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Author Topic: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes  (Read 2661 times)

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Online kendenton

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Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« on: November 17, 2013, 09:18:05 AM »
You can also get the full write-up (with some video) off my website at www.kendenton.org/ducati.


Friday - Home to Waterville, PA - 233 miles

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Finally ready to leave

Kickstands up at around 11am, after taking care of chores around the house including mowing the lawn.  I had originally planned to hit the road at 8:30, spend the afternoon at Knoebels Amusement Park, and end the day at Little Pine State Park near Waterville PA, so I had some time to make up.  Took the usual backroads to the Commodore Barry Bridge, where it was down to one lane as the zipper did it’s thing.  Temperature was in the low 80's, and I found the Phantom to be pretty comfy at that temp. The sleeve vents moved a lot of air, even more if I straightened my back and didn't slouch. I also found that my RAM camera mount blocked a lof of air coming toward the left vent.

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Going over the Commodore Barry Bridge

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The zipper doing it's thing

Short ride on I-95, then I-476 (the Blue Route) north to 422. There was a nasty section of what looked like aluminum shrapnel strewn across a whole lane of 476. I did my best to dodge the big pieces. The slab was moving well until the last mile of 422, where it just stopped. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, almost zero movement. I saw the bike's oil temperature hit 300 for the first time as another rider on a Valkyrie pulled up alongside. We then proceeded to hit the shoulder a few times to pick up some distance. Finally, after almost 25 minutes, we were free of that disaster and went our separate ways on PA662. I headed north, eventually picking up PA61 which took me right past Hermy's BMW.

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Traffic on 422

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My shoulder-buddy

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His own little biker gang

I had noticed that the Multi was sounding a bit odd, due to what I think is an exhaust leak. I was hoping that someone there could take a peek at it and at least verify my opinion. I had to go past Hermy's and circle back, and ended up coming up the back driveway, which was quite steep and unpaved. Perhaps they use it to demo GS's? One of the service guys was nice enough to give the bike a listen, and I pointed out that you could feel air coming out of one of the joints on the rear cylinder exhaust pipe. He agreed with me that it most likely is an exhaust leak, and nothing to worry about in the short term.

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Hermy's

Continued on PA61 to PA901 to PA54 to PA487 (overall a pretty crappy route) and arrived at Knoebels at 3pm. I figured I had time to ride some coasters and grab some dinner before I hit the road again. Cable-locked my Olympia Phantom to the bike and headed over to the Phoenix. The park was very empty, and I was able to get 3 rides in very quickly.

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Dedicated bike parking at Knoebels

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I haven't used the cable-lock since my cross-country trip 14 years ago.

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My #1 coaster, The Phoenix.

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Me enjoying a back-seat ride. Normally the front is my first choice, but the back has it's own charms

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Dinner was a couple slices of pizza from Cesari's in the park, and a bottle of water. I had eaten the first slice while waiting on the second to be ready, so I had to make do with one slice in the shot. After dinner I got a ride on the Twister, the park's other big wooden coaster. Then it was time to hit the road again.

Took PA54 out of the park, then through Danville and got gas on the other side of I-80. Nice guy came over to talk gas mileage for a bit. Connected with PA44, through Watsonville, which was just gorgeous - like a little Cape May. PA44 coming into Jersey Shore was a nice ride, then I followed that all the way to Waterville. Got gas at the convenience store in town, which had a great old gas pump.

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I think this was on 44 before Jersey Shore

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I liked the fence above the guardrail - don't want to go find anyone down in the gully

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Looking backwards riding up 4001 towards the campground

Arrived at Little Pines around 7pm, rode around to pick out a campsite. Found a very nice one in the tall pines, and went back to the ranger station to fill out my card and pay $22. As soon as I took off my helmet, there were little flying bugs everywhere. They kept heading into my eyes, ears and nose. Incredible. Setting up the tent was terrible, the bugs were everywhere. I must have looked like I was having little siezures - every 30 seconds some bug would fly into my eye or my ear and I would twitch and slap at it. Threw my gear inside the tent and started walking around the campground. As long as I kept a decent pace the bugs weren't too bad - just don't stop. I think I did 3 laps of the whole place, at which time I discovered the campground was located below a big earthen dam. Oh great. Once darkness came the bugs settled down to a reasonable level.

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My home for the night

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Careful which way you stumble out of the tent at night

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Just has to hold for one more night

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The lonesome traveler

There was no cell service in the campground, so my check-in phone call home would have to wait for the morning.

