Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ghosts in Canandaigua

After work, I took a last minute trip to Canandaigua. Unexpectedly, I found Ghostbusters making a house call. Who would have thought there was Ectoplasmic Activity in Western New York? The Island in the photo is Squaw Island and is one of two Islands in the Finger Lakes. It’s also the Smallest New York State Park. You just don’t see all that many paddle boats up north, so I had to get a quick photo. Lastly I found a floating Island of Boat Garages in the lake which have been there for more than 100 years. The town does not allow anyone to sleep in the garages anymore because of safety issues. When I was walking through the docks a local resident gave me a brief tour of his garage. It was a good ride!!

Officially I have been back from my motorcycle trip for a few days. Fortunately, I have not been called away from my residence in Western New York as of yet. I work a job where I usually travel out of state for 30 days and then come home for 7 days. It’s tough on the family and it’s tough on the body and mind. I have been doing this for 2 consecutive years and it has a way of wearing down ones soul if you let it. It has been a stressful first half of the year but my motorcycle trip put things in perspective.

I re-learned that there is more beauty in the world then one realizes. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes to see it.

I also have come to remember the joys of spontaneity and found that adventurous kid that got lost in the bureaucratic shuffle of life.

During my ride, I also re-discovered the joy of everyday conversations.

The ride has re-energized my spirit and hopefully I can take this energy and use it to better myself at home and work. In reality it’s all about not taking one’s self so seriously but giving 100 percent effort in all that one does. That can almost be construed as a conflicting statement but when one learns to walk the line then there is symmetry and balance in ones efforts.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eat Breakfast with Locals!!

Every morning when I am out of town riding, I find a place to eat breakfast where I can chat with locals. Locals know the best places to visit and ride in their own respective areas, plus they are a blast to chat with. A couple of hints when it comes to finding a good place to eat breakfast with local persons. First, never pick a chain restaurant. Second, if the restaurant looks nice then pass it by, the sketchier the better. Third, the restaurant must have a table bar where patrons sit at the counter. You will never be able to strike a conversation from a booth or separate table. These are the three golden rules to finding locals to chat with during breakfast. Once you sit down at the counter, just order your meal and start talking to the person next to you. If you have followed my rules above then I will guarantee you a good informative conversation with indigenous folk of the area you’re visiting.
So two days ago while in Maine, I was talking with a bunch of locals at a really cool dive restaurant. I spent about an hour just hanging out. Of course they gave me some great information that I used on my trip to Bar Harbor. Well right before I left, this guy named Charlie says, “Watch out down there in Bar Harbor. There are a ton of Flatlanders down that way”. I thought about it for a few seconds and replied, “What’s a Flatlander?” Charlie says with a laugh, “You are of course but you an OK Flat Lander. It’s the rest of them we have to worry about”. I left the restaurant with everyone saying good bye and smiling. It was a perfect start to the day. At least I was a cool Flatlander!! My advice is to throw yourself out there when riding. Meet new people and have some fun outside the box.
FYI, Wikipedia Defines Flatlander as “A derogatory term used by people from areas in the Appalachians (primarily people from Vermont and the rest of both Northern and Southern Appalachian New England) use to describe people that aren't from their area or that aren't from the Appalachians and live on low land.” Now I know one more derogatory term to throw in the old insult box….

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thanks Macgyver

I had the pleasure of witnessing the New Hampshire lower lake region with its rolling hills, sparkling lakes and carvatious black top. A local retiree who I chatted with during breakfast told me of a couple of desolate routes into Maine which I followed till I eventually hit Route 1 North which lead me along the Atlantic Coast to Bangor. I really don’t think you can find a bad route to take in New England.


I made a rookie mistake and melted my rain gear on my pipe while riding. Well the pipes were bluing out, so I am not horrifically traumatized by the situation but it caused a really big hole in my pant leg. It was raining and only 64 degrees so I needed to make a quick mend. The obvious fix was Duct Tape. Thanks to the show MacGyver, I have been carrying around duct tape and a Swiss Army Knife for the last 20 years. If you see a guy riding around New England over the next 4 days with a leg made out of Duct Tape then it’s just me. Duct Tape was originally developed back in World War Two and was used primarily to seal ammunition cases against water. It worked for folks back then and it still works today! So far 3 people have commented on my good use of Duct Tape. One Maine Native actually stated, “That is how real men use Duct Tape”.
The photos above were taken while riding through Acadia National Park outside of Bar Harbor, Maine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Trip Begins

I'm off on my motorcycle tour of the North East. Unfortunately I had to call an audible and will not be going to Nova Scotia. I am meeting some old AmeriCorps Friends down near New York City latter in the week, so I had to make some changes to my itinerary. Here are a couple of high points of my trip thus far. The weather has not afforded good photo opportunities but with 7 more days of riding hopefully some will come along!

Western New York (Starting Point)

Saratoga Springs, NY (Tuning Point of the Revolutionary War)
Back in 1777, American Colonial Forces defeated a British Army under General John Burgoyne in two separate battles which took place in September and October of the same year. The real hero of The Battle of Saratoga was the fearless Benedict Arnold who was wounded in the foot while rallying his colonial troops. If one spends just a bit of time wondering through the park, they will find a tribute to Arnold's Heroism in the form of a Bronze Sculptured Boot (he is given no other such honor or tribute).

