Friday, June 8, 2012

First time at Americade

Americade, an annual motorcycle extravaganza in neaby Lake George, NY, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Mike and I cleared our Friday afternoon schedule so we could ride over, weather forecast for severe storms be damned. The motorcycle weather gods were with us today as we only walked through a light sprinkle at the Expo even though menacing storm clouds were looming on the horizon.

The closer we came to Lake George, the more bikes we saw until bikes seemed to take over the road almost completely.

I love to go to expos at marathons, talking with the vendors and searching for the latest running gear. Today was Mike's day to wander among the vendors selling leather clothing and gear, helmets, gloves, sunglasses, custom artwork for your motorcycle, tires, jewelery, and anything else 'motorcycle' that you can imagine. He specifically wanted to find a waterproof bag to fit on top of our tailbag, giving us a bit more baggage space for our trip next month to Missouri for the BMW motorcycle rally. He settled on a bag from Twisted Throttle that we tied onto the tailbag with bungee cords. Perfect! The only downside is that I no longer can get on or off the bike by swinging my right leg up and over the tailbag - a tricky maneuver on the best of days and made more difficult after a couple of hours on the bike when my legs get a bit cramped. Now I have to hang onto Mike's shoulder and carefully slide my right leg through the space between Mike's back and the tailbag. As long as we're parked on a level surface, I can manage. When the bike is parked on a bit of a slope, Mike has to help haul me onto the bike. It may not be ladylike, but then I guess riding pillion on a motorcycle isn't really ladylike anyway!

We took the back roads home, deciding that Route 4 southeast in Ft. Ann looked like it might head back toward Vermont and home. We wound through hilly, rural Washington County for miles, surrounded by open pastures, farmers mowing hay, and fields full of corn just starting to sprout. The Adirondacks towered over the farmland to the west, and we periodically glimpsed the Vermont Green Mountains to our east. Names of the towns started to sound familiar:  West Hebron, Argyle, Belcher. As we swept around a tight curve we saw a sign for the Bedlam Corners store and thought about John Katz, a local author who lives in this area. We couldn't pinpoint our location on a map, or even tell you the way to get back home to Manchester. But we were familiar with the general area and knew that by continuing to head south and east we'd eventually stumble onto roads we knew. Sure enough, a few hilly, curvy miles from Bedlam Corners we saw a turn for Salem, a New York town not far from Manchester.

We stopped for an early dinner at Kevin and Mike's Place II , a combination local bar and fantastic family restaurant in the middle of North Bennington, VT. There was the usual Friday night line at the door for seating in the restaurant, so we sat at the bar. Wearing motorycle pants and carrying high-visibility yellow motorcycle jackets is a great way to start up conversation with people who start off as strangers and end up as someone we hope to meet again.

The weather gods stayed on our side on the way home. The roads and fields were filled with puddles from a recent hard rain, but the only wet that hit us came from the spray kicked up by a pick-up truck on the road in front of us. Mike solved that problem by passing the truck, and we rode home under clearing skies.

Today was my first experience with a motorcycle rally, and we're looking forward to the BMW rally in Missouri. First we need to plan our route to get there!

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