I’m beginning to think I shouldn't be let out alone. Case in point is one Sunday in January, when I tried to go to the CRW ride in Belmont. Now I wasn't real keen on riding from Bedford to Belmont just to turn around and ride back out the way I came. But the ride leader had shown up on my ride a few weeks back, and, well, we winter ride leaders have to stick together. Besides, it was a lot closer than most of the rides Eric leads.
Unfortunately, I managed to wake up an hour later than I normally do on weekends, which is two hours later than weekdays. Must have been that wild Saturday night (I stayed up till almost 10:30!). I certainly was not willing to forgo our normal ritual of coffee and newspaper in bed, so I got a rather late start. I knew even on a good day there was no way I could ride from Bedford to Belmont in a hour, but I figured if I was late they would probably be coming out Trapelo road and I could pick them up there. Since I was short on time I didn't have a chance to check a map to see where I was going.
Since moving to Bedford, I don't go south of Route 2 very often. It's a mysterious land, inhabited by lions, tigers, and giant SUVs, and I try not to venture forth there without a native guide. In my somewhat limited knowledge of geography, I knew there were a number of east-west roads: Rte 2A, Rte 2, Trapelo Road, Concord Road, Rte 117, and Route 20. I had just to find a north-south road, and eventually I'd get to Trapelo, and thence to Belmont. When I got down to 2A I realized I didn't know whether to go right or left. I had thought that you just jogged right a bit on route 2A and then there was anther road that went to Lincoln. I road toward Concord a bit and didn't see anything promising and decided I should have gone the other way. I got to a fork right, which mentioned Lincoln, and took it.
There was the route 2 crossing coming up. One of the reasons I never venture south of route 2 is that is has one of the longest red lights on the face of the earth. When I get close enough to see the light, if it's red, I go as fast as I possibly can, because you need to be within striking distance when the light turns green, since it also has the shortest green light for the cross roads known to man. So several hundred yards away I put the hammer down, and managed to watch it turn green, and then in the blink of an eye, red again just as I got to the intersection. Now, it is common practice in Massachusetts to not actually stop for a red light until it had been red for a minute or so, but I decided in this case that discretion was the better part of valor. I was pleasantly surprised when the light turned green in somewhat less than geologic time, that I didn't notice that I wasn't crossing route 2, I was entering route 2. Being the observant sort of fellow that I am, I did notice that the road had become a four lane highway with cars going very fast indeed. At this point, any thought of finding the CRW ride was evaporating rapidly, giving way to hopes for mere survival. The first opportunity to get off Route 2 was Route 126, which I knew went to Lincoln, so I decided to try again. Despite the fact that there were large signs promising Lincoln Center, it never materialized, and I next found myself on Route 117. Barring an act of god, any chance for finding the ride was now definitely gone, so I picked a likely looking north-south road, and headed back to God's country.
I should point out that I was no stranger to riding on Route 2. When I was younger and my son lived in Acton, my route from Malden to Acton involved a large segment of Route 2. It wasn't till many years later that I discovered Lawsbrook Road, a parallel back road that isn't even a divided highway. Let's not even talk about the time I found myself on Storrow Drive.