So I had this idea to go on a 2-3 day trip with the boys and about a month ago I pm'ed a bunch of folks that I regularly ride with (The Usual Suspects) about going on a trip and after about 3 weeks of mass confusion and schedule juggling we settled on this past weekend (May 2-4) to go. Only 5 of us were able to make this trip as life just got in the way for the other Suspects.
I originally planned to go the Adirondacks, then head east into VT for the twistys that I know and for a yummy tour of the Ben & Jerrys ice cream factory. That idea quickly got scrapped because I realized that I wanted to go to an area that I know of that has some truly amazing riding so I started planning for that instead. I even went as far as to plot the routes for the whole trip but wouldn't you know it... the weather wasn't cooperating and there was a 100% chance of thunderstorms for the whole weekend in the area. Once again, that idea was scrapped so back to the original plan - the Adirondacks it is.
While I was planning everything, Jake was busy working on his bike; doing a valve check, belt replacement, the whole 9. As our departure day drew closer we decide to leave on Friday night after everyone gets off of work and to return to Bklyn late Sunday night. This is when the bad luck and stupidity start to kick in...
I arrive at Gorilla before the scheduled meet up time and was pleasantly surprised to see Pat already there sipping his delicious coffee -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-18-1.jpg[/img]
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-17-2.jpg[/img]
Next, Cru pulls up followed shortly by Dizzle who btw looked dead sexy in his new 1 piece...
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1779.jpg[/img]
... followed shortly thereafter by Jake who was surprisingly on time. I saw that his back protector was lashed onto his bag which to me meant he was in a rush leaving home so the possibility of him forgetting something was pretty big. The stupidity has already started...
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1778.jpg[/img]
So with caffeine ingested, we roll off for our long dark and boring 300+ miles slab ride for the nite. The skies didn't look all that great but there was only a 20% chance of rain. Little did we know that we were about to get dumped on...
This is the first stop for the night, the Plattekill service area on 87. Since I already had my teddybear suit on there was no need for me to change, but the other guys started doing a frantic "changing into your raingear dance". The young and handsome Pat striking a pose on Cru's little piggie -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1784.jpg[/img]
How did that Dr.Octagon song go... "Half shark, half alligator, half man..."? This is Cru, half cracker, half smurf, half man -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1785.jpg[/img]
Jake trying his best to make that fisherman's outfit look cool -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1786.jpg[/img]
After gassing up we roll off again. As we continue to head north the rain just gets harder and harder, so much so that it's getting very hard to see the road. Normal people would've just stopped and waited for the skies to clear up, maybe dry off or relax... us? Nope. We kept on going. The pouring rain, the fog, the spray from the cars and trucks were too much even for my HID lights to handle, all I had to go by was the hypnotic pulse of the white lines to show me which way the road went. About 100 miles of this I decide to pull over at the next service area to see how everybody else is doing...
Despite everyone being miserable we still had a lot of laughs...
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-16-2.jpg[/img]
Little boy blue -
Jebus... when is this ride gonna end?! We were already in Adirondack country but nowhere near the hotel. We'd already been on the pitch black highway for too many hours, now we're finally off of the highway and we're all about to run out of gas. Oh, and we still can't see cause there's a thick fog everywhere and the roads are slick with rain and oh look... MUD!. Pat pulls up next to me and gives me an urgent "I really really have to stop and pee" signal so I pull over. When everyone shut off their bike and I got my helmet off I was struck by the complete darkness around us. There were no stars to be seen, no street lights, no nothing, just the tiny orange glow of the tips of the well deserved cigarettes.
I was fairly certain that the hotel was only ~20 miles away and we all hoped that the bikes could make it that far, apparently Jake's and Cru's gas lights had already been on. It was already past 4am and everyone was pretty tired (and soaked), I commented that this will be the longest 20 miles we'll have ridden.
20 miles later, we make it to he hotel safe and sound. It's 4:30 the morning and we're all very very tired. The stats for the trip up -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-15-2.jpg[/img]
That was the longest 314 miles I've ever ridden since 95% of it was done in the rain, some of it half blind, most of it done using the force. Once we reached New Paltz we pretty much stuck to the speed limits as we traveled further and further north, I don't remember where the top speed was done but I remember cracking the throttle for a second or 2 in hopes of it waking me up. I HATE having to ride on the slab cause it's very boring and it kills your tires. However, our reward for the long slab ride was twofold - for one, we'd already be in the twistys when we woke up, no further travel needed. Secondly, I was really looking forward to the next 2 days of nothing but backroad twisty travel, even for the way home!