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IBA #37902

Online kendenton

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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 09:18:31 AM »
Saturday - Watertown, PA to Watkins Glen, NY - 278 miles

My main goal for today was Hyner View State Park, one of the major overlooks of the Grand Canyon of PA. I missed it the last time I was through here, on the 2007 Meet-and-Eat. I was planning on riding the area a bit, and ending up camping at Keuka Lake State Park in NY.

I woke up at 5:59, which was way too early, and then again at 6:30. I did not set an alarm, just figured I would wake up whenever since I wasn't on a tight schedule today. I packed the bike a little better, leaving more room in the side cases, and left the campground just as the bugs started to come alive again.

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Packed and ready to go again

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Nice little bridge on 44

Took 44 to 1014 which leads to Hyner View. A bit of rain, but nothing much. I had just bought a pair of Aerostich 'lobster claws', and was trying them out for the first time. 1014's pavement sucked, very broken up and still wet from the night before. I somehow missed the turn for Hyner View, and ended up on 120, which I took East for 6 miles before figuring out I probably made a mistake. Punched Hyner View into the GPS and followed the instructions, back 120, back 1014 and to the junction. The little road up to the View was a lot of fun, some 1st gear uphill hairpins kept it interesting. It helped that I was also the only one on the road - in fact, I had yet to see another vehicle that morning. I noticed something odd climbing that road - it actually got warmer as I went up, and not cooler. Strange.

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This was the turn-off that I missed the first time.

Got to the top, and while it was very hazy, I was very impressed with the view. It was very, very windy as well. I walked around a bit, and tried to get a cell signal (couldn't), and then hit the road again. My GPS pointed out another road down from the view that would take me to 44 - I was interested since 1014 was not that great. When I came to the turnoff for the road though, I though better of it. Straight uphill dirt and gravel, and who knows what it turns into later. Since I was by myself, with a fully loaded bike, I decided to stick with the devil I knew.

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The hazy view from Hyner View State Park. I went over that bridge twice when I missed my turn for the park.

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No idea what this ramp is for - hang-gliding?

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Very windy at the top

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Do I take the unknown gravel road to the right? Um, no.

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The road back down was nice and 'wild'

Once I got back to 44 (via 1014), the rain really started. Heavy, driving rain was giving my new gloves a good test, which I was happy to see didn't faze them in the least. My Phantom kept my dry as well. Most of 44 was not that great, long straight stretches and the pavement was far from perfect.

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One of the nicer sections of 44

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Very wet

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Pretty overlook from 44

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More 44

44 eventually connected with US6, which I took West to Coudersport. Coudersport is a beautiful town, full of gorgeous old homes and a decent downtown. Noticed a few dozen Harleys milling about as I rode through, and when I got to the gas station it was also filled with H-Ds. One guy roared off as I was filling up with pipes so loud, well, if Loud Pipes Save Lives, he was trying to save lives in other counties. It had been raining on and off all morning, and most of these guys were just soaked and miserable.

I was finally able to check in at home, and the wife warned me of some severe weather heading through my area during the day. I headed back on US6, East this time. Passed a couple great signs with my name on them, and then hooked North on 449 to New York. 449 was a terrific road, lots of sweepers and great vistas. I was enjoying a particularly nice left-hander when around the turn coming my way comes a WRX drifting through the turn. The back end of his car was a good 2 feet in my lane, and he was clearly sliding it around. Yikes!

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Playing with the camera on US6

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Hey, there's a hill named after me!

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You can ski me?

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Looking back on 449

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Crossing into NY - I've been to the state before, but the state sign has always eluded me

I took 449 to 19 in New York, then headed East on 417. What a great road 417 was! Just wide open, lots of elevation changes and sweepers, with views of miles and miles of NY countryside. At one point I passed a parked cop car while I was doing about 80 on the posted 55mph road. I was sure I was toast, but he didn't budge. I'm an out-of-state biker speeding through his town - if he's not sitting there waiting for me, who's he waiting for?

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One of my favorite shots ever

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NY 417

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More 417

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Interesting....

I took 417 about 44 miles to Addison, then worked my way up 333 and 12 to Bath. It rained a bit, but nothing too bad.

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Heading North out of Addison

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Pretty area under a bridge near I-86

Gassed up in Bath, and continued North on 54 on my way to Keuka Lake. On the way, I saw a billboard for the Curtiss Museum, which I had never heard of. The motorcyclist on the billboard got my attention though, so I decided to stop for a while. Coincidentally, I was reading a very funny book by Bill Bryson called The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America, and he had a section of museums his father would have them stop at, and this fit right in. The museum was terrific, lots of great old bikes, planes, boats and cars.

