The Dreaded Commute
My Commute has changed, and I'm working on a write-up; but in the interim I'll re-post the story of one of my past commutes. Hope you enjoy the ride.
The Dreaded CommuteÖA ride report by Mike Sullivan
I sip the steaming hot coffee as I don my riding gear. Out to the garage, where I roll the beast out onto the tarmac. A quick pre-ride check before I fire the engine, all systems are nominal. I throw my leg over the saddle, and settle into the familiar riding position, snick it into gear and power out of the driveway. The start of The Dreaded Commute.
The road slithers down the hill, into the valley below, where the it follows the meandering river that carved this valley. Sweeping left and right, the bike and I glide along smoothly, mimicking the flow of the water that streams quietly alongside. The pre-dawn glow shows hues of pink and blue in the clear sky overhead.
I brake and down shift, a sharp uphill right hander, followed by a quick flick left, right, left, as I leave the valley behind and ascend the adjoining ridge. Once on top the road settles down to a more gentle rhythm, as it traces the natural lay of the land. As the sky lightens in anticipation of the impending sunrise, the full moon is visible, hanging low in the west. A large left-hand sweeper leads me down into the next valley, steep and narrow, carved by a fast moving stream. The road and the stream are forced through a deep and dark ravine. My high beams are brought into service, guiding me along this convoluted course. As I climb out of this dark hollow the firsts rays of sunlight can be seen on the ridge line ahead.
As I round a blind right-hander, two young deer feeding on the side of the road are startled by my approach and bolt off in different directions. Their mother looks on, but continues to browse on the lush vegetation. The woods give way to some farm land, where the swirling patterns of the furrowed fields are highlighted by the low rays of the sun. A group of wild turkeys work the edge of the cultivated field, a couple of toms can be seen off in the distance, strutting their stuff. As I approach a horse farm, two young stallions playfully interact while running along the white wooden fence that separate us, seeming to pace me for a few seconds. Back into the woods, the road tightens up. As I approach a clearing, I see the biggest fox Iíve ever seen. Itís large tail seems as big as its body. I throttle back as we seem to be on an intercept course, for a brief moment we are side by side, then the beautiful animal disappears back off into the forest.
My ride continues over hill and dale. Roads with names like Mountain, Cascade, and Notch, tell the tale of the geography; while the names of the communities, Mill Brook, Heartland, Pleasant Valley, are equally revealing. As I crest a hill, at the site of a civil war muster, the red orb of the sun blinds me for a moment, as it hangs just above the eastern horizon. I continue on past a vineyard, where the vines snake along, following the contours of the hillside.
At the bottom of the next hill I turn on to a little traveled stretch of four lane, where I can open it up a bit. The road is reminiscent of the autobahn as it winds its way over the country side. I ďbust a tonĒ as the speedometer sweeps up into the higher numbers, the big K-Bike has plenty more on tap, but this is not the time or place.
42 miles into my commute I encounter my first traffic light. Damn this is rough. A minute later Iím back on the open road. I follow along beside an abandoned railroad grade, its level path still visible in the overgrown wilderness. A few twisty bits lead me across an old iron bridge. Over the next hill I cross a long earthen dam that holds back a large reservoir to the north, the water shimmers in the early morning sunlight. To the south several more bodies of water can be seen in the valley below. On the ridge ahead of me the backlit evergreens form geometric patterns. The road gets better for the next few miles as I blast my way north along the reservoir, and cross into some state forest land. Traffic is virtually non-existent in this rural area, and the roads are a pleasure to travel.
I climb to the highest elevations of my journey. From one hill top thereís an open view to the north, on a clear day you can see forever, the small town steeples can be seen dotting the country side. A city 30 miles away is seems dwarfed by the ranges around it. The road slowly works itís way down from the high country, as I approach the flood plain of a large river system. I pass a place called Hidden Acres, and on to the site of an revolutionary war prison and a old copper mine. The woods give way to farms and residential areas.
67 miles from home I hit my second set of traffic lights, and from here the road turns to four lane, then joins the super slab on my way into a large metropolitan area. The under used HOV lane gives me quick access into town as the cagers sit bumper to bumper.
85 miles out I arrive at the job site, refreshed and ready to work, comforted by the knowledge that in eight to ten hours Iíll have to backtrack The Dreaded Commute.