Monday, June 25, 2007

Lake George Pelican Riders Get Together

This past weekend I got together with some riders from the Pelican Parts R1100S BBS. We were to meet up sometime Saturday and try to get a ride together.

Friday night Seventies Man rode up to my place with his friend Amelia. They were going to spend the night at my place then we would ride together Saturday. I called AndrewA and he told me that he and XTriple would not be arriving in Lake George until around 2ish. So Seventies Man and I decided we would ride on our own Saturday. I tried getting a message to another local rider to see if he wanted to join us but I couldn't get hold of him. I ordered pizza for us and we had some beers and talked for a while. Everyone went to sleep pretty early since we planed to take off around 7ish on Saturday morning.

Saturday I got up pretty early and got ready and put a pot of coffee on. Seventies Man came down a little while later and Amelia just a little after him. We chatted a little and decided to get ready to head out. It was a cool morning, there was dew on the cars, but it was nice and sunny. I wanted to travel light so I just threw my tank bag on the BMW, and put my camera in there. I decided to leave my jacket liner at home. Seventies Man had to check the oil in his Honda and add a little before we head out. I contemplated whether or not I should bring my jacket liner but once again I decided against it.
We took off for my favorite diner in town called Mac's. Mac's was closed and at first panic came over me because I thought they had went out of business. They had never been closed on a weekend that I knew of. I noticed a sign in the window that said "Closed for Schuylerville graduation." Whew! They were just closed for the day. So I knew Rosie's Country cafe was up the road just a mile or so and head there.

When I got there it wasn't Rosie's anymore. It was now Lynn's Country Cafe. In the 9 years I've lived here I've never been there.
It's a tiny place.

I had the Southwestern omelet which had lots of jalapeƱos. Seventies Man and Amelia both had eggs and toast.

After breakfast we head out for Lake George. We took West River Rd along the Hudson, then through Glens Falls, then up 9L to lake itself coming out by the Million Dollar Beach. Million Dollar beach is so named because it reportedly cost that much to make when on the sand was brought in during the 60's or 70's. I am sure that seems like a bargain now. We parked on Canada Street near Ushers Park to check our messages and see if any other riders were coming to join us. No messages so we saddled up and head up Route 9N to go around the lake. Traffic wasn't too bad although we did pull over once to let the cars get ahead of us. Then we had a pretty clear shot over Tongue Mountain and we were able to ride pretty quick. We caught back up to the cars on the downhill side. I don't think I've ever made it up and back down without catching up to a single car. During the week is definitely the best time to go over this mountain road.
We turned up Rt 8 in Hague toward Brant Lake. This is a loop I take often and one of my favorites. The tarmac is pretty smooth, the scenery is fantastic, and traffic is pretty light. It was a little colder up here and my nose was beginning to run. This is always a problem since you can't really blow your nose in the full face helmet. We rode around Brant Lake at a pretty nice clip and stopped at Suzy Q's Sunrise Cafe for coffee.

After coffee we went over to Chestertown to checkout Adirondack Ural. Ural is a Russian motorcycle based on the BMW R71. Legend has it that five BMW units were covertly purchased through some Swedish intermediaries and copied. Soviet engineers in Moscow busily dismantled the 5 BMWs. They copied the BMW design in every detail and made moulds and dies to produce their own engines and gearboxes in Moscow. Everything about the bike was reverse engineered and early in 1941 the first trial samples of M-72 motorcycles were shown to Stalin and the decision was taken to produce them.

Seventies Man and Amelia talked to one of the customers that owns a Ural Patrol that he proudly proclaimed gets a new paint can army green spray job every year.

I had to gas up my BMW so while Seventies Man and Amelia finished talking I rode up the street to gas up. 93 octane fuel was $3.57 up there! Yikes! So I rode back down and he head back out on Rt 8 towards North Creek passing Loon Lake on the way. We continued on through North Creek, onto Johnsburg and went up Garnet Lake Rd to stop at Heid's Hodaka & BMW.
Heid's was once a factory BMW dealer but they still do service out of their building. It's a family run business and they live right next door. I even bought a turn signal stalk for my R11S while I was there.

They had many vintage cycles there. I saw an old Honda, some older BMWs, even and old Bultaco Matador!

After leaving there we went back to Route 8 and took that all the way to Indian Lake. We took a left and went south on Route 30 following the Sacandaga river and turned off just before Edinburgh and took North Shore Rd along Sacandaga Lake.