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136 mph in 1907 - not too shabby

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Spent about an hour and a half in the museum, then back on the road. It was getting into the upper 80's and pretty windy as I hit 54A and skirted around Keuka Lake. The lake was, for the most part, obscured by cottages, and the road was nothing special. Got to the campground at 3pm, way too early to call it a day. Continued on 54A to Penn Yan, then down 14A to 14 and into Watkins Glen. Found a nice campsite there, setup, and went into town to find some dinner. Didn't see anything too interesting on the main drag, so I settled on Arby's over by the Wal-Mart.

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Campsite at Watkins Glen

As I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed a car was following my every turn. When I pulled into my spot, the car pulled up behind me. "You know you have no brake light or tail light?" Oh, crap. Sure enough, my signals worked but not my brake light or the tail light. I pulled out the owner's manual, and took it inside Arby's as the rain started. Read up on how to change the bulb (surely it was just a burned-out bulb) over dinner. Eventually the rain stopped, and I began to disassemble the tail light. The assembly is held onto the bike with 3 allen screws, which conveniently were the same size as the tripod mount screw for my camera since that was the only size allen wrench I had with me. Used the Leatherman to unscrew the 2 super-long philips screws holding the lens on, and finally I could access the bulb - which looked perfectly fine. I'll replace it anyway, maybe it just looks good but is non-working somehow. At this point the problem became clearer - the bulb could not be removed from the housing. No matter how hard I pushed/twisted, it would not budge. I went over to the trash can, and smashed the bulb with the pliers part of the leatherman. Then I spent the next half hour or so working out the base of the bulb, which had shorted and fused onto the housing.

Eventually everything was cleared out, and I headed over to Wal-Mart (after asking the nice folks at Arby's if I could leave my stuff inside at the table) for a replacement. As luck would have it, they had exactly one two-pack left of 55/100 dual-filament bulbs. Tried the new bulb in the housing, nothing. The inside of the housing was too corroded to get a contact - I needed a new housing. I called my wife so she could find the nearest Ducati dealer for me, which turned out to be in Phibbs Powersports in Albany. Not too bad, just an hour away from Lake George and Americade. Of course they would not be open on Sunday, so my plan for Monday changed from a long ride around the Adirondacks to sitting in a bikeshop parking lot in Albany.

Let me tell you, riding without a brake/tail light is one good way to teach you to watch what's behind you as you ride. I kept the flashers on for the ride back to the campground, and did my best to keep cars off my tail. Tomorrow's going to be a long paranoid ride across New York.

There were no lights in the showers, so off to bed.

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IBA #37902

Online kendenton

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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 09:19:07 AM »
Sunday - Watkins Glen, NY to Lake George, NY - 298 miles

Woke up nice and early in order to to a hike in Watkins Glen. I was the only person in the parking lot at 8am, and had the whole hike to myself. Very pretty, lots of waterfalls, got good and wet walking around. Met a couple folks at the very end on my way back who were setting up tripods for "the shot". They were going to take the bus to the top and walk back. Hiked the stairway to Mt Doom back to the parking lot, where I was still the only person there.

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On the road by 10, ready to begin my day without brake lights. Temperature was much cooler than the last 2 days, didn't see anything higher than 65 and a pretty good wind as well. I put on the heated jacket liner for the first time, and that took the edge off nicely.

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Packing up

79 to Ithaca started out nice, rising above the lake for nice views, but then straightened out completely. Followed 79 all the way to Whitney Point, where I picked up 206. 206 was also pretty straight, but had some decent views.

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Long views on 79 and 206

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So far the 'no brake light' thing wasn't going too badly. I made sure no one was behind me most of the time, and through towns I put my flashers on, used hand signals, watched my mirrors, and gave people plenty of warning.

Almost lost my camera a couple times. I had the strap around my wrist, and the camera resting in the side pocket of my tankbag. The strap was plenty long enough for me to reach the bars and make turns, so I would forget it was attached after a few minutes. A car let me get around them at some point, so I dropped my left hand back to give them a wave. Out flies the camera from the tankbag, hanging on by the strap and waving in the wind. Yikes. I ended up doing that 4 or 5 times during this trip, and it scared the crap out of me every time.

