Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buffalo Wings

There are times in life when you just have to ask, why not? It all begin after I met my friends Mike, "Mr. Fix It" and Mike, "Mr. Pickels", yes those are their nick names, for lunch at the Brickhouse Tavern on a Friday.  What you doing for the weekend was the question that started all.  You see, I had not made any plans for the weekend yet and so I was free to follow them to whatever adventure their were going to come up with.
Let me explain, our motorcycle club has a tag game running and Mike, Mr. Fix is an avid player.  He had picked up the tag so now it was his turn to place the tag anywhere as long as it was more than 100 miles from the center of NJ.  This tag is for the Iron Butt Tag-O-Rama so it was with apprehension when I asked where were their thinking of going to place the tag.  Mike also loves to ride so I knew it wasn't going to be close but it still surprised me when he answered back with a definite "Buffalo".  Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River and very close to Niagara Falls is the city of Buffalo.  Buffalo I said, why Buffalo? for the wings of course, he quickly answered.

But it's almost 500 miles one way, when are you leaving I asked, tomorrow he answered.  I thought for a moment and quickly answered, why not! I wasn't doing anything for the weekend in any case.  Why not embark on a 1000 mile round trip with two good friends for the weekend.

I left the house around 7 and met Mike at the famous Clinton Dinner in Clinton at 9am Saturday, he was already having breakfast and I quickly joined him while we waited for Mr. Pickles, the other Mike to arrive. We had a quick breakfast and hit the road around 10am.  We entered I-78 West and quickly crossed into Pennsylvania taking route 33 North.  We hit I-80 West and followed it until I-380 where we again proceeded North.  We passed Scranton and then followed I-81 North passing Binghamton until Syracuse when we veered left on I-90, the New York State Thruway and followed it until Buffalo.

This wouldn't be and adventure without some hiccups along the way.  The first one happened when we noticed Mike's number plate moving with the wind.  We signaled him to stop and saw the cracks on both sides along the bolts that hold the plate to the back.  After straightening the plate Mike figured we could make it to the next town along the way to find a frame to secure the plate properly.  We hit the road but not long after realized the plate was about to break off and fall and once again signaled Mike to pull off.  His nickname is not Mr. Fix It for no reason, he quickly pulled the plate off and using the bottom holes managed to jam the plate between the light and the screws at the bottom.  With the plate now properly secured we hit the road again.  It wouldn't be his last problem.
At the next gas stop we ran into a group of German tourist in a minivan on the way to Niagara Falls.  Mr. Fix It, being German, quickly established a conversation in German leaving me to walk around with the camera taking pictures and that's when I noticed Mr. Pickles Honda Valkyrie front brakes covered in oil.  Mike knew all about it and explained to me his front forks were both leaking and the oil had found its way onto the brakes and rotors.  I asked him if the brakes were still working properly and he quickly replied sarcastically and with a big smile that he still had the rear brake and he would start slowing down before us.  You see, Mike was the tail rider and he's coming at us on an 800lbs bike, it's always comforting to know he still has the rear brake.

We finally reach the outskirts of Buffalo and even though we had our camping gear, with the temperature at 69F we decide to look for a motel where we would share a room.  We got off the highway and immediately came upon the beautiful Garden Place Hotel.  We knew it was outside our price range but it had these beautiful sculptures in front so we pulled in to snap some photos and take a break while we decided where to go.
Famous Metal Sculpture
The inside of the Garden Place Hotel
We found a nearby hotel but with only two beds in the room someone had to sleep on the floor and Mr. Fix It decided he would use his sleeping bag and sleep on the carpet.  We unloaded the bikes and quickly left for the city center on the way to the Anchor Bar, home of the original Buffalo Chicken Wings.  The place was packed but we quickly managed to find three empty seats at the bar.  We were starving, we were not going to wait 1 hour for a table.  I don't like wings, I decided on the chicken nuggets called Anchor Bar Bites cooked the same way as the famous wings, they were delicious.  The two Mikes feasted on multiple buckets of the famous wings and we all downed a few beers.
The phenomenon created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo has spread across the globe. Although many have tried to duplicate Buffalo Wings, the closely guarded secret recipe is what makes Frank & Teressa's the proclaimed "Best Wings in the World."
 
Anchor Bar
We left the Anchor Bar a few hours later but the night was not over.  We quickly found out the place to be late at night was on W. Chippewa Street.  This street is where the late nighters and college kids hangout and with places like the Bada Bing Bar & Grill, Croc Bar, Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant, Omega Lounge and the famous Chocolate Bar, you are sure to find a place to have fun.  We had a few more drinks, watched the crowds arriving in limos and some very expensive sports cars and by 1am the place was in a frenzy, with guest moving from bar to bar with all kinds of music permeating the street.  We got back to the motel very, very late but safe since we are all responsible drinkers.  Mr. Fix It did run into another problem, loosing his front headlight on the way to the city so I led the way back to the motel.

Niagara Falls
The next morning we headed to Cracker Barrel for a hearty breakfast before heading to Niagara Falls.  We arrive at the famous falls and after circling around for a while looking for a place to park the bikes we finally parked them nearby and walk to the falls.  Sunday turned out to be very hot and with the sun beating on us, we were quite happy to relieve ourselves of riding gear.  I have been to Niagara Falls multiple times but it always awes me when I approach the falls.  The power of nature is truly amazing.


The Niagara Falls are voluminous waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 m³) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost 4 million cubic feet (110,000 m³) on average. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America.  The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power.

The USA side
The Canadian side
After admiring the falls and taking a few photos we headed back to the bikes and by 2pm were leaving Niagara Falls.  With the temperature soaring, it felt good to be at speed again.  This time it was my turn to run into a problem.  After being on the road for a few hours, at one of the gas stops, Mike looks at my bike and notices one of the side bags has fallen down a few inches and was resting on the signal.  Turns out a bolt had worked itself out, probably due to the vibrations on the bike, and had fallen off.  We looked in the gas station for a bolt but they had nothing.  I decide a few bungee cords would hold the mounting bracket until we could find an auto parts place.  After a drink and a snack we hit the road again and a few miles down the road Mike notices a parts place as we were passing a little town on the highway.  We managed to exit and quickly found the place.  I was able to find the bolt I needed but ended up having to buy tools to install it.  A little latter we were back on the road with the bracket properly holding the side bag.. We retraced our way back most of the way only stopping for gas and a quick meal at a Taco Bell around 7pm.

Mr. Fix It and Mr. Pickles
We crossed into NJ and Mr. Fix It was the first to leave the group ride in Phillipsburg, Mike's hometown, with us continuing on I-78 East.  Finally Mike splits from me with him going into route 22 while I continued on my way with still another hour to go before getting home at 11:30pm.

Mike got the shot of his bike parked in front of the Anchor Bar for the tag game and I got to taste the famous chicken at the Anchor Bar.  We also got to hangout together and enjoy the camaraderie.  Round trip for me was 1014 miles.

The 3 Musketeers

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