Seventies Man took a siesta

We chilled out there for a while and rested. I was trying to check my messages to see if I heard from AndrewA but my phone had went dead. We decided we were ready to eat. We had a choice of Papa's Diner in Lazurne or A&W in Lake George. I left it to Seventies Man and Amelia to decide. The chose A&W. We took North Shore Rd to Hadley-Luzerne road. I hadn't been on that in years. It was fun but bumpy. When we got to Luzerne two sheriff cars were parked in opposing directions blocking traffic. They didn't seem to care that we were sitting there waiting. I was about to beep (but thought that might not be a good idea) then they finally moved. As the one drove past he cruised a little closer to my bike and I could see he was checking my inspection sticker. What a dick! So we had to follow the one cop. I went the speed limit so he kind of pulled away from me as we went north on 9N towards Lake George. I could just make out the second sheriff car coming over the horizon behind us. I am sure he was trying to catch us speeding. So since he couldn't he just proceeded to tailgate Seventies Man. He followed us right into the village.
We had lunch at A&W. Seventies Man and I both got floats, I got mine with cream soda, and a burger combo. Amelia got a salad. I tried checking my messages with Amelia's phone to see if AndrewA called and there was a message but I couldn't understand it. We I talked to AndrewA on the phone on Friday he told me they were staying at HoJo's. So we just drove over there and stalked them looking for BMW's. We found them.

That's XTriple's bike to the left, Andrew's to the right. Andrew had nice Ohlins like me, they both had nice carbon huggers, and XTriple had the Laser exhaust. As I was taking pictures of their bikes AndrewA appeared out on a balcony above. They came down and were already hitting the Red Bull and Vodka so they were done riding.

That's Seventies Man (Martin) and Amelia to the left, XTriple (Paul) in the middle, and AndrewA to the right.
Seventies Man and Amelia went to look for a hotel so I hung out with XTriple and Andrew for a while. When Seventies Man returned we walked over to dinner. It was a choice between some brewery that I can't recall and Smokey Joe's. We flipped a coin and the brewery won. However, no one came to seat us so we went to Smokey Joe's anyway.

Andrew and XTriple both got the Rib Rack for $20. It was a pretty good deal and they were huge. I got pulled pork quesadilla and Seventies Man and Amelia also had a quesadilla.
Requisite food shot!

Look at those ribs!

My Quesadilla

I had a great time hanging with everyone. Andrew and XTriple are a riot. Andrew has a permanent s**t eating grin on his face. It was cool riding with Seventies Man, he is a good riding partner and we rode a similar pace which is always nice. I took off around 8 to head home since the sun was setting it was getting cold and I didn't have my jacket liner with me.

You can see all the pics here.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Catskills ride

This past weekend I rode my BMW through the Catskills on the way to strangely enough, the New York Saab Owners Club meeting in Port Jervis, NY. For a variety of reasons, neither of the two Saabs I own was available. So I decided to take the BMW down and stay at a friend's in Middletown NY.
Saturday June 2nd
I took off around 10:50 and just hopped on the slab via I-87 to just get to the Catskills at exit 21.
It was hotter than heck on Saturday about 90 degrees and very humid. While going through Catskill there was a pretty bad traffic jam and I realized some Harley group was having some kind of "Brethren Got Dead" ride and they were holding up traffic. I am sure this was not a permit carrying parade and they were just blocking the traffic. So I split some traffic and hopped onto the tail end of their train to get through the traffic quickly. I took Route 23A which was very scenic and goes along the Kaaterskill Peak. There was a lot of scenic over looks along the way but no where for me to pull over as most were already filled with cars. I got off at CR-16 in Tannersville and there was some old run down resort. It was pretty huge and the pictures don't really do it justice.

While stopped Al pulled up on his new V-Rod "NightRod" and asked if I was okay. I told him I was just taking some pictures. He told me about some other sites I could check out and about a large waterfall as well. They were in the direction I had just come from though so I thanked him for the info and he went on his way. I thought is way nice of him to check to make sure I was okay. Then I continued on CR-16 which I believe is also called Platte-Cove Rd. This road is unbelievable and there is a crazy drop off to the right. You can see the satellite image here. I think this area is also called Devils Path. I was only able to ride in 1st gear most of the time since the road was so bumpy and required full concentration. There were no guard rails on this road except in the corners. I wanted to stop to take pictures, but the road was too steep and I was unable to find a suitable place to park the BMW.
I continued on and it became Rt 33, Zena road around Catskill Reservoir 4. Then I took Route 28A which is another great road which goes around the Ashokan Reservoir.

