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Old 07-29-2011, 04:07 PM   #1
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One rider, three bikes, and four routes through the ADK

I had a lot to do in the past month. Inmate 4power and I had been in a deal on a '95 BMW K75 that had been brewing since the previous fall. His trailer shat the bed in the fall, then it snowed, then he had an off and gimped around for a bit. We finally got our mutual acts together so I could pick up the K bike. 4power could get the remaining hundred I owed him. Life was unfolding as it should.

The big issue was how to make six trips from northeastern Vermont to the Catskills without burning a truckload of fuel and falling asleep at the wheel. Man, I hate driving. On the bikes, I feel alive and aware. In the car or the van, I get drowsy and wish the trip was done.

I needed to pick up a bike, drop off my son at his Grandmother's, pick up my son at my Mum's, and get back to the Kingdom with 2200 miles in Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Provinces between.

A little figuring later, I developed the following theory: I'd ride a bike to Mum's, leave it in the barn, ride the other bike back, bring #1 son to Mum's in the van with a trailer behind, ride the second bike back, and take yet another bike on the return run to be strapped on the trailer. This reduced the number of cage trips to two, and gave me 1200 miles through the 'DAKS on four different lines.

I've lived within seventy miles of the Adirondacks for most of my adult life, but had limited contact with those mountains. I was pulled north and east rather than west. There was something that rankled in NY, honestly. I was about to get over it.

I'd spent two years and a relatively minor amount of cash getting '79 Suzuki GS850G "Warchild" roadworthy. I'd bought two, and pieced a great machine from them. A local fellow painted the bike with four coats of clear for $250. The bike ran well and looked good particularly with a custom seat. I was happy to be on the old Suz. Dead reliable, roller bearing big end, smooth, great brakes, and just so darn old-school and comfy. There's a slot between 65 and 80 where this sucker purrs. It takes ten full minutes to warm up the four Mikunis, but once in the groove 'deys nuttin' like it kid.

Stopped to pee at the head of Champlain. Warchild glistened like a diamond by the crapper in fresh hi-viz lime yellow-green.



Yeah, I can kick this bike. What you got?
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Canuman screwed with this post 07-29-2011 at 05:04 PM
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:23 PM   #2
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This was the first route. I'd been wanting to check out the abandoned iron mines at Lyon Mountain, NY since I read a ride report by inmate MZCountryBoy (sp?) last year.



From the Kingdom, I skirted the border, crossed at Rouse's Point, and went west. Vermont roads are frankly battered, but things improved in The Empire State. There was one very rough patch on a secondary connector near Lyon Mountain, but the old Suz sucked it up, even though the rear dampers are original and old enough to have a second mortgage. My route took me over unpaved VT 58. I was pleased that this old horse was as stable and relaxed on gravel as on tarmac. It's a standard motorcycle. It's supposed to do it all.
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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I'm into the post-modern age, so I was really interested in seeing how the once-prosperous town of Lyon Mountain was doing with no means of support. The mine structures that supported the place are visible all over. The houses were surprisingly tidy. I pulled off on a left turn, and rode over a huge pile of iron sand. There were these two dark, satanic mills to my left and right.

This was some sort of processing facility, I think. It's been abandoned for the bulk of my life, but stone still stands on stone.



On the other side was the "lift house," which housed enormous gantry cranes used in maintaining mine equipment. I'd verified this through an old photo. The place was very still and a little scary until I met a crowd of locals off for an evening walk. The old buildings and machinery were commonplace to them.

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Old 07-29-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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A good road but not a great one connects Lyon Mountain and Tupper Lake. It's very pleasant, and the surface is fine, but there's a sameness about it. After a certain point, one spruce looks pretty much like another. It reminded me of many of the roads in northern Maine, where there should have been a better view somewhere.

I stopped at Tupper Lake, fabled in story and song. In the past, this was a hard-drinking, booze-fighting logger haven. Now, they are begging for another tourist from Manhattan. The north side of the lake was bog and lifting fog.

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Old 07-29-2011, 05:57 PM   #5
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South of Tupper Lake, 30 drops its mild character and puts on spiked boots, two red flannel shirts, and dares you to come on. What a hoot! If you are busy looking at the mountains, you'll end up in flames somewhere in a ravine. It's difficult not to look. Eventually, the park ends at Great Sacandaga Lake, and 30 winds through some rich farming country that is no less fun to ride. The 15 mph sign in Scotch Bush, NY is serious. It's not for you. You can negotiate the curve at 40+. It's for the pick-up taking your lane on the inside.

The GS850 rolled over the mountain, and into the dairy barn at mum's under a canvas. I'll ride the K75 back.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:19 PM   #6
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I've purchased several bikes from inmates. The good things about this are: 1. Inmates generally ride their machines, so you are buying a bike, not a wet-dream. 2. There's little of the crap that goes in on Craigslist, for example. If something is broken, it is disclosed. If something works well, you're told.

$2800 for a low-miles K75 is pretty good in my book. I like the K75s. They represent a period in BMW evolution that is modern enough, but avoids the somewhat freakish styling of later bikes. I love the German products, believe me, but can't get around the looks of the new models. I think this looks good.



