In our last episode, I had spent Sept. 1 biking down to New Haven, CT. After getting there, I checked into my lodging, showered, and put on non-bike clothes. I walked a few blocks to get dinner, and the place I stopped was really good: Mamoun’s Falafel. I had a falafel sandwich and a glass of mango juice.

The next morning, I went out to get breakfast, and as I was walking down the street, someone asked me if I was going to be in “the race”. I said “No”, not really sure what race that was, but I soon found that a number of streets were blocked off, and soon I saw some runners come by, so apparently there was a Labor Day road race going on.

After breakfast (which was a mini-quiche and a turnover at a coffeehouse), I put on cycling clothes, packed up my stuff, and started heading back north. I should mention that, earlier this year, I received a pair of large, waterproof pannier bags as a birthday present, and I was using them as my luggage for the trip. This was particularly important for the return trip, as there was a good chance of rain predicted for the afternoon.

Rather than wend my way back to the Yale campus on various one-way streets, I took a more direct route north that converged with the trail. After about a mile I was able to go a very short distance on a side street to get on the trail, and I headed north into Hamden. I stopped to photograph this mural on the side of a building (click to view larger photo):

Mural on the side of a building, depicting nine women of different ages, races, and ethnicities, each holding a burning torch aloft in one hand.
Mural on the side of a building, depicting five women of different ages, races, and ethnicities, each holding a burning torch aloft in one hand.

Heading on, in Hamden I passed under the Wilbur Cross Parkway, and eventually back up to Cheshire (where I stopped briefly by the scummy pond again). And then on to Southington. I passed by these butterfly shaped benches:

Iron benches shaped like butterflies, on a grassy area by paved recreation trail, with bushes and trees to the side.
Frontal view of a bench shaped like a butterfly, in front of some bushes.

And soon after those, there were a whole series of murals, one after another:

Mural on the siding of a building, depicting a blue sky and a hovering watering can, which is watering several flowers that look very different from each other.
Mural depicting eight joined train cars, with different items in each car.  The last one is carrying large letters spelling the name Ben.
Mural on the side of an industrial building, depicting the words "Rails to Trails", with painted trees between the words, and painted vines winding around the letters.
Mural on the side of a building, depicting a stormy sky and tornado, with various graffiti-style names.
Mural on a building depicting an old-style train depot, with a couple of waiting passengers, a dog, and an arriving steam train.
Mural on the side of a building, depicting different types of trail users (3 cyclists, a jogger, and a rollerblader).  There is some landscaping at the base of the wall.
Mural on the side of a building, depicting different types of trail users, including a child walking with a dog and balloon, an adult walking with a dog, a child on a bike with training wheels, and a skateboarder.

After heading through most of Southington, the trail came to an end, I rode on Routes 10 and 177 up through Plainville. I then got back on the trail and wheeled into Farmington just as a slight sprinkle of rain started. It was not enough to be bothersome, and the sprinkle came and went as I followed the Farmington Canal trail through the rest of Farmington and into the town of Avon. I stopped for lunch at a cafe in Avon, and it was good timing, as it rained in earnest while I was inside eating. That rain had stopped by the time I left and got back on the bike.

I continued to have reasonably dry conditions as I headed into, and through most of, Simsbury. However, in the northern part of the town, it started to rain steadily, and so I got out my rain jacket and rain pants, as well as changed my shoes into a pair that can be worn in water. I made the change under a tree that provided good rain cover, and then, sealing up the panniers again, I headed out into the rain. It rained consistently for the rest of the time I was in Connecticut, and was raining pretty hard when I crossed back into Southwick, Massachusetts. The first mile or two in Southwick is a nature preserve, and I saw a number of frogs and toads on the path, some which jumped out of the way as I came by, and others which sat stoically in the rain.

Halfway through that town, the rain let up, and soon after that the sun came out. It had rained for about 90 minutes. I changed my shoes back to ones that were a little better for pedaling, and then continued into Westfield. I kept the rain outfit on so that it could dry out as I rode, but I did unzip the jacket.

After reaching the northern end of the trail, I went through the rest of Westfield and back into Holyoke on Route 202. The total distance for that day was 73 miles – so about 150 for the whole trip.

Next: a short ride exploring more non-roads