Saturday, July 22, 2017

Running out of Light, Running into Rain, Running on Empty

Up around 5am finishing off the weekends routes. Made some last minute changes that the GPS didn't like when I downloaded. I hate that when it happens. Big change was to cross the Hudson River on the Newburgh- Beacon Bridge versus the Tappan Zee in Tarrytown. Made some fixes, which the GPS accepted. Made reservations in Piscataway. We are good to go. Bike is packed and engine is running, give Crystal a kiss and say see ya on Sunday. No back roads to get started. Up RT 146 to the Mass Pike, off at Sturbridge heading into Hartford to pick up RT 44 and then RT4/44 to get me to the border of New York.

Not too far from the border is the Amenia Hairpin, which is at Best of New England (BONE on the NER website) scenic view. As I headed around the hairpin going up hill I noticed they made a cutout and a place to stop and take in the view.

Moving along I came across Lithgow, NY which I could use for the Teamstange Love and Merci Grand Tour. One great thing about the Spyder is the ability to pull over on any surface, don't have to worry about the lean of the bike on a kickstand and the easy dismount and mount to take a picture.

Pulled into Millbrook and instantly the Millbrook Diner caught my eye for the Americana Extreme tour. Pulled into the diner parking lot and positioned the Sypder for the diner and its sign for the critical camera shot. As I got off the bike, there was a gentlemen behind me and as I turned we made eye contact. "Can you spare a couple dollars ??", to which I responded, "No I can't !!. Got my picture, pulled the bike across the street, deciding it was time for breaklunch and checked my wallet for what bills I had on hand. Three Jacksons and a Washington. Pulled the dollar and walked over to the gentlemen and said I can't spare a couple of dollars, but I will give ya a buck if I can take a picture of you. What I did notice, this guy didn't seem to need money, he was clean, well dressed and probably looked a whole lot neater than I did. He agreed to the compensatory offering and sat very relaxed on the bench for the pic. As I ponder the juxtaposition of his money request and the looks, I figured he was a retired street person that found a place to live providing him with a bed and shower everyday. He did say that he was in town running errands for some folks, like buying cigarettes. I reached out my hand and said my name is Bill, which he responded I am Byron William Jenkins. We had about a 15 minute conversation, promising me that the dollar will not be used for drugs or alcohol. While the conversation overall is inconsequential, I will probably remember Byron well into my 80's. It's the little things in life they say.

The semi required food pic. Two eggs slammed over hard, corn beef hash, home fries and rye bread toast. nom nom nom.

From here on it is strickly business, grabbing Americana Extreme points and TeamStrange LOVE towns.

While I had the Millbrook Diner, fulfilling the DINER requirement (which was unscheduled) stopped at the Palace Diner in Poughkeepsie, NY anyways (scheduled). Spectacular chrome, glad I don't have to polish it. Open 24/7. I might have to come back here for a night shot, if the NEON is a prevalent as the CHROME, how could this pic be a miss.

New Windsor is the home of Orange County Bobbers, a small motorcycle shop that does custom work on bikes. I used this a stop for the Americana Extreme tour. Right around the corner is Orange County Choppers which I probably could have used instead but I think the spirit of the GLMC tour was to seek out the smaller guy. I pulled in, radio blasting some blues tune and dismounted, got the flag placed, aimed and fired away a couple of frames on the camera. As I was putting way the flag this guy comes around the trailer, sees the camera and with all rights starts questioning me on what the heck I was doing. I explained I was doing a tour for a motorcycle group out of South Dakota, showed him the flag and he seemed to loosen up abit. I introduce myself and he does the same saying his name is Bobbie. I spend about 30 minutes here while Bobbie who is a friend of the owner, showed me around. I asked him if I could take some pictures, which he seemed hesitant. I told him no problem and then he took me into the shop to show me some of the work being done. One notable work in progress was a custom Triumph being worked on, which was really nice. Couple more minutes walking thru, I gave him my email address and indicated if my picture turned out any good I would send it to them.

The picture kinds of sucks, but I might send it to them anyways.