Jeremy, the seller, trailered the Brick half-way between my place and his. He took an opportunity to spent a little father-daughter time with Eve, his 11 year-old. Glad the butterfly conservatory suited the father-daughter program. Great meeting you both.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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One doesn't fall immediately in love with a K bike. It's a serious and guarded relationship. The K75 is a bit stodgy and a little stiff in the turns, particularly after riding something more modern. The monoshock could be better, and the front forks are old-school. However, the engine is superb. It's smooth, once one gets over the Hoover-on-steroids sound. The powerband is gutty and very linear. You'll rarely twist it on and not find more there when asked.

My only objection to this bike was the optional low seat. Most BMW factory riders are nordic giants, and tall stock seats reflect that. I can't ride for long in a sport-bike crouch because of a damaged knee, which the short seat didn't help. 350 miles was torture. The issue was soon fixed.

My return route was up 30, then east on 8 and over Champlain at Crown Point. 30, as I've said, is great. 8 is great also, though not so smooth. It's a wonderfully pretty road, though, following rivers. I stopped for gas in Chestertown NY and tried to poke my head in at Adirondack Ural. They were closed that time, and the subsequent two times I stopped. I guess one has to make an appointment.

The route:

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Old 07-30-2011, 04:23 AM   #8
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Through Ticonderoga, NY and onward to Crown Point is a pleasant ride through farm country. It's worth a stop at the park at Crown Point, a Revolutionary-era fort. Because of heavy spring rains, parts of the lake shore were still submerged.



There is a free ferry across Champlain, as the old Crown Point Bridge failed and is being replaced. The old bridge was a beautiful arched structure. I'm glad to see that it's being replaced with something appropriate.



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Old 07-30-2011, 04:37 AM   #9
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After a short jaunt northward, one connects with SR17. The western part of 17 is pretty much like any rural Vermont road. After Bristol, things get serious. 17 winds over the spine of the Greens and through the Appalachian Gap, gaining over 2000 feet in elevation in under ten twisting miles. It's an irrational place to put a road, to be sure, but what a ride.



If you're doing things right, you'll be using all of your tire.

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Old 07-30-2011, 05:08 AM   #10
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There are only so many roads between points A and B. I loaded #1 son into the van with trailer behind, and dropped him at Mum's. The next morning, I was once again astride my classic Suzuki. Much of the route replicated previous sections, but I was fortunate to be able to sample NY 10 between Palatine Bridge and Piseco. This 42-mile stretch passes through country as wild as one will find in the east. It was one of my favorite routes thus far.

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Old 07-30-2011, 08:10 AM   #11
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I'd thought to take the Bimmer back to Mum's, but the front tire was dangerously thin after 2200 Canadian miles and another 500ish through NY and around Vermont. That's ok. I've got bikes. Inmate RunLongVT traded me a heavily-farkled DL650 "Weestrom" for two airheads earlier this year. I really enjoy this bike. The only thing that kept me from riding it to Canada was its somewhat deviant behavior in cross-winds. It corners like a dream and is comfy and plenty fast enough for a reasonable person. The gixxer front brakes came in handy more than once.

Winding my way through Cambridge and Fairfax, VT, I boarded the ferry on the Lake Champlain Islands. Dunno why, I just like riding the ferry.

It was pretty and breezy out on the lake. The sailboats were enjoying the fresh breeze.



Brisk traffic both ways on the lake:



The ferry dock on Cumberland Head, NY:

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Old 07-30-2011, 11:03 AM   #12
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After a fruitless search for a Tim Horton's in Plattsburg (it's at SUNY and was closed for the summer) I followed US 9 south toward Schroon Lake. 9 was filled with both US and Canadian bikes. It's easy to see why. Its very scenic and an excellent ride. In a few places, I found myself exceeding the speed limit slightly -- by 30 mph or so. You were right, Paul, that Vstrom will sneak up on you.

ADVstrom:



Lots of this on US 9. Tasty:



Back across 8, and a short granola bar stop by the shores of Great Sacandaga Lake:



In my recent trip to Atlantic Canada, I discovered a sinister facet of the Canadian Plan for World Domination (Google it!). They are attempting to get the world addicted to evil substances "coffee" and "glazed sour cream donuts" through Tim Horton's, a seemingly innocuous cafe chain. It's actually a facade for the CWDF. (That's Canadian World Domination Front.)

Their evil sign has infiltrated Amsterdam, NY:



As much as I tried to resist, I was weak:

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Canuman screwed with this post 07-30-2011 at 04:56 PM
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Old 07-30-2011, 12:13 PM   #13
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The last day looked like this:



Something you'll rarely see -- the ADVstrom strapped down.



Read the warning:

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Old 07-30-2011, 01:39 PM   #14
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Many people I speak to see motorcycling as recreation, not transport. Yes, it is wicked good fun, but also increasingly practical with rising fuel prices. If I'd taken the van on three out-and-backs to my mother's place, I'd have been bored out of my skull, burned twice the gas, and not experienced the Adirondacks nearly as intimately as I did. I drove through these mountains several times previously, and really didn't enjoy them. It was a very different trip astride the bike. This fall, I'd like to take three or four days and push further west, perhaps returning through the Thousand Islands on the Canadian side.

This was the first time I'd towed any of my bikes behind the van. I barely noticed the additional weight, and the van didn't either. There was almost no difference in fuel mileage. Now this gives me an idea -- in late Feb or early March, when the weather is crappy here, I'm going to strap that sucker behind the van and head somewhere for a little warmth and two wheel fun.
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