Friday, October 23, 2009


We are at an abandoned Park-and-Ride lot in Windsor, Connecticut (map), just north of Hartford. Our friends Mimi and Rich live literally across the street from this lot, and even though we had scoped out both an Elks lodge and a Wal-Mart in this town, they assured us it was OK to park here and even called the state police ahead of time.

I say "abandoned" because the lot is clearly no longer actively used for Park-and-Ride purposes. We passed several freeway exits on our way here with active lots, and each exit was clearly marked with a blue sign indicating a lot was at the exit, but this exit had no such sign. The bus shelter in this lot is overgrown with weeds, the bench is missing (but its feet are still in place), and there are no route signs; the route number on the lone Park-and-Ride sign just outside of the lot has been covered over. Most telling is that, besides us, the only civilian vehicles here are three cars that have not moved since we arrived yesterday afternoon, one of which has a flat tire and looks to have had its fuel tank siphoned. The state is using this lot to store idle van-pool vehicles, and there are a dozen or so of them neatly lined up in one corner of the lot; none looks to have been moved for many weeks.

We had a nice visit last night with an excellent home-cooked meal and several glasses of wine. It was nice to just be able to walk across the street to get home. Other than the noise from the freeway, which really does not bother us, it was very peaceful and we were undisturbed.

We had a wonderful day yesterday in Newport. It was nearly 70° out, and we pulled the scooters out in the morning and rode around town. We basically did the whole Ocean Drive loop, starting from the Gateway Center, down Thames street with its shops and restaurants, around the harbor and out to Fort Adams, then south to Brenton Point and along the Atlantic shore, past dozens of palatial mansions where we could not even afford the landscaping let alone the heating bills. We circled past the off-limits Elks lodge, which happens to be on the former site of the U.S. Naval Academy to see what we missed -- it would have been only a small challenge to get in there and a great spot within an easy walk of the waterfront, as well as right next door to the UU church; too bad the town has put a stop to parking there.

After our circle tour of the city we stopped back on Thames street -- Newport has conveniently provided free motorcycle parking throughout the area -- and walked out to one of the wharves for a nice lunch. It was a gorgeous day to stroll around the harbor. After lunch a quick trip over the bridge to Goat Island completed our visit, and we headed back to our stealth spot behind the Wal-Mart, loaded the scooters up, and headed out.

We are done with the coast now, having stayed as close as possible from Newport all the way to New London before turning inland on the Hartford Pike. We crossed into Connecticut on US-1 over the Pawcatuck river, with a celebratory yell as this marks our 48th state and we have now filled in our map of the continental US, having been to all of the lower 48 states and the District of Coumbia in Odyssey. US-1 brought us along the Connecticut coast and across the Mystic River (and past Mystic Pizza) in Mystic, but dumped us onto I-95 in Groton as it is the only bridge across the Thames. We just stayed on I-95 through New London for the two miles to CT-85 to Hartford.

From here we will continue north on CT-20 and US-202 until we hit US-20 in Massachusetts, which will bring us to my old summer stomping grounds in the Lenox area. We are hoping the Elks lodge in Pittsfield will have room for us; the directions say to call ahead, but they do not open until 3pm. Backup plans right now are a truck stop in Lee or the Wal-Mart in Pittsfield, but the lodge is our first choice because we may be stuck there a couple of days due to rain.

That's because the wiper motor parts sent by our buddy Bryce, which we picked up here from Mimi and Rich, are not the right ones for our system. Disappointing as that is, I have to say that I am really, really glad that we spent only $15 to have these used parts sent here rather than $300+ for a whole new assembly, given that the mis-match would have happened in either case. Bryce, you saved us a whole bunch of money. Thanks!

Now that we have the other motor on hand and can see the subtle difference (the motor itself and housing look identical, but the spindle is a larger diameter), we've gone back to the photos of the supposedly correct item available from the UK, and that, too, seems to be incorrect for our application. We now need to fall back and re-assess. Next chance I get, I will try to get the actuator arm out and see if there is a machine shop that can either enlarge the spindle hole on this one, or make a new one with the correct size hole for a new motor. Until then, we will have to continue to pick our way through the weather.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, congratulations on making the lower 48. It sure seems that the eastern part was a lot more challenging then the west was. Now all you have to do is repeat that with the trawler!! Steve & Carol


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