The plans have been made!  May 17-19, 2013 will be the ADK Buell Rally for this year.  We had a great time last year and are looking forward to this go-around.  Nearly everything will be as it was last year, so don't expect any big departures from that.  I'm not even going to be changing the routes, at least not officially.

Rather than re-type a whole bunch of crap that I already typed, visit the rally page on this website to get all of the most current details on the event.

 
Come late December, I hadn't ridden since Thanksgiving night and the itch was pretty strong.  I was working from home and decided to suit up and head out on my lunch break for a quick rip around the hills near my home.  I recall a bank thermometer reading around 31 degrees, and it was noticeably colder up in the elevation, but my heated gloves and socks combined with layer upon layer for the rest of me made for a very comfortable ride.

Even further to my surprise, I took a ride just a few weeks ago with my new Tour Master mesh jacket.  Yes, you read correctly - mesh.  To be fair, it does come with a rain liner and a thermal liner, but even with those I wouldn't have expected it to be as warm as it was - I noticed no more cold than with my Joe Rocket one-peice suit.

My most recent ride was this past weekend.  I met up with a friend who I had done the MSF RCP course with.  Temperatures were warmish - mid-40s at best - but the rain overnight and melting snow made for some very wet roads and a very dirty bike and the end of the ride.  We probably did something around 50 miles through the hills, and while most of the roads were ones I was already familiar with there were a handful that were new to me and real gems at that.  I will be returning when the weather is warmer and drier.

I'm not terribly sure when my next ride will be.  Mother nature just dropped another few inches of snow today and temperatures are slated to plummet again by the weekend.  There is moto-hope in sight, though.  I will be meeting a bunch of fellow Buell (and former Buell) riders in New York City for the Motorcycle Show at Javits Center.  In addition to checking out some of the industry's newest offerings, we will likely also enjoy a late lunch at the Dinosaur in Harlem as well as discuss the details of this year's ADK Buell Rally.  I'm really looking forward to this year's event and hope we have at least as good of a turnout this time around.  It seemed to be a hit with those who were able to make it last year.
 
Picture
Photo Courtesy of MJRPhoto.net
I must apologize for taking SO long to write up a recap on this event, but I have two good excuses:

1) Some of the photos used in this post I had to wait to get from Mike at MJRPhoto.net (be sure to check out his site for a lot more shots), and...

2) I'm lazy.

But, the good news is I'm here now and committed to letting everyone know just how great this event was.

Friday Night

Picture
Group Photo (courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
Friday was the biggest day for folks getting into town.  Bobby and I met in Clifton Park and took the long way up, arriving in Lake George just before dinner time.  While checking into my motel, I saw Dave and the NJ crew rolling in with members from Long Island and the Hudson Valley as well.  We had a quick meet and greet in the parking lot of the Ft. William Henry where we hung up the banner, distributed t-shirts for those who bought them and checked out everyone's bikes.  This would turn out to be a rather small sampling of the number of people who would eventually show up.

Picture
Dinner at King Neptunes (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
After the little schmooze session, it was off to King Neptune's to hang out and get some food and beer, and we all had plenty of both.  We more or less took over the back patio, forcing quiet couples to find someplace else to be all cute and crap.  After the sun went down, and we were still waiting for our food, Dave decided things were a little chilly outside so he carefully constructed a pile of napkins next to his chair and lit them on fire.

While we were there, more and more people strolled in, some expected and some not - one of them being a friend I hadn't seen to spoken to in years whom I knew from working at Gil's Garage when we were in high school and college.  Small world.

Eventually, the last two to show up that night were Rich and Drew, the former being my roommate for the weekend.  They had a late start and refused to take the slab in - kudos to them.

At this point, I walked Bobby back to my room to get his gear which was locked inside.  He lived in Saratoga so wasn't staying over in the Village.  The bar had emptied out and it was just 5 of us left when I took off, and I considered just heading to bed in preparation for the next day, but I decided to go back and have one more beer before calling it a night.

Well, let's just say that Rich was able ensure the night ended with Irish car bombs.  We were a bit hurting the next morning!  Everyone else having left, he and I ended up closing the place that night.

Saturday

Picture
Getting ready to ride (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
Today was about RIDING.  Well, first it was about breakfast with Drew and Rich at the Pancake house, but after that it was about RIDING.  I don't know where everyone came from, but we had a TON of bikes show up Saturday morning, including Hammer and Liz who are more or less Hudson Valley Buelling Royalty.  Everyone kind of walked around and got to know each other for a while and decided on which ride they wanted to do.  In an effort to avoid a massive parade session through the mountains, Dave and I encouraged people to form small groups and ride that way.  We ended up having two separate groups that did the Big Lake Loop (myself leading one, and Dave leading the other) with about 7 or 8 bikes in each.  A little more than I wanted to lead, but we were blessed with having good riders who were ok with doing some miles that day.  I think there were at least another 7 or 8 bikes that did some of the shorter rides, and more still who just decided to hang around town.  Mike and I estimated afterwards that we probably had around 25 bikes show up - not bad!

