Archive for August, 2010

Deluge

Posted: August 22, 2010 in I-90, rain
Tags: , , , , , ,

Is it just me, or does the Weather Channel lie like a rug?

I rode to the Albany area for the 2010 CMA NY State Rally. The ride out was uneventful, except for the speed bumps on the NY Thruway. It cost me $6.20 in tolls to ride 150 miles—you’d think for that kind of vig they could at least get the road flat.

After dark I hit a bump so bad—one of those pull-your-tailbone-out-of-your-tonsils kind of bumps—I had both wheels off the ground.  Me and the bike together weigh 1000 pounds, so this was no little crack in the pavement. Scary in the dark, because I couldn’t see it coming. You’d think, in a modern, post-industrial, socialist fantasyland like New York, where one in every seven people is a state employee, they’d have enough manpower to build a decent road. The Thruway used to be in much better condition when the ratio of state to private sector workers was much lower.

The forecast for the ride home was 60% scattered T-storms at my end-point. I warned other folks from my chapter, who were also in Albany, planning to come home later in the day, about the worsening forecast for Sunday. I headed home in the morning.

I checked with the others, the following day, to see how their trip home went. Turns out, they drove through a light sprinkle most of the way, but the sun shone on them for the last 100 miles. I experienced sun too, for the last 50 miles of my trip. The section from Syracuse to Geneva was a series of monsoons, scattered in a direct, continuous line along the Thruway. I was so soaked that by the time I reached a place to stop, there was no point. A guy towing a boat passed me by, bringing Genesis 7 to mind.

Even the cars started to slow down, as visibility was poor. That is, some cars started to slow down. The majority, it seemed, figured that was their cue to bump draft.

A little west of Geneva, I came upon two cages accordioned into the guard rail. Emergency vehicles weren’t on the scene yet, so I stopped to see if I could help. It looked pretty obvious to my non-expert eye that one vehicle, following too close, slammed into the other. It says a lot for the safety built into cars these days that though both cars looked totaled, everyone was walking about. Maybe that’s what contributes to the reckless driving—on a motorcycle there is no such thing as a fender-bender.

As strange as it may sound, I didn’t mind the weather. It all goes along with the freedom a motorcycle brings. What really made me tense was the crazy, reckless driving of the cagers under the horrible conditions.

I made it home safely, obviously, and I am grateful to God for that.

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July 22, 2010 Run to Tito's Tacos in MedinaRoad Captain Ken Goepfert did a wonderful job planning the run!

When I was 17, I took my bike out to shoot the curves and run the back roads with no particular plans. Today there are kids, meetings, schedules, deadlines. A former pastor of mine called it the “Tyranny of the Urgent.” Now, if I have a few extra minutes, I might take North Byron Road over to Elba and come down 98 to Stan’s, and congratulate myself for getting off the beaten path.

IMG00367-20100722-1814We met up at Stan’s HD on Thursday, the 22nd of July. Ken led us out  of the lot, up through Elba and then west. He was taking so many back roads that once we got west of Oakfield, I was lost.

Then Ken stopped in the middle of nowhere, across from a flower nursery. I figured something was wrong, as he pulled off the asphalt and onto the gravel shoulder. Ken made his way back, talking to each rider in turn. He started off telling me that the fellow who owns the place is a Corrections Officer, and grows day lilies. Ken elaborated that one could  browse the lilies by type, like

Map picture

a living catalog, and select the varieties desired. I was waiting for him to explain the problem, why we stopped, but soon realized it was to view the flowers. Then I thought of my wife—she’d love the place. So my next question was: “Where are we?” Turns out it was Knowlesville Road. Rings a bell—I knew I’d driven by that before.

We continued on, and came to Culvert Road, under the Erie Canal. The tunnel was cool, and we all tooted going through—the little beeps of the metrics overpowered by the horns of the Harleys.

I was really getting into the ride. We weren’t just making time to a destination, we were enjoying the trip to get there. Culvert RoadWhen Ken explained that this was the ONLY road under the Canal, it hit me that I’ve lived here 22 years, and never knew of it. One last stop before the taco stand clinched it. “The church in the middle of the road” is on the south side of 31, going into Medina. The old church was in the right of way of a newer road, but rather than destroy a historic landmark, the road splits at “Y” at the south end of the building, into two one-way lanes on either side of the  building. In effect, the church is in the median. How many times I’d driven by and never noticed.

Medina, Slowing down for a night to fellowship and take in the sights truly blessed my spirit. The food was good too. Tito’s Tacos is located on Route 31A, just east of Medina. During the summer they host cruise-ins for bikes and classic cars.