When I was first turning onto 28A I had past a Stewart's Shop and thought about stopping but I pressed on in the excitement of riding on 28A not realizing I had gone 120 miles to this point and I was getting close to the limits of my gas tank. I finally noticed at about 135 miles my low fuel light was on. My bike has no gas gauge, just a low fuel light. I was starting to worry I might run out of gas as there was no gas station in site. I was trying to still just enjoy myself and take in the scenery. As I was driving around there were a number of signs that read "Former site of Such-and-such town." I understand a lot of communities were displaced when this reservoir was built.
Then it was onto CR-42, also known as Peekomoose Road. This is another great road, narrow, fast, although a little bumpy. I was taking it pretty easy though and I had the road to myself. Then it was onto Rt 55 and while traveling along there I spotted a large bird in a tree; two birds actually and I realized they were Bald Eagles! I had never seen a Bald Eagle that wasn't in a zoo in my whole life. I thought that was pretty "neat."

Now that I was getting back toward civilization I was getting lower on fuel and I had now gone 150 miles without fuel. I never went that far before without fuel. According to my GPS the closest fuel stop was 15 miles away and I wasn't sure if I would make it. I went past the Neversink Reservoir which I had passed with Mr. Fushion last year on the way to Jersey. Finally in the middle of nowhere there was a truck stop with a dirt parking lot with gas and a deli. I couldn't believe they had pay at the pump. I filled my tank and sat in the shade for 15 minutes or so. It was my first break since I left, and it was now past 3pm. I had a small snack of an apple, a handful of almonds, and some water and hit the road again. I stayed on 55 going past Swan Lake, White Lake, and Black Lake. I encountered very little traffic and I was having a lot of fun on this road. The speed limit was 55 with some 30 mph sweepers that I was just bombing right through. I finally connected up with Route 97, in Barryville, which is listed as a US Scenic By-Way.
Some interesting trivia I found out about Route 97:
  • New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the authorizing legislation to create New York State Route 97 in 1932?
  • Did you know that Route 97 was originally called Route 3A?
  • Route 97 was originally going to be built under the Hawk's Nest but because the Erie Railroad, which owned the right-of-way, refused to allow access that the highway was built on top of Hawk's Nest instead?
  • Route 97 passes within several hundred feet of one of the landmarks that was involved in the largest colonial land dispute. Surveyors for East Jersey, West Jersey and New York all used a large bolder in the river at Cochecton to mark the northern most boundary of New Jersey in 1719 resulting in the NY-NJ Line War.
  • The automakers BMW and Honda have used the Hawk's Nest section of the highway for television commercials? Also American Express, Saab and Cadillac?

If you have never traveled on Rt 97 I recommend you try it once. There are many look out points and places to eat, raft, canoe, or camp. I finally arrived at the Hawks Nest in Port Jervis around 4 pm.
I went onto Rob's house and met up with Mr. Fusion there as well. I quickly got out of my motorcycle gear, I was incredibly hot, and we headed over to the Cornucopia Restaurant back in Port Jervis. The Cornucopia is a German restaurant. I had the saurbraten with potato pancakes and apple sauce and washed it down with a nice Spaten Octoberfest.
After dinner we went to look for the old train turning station in Port Jervis. At one time 5 railroad lines connected here. Then we went back to Rob's and hung out for a little while. I watched a little bit of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals in HD. It was pretty cool seeing hockey in HD. You can see a lot of the ice that way. Then, as is tradition with the three of us, we went to Friendly's. A good time was had by all.

Sunday June 3rd
Rob and I got up around 8, and went to IHOP for breakfast. We talked the night before about going to check out some roads down by West Point and maybe even checking out West Point, too. Even though I was kind of anxious to get on the road home since I didn't want to take the Thruway and I knew it would take a long to get home, it started pouring so cruising around with Rob seemed like a good idea. We went down toward West Point and went toward the entrance but all we could find was the entrance where army personnel go in. We didn't try very hard to find the proper entrance either though. Then we went to the Moodna Viaduct. Its basically a giant train trestle The trestle spans the valley for 3,200 feet and 193 feet high at its highest point, making it the highest and longest railroad trestle east of the Mississippi River.

We were going to stop at some artsy farsty place where they have a lot of giant sculptures in a field called Storm King Art Center. However they didn't open until 11 and it was only 10:20 so we didn't have time to wait.
Then we checked out Rt 218 which winds along the Hudson. This road is similar to the Hawks Nest but I think better and its longer. It was most excellent and I will ride in on the bike for sure.

Tasty Road!

There was a Mountain Laurel growing out of the cliff face about 30 feet above the road.

