In Which We Leave New England


Near Southbury, CT

Today we left New England the way we entered, via Connecticut.


The land:

Blue skies, hot sun, cool air, and more steep roads than you could shake a stick at. Names they deserved, like Castle Hill Road, Great Hill Road, Mountainville Avenue, Wooster Heights Road, Ridgebury Road.  Marred with potholes, cracks, piles of gravel and sand.  Sometimes nothing but gravel and sand.


Near Danbury, CT


North Salem, NY (the pavement ended at the Connecticut line)


Pootatuck River

The towns:

Sandy Hook / Newtown, CT.  Massacre site.  The Founders envisioned a people armed with one-shot flintlocks as a check on government power.  They could not have imagined the advanced technology that gave one person the power to kill, in a few minutes, 20 children, 6 school staff members, the shooter’s mother and the shooter himself.  Sandy Hook and Newtown looked – and are – so ordinary . . .


Danbury (CT) and Katonah (NY) and other towns also looked ordinary, too ordinary to show you.

Bedford (NY) was extraordinary: big houses hidden among trees behind long tidy stone walls along unpaved roads.  The quality of the houses suggests that these rich people want their roads unpaved.

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The people:


Virginia.  Not shown: her Ride for Human Rights sticker.

Virginia loves our Sprint 26.  She hates texting and phoning while driving and was properly horrified at what a reckless driver did to Jeffrey last October.  She is sympathetic to refugees trying to tell their stories without the help of American counsel.


One of Peter’s trucks.  Not shown:  Peter and his Ride for Human Rights sticker.

Peter didn’t want his photo published; it’s just one of those things.  He spotted us this morning – “That guy’s doin’ it!” he said to himself – then called out to us when he saw us again.  Peter sells Kenworth trucks, real trucks, not the muffler-challenged toys the cowboy wannabees drive.  Peter and Jeffrey talked philosophy, the distorted value of work, biking (Peter has done NYC-Boston AIDS rides among other volunteer projects), and human rights.  He’s a good guy we hope to meet again on the road.


David, wearing a Ride for Human Rights sticker.

David does IT work for Verizon.  He interrupted his yard chores to chat, and handed Jeffrey a donation to Human Rights First.  David is concerned about some aspects of the large recent immigration to Danbury – he says 55% of his daughter’s schoolmates are from non-English speaking homes – yet he notes with approval that although many of the parents do not speak English, all their kids do, and he says that when hard work is needed, the immigrants are willing to do it.  David and Jeffrey agreed that assimilating newcomers can be difficult, and that it happens in the second generation if not the first, so long as we’re patient and let good people be.


A cool engineer for Sikorsky.  He has a Ride for Human Rights sticker.

Jeffrey embarrassingly forgot this gentleman’s name.  (Jeffrey embarrasses me often; he talks too much.  A virtue of kangaroo court puppets is their silence.)  They met next to the Danbury airport, where this pilot (he owns a 1947 Cessna) was watching planes take off.  His Sikorsky engineering job involves testing and destroying materials to see what stresses they can withstand.  He recently returning to bicycling after a hiatus; we left the airport first, and he soon zoomed past us (he’s a strong guy, but don’t forget we’re loaded for touring and carry the dead weight of a puppet).  And he said it is hard to imagine how anyone could argue an asylum case, or any complex case, without the help of a lawyer.  Another supporter of Human Rights First!


Humans, L to R: Jeffrey, Lauren, Willow. Jeffrey has a Ride for Human Rights sticker.

This Jeffrey is a (mostly) small-animal veterinarian.  He was interested in cyclist Jeffrey’s broken leg x-ray, recently having done similar surgery to repair a dog’s tibia.  Dr. Jeffrey’s mom is a retired NYC judge; her son said she might be interested in helping asylum applicants.  Nice people!


Michelle, holding a Ride for Human Rights sticker.

Michelle gave us valuable advice about the unpaved roads ahead.  Had she not told us their length, and that (rich) people live along them so they are maintained, we might have refused to pedal onto those roads, and who knows where we would have ended up today.


L to R: Don, Sally. Sally has a Ride for Human Rights sticker inside her hat.

Don is the office manager for spouse Sally, an ophthalmologist whose stint in academia makes her a happy participant in TIAA-CREF, where Jeffrey’s Nancy works.  We had a friendly talk about medicine, nursing, and human rights. They visit NYC often and plan to be in touch.


John, wearing a Ride for Human Rights sticker.

John works in the accounting field.  He stopped to talk about the Sprint 26.  Guess what Jeffrey talked about!   John said he will check out this blog.


Karina. She put a Ride for Human Rights sticker on the counter edge.

Being a puppet, I am indifferent to discomfort.  Being human, Jeffrey is not.  So he was very happy to hear from Karina that there was a motel room for us after he pedaled and bumped over 44 hard miles today.  Karina is not unusual among educated Americans; she was unaware that persecution victims who flee to America are not provided with lawyers to help them present asylum cases.  Jeffrey gave her a quick lesson.  Now Karina supports the goals of Human Rights First.

1 thought on “In Which We Leave New England

  1. Jeff,
    You’re in the home stretch now….Maybe Joey can be your own “NY Pharoah” and have a smooth , fast ride to the finish…You deserve a triple crown for getting through the various road surfaces of lack of surfaces to make it to the finish line on the Upper West Side…


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