Angelo and I, along with our friends Joel, Ival and Chet used to do Americade every year.  I use that term loosely.  We did it roughly 3 years in a row from 2006-2008.  The first year was an absolute blast, but the fun factor dropped off each additional year due to persistent poor weather, the chore of riding among large groups of riders (droves of old dudes on big touring bikes in twisty bits are not fun) and generally just getting a little burnt out on the whole thing.
Joel and Angelo heading out on some Harley Demos at Americade 2008.
2008 was a record low.  The weather was the coldest, cloudiest and rainiest we ever had.  Aside from going to the vendors (big whoop) and going on the boat cruise (bad food, out in the cold and waaaay too long), there was nothing we did that we even had to pay for. We did the Harley demos which are open to the public and started an un-guided tour through VT, but Joel had an unfortunate get off and broke some bones.  With him in the hospital, it put a damper on the rest of the week (Thankfully Joel has healed up great and is riding again).  As a group, after this last year and deciding that there wasn't much any good, we began organizing private group rallies in places like Joel and Ival's cabin in Southeast Ohio, the Finger Lakes in NY and the Catskill mountains.  They've been fun, and the riding much better, but I think we're all starting to get a little sad sap about the "good ol' days" of Americade, mixing with lots of new people and taking advantage of some of the events Americade has to offer.  Joel has recently sent out an e-mail asking how we feel about it.  Originally I was mostly opposed, but after more thought, talking it over with Angelo and perusing the website, it seems this is an event we'd all like to give another shot at.  As long as the weather can hold out, I think we should make out just fine.

For those that don't know, Americade is largest touring rally going.  Now, we all know how I feel about "touring" bikes, and that is a drawback of this event, but luckily it's only when riding in groups.  Stay away from that and you're golden.

Probably the biggest draw for us is the demo rides.  Americade brings in a slew of manufacturers which offer demo rides on all kinds of bikes, not just touring barges.  I've taken demos on a V-Strom 1000, M109R (which I had totally sideways, talk about an overactive rear brake), Honda VFR800, BMW R1200S, Ninja ZX10R as well as others, I'm sure.  And when you're not riding, you're free to sit on whatever you'd like and generally BS about bikes and riding.

Angelo and I at a stop off during an un-guided tour in 2007.
Another nice thing about Americade is the un-guided and self-guided tours.  By choosing these, you're able to stay out of the big groups and the typical parade-pace of the ride and enjoy the roads and scenery on your own schedule.  The only part you need to plan for is that the un-guided tours include a lunch stop with door prizes and other "fluff", but the food is generally good and gives you a chance to mix with other riders and check out some bikes so they're worth doing.

The last big plus is the seminars - This year Lee Parks will be there and I look forward to hearing what he has to say.  Vendors, despite my snide comment above, are actually pretty good and with one of the locations being indoors offers a good place to be if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Sprinkle in some random door prizes, bike shows, good meals with good friends and I think we can make this a good event using what we've learned from past experience.  Another improvement over previous years is the inclusion of an "al la carte" package, which essentially includes everything in the full admission except the miserable boat cruise and knocks almost $30 off the price of admission.  It's like getting an un-guided tour for free.

If we do this, I'm sure it will happen in a similar manner to past years where Joel, Ival and Chet will get a room near the Lake George area while Angelo and I will ride up each morning the 40-50 miles.

Americade 2012 is June 5-9 and preregistation starts Feb 1.

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