[Note: the donations to the Food Bank reached my goal yesterday! Thanks to everyone who has contributed, and people are still welcome to give.]

On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, I set out for a 2-day bike trip to New Haven and back. This is a trip that I’ve been wanting to make for years, primarily because one can ride on paved recreation trails almost all the way. Information on those trails, by the way, can be found here.

There is not a trail running through Holyoke, so I began by heading over into Westfield, making my way down through downtown until I got to the actual trail beginning at Route 20/Main St. From there, I headed straight south, passing all the way through Southwick and then into Connecticut.

I had traveled the Farmington Canal trail partway through CT a few times before, and so it was familiar to me up to a point. I rode through the towns of Suffield, East Granby, Granby, and part of Simsbury just as I had in the past, in this case stopping for lunch in Simsbury. After lunch, I deviated from that trail to follow the Farmington River Trail, which runs in a long arc to the west, and then comes back to the Canal trail much further south. This was uncharted territory.

The Farmington River trail is also unpaved territory, at least for the first several miles. I rode the dirt trail for a little ways and came to a park, which had this covered bridge (click on photos to enlarge):

Red, wooden, covered bridge over a small stream, with trees and picnic areas on the other side.

Here’s the view from the bridge into a little pond made by the stream:

Pond with picnic tables and people on either side.  There are trees around the far end.

I continued from here and the trail alternated between some dirt sections and some sections that were quiet roads. When I’d gone pretty far west, the trail dumped onto some slightly busier roads for a while, as it headed south and a bit more west. Finally, actual trail started up again, paved this time. Soon after that I reached the Farmington River itself.

View of river with some people in boats or on paddleboards, with a grassy area in the foreground and trees in the background.

The river is pretty wide there, and a number of people were out on it.

View looking upriver, with people on boats in the distance, trees on the banks to each side, and some tree branches in the top foreground.

As were some ducks.

Duck in the water, swimming toward the left.

The trail follows the river south from there, and then southeast. Toward the end of the River Trail, it passes through a tunnel under a road, and the tunnel is decorated with murals:

Mural of a flowering bush as well as painted stones on the concrete wall of a bike tunnel entrance.
Mural of a deer and small cityscape, as well as painted stones on the concrete wall of a bike tunnel entrance.

Within a mile or two after this tunnel, the Farmington River trail ended and deposited me back on the Farmington Canal trail in the town of Farmington. I continued south, and passed through an office park in the south part of that town. There I saw this business:

Business sign reading "Trumpf" with bushes and other landscaping around it.

I wondered if this company might have anything to do with that person in the White House. Their web site does not give any clues, but maybe the firm was founded by a distant relative?

Just after the office park, the trail entered the town of Plainville, and then ended. I knew about this in advance from looking at maps, but there is a gap in the trail at this point. I had to go on roads for a little while. I rode on Route 177 down to the Southington town line, and then had to get on Route 10, which is pretty busy (including passing an interchange with I-84).

Along 10, I saw this place:

Beige building with signs near the top saying "SmashBurger" and "203-Urgent Care".  Multiple cars in the parking lot.

I worry a bit about the need for urgent care at a burger place…

Shortly I was able to head off on a side street and get on the trail again. I rode it through the rest of Southington, then into the town of Cheshire. In a wooded part of Cheshire, there is a little observation deck off the side of the trail, where one can view a very scum-covered pond:

Pond covered with green algae, with trees in background.
Another view of pond covered with green algae, with trees in background.

There were a bunch of ducks there, who seemed to like the water fine – they swam through the scum with nary a care.

After Cheshire, the trail passed through Hamden, and then finally into New Haven. It ends in the middle of the Yale University campus, so I left it and rode on a few city streets to the place I was staying the night. My total riding for the day was 78 miles.

Next: part 2 of the journey