Picture
Our first gas stop in Ft. Ticonderoga
Everyone seemed to really enjoy the rides on Saturday, my group included, which was good news considering I hadn't pre-ridden any of the routes after making the route sheets.

Despite some slow moving cars and getting us a little lost, we had a great morning with picturesque scenery and fantastic roads.  The route took us through Keene Valley on our way to the summit of Whiteface Mountain, which is some of the prettiest roadside views in the entire Adirondack park.

Picture
Our ride group at a stop just before Whiteface. Not pictured is Drew who took off ahead to test out the range on his communicator, and Mike who took the photo (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
After a quick stop to pee, it was a short 13-mile ride to the summit.  I felt a little guilty that it was a $10 toll to get up to the top, but once there it was clear that it was worth it and the guys seemed to agree.  We actually had caught up to Dave's group here, but wouldn't see them until we were back in town that night.

I have a few good shots from Whiteface, so I'll just put a little gallery here for your viewing pleasure:
Picture
Riding down Whiteface (photo courtesy of MJRPhoto.net)
From here we took a quick ride down the mountain and into the next town for lunch at an A&W and a much-needed extended break, but not before Mike hung back to get this great shot of us heading down the mountain.

From here it was a lot of great scenery, slow drivers mixed in among some fantastic roads and a gas stop here and there.  The grand finale of the ride was hitting Rt 8 between Brant Lake and Lake George, and then also having a second shot at Rt 9N into the the village, which was ruined by a slow driver that morning.  Not so this time!

We made it back into town around dinner time after 280 miles or so.  Most of our larger group decided on dinner at the Adirondack Brew Pub, but a smaller group of us elected to get some Pizza at Capri instead and met up with them later.  Turns out this was a good decision as the food and service seemed to be sub-par at the Brew Pub.

But that wasn't going to ruin our day as there was beer to be drunk and crap to give away.  Dave had scored some "sponsorships" for this shindig and had a t-shirt, two gas cards, a battery tender and the banner to give away.

Back to Neptune's for a long-drawn out bullshit session and bragging about stories of awesome rides and fantastic crashes.  It was an earlier night than expected for all, but a fantastic time none-the-less.

Sunday

Sunday was another morning started at the Pancake House, but we managed to have a much larger group this time.  After that we all hung out in the parking lot of the Ft. William Henry long enough to say goodbye and get people set up on good routes to head home.  Everyone had pretty much taken off by noon save for Rich, Drew and I.  We headed back to our room, packed the bikes up and I rode with the two of them through VT into Bennington since it was more or less on my way home, anyway.

Overall, I don't think we could have been happier with how this event turned out.  We had perfect weather, no squids, no wrecks, no tickets (but a close call!), or breakdowns.

I want to give special thanks to those from the Hudson Valley crew to planted the seed for this idea.  Thanks to Dave for doing so much of the legwork on getting the word out and supplying t-shirts, banners and bonfires.  Thank to Mike from MJRPhoto.net for taking time out of his ride to get some really great shots.  Last but not least, a big thanks to everyone who was able to make it and make this a really great time for everyone.

There seemed to be a strong sentiment to do this again next year, so stay tuned!

For now, I need to go scrape all of the bugs off the bike...
 
My mini-vacation in the mountains starts in about 10 minutes.  See everyone up there!
 
Ok, ok, I know I was MIA for a few days there and you all seem rather upset about that as evidenced by my abysmal page visit count over the last few days.  I do have a good excuse as I was in Montreal with Katie for a long weekend, so cut me some slack.

Now, Montreal, as near as I can tell, is not a motorcycle kind of town.  Yes, I know it was Canada in February, but I always seem to recall a certain number of motorcycles running about in New York City in any given month, so I was surprised to not see so much as a scooter given the mild-ness of the winter we've been having in the Northeast.  But then again that could just be my piss poor memory kicking in which seems to happen more and more often.

Also, there are not cops in Quebec, apparently.

Montreal, Quebec and Canada aside, this trip did give me a little motorcycle jolliness as the route from here to there is due North through the Adirondacks.  Not sure if you heard, but we're planning on having a little get together in May in that area and I will also be there each day for a full week for Americade.

The scenery was rather outstanding.  I don't often go north of Exit 30 - in fact the last time I did that I recall was when my parents took me to Montreal when I was 8 or so, so the views from the highway were all new to me.  I would have figured the lack of snow, which makes for a rather dead looking panoramic, would be cause for a less than stellar scenery, but in fact the small patches of snow and the white-capped peaks in the distance made for a very interesting view.  The High Peaks region was clearly in sight and I'm excited to go exploring again once the weather warms up.

Two other sites worth seeing - the first we visited on the way back, DeCesare's Pizzeria in Schroon Lake.  As good as I remember and included on one of the routes for the ADK Buel Rally in a few months.  The other was Gus' in Plattsburgh.  This is quite a haul from the HQ of the ADK Rally and Americade, but since we'll have a week perhaps I can convince Joel et al to follow me up for red hots with meat sauce.  Yum.

But that will all wait for the sun to be a bit higher in the sky.  For now, I think I shall venture into the garage and start putting the S3T back together.  It's going to be spring before I know it...