Sunday, June 8, 2008

It’s Not Motorcycle Season Until…

Lake George, Laconia, Sturgis, it isn’t quite motorcycle season until you’ve been to a motorcycle rally held at one of these locations. Sure, Daytona happens in March, but for me, this only gives us something to do until the snow melts in the rest of the Continental US. There is something about finding myself in a sea of motorcycles that gets my adrenaline pumping.

There are a myriad of excuses I use to encourage a visit to Lake George. This year, it’s the trailer project that entices Andy to Americade. We set off on Saturday morning with a favorable weather forecast. What we encounter for the first few hours of travel is fog as thick as pea soup. Having dressed for a very warm day, I find my teeth chattering after we are in the fog a few hours. It eventually lifts and the day that unfolds if magnificent!

My favorite stretch of road on this day is route 103 through Vermont. With little traffic, it’s as though we have the state to ourselves, our own personal playground. We eventually find ourselves at route 4, and this is where you begin to have a sense that there is something going on. The motorcycles begin to outnumber the cars in each direction. This first stretch of route 4 has two lanes running in each direction. Andy takes the opportunity to open it up and get a good dose of wind therapy. I’m right behind him. It isn’t long before we encounter police monitoring the roadway. Twice we are given the flashing lights to slow it down. We think it’s decent to give us a such a warning and we don’t have to be given a third. The closer we get to Lake George the more obedient we become. We’ve read the posted warnings about the crackdown New York is taking to prevent motorcycle accidents during this week. We proceed with respect.

The Adirondack Mountains begin to rise around us. The traffic slows as soon as we reach route 9. It’s a slow crawl to the beach. I enjoy the sights but Andy hates traffic. Eventually we approach the Tour Expo parking. We are directed to our spot by many volunteers and we park the bike in the vast ocean of motorcycles. We begin the walk to the vendors. We decide to check the beach location first. The lines stretch from the parking, along the beach and walk to the entrance. Things move along and we’ve paid for, had our hand stamped and disappear in the sea of people all spending their money on motorcycle bling.

There is something about the vendors at Americade. You can find the companies that sell the popular name brands that usually you can examine only on-line. Here you can touch and feel in a way the virtual world does not allow. Today we are checking out chocks for the trailer. We have some two-way radio concerns, and Andy is thinking of a pair of riding pants. We take a quick walk through to decide where we will concentrate our efforts as we have this one day to shop.

There are a few vendors that sell chocks. I’ve already explored all the available options on line with Andy. We hold and touch and ask questions. The ones we had considered at home, no longer hold appeal once we have examined them closely. We head back toward a demonstration of another type. They are a bit more costly, but in the end we pull out the credit card.

I’m disappointed in the radio options, which is really none, unless you want some fancy deal for your Goldwing. We are looking for hand held models that we can sit in a cradle. There are plenty of satellite radio options and Bluetooth devices, but no two-way radios, only citizen band options. I’m even dismayed at the lack of headsets offered for sale. I put the radio shopping on the back burner and we continue on for clothing.

Andy is sidetracked by the leather vendors. I’m curious until he tells me he needs a wallet. He examines every wallet at every leather booth, but comes away unsatisfied. The clothing is mostly leather as well, and Andy is looking for a textile riding pant. We decide to head back to the bikes for more water bottles as it is stinking hot. The shirt vendor is on the way out and we buy two sleeveless tees. Back at the bike and in broad daylight, Andy removes his riding pants and slips into his shorts. A few women have spotted him as I witness them pointing in his direction. It’s at this point that I notice he hasn’t chosen the best pair of skivvies in the drawer. As he’s bent over to pull up the shorts, he’s giving them a fine show.

We walk up to route 9 again and visit the forum shopping area. This is located indoors and the air-conditioning is just what the doctor ordered. We find our hardware for the trailer, but are still unlucky in the wallet and riding pant department. We head back the beach to pick up our packages from our vendor. With boxes strapped to each bike, we head out from the beach around 4 o’clock. We take 9L to the junction of 149 and stop at a convenience mart for refreshments. We leave here at 5pm and make our way back home.

We make two more stops along the way, one for gas and one for ice cream. No motorcycle ride is any good without either of these. It’s a long day, but the roads have been spectacular and for the most part uneventful. At one point we found ourselves behind a very smelly animal transport vehicle. You could not only smell the excrement, but watch it run down the sides. I stayed well back as I didn’t want any of that spray on me. Our other incident was at the new rotary in Keene. I’m not sure the folks in this neck of the woods understand the concept behind rotaries. Andy and I are nearly picked off while in the rotary. The vehicles entering have no concern for right of way and take us off guard. I open up the throttle and put as much space between me and them as I can. We reach home safe and sound and I give my prayer of thanksgiving as is my habit, knowing that indeed, the angels hands were busy this day.

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