After checking in, we pile our soggy selves into the room... gear porn -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-14-1.jpg[/img]
Let the Brokeback games begin, Cru's anxious to get started...
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1789.jpg[/img]
I got sleep that night at around 6am. I tried sleeping earlier but some
people I know snore to f*cking loud.
9am the next morning I rally the troops cause really looking forward an "Adirondack" breakfast. I was envisioning homemade tastey goodness to help carry us through the 430 mile route I had planned for the day but what we got instead was lukewarm, undercooked, and blah. T'was expensive too considering the small portions. FYI, if you find yourself in the area and are hungry, do yourself a favor and avoid McKenzie's Grille!
Oh, since we got the the hotel while it was still dark, we didn't notice the lake front of the hotel -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-13-2.jpg[/img]
or the uumm, wood carving -
I tried to make friends but it didn't like me -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-11-3.jpg[/img]
Back at the hotel we change into our gear and meet up in the parking lot to get the bikes ready for the day. This is precisely when I find out that my ipod shuffle must've gotten wet the night before so it died. So much for that 7hr playlist I spent so time putting together
. Little did I know that this was only the first tragedy to befall our little group...
As Jake gets ready to lube his chain we notice that his sprocket isn't looking too good. In fact, it's missing teeth -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-9-4.jpg[/img]
It was decided that it might ok and last the weekend if he takes it easy, rides conservatively, and oh, perhaps the chain should be tighten up a bit. See, Jake was convinced that you can tighten the chain on his bike w/o having to loosen the axle nut. Opting not to listen my suggestion, he tries to tighten the chain via the chainadjusters. This little charade had us sitting in the hotel parking lot for more than 30 minutes already. Meanwhile, the sun has broken out and it's turning into a gorgeous day. In the meantime, we also notice the Dizzle's front tire has some very irregular wear (as in the whole left side is missing, and it's also cracking from age). Again, we decide that it'll be ok as long as he takes it very easy and not push the bike too hard.
Tire not pretty-
Wet bikes -
Jake finally realizes that he can't tighten the chain with just the chainadjusters, we then roll out to the auto parts store for a 36mm socket and a 1/2 drive breaker bar so that the chain can be adjusted properly. Tools purchased, chain tightened up, we're ready to roll...
Yet another parking lot view, this time waiting outside the auto parts store -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1791.jpg[/img]
Proper tools in hand, Jake get to work -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1792.jpg[/img]
Dizzle's thinking - "I hope this works, cause it doesn't look too good". Cru's thinking "I hope this works cause it doesn't look too good" -
Me sitting down waiting thinking "I hope this works cause it doesn't look too good, we've been in this parking lot for so long already
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-8-4.jpg[/img]
As it turns out, the reason why all the sprocket's teeth were getting sheered off was because the rear axle nut was LOOSE and Jake rode the bike 300+ miles the night before like that. Stupid is as stupid does as they say. Folks, I don't know what you guys do before you go out on a ride but if you ride as much as I do you should do like I do... check all the nuts and bolts for torque, inspect your drivetrain and tires for any signs of wear, check your brake pads and lines to see all is working as it should, afterall, it's your life on the line whenever you touch your bike.
After all the shenanignas, mom jokes, and technical mishaps, it's already part 1pm and the daylight for our planned 430 miles in fading fast already. Once we roll out of the parking lot we head through town at a snail's pace because according to Jake, "there are only cops in town. once you leave town you don't have to worry about it." See, I normally never ride w/o my radar detector but my HARD heads up display had been on the fritz so I've been using an led visual aid that is very hard to see in the day time so I can't tell when the detector goes off. After a short 10 minute ride through town, I make a right turn onto our first twisty road of the day... YAY!!!
8 miles and many sexy turns later I notice than the rest of the group is lagging behind. I also notice that the road we're on is also about to end so I slow down to let the group catch up. As soon as I round the last righthander I see popo about 100 yards up road and parked off to the side. I think nothing of it since I already slowed down before I came around the corner. 1/2 mile left to go and I stop at the next intersection, I look in my rear view only to see the red and blue lights of the man following us. I curse myself, I curse the popo and proceed to shut off the bike, take off my helmet and wait for what I know is about to come...
