Tag: Connecticut

Balancing Yugos at Wild Bill’s

Balancing Yugos at Wild Bill’s

On a chilly day, what better way to warm your heart than with some roadside Americana? I present to you… Balancing Yugos.
balancing Yugo

Pretty nifty, aren’t they?

When I was a teenager, I worked in a shoe store. My boss there had a Yugo in a color that is probably best described as “caucasian.” Stretched across the top of the windshield? A neon green lightning bolt sticker, of course. Because Yugos were all about speed and performance (in a not-so-speedy or performancy sort of way).

Just across the parking lot from the balancing Yugos was this painted V-Dub. Roadside jackpot.

When you don’t know what else to write, there is one tried and true phrase to fall back on. Two words that in their brevity say so much. Yes, keep this pair in your back pocket and you will never be stymied by profundity.

“Your mom.”

Your mom, indeed.

Stay smokin’, friends.

Wild Bill’s Nostalgia
1003 Newfeild Street
Middletown, CT 06457

Seeking Calder: Riding in Roxbury

Seeking Calder: Riding in Roxbury

In my travels around the internet one of the rabbit holes that I recently fell down was reading about the sculptor Alexander Calder.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that he lived and worked in Roxbury, Connecticut. That’s a little town that is less than an hour from Bridgeport where the ferry drops me off when I cross the Long Island Sound.

I also learned that his home and studio are still owned by the Calder family and that there are still sculptures on the grounds. Though the homestead is private property, you can see the pieces from the roadway without trespassing.

Seeking Calder seemed like as good a reason as any to go for a ride:

His studio was in the building there on the left. Some of his mobiles were visible through the window.

Not a bad view of the valley rolling away.

Roxbury is a great area for riding rambling backroads. There are lots of dirt roads in the vicinity as well. Some of my travels later in the year took me back past Calder’s place again rather unexpectedly. Funny how that happens.

Side Notes

This is a photo I snapped a few years ago while walking around in Manhattan.

590 Madison Avenue at 57th Street, NY

I thought this was kind of neat, too. While digging around online trying to find where Calder’s former home in Roxbury is, I read a blog post that featured a few photos from the 70’s of Segre’s Iron Works where his work was fabricated.

Aren’t You Scared? The New Haven Edition

Aren’t You Scared? The New Haven Edition

I’ve been asked if I’m scared at varying angles and degrees with regard to riding motorcycles many times over the years. As a matter of fact, I was just asked last weekend. While I was sitting on my bike.

Generally speaking, when I pull over to do something where I will come in contact with people or I am going to get off of my bike, I will stop my music from playing if it’s on. I wear earplugs that do a good job of sealing out noise, so I’m sensitive about having my ability to hear diminished. When I pulled in to a parking lot in New Haven, Connecticut based on a quick scan as I entered, I didn’t think there was anyone else around. I planned to snap a quick photo of a mural and would be back on my way so I didn’t stop the radio.

triumph bonneville closer to free

With my picture done, I swung my leg over the seat and went to roll backwards when UGH! There was a guy standing right next to me. I pressed the button on my Sena headset, stopping the music and said, “Whoa, you scared me!” He seemingly came out of nowhere. I guess I really need to be more aware of my surroundings and diligent about shutting the music off. I’m liable to get lunked over the head one day.

He made some small talk about the Bonneville being pretty and the chilly weather. In return, I gave short but polite answers because I didn’t really feel like having a conversation. Then he hit me with “aren’t you scared? Riding that motorcycle?”

This is the part of our program where I show my true asshole-ish nature.

Inner Monologue:

Aren’t I scared? To ride a motorcycle? Really, dude? Well, considering I’m here on it right now… uhhhh, no, not really. But I do get scared when people sneak up on me, creeper! 

Actual Response:

Nope. I love riding. Take care.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold back the snark. I know people are just being friendly but sometimes I just don’t feel like talking. To anyone. Especially when they ask a question that they could probably answer for themselves if they just thought about it. Maybe they wouldn’t even ask it. But, what’s the point in being mean? It doesn’t change anything that’s already been said and only makes things worse.

Not everyone knows what you know or knows enough about a topic to understand that their question is absurd. It stinks that I have to try to remember to be kind, that it isn’t always a natural response. But… that’s my truth for today.

Road Tripping: Pit Stop at the PEZ Visitors Center – Orange, CT

Road Tripping: Pit Stop at the PEZ Visitors Center – Orange, CT

Just across the Long Island Sound from where I live is the PEZ Visitors Center. Yes, PEZ as in the candy with the cool dispensers.

When I pulled in to the parking lot I was surprised to find a line of about 20 people waiting for the visitors center to open. Perhaps I was naive to the popularity of PEZ!

There is a $5 admission charge to enter the floor. But, you will receive $2 bucks back if you buy something in the gift shop. Frankly, buying something is hard to resist. I bought a pin for my hat, a My Melody dispenser (a throwback to my childhood) and some postcards.

Check out that John Quincy Adams, below. Pretty sure my life won’t be complete until I have one of those.

pez visitors center game card

With your admission, you are also given a game card. The object is to solve a word puzzle by finding hidden Presidential PEZ dispensers in the displays. Finishing the puzzle earns you a spin on a wheel to win a dispenser. I got a raccoon. Or maybe a wolf. I’m still not sure.

fuzzygalore pez dispensers

Though the production floor was closed for a few weeks when I stopped in, you could still peer inside the inner workings of the PEZ heart. But, the dispenser displays were most interesting to me. They really bring on feelings of nostalgia.

fuzzygalore occ pez motorcycle

Did you know that OCC built a PEZ Motorcycle?!

PEZ Visitors Center Photos


Sights from the Road: Super-Duper Patriotic House in Connecticut

Sights from the Road: Super-Duper Patriotic House in Connecticut

Sometimes I don’t know what I’m thinking. I rode past this house last weekend and it took me about 1/4 of a mile to decide to swing back to get a better look and take a photo of it.

patriotic house in connecticut

I wonder if it’s always like this or if it is just dressed up for the 4th of July? A big part of me hopes it’s always like that. The world is much more interesting with eccentric people in it.

Happy Independence Day, Y’all.

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