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At one point the pavement just ended for a while - nice surprise

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At Bainbridge I traded 206 for 7 which paralleled I-88 for the most part. 7 was a nice alternative to the slab - nothing great, but nicer than just flying along with semis. I stopped at the Soccer Hall of Fame to take some pictures of the outside for my son, who at 7 is of course completely into soccer.

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I passed a nice looking BMW R1100S parked along the way, a bike I always loved the looks of. I was looking for an interesting place to stop for lunch, and saw lots of bikes and the Triumph truck parked at the Brooks House of BBQ, so I pulled in. Lunch unfortunately was just OK, not great.

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Brooks

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Um, OK

Hit the road again, and in a few minutes the R1100RS that I saw earlier was riding behind me. We had a nice ride for about 35 miles, SUNY to SUNY, Oneonta to Cobleskill. He hit the turnoff for a shortcut to 10 that I missed. I had to backtrack through Cobleskill to get back on 10, probably lost 20 minutes doing that.

Took 10 all the way up to Adirondack Park, nice and empty but with poor pavement for the most part. Once in the Adirondacks I took 10 to 8 to 30 to 8 to 28, and I have to say it was pretty dull. The roads were certainly not crowded, and the scenery pretty, but pretty straight and bumpy. Got behind 2 s-l-o-w cruiser riders for a while, I figured I'd just ride cruiser-style and soak in the scenery, but that got pretty old pretty quick. Took a turnoff for Golf Course Road, and that turned out to be a very nice alternative down to Warrensburg.

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Looking back on 10

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Nice place for a bouy - I mean traffic light

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Finally!

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Here's a coaster I haven't ridden yet

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Wonder what time the park opens?

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The slow, slow bikers

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Almost ready to leave them

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Everything in it's own bag this time around - worked great

Got into Lake George around 6pm, headed straight for the Hearthstone campground on 9N. The place was 95% deserted. Set my tent up, ditched all the non-essentials and headed down to Canada Street - finally I was here! Found a spot (not hard to do), and thought I would put my Phantom in one of the hard bags. I pushed and prodded, folded and squeezed, but just couldn't make it happen. I had done it once before, but the magic origami pattern was eluding me this night. I'm sure it was quite comical for the folks watching me. Eventually I gave up and cable-locked it to the bike. Did some walking, checked out some rides, and made my way down to Quizno's, which I had been thinking about for some time (pretty much the whole time after my crappy lunch at Brooks). Closed! I don't think it was even 8pm yet and they were closed. Bummer. Ended up getting some pretty good slices of pizza from Capri's, and some ice cream from Bob's (highly, highly recommended).

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Wow, that's some storage on that thing

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I actually kind of like the color scheme - different

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This Spyder was parked on Canada Street every night, more or less the same spot.

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Check out the bedliner paint job on the front fairing

Got back to the campground after dark, and the traffic from 9N was a bit loud. Mostly loud pipes, I was thinking it was going to be really bad later in the week. Saw an owl sitting in a tree on my way to the bathrooms, and listened to them hooting as I fell asleep.

My iPod shuffle started repeating today, I had gone through all 12+ hours of tunes already. Did 0 miles of slab today, and saw 0 McMansions, just lots of small towns and empty roads.

Crossing my fingers for Albany tomorrow.

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IBA #37902

Online kendenton

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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 09:19:38 AM »
Monday - Lake George, NY - Albany - Lake George - 144 miles

Hit the road Monday around 7, hoping to get to the Ducati dealership around 8 in case someone was around early.  Had to get off the Northway for gas (should have done that yesterday), and got stuck in a bit of traffic north of the K bridge.  Passed the "Hansel and Gretel" nursery/pre-school. Not sure who would leave their kids in that place - didn't anyone read the story? Didn’t end up at the dealership until 8:20, and no one was around.  I took off the taillight assembly to save the guys some time (I had it down to a science by now). Around 8:45 one of the sales guys showed up and let us (another guy had showed up looking for a new battery) into the dealership, but wouldn’t let us into the parts/service area until the turned the lights on.  Said “they get really pissy if we let people in before 9”.

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Outside of Phibbs Powersports

When I did get in to the service guys, I explained my situation (on the road for a week, no brake light) and asked if they could possibly take a look at it.  They didn’t sound too encouraging, but said they might be able to get to it.  So I set about making the dealership my home for the next few hours.  They were a multi-line Kawasaki/Yamaha/Ducati dealership, so there were some decent bikes to ogle.  There was a decent selection of Ducati bikes (1098, GT1000, Hypermotard, 800ss, others) but no Ducati gear.  Walked over to Dunkin Donuts for a breakfast of champions.

