Topic: Thomaston Dam RR
Posted: 10/08/2003 7:09:23 PM
Yessir, a dual-purpose T-dam ride report.
It was chilly, heading up to the dam. Had a bottle of water in one pocket of my friends old, discarded bomber jacket (not that I'm cheap, but it WAS free), a pair of rain pants in the other. Not to wear in the muck, mind you, but to keep the wind off my wet legs for the ride home. It was still chilly, even though it was after 11am. Chilly enough that I was actually wearing a sweater- chilly enough I actually had the visor down, forcing me to look through the scratches I'd put in it (on the inside- how the heck did I do that?) back in May or so.
I was taking it easy on the L, it tells me when to ride like a freakin' idiot and when to chill, and it was tellin' me to chill. Too bad, because the dweeb in the black mustang convertible in front of me REALLY needed me to plant my front wheel on his freshly washed trunk (still had the little dew-drops of water on it). He was goin' along with his babe, something decently heavy on the radio (Metallica? too windy to tell) when he spins the dial and cranks up some hip-hop. WTF? He starts jittering back and forth in his seat, I figure pretty soon he's going to start flashing gang-signs at his wench, or since its hip-hop, that'd be his ho, eh? That's when I started thinking his paint needed some quality time with my front knobs, but as I said, it was not to be.
He soon turned off, leaving me with the other 4-wheeled drones in their (thankfully) silent cars, just my putt-putt exhaust, the hum of my knobbies on the tarmac in my ears. Got to the dam with no further incident, standard wheelie 1/2-way across. Someday I'll get to shifting with the front wheel up! Didn't see Chris's truck at the top, headed down below, there he was, same spot as 2 weeks ago. He says we're looking for 2 guys with KTMs in a black truck with a trailer. Hmm, thought I saw those guys up at the top, I burn up there, yep! that's them. I roll up, ask the guy if he's Sean, yep, that's him. Takes him a second, then he recalls the other guy for the days ride was the guy on the XR650L. These guys are already muddy, they've already been around for a lap, Sean's already been snared by the same rut that claimed Dean and Chris 2 weeks ago! Still there, still slimy, still claiming bikes.
Sean's cohort today is Rudy, out on his brand-new KTM, no better place to break it in than the dam! We head down and hook up with Chris, intros all around, when BRAAP! BRRRAAAAAAPPP! Jeez, DR650Z with nothing more than an old tuna can for an exhaust by the sound of it, although he probably paid righteous bucks for the privilege of giving dirt-biking a bad name. Probably a mid-life crisis-type, spending the day burning up and down the road but at least you can hear him coming.
We head out, and after that I only remember the high points as the L demands a lot of concentration, both to keep my butt in one piece and to keep from ploughing the beast over one of the day's victims, er, I mean riding partners. Was that bump a rock or a KTM? Blue smoke? Oh, KTM. Nah, I didn't run anyone over, but I worry about it since out of courtesy people let me go last so I don't feel bad about holding them back (but then they find out they needn't have worried), and
since the L does NOT stop quick, it'd be easy to smoosh someone during a quick stop.
First loop through, Sean and Rudy got separated from the BRPs, Rudy just going gaa-gaa over his new bike in the woods, Sean heading down the new trail that runs across and 1/2-way down the big hill. We find Rudy, head down the road following Chris, turn right on some grass and waHOOO Rudy's all-out sideways on the slick grass. I consider myself warned and proceed a bit more gingerly- once the pig starts sliding, the rear tire decides its really the front in disguise, and tries mightily to get to its rightful place. We snag Sean who had some fun- he was heading along the mid-hill trail when a root decided to jam his rear sprocket, brings him to a quick stop and nets him a bent clutch lever.
Highlights include Chris passing Sean on the right and Sean deciding to take the trail on the right- a little side-by-side action, Chris almost eats a boulder, everyone escapes OK. Chris was in good form today, despite a night out on the town, a head-first trip down the stairs, a wee bit of a hangover and that DAMN DR-Z WITH THE TUNA CAN MUFFLER GOING AROUND AGAIN! GAAAA!!
I do remember when Chris and I were hangin' out at the road for a spell (Rudy and Sean were exploring some trails) I headed up the hill to sample some woods, just chugging through and mashing brush, a good slope with some rocks and stuff. The MT21 rear is pretty burned out, but still hooking-up surprisingly well, you could barely tell where I'd been. Saw some rock ledges I want to play on next time out, unfortunately that'll probably be next spring.
