of riding to that point), so I stopped for lunch at American Roadside Burger:

It happened to be a biker-themed fastfood burger restaurant (they were auctioning a dark red Sportster Custom), and it was a really nice place. The burgers were delicious for fastfood and the sweet potato fries were crispy on the outside and very flavorful. I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area.

After resting a bit I got gas down the road. I could tell I was getting closer to the city because the road went through towns more frequently (up to this point the ride was almost completely rural). I started feeling pretty tired, so I got coffee in what I think was Huntington, which has a nice little main street area. A guy stopped to talk to me for a while about the Bullet. Refreshed and rejuvenated, I hit the road again. RT-25A becomes Northern Boulevard in Queens. Eventually the landscape became more and more densely suburban until I was definitely in the City.

Originally I had planned to take city streets through the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn but I decided to take the BQE instead because I was getting warm and tired. Traffic was smooth enough, and when I stopped at the end of my exit, I was precisely face-to-face with this German warship that was docked in the Brooklyn yards.

In all, it was an absolutely gorgeous day, and it was fascinating to see how things changed along one road from the sandy tip of the North Fork all the way to Brooklyn at the other end. And the Bullet ran like a champ the whole time.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 04:18:10 pm by jdrouin »