As it turns out, the guy's is an ex rider and is sympathetic to our cause. He had me at 61 mph (speed limit was 55mph), Cru at 62 mph and the rest of the group around the same speed. Pat however was clocked at 72mph! The popo was kind enough to forgive the rest of us but unfortunately for Pat, he wasn't so lucky, he got the only ticket. Sorry Pat! As I said, the trooper was pretty cool letting the rest of us off like that. He even gave us route advice about where to find some good twisty roads and also suggested dining and movie options for later that night.
"Why bother with the radar detector, there's no cops outside town" - Jake's now infamous Adirondack advice
Dizzle's first run in with the law, unfortunately it wasn't Pat's first time -
That was our first 20 minutes of riding.
With, the first loop completed, we head back into town to gas up before the next loop. This is when I find out that the gps doesn't like being routed with multiple intersecting loops, basically it got confused and kept sending us bac kto the end of the loop which was very frustrating. IO gave up trying to navigate with it so I headed back to the hotel. We flipped and flopped about what to do while we gained more of an intimate knowledge of the hotel parking lot -
me taking a well deserved break -
After a few quick bathroom breaks we decide to just wing it and see what kind of roads we find. After puttering around for a while we managed to find some really good roads to ride (we meaning me
), along with some amazing scenery. At this point the day was already pretty much shot because it was so late already so I kept on stopping to take in the sights, a very un"Usual Suspect" type of ride.
Whiteface Mountain, and no, I'm not talking about Pat, that would be racist.
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1802.jpg[/img]
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1805.jpg[/img]
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1806.jpg[/img]
We get back to the hotel and call it quits for the day. We plan on some much needed rest and a nice dinner out. On par with the rest of this trip, those plans didn't work out either. Why? Because we discover that Jake rear sprocket has lost even more teeth and he's down to only 13 yup 13 teeth. Instead on "taking it easy" like he said he was, he rode the bike like normal which meant right up Cru's rear wheel. Now he rendered his bike completely unrideable, plans had to be made to get him and the bike home so that meant hours on phone and internet trying to find a shop that was open and might have the parts to help him. The few shops that we did manage to find told us that they don't work on european bikes and don't stock the parts.
As a last resort Jake posts up here on the DML asking for help (see the EMERGENCY thread), and I post up on advrider also looking for help. Not expecting any help at all (because we were in the boondocks and there are hardly any Ducs out there compared to other makes), Jake reserved a one way rental from Uhaul for A LOT of money.
20 minutes roll by and I check my pm's on advrider out of sheer boredom (there's only so much Spkie tv one can watch), when low and behold I have a pm from someone saying that believe it or not, they have a sprocket for Jake and they're not too far away!!! Will the wonders on the nice people and the internet never cease?! I pm the guy back with our contact info and after speaking to him we make plans to meet up the next day at his house to repair the bike there.
While it's true that meant we had to abandon the route I had planned for the return trip home (through northern VT, NH, ME, MA, CT), at least Jake's bike would get sorted and he could ride home with the crew. He also wouldn't have to spend the coin on the Uhaul rental back to Bklyn, he'd only have to rent it for ~100 miles to guys house in the western edge of the Adirondacks which was only around $150. The other consolation was that we would get to hit some really great roads that I know around Albany and the northern Catskills instead of the New England tour I had planned so it wasn't too bad at all.
All the plans for the next day made, we set out for a good meal and drinks at the restaurant next door. We're all pretty amazed that someone out there was willing to help complete strangers and that he actually had the exact art we needed!
Cool steel mariachi band at the Pace where we ate -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-5-8.jpg[/img]
We were all pretty tired that night after a long day, most of it not spent riding. More crappy tv and more loud snoring, I didn't get to sleep until around 4am.
I wake Sunday morning to rainy skies and a splitting headache mostly from not being able to sleep due to the snoring. In retrospect, 5 dudes pakced into a single room isn't a great idea.
Ah tragedy let's see... Me? Check. Pat? Check? Jake? Check. Tragedy was about to strike Cru... at some point during the night Cru receives an urgent phone call from the wife demanding that he come home ASAP. Apparently she went on a bender the night before and relieved herself of her wallet and house keys leaving her locked out, drunk, and penniless. What did that mean for Cru? A morning on the phone with wifey, the credit card companies and the locksmith. Sheesh. What else can happen on this trip?!
Having experienced the crappy breakfast the day before, we opted to go to the golden arches for a nice greasey breakfast... this was by far the worst food weekend ever!
A pensive Dizzle
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-7-6.jpg[/img]
The "whip" still reaches Cru even from 300 miles away...