Listened to one of the sales guys tell the battery guy about the kid down the road who’s dad just bought him a 1098s.  They delivered it in the truck because the kid didn’t know how to ride yet.  By the time the truck got back to the dealership the dad had called and asked if they could come back because the kid had already dropped the bike.  He’s crashed it twice since then.  Last time he was in he said he was “getting the hang of it”.

I kept wandering out back to see if my bike had moved (it hadn't for hours), and at noon I went in to the service guys to ask if they thought they would get to it today. "We're working on it next" was the reply, and sure enough the bike got moved inside. At 1:15 they said it was done, and they did the best they could. The kid who worked on came back to talk to me, and explained how it had shorted out and he soldered some stuff to get the bulb to make contact. I thanked them, paid the $86 for their labor time, reassembled the taillight, and hit the road to get some lunch. I stopped 10 minutes down the road at Sutter's, across my old college, to take a lunch trip down memory lane (they always had great burgers and fries). Pulled in the lot, and noticed that the lights were not working again. NOT HAPPY. Called them back, expecting to hear "well, we did what we could", but instead got "bring it right back, we'll take care of it".

So, back to the dealership, and another hour of waiting. I walked over to Subway for lunch (the pizza joint right next to the dealership was closed on Mondays). Bought a dozen cookies to give to the service guys, as it was too late to bring them donuts. This time they did a sturdier job, but they still insisted it was a temporary solution - I figured that. They were very happy to get cookies, and they traded me a Ducati oil filter. Out of there at 3pm for the ride back to Lake George. Watched a crazy minivan driver come out from the trees in the median of I-87 and drive straight across 3 lanes of traffic to the right lane and zoom off the exit ramp. He missed 2 cars by only a few feet. Stopped 30 minutes later at Glenns Falls, no tail light but the brake light was OK. By the time I got to the Holiday Inn for my Americade packet both lights were functioning OK.

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That's a lot of stickers for a windshield. First VW bike I've seen  :)

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Always loved the ZRX, this guy had a great setup for traveling

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It was practically snowing this white puffy stuff from the trees

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I'm ready for action

There was a small line for registration, maybe 10 minutes total. The guy in front of me also had a Ducati Multistrada 620, from Connecticut. Got my packet, walked around the lot a bit, and rode up to Roaring Brook Ranch. That felt great, like being home again. Went straight to the Guzzi tent to see what they had - oh my, scores of Norges. Nice! No Stelvios, Grisos or Cali Vintages though. I asked about their test route, hoping it wasn't the same as Honda's up-and-down-the-Northway, and the rep said "it's about 20 minutes, back roads, we like to have fun". Good.

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Can't. Stop. Drooling.

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Is that sexy or what?

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Boss Hoss trike

 

Watched the Great Lakes Drill Team do their stuff on Gold Wings - amazing. These guys meet for practice twice a week, and it shoes. Like watching the Blue Angels on 2 wheels.

Watched Lee Parks Total Control Demo, which is actually listening to him talk quickly and non-stop, while someone else does the demo on a Gold Wing. He was excellent (Lee), really made me want to hear his lecture on Tuesday night.

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I once caught a fish thiiiiis big

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Later he would get his knee down - seriously

Ran into Bill Duetcher, who knew who I was from my post last year. He even remembered my URL - nice. He talked me up to a couple folks he was with "he takes amazing photos, blow up really well". Thanks Bill!

Got a seat in the lounge, charged the camera battery and did some journal writing. Eventually it was time for the Rider kick-off party, so I moved in there and got a seat in the back. After a few minutes a guy joins me, and I notice he's got a Lakewood H-D hat on. Turns out he's from Toms River, and his name is Jim. We chat for a bit, and turns out he had read my Americade story from last year on advrider.com. Small world! Listened to Bill Stermer for a bit, he sounded interesting so I wanted to check out his presentation tomorrow.

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The Rider party

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Bill Stermer

Ran into Jim again at the BMW tent after the party, we were both double-checking what time they started in the morning - sign up starts at 7am. On the way back to camp I hopped on the Northway southbound by mistake, that took a while before the next exit. Took 9 back to camp to drop off the tankbag and boots, and headed back to Canada Street. Parked on the side street by the Price Chopper for a change (instead of right on Canada Street). Of course when I came back I was the only bike there - just like last year, no one wanted to park near the Multi. Tail/brake light still working.

