Yesterday was quite a day.
I ‘celebrated’ eleven years of shaving my head. I went ‘down the shore’ with my wife and kid to walk the boardwalk, eat some boardwalk food (the Midway Steak House at Seaside Heights has the best sausage sandwiches around), play some games (a Ziplock full of quarters equals an afternoon of mindless fun), have a few beers (Jack & Bill’s). I’m not going to mention how the cost of such a trivial (in the days of my youth) afternoon has risen – what’s the point? When I got home I found my dad’s cat, Buffy, had died. Buffy was an old cat, suffered advanced kidney disease (just like dad), and wasn’t in the best of health. Still, I was stunned. I’ve been caring for Buffy since my dad’s hospitalization in mid-May, and he was looking pretty good. They say that pets get attached to their owners that way, maybe with dad gone he figured he had had enough. So you could say the day was kinda packed. And if that wasn’t enough there were a few other things rattling round in my head. I retired to an uneasy sleep.
This morning dawned beautiful, though. We’re two days into the first ‘heat wave’ of the season (it never gets hot enough, long enough for us, but everyone else complains) and it was almost 80 F a little past 7am. After a pot of coffee I put the computer aside and set off to do a hundred miles before breakfast. I’m breaking in an engine on the Dyna, so this would be perfect blend of varied travel. Plus, I needed some time to think.
Route 27 south toward Princeton is a good start, nice to get the fluids up to temperature. Few lights and little traffic. Passed through Princeton and picked up 295 south near Lawrenceville for a bit, a bit of freeway to let it breathe a little. There were some clouds ahead, but I figured if I hit a little rain so be it. I wasn’t dressed for it, but so what. Below Trenton I jumped on 29 north: through the tunnel, alongside Trenton proper, and soon onto the two-lane toward Lambertville. Traffic remained light, permitting a good pace that didn’t exceed the posted limit by too much. At Lambertville I peeled off to 179; the number of bikes on the road seemed to grow with every mile. I guess others had the same idea. By Ringoes, 179 changes to 514 but keeps its name – Old York Road – but where 609 crosses it changes to Amwell Road while retaining its 514 number. Who said New Jersey roads made sense? The clouds I mentioned earlier had given way to blazing sun, but there was evidence here that it had rained earlier. On through Amwell, Cloverhill, Neshanic, and into Hillsborough. I decided to divert a bit through Raritan, grab a bottle of water at the Wawa there, and stop out at Branchburg Park. My dad spent many hours there flying model planes. It would be good to sit, hydrate, and watch the models. This map shows where I parked. After that I headed home, with a much clearer head. Riding is good therapy! The roads home were more suburban and a good deal less interesting. 202 to 22, then Foothill Road to 607 into Bound Brook, followed by a quick hop over the Raritan River onto 527 into New Brunswick. Through the city – it’s a campus town – and onto US 1 south for a final blast home.
99 miles, close enough for government work. Time to fire up the grill for some breakfast.