On this motorbike Christmas story, initially printed within the December 2021 concern of Rider, contributor Scott A. Williams relates the story of being reduce off my a Massachusetts State Trooper and getting a stunning present in return.
It was a type of Christmases the place household was in far-flung areas. With simply my spouse, daughter, and me at residence, necessary vacation obligations had been addressed by early afternoon. The solar burned in an azure sky because the temperature rose into the 50s – uncommon for late December in Massachusetts – and your humble scribe was getting antsy.
“Go take a journey,” my spouse insisted. “We’re going to bake cookies and also you’ll be in the way in which. Get out of right here.”
Making a plan as I rode alongside, I headed west over the Connecticut River towards the hill cities for enjoyable roads, blissfully freed from site visitors. I calculated that I’d have time to achieve Huntington earlier than turning north for a methods, after which again east to make it residence earlier than darkish.
Using on U.S. Route 20 by the outskirts of Westfield, I spied a statie stopped at an intersection on the left, simply forward. (“Statie” is what Massachusetts natives name our state troopers.) Ideally, he’d be turning proper, again towards town, however with out warning the cruiser reduce in entrance of me. I hit the brakes – exhausting – and delivered a bwaaaa! from my bike’s air horn. Hey, hey, hey, I’m using right here! Inside my helmet I uttered phrases I don’t suggest saying to a police officer in individual.
If I had reduce off an officer in such a fashion, I’d be producing my license and registration. It was clear to me that the officer didn’t look earlier than abruptly pulling out. Had he regarded, he’d have seen me approaching, sporting high-viz gear and a white helmet, burning 4 accent gentle arrays along with the OEM headlight, and using the velocity restrict on an empty street with no obstructions on a transparent day. I used to be there. If a careless civilian had reduce me off, I could have dropped a gear and zipped by, nevertheless it was a statie.
Now, although, he was pulling away at clip. No lights or siren, simply noticeably above the restrict. I made a decision to maintain up. Maybe this wasn’t the wisest choice, however I stayed again at what I concluded was a respectful distance – and I began to make actually good time. This part of U.S. 20 is the Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway, and from right here out to Becket it’s my favourite stretch of 20 within the state. The street parallels the Westfield River to Huntington, then positive factors elevation in Chester as much as Becket by a succession of S-curves. I do know this street nicely, however I had by no means ridden it fairly so briskly.
There’s a state police barracks in Russell, and I began considering that this cruiser with the distinctive blue and grey paint scheme would flip in, nevertheless it didn’t. Approaching the village of Huntington, the statie slowed the tempo. I adopted go well with. Was he making ready to show north onto State Route 112? That’s one other nice winding street in western Mass that earned a state-issued scenic byway designation. It’s the place I used to be planning to go, however given these uncommon circumstances I felt I must be open to alternate options. One was introduced when the statie continued west on 20.
The fast charge resumed by Blandford State Forest to the city of Chester, the place once more the statie eased off a bit going by the village. However when these S-curves got here into view, the Ford Police Interceptor sped up for that acquainted, winding, uphill run.
By now this surprising and exhilarating journey was taking me 40 miles out of my means, and I knew I needed to begin heading again east sooner or later. The day’s uncommon heat was melting snow, and with clear skies, the temperature would plummet as soon as the solar went down, so black ice can be a risk. However with little site visitors apart from a lead-footed statie, I wished this journey to final.
In Becket, the cruiser turned proper onto Route 8 north. Recalculating … I may head north by Becket and Washington as much as Hinsdale, then begin a return journey east on Route 143 by Peru, Chesterfield, and Williamsburg. From the standpoint of leisure on a motorbike, this was all good. After I reached Northampton, I may hop on Interstate 91 after which the Mass Pike to straighten out the final leg residence.
I caught with the statie and turned north on Route 8. The snaking tar hugged the panorama previous forests and farms, however I noticed it couldn’t final for much longer. As the middle of Hinsdale approached, I made my transfer, signaling my intent to show proper on 143. The statie flashed his gentle bar twice and continued straight.
I interpreted these flashes to imply, “Sorry I reduce you off again there, hope you loved the journey.” Sure, officer, I totally loved the journey. Forty additional miles flew by in not as many minutes, leaving me with a large grin and an awesome Christmas reminiscence. No exhausting emotions, sir, however please look ahead to bikes.