After a long morning of bad food, bad coffee, and phone calls, Jake leaves to pick up the Uhaul but is as usual hours late. We're at the point of having to check out of the hotel and we're supposed to be at the guys house to repair the bike by noon and it's more than 100 miles away in the wrong direction... it's already 11:30 and Jake's not back at the hotel yet.
He finally arrives and we find out that he failed to heed our advice to buy tie downs for transporting the bike in the truck. What did he use instead? Yup, you guessed it... twine -
[Insert head slapping emoticon here]
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1810.jpg[/img]
Next stop? Take a wild guess... yup the auto parts store. Again. What did that mean for the rest of us? Take a wild guess... yup, more hanging in a parking lot...
Tie downs purchased, bike properly deposited in the truck, we're finally off the the guys house...
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-3-10.jpg[/img]
As I mentioned above, we were supposed to get to the guys house at noon so that we would have plenty of time to ride afterward. What time did we get to his house? 5pm, good times huh?
The guy, his name was Chuck was great. He was kind enough to open up his house to us, use his tools and stand, and give
Jake the sprocket. Unbelievable right?
All however was not well... the theme of the weekend. See, Jake's bike runs a 520 chain and sprocket set up. This was a conversion by the original owner. The sprocket that Chuck had for us? It was the oem 525 [Insert head banging emoticon here]. They put it on anyway to see if it would work. It didn't.
Look, 13 teeth!
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1816.jpg[/img]
A close up -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1819.jpg[/img]
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1813.jpg[/img]
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1817.jpg[/img]
520 and 525 don't get along -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-2-12.jpg[/img]
What did that mean for Jake? Si, Uhaul all the way home. Oh well, that what happens when you don't check over your bike. In the mean time, Cru's starting to get anxious cause he's starting to feel and hear the crack of the whip so uses the excuse of "getting home sooner" via riding in the truck with Jake rather than finishing the ride with the rest of us. Talk about leaving your boys hanging... truth be told, he was just tired and lazy and didn't want to have to ride the 350 SLAB miles home that we now faced because it was too late to get to any of the twistys I planned for that morning. Not to mention the fact that he didn't want to square off his already squared off tire by slabbing all the way home like the rest of us had to.
Chuck was kind enough to give those guys more tie downs for Alan's bike. He was an all around awesome guy and didn't except any money for anything, the sprocket, the tie downs, or the use of his space and tools, or his time.
Cru riding up the ramp of the truck -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-1-14.jpg[/img]
Jake and Chuck. Thanks so much for the hospitality Chuck!
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/photo-28.jpg[/img]
By the time we left the sun was already setting and we were still 1.5 hours north of Utica NY. The ride home was uneventful, cold, and boring. Jake and Cru didn't come along along for the ride, the went their own way since they were in the truck. Since it was night time I was able to see the HUD for the radar detector and it worked wonders for us. There were 3 gas stops which meant 3 more rounds of bad gas station food.
Dizzle split from Pat and I when we reached 84 to go visit his parents in CT. From there I was too tired and frustrated to keep up with the civil pace, suffice it to say Pat and I got back to Bklyn from Newburgh in well under and hour.
And then there were 3 -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1829.jpg[/img]
Overall, this weekend turned out to be more about hanging with and helping out friends rather than riding and despite all the tragedies that we all suffered (my ipod, Pat's ticket, Cru's wife, Jake's bike, Diz's tires), I still had a great time.
I've said it before and I'll say it again... I'm lucky to have such a great group of folks to ride with, I couldn't have picked a better group if I tired. I'm not sure what the rest of the NYMMC think of me and the guys but for some reason I don't think we leave a very good impression since nobody else wants to come out with us. Be assured that we're all great folks and we don't leave another hanging as this post will attest. See, we could've just let Jake take the Uhaul back to Bklyn in the first place but instead we tried to salvage his ride and in the process sacrificed our own. To me, that's what this whole motorcycling thing is about (another reason why you shouldn't quit it Tommy). We ride very safe (99% of the time), but fast and are a great mix of easy going folks.
Lastly, I'm gonna miss Pat's quiet kindness and laughter this summer but at least I'll still have the rest of the guys around me.
Til next time folks.
ps - If you're reading this Marissa, SORRY, it was written in fun.
pps- Chicken tenders, pizza, and coffee from gas stations makes your bowels do funny things.
Random pics -
The long distance set up -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1790.jpg[/img]
An artsy 955i -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1794.jpg[/img]
Look at that shine!
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1796.jpg[/img]
Chuck's scoot -
[img width=600 height=450]http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a335/darkside2323/CIMG1812.jpg[/img]