There was some nasty, thin-but-slimy mud down by the creek, here the L really showed its weight and I could barely control the thing. The usual mud-holes had their usual firm bottom (as did a certain mom bicycling around) which I can cope with fairly well, although today they were COLD! Chris had a moments excitement when we were burning down a small road/wide trail at 30-40mph and Chris figured he'd wheelie through a little stream that turned out to be 12' wide and at least 3' deep! That wheelie probably saved him from a nice over-handlebars excursion. The spray was enormous! The real excitement, though, was had by the little girl and her mom standing next to the stream, taking a break from putt-putting around. It looked like the riot police were hosing them down! I went through sloooow (COLD! DEEP!) and the mom threw herself in front of her daughter to protect her from the non-existent splash, as though I were the mongol hordes riding down from the steppes to rape and pillage. Dad's face was curiously blank as I rode past, he sure didn't look angry (he was probably trying to keep from laughing himself silly!). I bet if he didn't manufacture an angry look mighty quick, someone went to bed lonely.
We dorked around down at an open, muddy area for awhile, 2 kids on a kawi and a ktm 50 2-smoke buzzing around. Sean decided he'd try out Chris's XR400R after an offer to do so, but didn't after deciding it was an evil omen when the first thing he did was tip it over. If he thought that thing was heavy, he should try the pig! Chris tried a KTM and his reaction was just as visceral;a 2-smoke is not for him!
I took a few laps around the goopy trail down there, got pretty sideways just dorkin' around in 2nd, went to hit the berm and just ooooozed into a nice front&rear wheel slide that almost cost me some plastic and a fresh tweak on my foot that I think I broke back at the end of June.
Well, that made it just about time to hit the road, had to go man the butterly potato fryer at the Berlin fair. Had a nice uneventful ride home, haven't heard yet but hope the gents kept it upright and had a good time after I left. Thanks to Chris, Sean and Rudy for a nice afternoon's ride. Dave
Reply by RockyMtnSpode on 10/09/2003 06:47:07 AM
I never get tired of reading that, Dave. Thanks, dewd.
Reply by damone on 10/09/2003 07:38:33 AM
I second that. That was a DAM good story. I couldn't resist. Wish I could put a story like that together after a afternoon ride. Thanks Dave. Later, D
Reply by Terrafirma on 10/21/2003 6:23:33 PM
I rode with Chris 2x at the Dam before and it was really fun...can I go with you guys sometime with 'ol Chris?!! Sounded like a damn good time!
Reply by dave_cl on 10/21/2003 6:41:34 PM
Hell yeah, T! We just have to make it through to opening day somehow... There's some other stuff around here I'm trying to get Chris onto, but its a lot easier in CT with an on/off to hit all the little places I know. There's some sandpits in rocky hill but there's risk of a parking ticket. Anytime you head out, let me know!
Reply by mxkid311 on 12/18/2003 08:16:51 AM
Hey Dave, I was hoping you could help me out. I've been to tha dam a few times and abslolutely loved it. I'm fom NJ, but have a friend from college who lived in CT and grew up riding the Dam with his dad, and he took me there with him. It's been quite a few years since I've been there, and I've been dying to go back. Problem is, I don't know how to get there! My buddy now lives in MD and is a resident in the Naval Hospital, so I never get to talk to him, otherwise I'd ask for his help. I found your forum and thought you'd be the man to help me out. Obviously I'd be coming from NJ, but I'd be hauling a trailer so I won't be taking the Merrit Pkwy. Any chance you could help me out? Also, are they closed to bikes for the winter, and do you have to have a registered bike to ride there? Thanks for your help, I appreciate it. Frank
Reply by dave_cl on 12/18/2003 10:46:40 AM
Hey there, MX. my home email is d stephen 67 @ earthlink . net (remove the spaces, keeps the spam out), but here's the basics. Dam closes to bikes oct to march? april? may? (but is open to snowmobiles). The dam is off rte. 8 north of waterbury. basic directions are I84 west to Rte. 8 north, then I'm not sure which exit in thomaston. Mapquest is your friend! You can get to 84 by coming north on the thruway (I87) which you can get to via the jersey turnpike, or you can go up 9W to 84. Or, you can even cross the Hudson and take 287 to 684 to 84. Bikes are supposed to be registered (atv plate in most cases suffices), I'm not sure what states are acceptable. But, if you have a plate/reg of any kind, you're one up on the many people there who don't bother with that at all. There's an army corps of engineers website for it: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/recreati/tmd/tmdhome.htm
If you plan a trip be sure to drop me a line! The L does pretty good so I wouldn't be holding you back . I live 20 miles away (a little past the dam) but we could base out of my house if you'd like. We could probably get a few folks to meet up and get a real crew going. What're you currently riding? -Dave
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