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Love those hard bags on that old Suzuki

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I don't know for sure, but I don't think that's from the Touratech catalog

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Full instrumentation

Back to camp, hit the sack early to get up at 6:05 for tomorrow's big day - DEMO DAY!

 
IBA #37902

Online kendenton

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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 09:20:00 AM »
Tuesday - Americade - 20 miles

Up at 6:05, not on the road until 6:40. Fortunately RBR is just a 7 minute ride away. Walked over to the BMW tent, saw Jim from last night near the front of the line (6th, I think - he had gotten there at 6am). I was about where I was last year, about 30 people back. Since I didn't really care what bike I rode, no big deal. Signed up for an R1200RT as I wanted to give it a second chance. My demo ride last year left me feeling it was underpowered, but everyone seems to think that's not right. So, another ride.

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Not too bad a line at 7am

Up the hill to Guzzi right after that to sign up for a Norge ride, then over to KTM. Passed Honda on the way to KTM, there must have been 100 people in line for Honda. KTM had 4 people. Even better, they let you sign up for 2 bikes at a time. Yes please! Down the hill to Kawasaki, where they also let you sign up for 2 at a time.

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That was the height of the crowd at KTM. People don't know what they're missing!

My breakfast consisted of some Animal Crackers, and a BMW chocolate muffin (well, provided by BMW, probably not made by BMW).

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Toot-toot

Demo Rides

For my review of all the demo bikes, click here.

I was supposed to meet up with Dave (my coaster-riding buddy from last year's Americade) at the ropeline for the Great Lakes Drill Team, but he was busy getting new tires down at TourExpo. I did get stopped by a nice couple who had a lot of questions about my Phantom suit.

Met Jim for dinner at the Mountaineer on Canada Street, food was OK. We headed back to RBR, and the first presentation was Lee Parks' "The Psychology of Safe Riding". Excellent lecture, an hour very well spent. I've used some of the things he talked about, and it's made me a better rider. Really good stuff, I should sign up for one of his Total Control classes.

After that was Bill Stermer's "30 years of Motorcycle Testing", which neither Jim or I found very interesting. We ducked out the back door about 10 minutes into it. Sorry, Bill.

I was planning on riding with Dave tomorrow, but he wasn't sure what he wanted to do because the weather didn't look great. We figured we'd meet for a good breakfast and decide then. I invited Jim to come along on the breakfast and ride tomorrow.

Back to Canada Street for a bit, back to the campground by 10. Very, very sleepy tonight.

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IBA #37902

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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 09:20:17 AM »
Wednesday - Vermont - 227 miles

Met everyone at the campground entrance sign at 8:30. Jim was first, followed in a few minutes by Dave and his friend from Toronto, Peter. We let Dave take point to find a good place to eat on 9N, and headed up the road. The first place that came up was an all-you-can-eat pancake place, with dozens of bikes parked outside. I already had my turn signal on, figuring that would be perfect. Dave, on the other hand, just kept rolling up the road. Eventually we came to Bolton Landing, and pulled up to Bagels and Beans.

We had a good breakfast, with lots of good conversation. It was good to see Dave again, and Peter turned out to be good company as well. We talked about RT's, linked brakes, ebay scams, Friday the 13 in Dover, pilots and flying. Dave and Peter wanted to do the scavenger hunt, riding around to different stores in different town collecting garmin stamps, and Jim and I were intent on a longer ride into Vermont. After splitting my coffee (which I thought was tea) amongst the others we went our separate ways.

9N up to Ticonderoga was a nice ride, and at one point we passed a photographer taking roadside pics. He got Jim and I, and Dave and Peter were the next 2 riders by.

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Me on 9N

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Jim

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Dave

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Peter

We stopped at on overlook to get some pics, and in just a few minutes Dave and Peter rolled up as well.

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Dave and Peter - I think Dave's using the Iron Butt motel at the moment

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Jim and his Road King

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Me and Jim

As we continued up 9N towards the Crown Point bridge, we soon found ourselves behind a cop car. We watched our speed, and he eventually pulled into a side street, but then he just waited for us to pass and pulled in behind us. He followed us for miles, from just North of Ticonderoga to just before the bridge to Vermont. That was a fun ride - not.