Hit Bear Mountain State Park and the place is packed. Not a lot on street traffic, they were all picnicking, hiking, biking and other ING stuff. All of the parking areas are blocked indicated lot full. Grabbed one picture which I was not satisfied with and headed for the next stop with a sign. The entire road is blocked off with traffic cones, yellow tape and a truck with a half asleep worker in it making sure no one goes up the road on the left. Of course I pull around the cones and get the bike positioned for the shot.

The Americana Tour is looking for 2 State or National Parks per state. Right down RT 9W is Rockland Lake State Park, Quick grab and go.

That wraps the two state park limit for New York, however I targeted Tallman Mountain State Park in case the signs for Bear Mountain didn't work. You can't tell from the picture, but I almost fall down a small culvert backing up to get a more inclusive picture of the bike and sign.

After grabbing Tallman Mountain State Park, the GPS had me go right, where intuitively I felt left was the more appropriate direction on 9W. I haven't second guessed the GPS many times, never winning my sense of where I should be going over where the GPS said I should be going. I have learned to rely on it. As I am heading up 9W thru the trees and brief breaks in foliage I keep spotting the Tappan Zee Bridge off to my right. I really should have stopped to take a pic, but I didn't. I find my self heading onto I287, which I thought I had avoided, passed under a one of the new EZ Pass devices and it dawned on my I am heading over the Hudson River to Tarrytown. So how did this happen. Well I had a spot in Tarrytown that I was going to pick up for one of the tours, changed the route in Mapsource and downloaded to the GPS. Well I must have had a shaping point that I did not delete and hence the unnecessarily crossing of the Hudson and probably an extra 30 minutes of travel and $4.75 of tolls to boot.

Railroad stations are a category for the Americana Tour. This is Ridgewood New Jersey. The town dates back to 1698. Along with Johannes Van Emburgh, who built the first home in Ridgewood, Kevin Strahle better known as the L.A. Beast, is an American professional competitive eater. Think competitions like Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which I happened to see on TV recently.

Couple more pickups like a NJ Motorcycle Shop

And then the Specific Americana Extreme point "Boro of Teterboro". That was the full description. I found something that I thought was appropriate. This is the kind of place that when you mention New Jersey, everyone thinks of.

A just in case photo.

Next up is Verona for a New Jersey Diner and a LOVE town. We are right in the back yard of my hometown, West Orange.

"The TV series The Sopranos was set in the area, thus the storyline often included scenes filmed in Verona. A Verona Rescue Squad Ambulance is seen when Livia Soprano dies in the episode "Proshai, Livushka", and Livia's house was set in Verona in the series pilot. In the episode "Cold Cuts", it's established that Bobby Bacala and Janice live in Verona." Wikipedia

Next up is Vauxhall New Jersey. We are in the heart where the NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Newark Airport and US 22 all come together. It is one congested place. Everyone is in a rush and the temperament of the folks is like Chris Christie, Governor of NJ, when someone asks him a question he feels is inappropriate. He will tell you where to go and just what he thinks. Ahhh Home Sweet Home. Gotta have thick skin here, both for the showah (shore) and the talk. As I putting camera away, I feel that first drop.

Some 20 miles away is Edison New Jersey. Home to Thomas Edison's Menlo Park to grab Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower and Museum or what is also known as the World's Largest Light Bulb. The tower marks the location of Edison's Menlo Park laboratory, the world's first organized research and development site.

Having picked up the World's Largest Light Bulb my next stop is the Home of the Pirates in West Windsor, NJ. It has started to sprinkle, but not enough to put my rain jacket on, and is kinda of refreshing with the 90+ temps. Got on US RT1 South and the rain picks up a little more. The GPS indicates that I will not arrive until 8:15pm. On the fly, I reroute to the hotel which is 9 miles away. With the cloudy sky, rain picking up, running out of daylight, only one point for the Americana Extreme Tour, I simply say to myself, head for the barn. About 5 minutes away from the hotel, the rain is not longer classified as a misty, drizzly type precipitation, it is raining. Good choice on my part to forgo that Pirates. I have to say the Spyder offers far more protection from the rainy elements than any of my previous bikes. By the time I pull up to the hotel, I am not soaked, but dry isn't a word I would use either.

Settle into the hotel room, which for $89 (before fees and taxes) was really quite nice, call Crystal, text a friend for tomorrow's meetup and phone for a pizza. I wasn't going back out. Full day, good captures, all in all a good ride.

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