Whitehall, NY (Birthplace of the United States Navy)
In 1775 American Colonial Forces captured a British Trading Post in Whitehall, NY. During this battle a British Trading Schooner was captured which became the first ship in the United States Navy. This ship and others like it were used to capture a British War ship in Lake Champlain. The captured British Ship was renamed the US Enterprise. The man who was in charge of the American Fleet during these naval engagements was a hot tempered patriot named Colonel Benedict Arnold.

Rutland, VT (Best skiing in the North East)
Killington and Pico are two of my most favorite places to board and ski on the East Coast.

Woodstock, VT (Get Your Covered Bridge On)
If you want to see old school Covered Bridges then make your way to Woodstock, Vermont. You will not be disappointed.

Concord, NH. (Be aware of cats)

Cats are on my mind because I almost hit one doing 60MPH. It just seems like the more Cats one has the crazier one becomes. Is it the CAT that makes a person crazy or is it the Crazy Person with a 100 Cats that give felines a bad name? My vote is for the latter.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ready, Set, Go

The excitement a young man feels before his first date is just phenomenal. Actually, it’s an onslaught of emotions which usually leads to a case of pimples right before the anticipated event. Before my first date, I remember puking in my parent’s trash can. It was the best regurgitation I ever had. After brushing my teeth and taking a second shower, I was good to go. The Date was with Laurie Reinhardt and we saw a movie (long forgotten which film). The date was a bust when I sat in some chewed up bubble gum on the movie seat and was too embarrassed to leave the safety of the dark theatre. Bubble Gum stuck on a teenager’s ass was torment and ridicule waiting to happen for a kid in my position.
My motorcycle trip this summer is only a few days away and I feel those similar pre-date emotions. Once a year I take a week long cycle trip which brings forth a feeling of teen like exuberance. I harness this energy to find my inner adventurer because sometimes being a responsible adult is really boring. Have I planned the trip as well as I should? (NO). Do I have an itinerary and travel log? (NO). Do I have a list of must do’s? (NO). All I can tell you is that I will get to Nova Scotia from Western, NY via an unplanned route. If I do not get to Nova Scotia, then I got pre-occupied in my travels and found somewhere else to go.
I will never get lost because when one has no true destination then one is exactly where one needs to be.
The Bagger on the Cheap is now ready to roll. Sorry for the bad photo but there will be plenty more pictures to show from my travels on the road.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Yesterdays Motorcycle was a HUFFY.

Why do motorcyclists love motorcycles? I am sure it differs for most but there has to be some common threads which bind our mutual passion for riding. For me it started when I learned how to ride a bike. My parents made sure I did not get a motor bike so I substituted V-twin power with pedal power. Back then it was the freedom which I enjoyed. I grew up in rural upstate New York and the closest store was 6 miles away. My elementary school was 18 miles away and my nearest school buddy was not in walking range. My HUFFY was the only way I was going get anywhere. My bicycle equaled opportunity to do what I wanted. It gave me the freedom to travel on my own path, on my own schedule. As long as I was willing to pedal, the world was my playground. Over the years my love of bicycles transformed into a love of Motorcycles. I think for me it’s still the freedom which I enjoy most. Not really the same type of freedom as in my youth but freedom none the less.
I think I need to end this commentary with a special shout out to my old HUFFY. Thanks for the good times, without you I may not be riding my Honda today…

Friday, June 12, 2009

Do More Of What You Love

Have you ever noticed that the time you spend while doing something you love just flies by like the wind. This is just a simple fact of nature and the only cure is to do more of the thing in which you love. Compounded with this principal theory is that as one gets older in life, the shorter in which one has to live it. Put it in simple terms; when you were young, a week was forever. The older you get the shorter a week becomes. This is your subconscious telling you that time is not an everlasting commodity. No matter where I ride, I find that my trip is too short. Hopefully I will ride till I am old and wrinkly but in the mean time I shall cherish those positive moments and strive to never forget them. This theory transcends the ride and is true no matter where ones passions lie. Find a place for those wondrous moments. Those memories may be just twinkles of light in our lives but they have the power to brighten any dark place.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I have been Working so hard that I missed Spring

Winter is receding away with the onslaught of spring and one can smell life awakening after a long winter’s hibernation. That heady scent is nature’s way of telling you that the leaves are about to return, ducks will be flying north and motorcycles will be returning to the open road. I love the feeling of getting back on a motorcycle after the frigid temperatures have receded and the snow has slipped back to a watery state. Now the adventure begins a new and the experience I call THE RIDE continues.
What is THE RIDE you may ask? It’s THE RIDE which separates those who use motorcycles for transportation and those who ride their bike for more mystical and profound reasons. It may be a short jaunt on the bike but within those few minutes THE RIDE takes you away from yourself, away from work, away from monotonous toil and away from the world. The journey we travel on the motorcycle is what makes the difference and which separates us from others on the road. We find this freedom to be a yearning or craving and once we are back in the saddle we hold on for as long as we can. That is the magic of THE RIDE and that is what I miss most during the dreary cold winter months of Western, NY.