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Going over the bridge to Vermont

We followed 17 East, planning on hooking up with Route 100 for a ride south. At one point I was passing a slow-moving car, and during the pass an asshat on a new Concours 14 passes me with both us in the oncoming traffic lane. Never saw him coming, just suddenly zoom! goes a bike on my left. Quickly followed by his buddy on a VFR. The Gold Wing they were riding with passed a bit later. Oddly enough, at the next intersection they were just hanging out on the side of the road and we passed them.

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Looking backwards at Jim

As we rose in elevation over the gap the sky was getting darker and darker. Near the top we pulled over, as the sky was looking particularly ominous. I let Jim take the lead, and we followed another bunch of bikes. Within 2 minutes we were in thick cloud cover, and couldn't see more than a few feet in front of us. Flashers on, we took our time negotiating the turns. I couldn't see the road at all, just Jim's flashers. Wherever they went, I went. Eventually we descended out of the fog, but the road was too soaked to really enjoy all the curves. Definitely a road to come to another time.

We hooked up with 100, and started south. Nothing really stands out from that section - empty road, pavement patchy, everything very wet. I passed a sign for Lincoln Gap on the right, which if I remember correctly is only partially paved. Would like to do that road sometime. Passed Moss Glen Falls and had to u-turn to come back to it. Jim didn't see me stop, so I waited for a bit then doubled back to get him. We headed back to the falls to get some pictures and stretch our legs.

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Moss Glen Falls, near Hancock, VT

A couple miles later we stopped for gas at the country store, not knowing where else we'd get the chance. One pump, nice old mechanical model. Ran across the street to use the restroom at the 'gift shop'.

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The Hancock Country Store gas station

Continued on 100 to 4, then to 149 and back to Lake George. Saw a guy with his tent setup on an entrace ramp. We got a quick lunch at McD's, and made plans to meet up tomorrow morning for more demo rides.

We parted ways at 9, and I headed up to the Forum to check out the TourExpo. Tried on some Lee Parks deerskin gloves - very nice! Only spent maybe 20 minutes in there, then rode over the the Beach for the other half of the vendors. Walked around for a while, not seeing anything too interesting. Talked to the Givi guy for a bit, I might be interested in a topcase in the future.

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Words fail me. My son would love it.

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Went to the Mobil station on 9N to meet up with Dave and Peter for the Rodeo. Parked in the grass, right behind Peter who had a 'moment' in the grass. Had some really good BBQ chicken, corn, rolls, etc, and talked with Dave and Peter for quite a bit. Canada vs. US, Moxy Fruvous, Two Wheels Through Terror, other good m/c videos and books. We were so deep in conversation we didn't notice we were pretty much the only folks left at the tables and everyone else had headed over to the rodeo.

This was my first time at a rodeo, even though I live 10 minutes away from "the world-famous Cowtown Rodeo in Cowtown, NJ" as they put it. It was....interesting. Starting things off, they laid on the religion and patriotism pretty thick. After listening to what seemed like 5 solid minutes of how great the god-blessed u.s. of a. is, I had to turn to ask Peter (the Canadian) "how do you folks stand us?"

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The bareback horse riding was cool, as was the bull riding (only 1 rider lasted the whole 8 seconds) and watching the cowgirls ride fast laps around barrels. The calf-roping I could pass on. I was surpised at how cheesy the atmosphere was, with all the lame banter between the rodeo clown and the mc. The mc kept saying about how serious this was for the cowboys (and girls) competing, and then make the lamest jokes. Very weird. It's also odd watching a sport you don't know the rules of. "That ride was a 72!". OK, out of what? 75? 350?

After the rodeo we rode back to Canada Street and did the scene a bit, and got more Bob's Ice Cream. Saw 2 Honda Runes, a bike I had never seen in person. Dave left his key in his bike the whole time.

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Honda Rune, around $25k when new

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Loved those old FJ's

Got back to the campground at 10:45. Despite all the rain predictions, and threatening clouds, not a drop fell on us.

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This little guy was guarding my campsite. I found him when I got there, so I set him up to help not trip over the line.

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My kickstand plate. Dug a nice hole to sink the rock into.

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IBA #37902

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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 09:21:19 AM »
Thursday - Americade - 20 miles

To read about all the demo rides, click here.

Today was going to be another busy demo day, so I stopped at Stewart's for another great breakfast, Hostess Cupcakes and a Pepsi. Met Jim at the gravel lot in RBR around 7:30, as we didn't think it necessary to be that early for the BMW line. We had no problem signing up for a ride together - he wanted to ride the RT (he had ridden the GS Tuesday), and I decided on the F800ST. We went over to Guzzi, Piaggio, KTM, then Honda. We double-booked 2pm for Honda and the Piaggio MP3 3-wheeled scooter, and ended up sticking with Honda. In hindsight we should have went with the MP3.

