The dudes (Mike Dooney, Eric Talbot, Jim Lawson and Steve Lavigne) came back a couple of days ago from the comic con in Toronto, and before heading back home to Maine, Steve stuck around for one more day so that he, Jim and I could go for that motorcycle ride we'd been talking about for some months. It was going to be a trip down memory lane, riding out to Sharon, CT, which was once the home of Mirage Studios (for about two years -- September 1984 to July 1986).
We were graced with an absolutely beautiful day to ride -- mostly sunny and slightly cool. The ride was great (except for that first blast down the Massachusetts Turnpike, which we only did to save some time), and we ended up riding about 185 miles altogether.
Sharon is nestled in the hills of the northwest corner of Connecticut, and it is a lovely area. I don't think I fully appreciated just how beautiful it was back when we lived there, but I certainly do now. Back then I think I was too busy with working on the comics to pay a lot of attention to the scenery.
We did a lot of reminiscing about life in Sharon, from Steve's job making sandwiches at the "Nutmeg Pantry" (a gas station/conveniece store -- actually, Sharon's ONLY gas station, I believe -- since renamed under a corporate title I can't recall at the moment); counting and packing TMNT comics in the basement of the little house my wife and I were renting; meeting Jim Lawson for the first time when he came with his portfolio to Steve and Kevin's apartment; driving fifty miles, round trip, to Torrington, the next sizable town over, to make photocopies (this was before we wised up and bought our own copier, which ended up in Steve's office/bedroom); and so on.
Here's a photo of Jim and Steve at the boat launch on the small lake I used to live next to in Sharon -- a body of water known as "Silver Lake" as well as "Mudge Pond", for some reason.
In the summer, we would blow up little rubber boats and paddle out from this point, looking for turtles and having squirt gun battles. And in the winter my wife and I would cross country ski across the frozen lake and in the surrounding hills. It was a great place to live (except for the rutted and bumpy quarter mile of dirt road we had to drive in on, which used to rattle and shake the cheapo cars we owned at the time).
From Sharon, we rode over the hills to Torrington, then north to Winsted, stopping at the Victory motorcycle dealer (Canton Cycles) there, and then took the scenic route past Barkhamstead Reservoir back to Northampton.
(I took advantage of a nearly-deserted stretch of divided highway north of Torrington to snap this photo of Steve riding alongside me on the Honda Valkyrie.)
A great day, a great ride with great friends. -- PL