So we worked our way back towards Rob's going through the Black Dirt Region where the majority of onions grown on the east coast. Onions are the primary crop of the Black Dirt Region. Originally an ice age lake, layer upon layer of peat slowly built up until by the time humans arrived in the area, the entire valley was a swamp, studded by small dry islands. In the 19th century waves of German immigrants arrived and began to systematically drain the swamp converting the newly reclaimed land into farms.
We stopped by Gander Mountain so I could get some lightweight long johns to wear under my motorcycle pants. I wore pants the day before and that makes you too hot and uncomfortable.
I picked up a pair of SmartWool lightweight long johns and they were on clearance. I have a pair of SmartWool socks and a mid-weight shirt and I can't say enough about them. I know it seems weird that you would want to wear wool on a hot humid 85-90 degree day but this stuff really works. It keeps you really dry and the sweat away from your skin so you feel more comfortable. Once my shopping excursion was finished it was back to Rob's to load up the bike.
It took me about 20 minutes to get the bike loaded up and me into my riding gear. Remember, it's ATGATT boys and girls. ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME!!! Not shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. I get Harley guys asking me all the time if I am hot wearing all that gear. My response is always, "Not as hot as my skin would get sliding along the pavement at 60 mph!" Rob and I said our pleasantries and I was on my way around 1:30ish.
I took some county routes up toward New Paltz, NY and passed two cop cars and almost got tagged both times. The first time I just barely notice the light bar off in the distance and I stabbed at the brakes apparently slowing down enough in time since he didn't turn around. The second time he was on the side of the road but I saw him on the nick of time as well and just let off the gas as I went past. While cruising along some back road I saw a turtle in the road. I double back to take a picture and it was a big ol' snapping turtle.

Then I went through New Paltz which is a nice little town and it reminds me of Saratoga Springs a little with all its little shops and restaurants but not as big of a main drag. There was a "neat" looking Brewery/Restaurant there that I might have to stop at someday. Not this day, however, as traffic was crazy and it took me a while to get through there. Then I connected up with Route 9W and headed north. Now, 9W on a map looks cool like it will go along the Hudson. Well, let me tell you, I would avoid it. It's boring, nothing to look at, and it's 4 lanes at points with almost no curves. I would recommend crossing the Hudson at the Mid-Hudson bridge and taking the Taconic or Route 9 north toward Albany. I was getting hungry and I kept saying I will pull over when I come to some scenic vista or something interesting. I kept waiting, and waiting, and finally around 4 I decided to just pull over in this abandoned truck stop and eat something. I had some beef jerky and a bottle of water. I had been following a storm the entire time and the roads were getting more and more wet. So I decided to switch to my rain gloves and close up most of the vents on my jacket and just let my arm vents and back vents open a little since it was still pretty muggy. It started raining a little more and I pushed on finally stopping in Ravena to get gas. There was a group of Harley riders than I had passed a while back in Kingston and they passed me when I stopped to rest and eat. It was raining pretty hard now and they were all huddled under the cover over the gas pumps. They had a lot of gear with them and one came over to say hi. I asked if they were headed to Americade in Lake George and they were. I asked where they were from and the guy I was talking to was from Maryland and the others were from York PA. I had to give him some props for riding so far. Very un-Harley rider. Normally they would be a trailer. They were just hanging out warming up, hoping for the rain to let up so they could make the final push up to Americade. I bid them goodbye and wished them safe travels and made my final push home. I decided to completely close all the vents in my jacket and took off. When I got on I-787 is was a completely pouring. Cars were slowing down and turning on their 4-way flashers. I pushed on in the third lane at about 65. On I went through Cohoes, Waterford, Mechanicville, and finally in Stillwater the rain started to let up. I think I was getting ahead of the storm. I was thinking back to those Harley guys and how they would probably be in it the entire way to Lake George since it seemed to be going north. I felt for them since they were on vacation. By the time I got to the Saratoga Battlefields the rain had stopped and the roads were dry. I got home close to 6 and removed my went gear and unpack the BMW. To my surprise I had gotten a little went through my jacket and pants. I was wet on my knees and on the sides of my legs. I was also a little wet on my arms and my chest. I supposed in a complete downpour and at 65 mph nothing is going to be completely waterproof. I was drier than those poor Harley guys. In about 15 minutes it started raining again, it caught me yet again. This time I didn't care, I was dry and eating a sandwich.

You can see all the pictures here.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Arai Helmet Malfunction

Last year while attending the BMW MOA International Rally in VT I purchased an Arai Profile helmet. I love the helmet and the venting is fantastic. I strayed from my normal black helmets in favor of silver hoping the color would enable cars to see me better.

The other day while riding home the rear spoiler on the back came off the other day when I went to open the rear vent. I clicked it and it came off in my hand. I was going to call up to have a warrantee claim then I figured I would be without it a long time. I realized it's just put on with double sided tape. Very, very thin small strips of the shitty white kind. So I cleaned all that up. Then I buffed out my helmet a little to kind of reduce all the scratches I've picked up on my helmet in less than a year. Then I applied my own tape around more of the perimeter of the spoiler and re-stuck it on. It seems fine now but that’s lame for a $450 helmet. I should have taken pictures but I didn't think of it.