Saw the woman that runs Crossroads magazine, Shari? Went back into town for some breakfast at HoJo's. Don't need to go there again.

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This cool old BMW was at the BMW tent

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Somehow a GPS didn't seem right on this bike

We spent a lot of time hanging out at the ROK tent, thanks to Jim this time I got to go behind the velvet rope as a guest of ROK. Free water, soda, snacks, it was a little slice of paradise at RBR.

I called TJConc (Tommy) from STN, and he and StinkBomb had just gotten in to town. We made arrangements to meet in town at the Barnsider, as they were supposed to have great ribs. Tommy called back later to say we had reservations for 6pm - excellent. We arrived a couple minutes early to find Tommy and StinkBomb enjoying some pre-dinner cocktails. Dinner was fun, good stories all around, and we ended up not getting charged for our drinks. Tommy was not thrilled with the idea of riding back to their campground (40 miles away) after dark, but I convinced them to do a little Canada Street walking. He followed Tommy to a secret parking area that didn't require PP stickers (cheapskates!), and made the long walk past the beach to Canada Street.

It was a trip walking around with these guys, 10% admiring bikes and 90% shocked and horrified by other bikes. More good ice cream (can't let a day go by without some ice cream, though Tommy passed as it goes "straight to his hips"), and then they split for the dark ride to their campground. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of fellow STN'ers!

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Jim and I walked around for a while longer, and then he took off to get packing for his Friday AM departure. Since this was my last night at Americade I didn't want to end the night early. I walked back to our free lot and rode the bike back downtown, and got my usual spot near the Price Chopper.

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Bumped into Dave and Peter, and talked about rallies for a while. Had to explain Mardi Gras beads to Peter, and tramp stamps to Dave. We watched a group of guys taking pictures of every bike waiting for the light and handing out business cards. We split up, and I walked around a bit more. I was delighted to see a Guzzi Sport 1200 parked, and walked over to the guy getting on to ask how he liked it. Turned out it was the Guzzi rep guys, so we chatted a bit. I mentioned I wanted to ride the Sport tomorrow, and the head guy (district service rep?) said I should make sure I get bike G. Noted.

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The Star Wars 5-wheeler

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Nice awning

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Check out the pooch-mobile!

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I bet she handles great

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Love the shifter

Back to camp by 10:30.

 

 
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Re: Americade 2008 via Western PA and the NY Finger Lakes
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2013, 09:21:51 AM »
Friday - Lake George, NY to Home - 343 miles

Got up to a very wet campsite, and started organizing things a bit for the ride home. First I wanted to head up to Roaring Brook Ranch to see if I could get a ride on a Guzzi 1200 Sport. I had originally planned demo'ing the Yamaha FJR1300, but when I went by their booth last night they didn't have any out. I didn't want to take the chance on waiting for that ride, and possibly missing out on the Guzzi.

A fellow camper, Art, came by to chat for a bit while I was getting the bike ready. He rode up from Florida on his K1200GT on his way to Nova Scotia, and wanted to stay at Americade for a few days. Unfortunately for him they didn't have any campsites left for Friday or Saturday night. No problem, says I, you can have mine. I'm paid up until Sunday since that's when I originally planned to stay until. He was very grateful, and insisted on paying me for the site. We split the difference and I accepted $20.

Rode up in the damp to RBR, and was in line for Guzzi at 7:45. Put my name down for a 9am ride on the 1200 Sport, and wandered around RBR for a while. Stole some more electricity to charge the camera's battery.

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BMW ready to go out for the 8am demo

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Love the Pop-mobile fairing on that MP3

To read about the demo rides, click here.

It had rained hard in Lake George while we were on our demo ride, we only got some sprinkles. All the 10am demos were cancelled, so back to the campsite to pack up for the ride home. As soon as I got my (wet) tent packed up Art came by with his tent to take its place. I didn't get on the road until 11:30.

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Art and his tent

Pure slab for most of the ride home. Northway to the NY Thruway, then onto I-287 in NJ and down to the Turnpike. Exit 2 and onto back roads to the house, pulled in the driveway around 6:15pm. Long, boring, hot ride, only made tolerable by listening to music along the way.

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Bored

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Nearly home

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