On this motorbike Christmas story, initially revealed within the December 2021 situation of Rider, contributor Scott A. Williams relates the story of being minimize off my a Massachusetts State Trooper and getting a shocking present in return.
It was a kind of Christmases the place household was in far-flung areas. With simply my spouse, daughter, and me at house, vital vacation obligations have 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 trip,” 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 visitors. I calculated that I’d have time to succeed in Huntington earlier than turning north for a methods, after which again east to make it house earlier than darkish.
Using on U.S. Route 20 by means of 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 minimize in entrance of me. I hit the brakes – exhausting – and delivered a bwaaaa! from my bike’s air horn. Hey, hey, hey, I’m driving right here! Inside my helmet I uttered phrases I don’t advocate saying to a police officer in individual.
If I had minimize 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 driving the pace restrict on an empty highway with no obstructions on a transparent day. I used to be there. If a careless civilian had minimize me off, I’ll have dropped a gear and zipped by, nevertheless it was a statie.
Now, although, he was pulling away at a superb clip. No lights or siren, simply noticeably above the restrict. I made a decision to maintain up. Maybe this wasn’t the wisest resolution, 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 highway parallels the Westfield River to Huntington, then positive aspects elevation in Chester as much as Becket by means of a succession of S-curves. I do know this highway 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 highway 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 fee resumed by means of Blandford State Forest to the city of Chester, the place once more the statie eased off a bit going by means of 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 sudden and exhilarating trip was taking me a superb 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 could be a menace. However with little visitors aside from a lead-footed statie, I needed this trip to final.
In Becket, the cruiser turned proper onto Route 8 north. Recalculating … I might head north by means of Becket and Washington as much as Hinsdale, then begin a return journey east on Route 143 by means of Peru, Chesterfield, and Williamsburg. From the standpoint of leisure on a motorbike, this was all good. Once I reached Northampton, I might hop on Interstate 91 after which the Mass Pike to straighten out the final leg house.
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 minimize you off again there, hope you loved the trip.” Sure, officer, I totally loved the trip. Forty further miles flew by in not as many minutes, leaving me with a large grin and an ideal Christmas reminiscence. No exhausting emotions, sir, however please look ahead to bikes.