On day three of riding, we passed through several towns in Connecticut. I rode with Sascha, Trevor, Michael, and Racheal. Five miles out of the parking lot, I got my first flat tire. About ten miles down the road, we came across a turtle courageously trying to cross a busy road. Being the Good Samaritans that we are, we made a stop and Racheal helped it across the street.
Our first intentional stop was at a cute country store that had a sign advertising ice-cream. Once inside, we chatted with Kevin, the owner of the store, who graciously offered us freshly-made apple cider donuts. The “first batch of the season”, he said. They were melt-in-your-mouth good. We also managed to DM ice-cream cones. If you’re passing through the CT countryside near Plainville, be sure to keep an eye out for this quaint little place. And say a little hello to Kevin for us.
Our second break was in Cheshire. It was a busy city, nicely old-fashioned, with plenty of Saturday traffic. We saw one of those blow-up moonwalk things, and impulsively pulled over. The sidewalks near town center were full of vendors selling trinkets, wandering shoppers, and other townsfolk going about their business. One of the people in my riding group managed to get a donation of carnival tickets and the five of us piled into the moonwalk castle. Our joy was short-lived because the castle soon began to topple underneath our weight. On reflection, it probably wasn’t the best idea to allow five full-sized people with legs like ours to pound on flimsy plastic and air.
About a quarter of the way to our stop, we intersected with the Farmington Canal Trail. In that moment, I got a little tinge of nostalgia in my heart thinking about all the times I had ridden that trail in preparation for this trip across the country. We rode in to lunch soon after. After burgers, bananas, and peanut butter, eaten with our tired feet in the water, we pushed on. It was mostly downhill in the second half, as we passed Southbury and Sandy Hook. At about 3 PM, we spotted a lake and decided to take a swim, since we were only about 10 miles from our destination. The weather and the water seemed to welcome a dip, but almost as soon as I dove in the water, my face came in contact with a soft pillow of mud.
Danbury is a good-sized town. Passing through the outskirts, it looked a little bit like New Haven’s west side, which is more run down. The stores were small, and the grimy street we passed on was loaded with potholes. However, also like New Haven, it is not without its finer points. The police station looked like a castle made of red brick: intimidating, but also comforting. The last mile of the ride was all uphill (a 10% gradient, someone mentioned). We rode in huffing and puffing, greeted by some small, enthusiastic cheerleaders on the side lawn of Danbury United Methodist Church.
This was the first time we had seen mattresses in about a week, and everyone whooped and hollered at the sight of them. I decided not to claim one, because there weren’t enough mattresses for all of us, and because I generally sleep like a rock under all conditions. Once again, the church community showed us their kindness, offering their time on a Saturday to make us all a delicious pasta dinner.