We are still recovering from Halloween this year. My last post
was about a good bike ride that should have taken place on Oct 30th. That never happened.
On October 30th most of our state of Connecticut was without electricity, under 8 to 20 inches of very wet snow and quite a few of us could not get out our houses' front door.
What are you talking about?
On Saturday Oct 29th a crazy Noreaster ripped through New England kind of like how Hurricane Irene did two months prior. The difference here was that southern New England (aka: Connecticut) was destroyed while northern New England (aka: Vermont) was partially spared. That above photo was taken around midnight on Saturday the 29th as we were attempting to drive the four miles back to my house after a wedding we attended. Every road was met with fallen trees, fallen power lines, fallen tv and telephone lines. Most were impassable. After lots of driving down what was now dead-ended roads and sometimes even driving across people's front yards we made it home. Almost one hour after we departed the wedding four miles prior.
They say it was Winter Storm 'Alfred' but I am just calling it Halloween 2011 from hell. You might say this is old news but tonight is the first time I can write about it as I finally got my internet connection back at my house. That was after living in the dark for over a week (9 days to be exact) waiting for the utility company to restore electricity (the restoration efforts of Connecticut Light & Power are also in question by many) to my town (West Hartford) and house.
(Right down the street from me. This is why we didn't have electricity for 9 days.)
While this hardship did not affect me much (we still had hot water and had a gas stovetop to cook on and a fireplace to keep warm) it certainly affected many people across the state. During this time I still had to make my way across a dark city to work every day. The eight inches of snow in my yard also melted before electricity was restored to our house. Two days of clean-up about a week after the storm my house and yard were pretty much back to normal. A few days later the electricity came back on. A week later (today) my internet and television is back to life. I actually liked our time away from reality. My phone didn't work in the office and we would just read books or stare at the fire in the evenings.
From my observations, this is still nothing like what Vermont and Northern New York went through when Hurricane Irene came through two months ago. Those residents lost homes and livelyhoods. We lost electricity but still survived with our homes.
As a result of all this, I haven't been riding my bike much. Last week I got back on a mountain bike but all we could ride were forest service roads as all the trails are impassable. This past weekend I volunteered to help clear up the local greenways and rail trails. Since I ride them I felt it was my duty to help clean them up.
There is a rail trail in there somewhere...
One of the local bicycle shops (Pedal Power
) and the local rail trail association (in Vernon CT) got together to rally some troops to help clean up. I was one of those troops.
The rail trail is back!
I enjoyed helping out. Felt like I was doing my part. My next step is to pick up a folding bow saw and head to the bike trails for some clean up on my own. I have no idea what people have been doing but quite a few of the trails I ride do not get ridden too much so its probably up to me to clear them.
Our town has been picking up all the brush and shredding it. The pile has gotten enormous and is still growing!
While walking the dog every morning I have been staring at the power lines. The utility companies cut quite a few corners in restoring power just to get everyone back on the grid. I doubt they will get all those short cuts permanently repaired before winter sets in. They haven't finished from Hurricane Irene two months ago! After thinking back up on our week plus experience (we were the 2% of the entire state [and 800,000+ people out of power] that had our power restored last) without electricity we realized it isn't that back. I have a natural gas water heater and stove so we can still get hot water and cook food. My relatively new boiler for the home heating system has a blower on it so it requires electricity. I could go spend $800 on a generator to run the boiler or I could spend about that much on a wood burning stove set-up to keep us warm when winter sets in.
I opted for the wood burning stove. I found a nice small boiler plate steel (its a Fisher, same design as the old CT made 'All Nighters') one on craigslist and picked it up today. Next is to paint it, put a liner in my chimney and hook it all up for operation.
Bike rides to and from work have resumed. Our Wednesday night rides have resumed but we're stuck on the forest service roads for now. I am thinking about what events I want to participate in next year. There's some peer pressure surrounding the Breck Epic
but I also have another crazy scheme up my sleeve that I am just about ready to commit on. More on that later.
You can see more photos I took from the storm here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/omega29/sets/72157628012944623/