Monday, June 27, 2011

Americade 2011

I was not planning on going to Lake George for Americade this year.   I did not want to spend the few vacation days I still have left, I'm still planning a long trip sometime later in the year and most hotels/motels will not rent for one night only.   It is also very difficult to find a room for less than $200 a night.  The Central Jersey Motorcycle Riders Group had the event on the calendar and they were leaving on Wednesday and returning on Sunday.   During the Motorcycle Awareness Day event ride I found out from Ray that his room sharing partner Ken had to leave on Saturday and if I wanted I had a place to stay, apparently Ken had booked with Ray from Wednesday till Sunday but Ken had to leave on Saturday, an offer I couldn't refuse.  With everything in place for a one nighter I was ready to go and join the gang.

Lake George is 260 miles from my house, I planned on leaving at 5am and get there in four and a half hours arriving just in time to meet the group for breakfast.  I closed my garage door one minute after 5am and was soon heading north.  I knew I was going to run into rain, I had checked the weather for the weekend and there was a 70% chance in Lake George and 50% by my house, the odds were against me avoiding the rain.  I traveled north on the Garden State Parkway avoiding rain, 80 miles later I enter Interstate 87, also known as the NY State Thruway when rain drops started coming down.  I had my waterproof jacket on but was wearing jeans and knew I had to put rain pants, I make my first stop for coffee and to put on rain pants.  As you can see from the photo it had already rained heavily at the rest stop.

I continue north and for the next three and a half hours it pours on me, a constant heavy rain with spurts of torrential rain at times.  Water managed to get through my visor and ran on the inside, got through the front of the jacket and got my pants wet, it even managed to get into my right boot and turn it into a pool inside.  I had to slow down at times to keep it safe but mostly continued at 65 to 70mph all the while hoping deer wouldn't run in front of my bike.
I arrive at the Still Bay Resort just in time to meet the group already on their bikes leaving to go downtown Lake George where the vendors and everyone congregates. 
Check out these three panoramas of the Still Bay Resort and no, the tree on the last one is not crooked and the main building on the right is not tilted, the stitching application had a problem with my pictures.

We arrive downtime about 10 minutes later and the rain continues to come down, on and off throughout the day.  I take a few pictures and then head to a coffee shop for hot coffee and a muffin, I hadn't changed clothes and they were still wet leaving me miserable. Oh, the joys of motorcycling.

The group at the coffee shop waiting out the rain
The rain made the Saturday miserable for the vendors, last year it rained on Saturday too but in 2009 you would find it difficult to find an empty spot for your bike in the bike only reserved area.  This time the area was almost deserted.

We stayed at the coffee shop for a while joking and having fun at the expense of each other as guys do most of the time.  I see these two guys go by and laugh at the thought of the guy on the left wishing he had some of the hair from the other guy. Life is cruel, one has no hair, the other way too much.

The officer must have been at the donut shop :-)
We walk around the downtown area visiting shops and admiring the multitude of bikes on Canada Street.  There are lots of nice restaurants and stores selling Lake George and Americade memorabilia.  You can ride the Greater Glens Falls Transit trolley that rides up and down Canada Street, part of route 9, all the way to the town of Glens Falls.

The weather was so bad you could hardly see the other side of the lake
The gang was getting restless as the stomachs started rumbling and soon we were headed to a restaurant.  I had a nice steak sandwich loaded with peppers. I'm the one standing on the right still wearing my rain pants over my jeans, why remove them if the rain continued for most of the day.

View from the restaurant
We continue down the street admiring the bikes, lots of Harley Davidson's as usual in these types of events but I'm surprised to see more and more Japanese, British and Italian motorcycles every year.  This guy or gal must be proud of his bike.

We head back to the Still Bay to relax with a few drinks and smoke cigars.  The resort is beautifully kept, has a nice boat house and its own beach on the lake .   It's the perfect place to relax.

The next morning we have an early breakfast and start packing our bikes, time to head back.  Some of the guys had gone out the previous night to a local bar, I won't mention names but someone had way too much fun and had picked up a girlfriend.

My bike next to a side car rig
I say goodbye to Lake George and head home with two other riders, a leisurely ride home, only this time arrive dry.  Another memorable weekend.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stelvio Pass

Saw this video on another blog about the amazing Stelvio Pass located in the Italian Alps. Its sixty hairpin turns, 48 of them on the northern side numbered with stones, are a challenge to motorcyclists.
The video is very well put together and if you ride a motorcycle you will enjoy it.   The pass has amazing switchbacks as it goes up the mountain and provides breathtaking views of the valley.  This is one of the roads in my bucket list.
Make sure you watch in HD full screen, have patience and let it load before playing the video, it's worth it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Motorcycle Awareness Ride

On March 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona, four riders were killed and five others seriously injured while stopped at a traffic light. They were struck from behind by a large refuse truck. This sad event has touched the hearts of many and reinforced the importance of motorcycle awareness initiatives. The 1st awareness ride was planned in response to this horrific accident.

In honor of all fallen riders and their families, riding groups and clubs across the nation participated in motorcycle awareness rides on May 22.

The Central Jersey Motorcycle Riders Group organized a ride making a loop around central New Jersey mainly on the highway where we could be seen to raise awareness for motorcyclists.  The ride ended at the Brick House Tavern in South Plainfield where everyone enjoyed lunch and camaraderie.

A few pictures at the start of the ride.

A pit stop for gas and a big surprise for the attendant when 33 bikers show up to fill up.  Click on the pictures to enlarge, they are panoramas.

We are a very diverse group of bikers.

Close to the end of the ride I sprint away and head to the Brick House Tavern ahead of the group to film the arrival.  It was only 11:30am and the staff were surprised to see so many bikers on a Sunday morning.

My bike all alone on the huge and empty parking lot.

A few minutes later

 A group shot, I'm the 3rd from the right, black t-shirt.

The arrival of the group.