Posts Tagged ‘Harley Davidson’

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The trip from Elmira to Ithaca took us over roads new to me. We drove west bound on Rt 17 / I-86 for a few miles and exited at Route 13 to head north.

Forty five minutes later we came to a four corners in the Cayuta Creek valley, where Rt. 224 crosses Rt. 13. Ithaca Harley Davidson is located on the west side of Rt. 13, on the east side is a small truck stop. The dealership was closed for the holiday but we pulled in at the truck stop for water.

2009 HOG ABCs of Touring ContestIthaca

The late afternoon ride from Newfield into Ithaca was gorgeous. The trees still had their full green, as we passed Robert Treman State Park and down shifted for the descent into Ithaca. We were looking for our “I” and time was winding on, so we passed by Buttermilk Falls State Park without stopping. That’s on my list for a day trip, however.

Unlike many Western and Southern Tier New York communities, which have fallen on hard times with the decline of family farms and New York’s infamous state and property taxes, Ithaca is thriving by comparison. I have never visited Ithaca before (another of those places that I knew I’d get around to some day) and expected a college town, but small city would be a more apt description. Very hilly too.

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We took a few wrong turns looking for an official “I” sign, and wound up and down the hills in the city near Cornell. They must be great fun to drive in the winter!

I stopped to check Google Maps on my Blackberry, still trying to locate an official sign, and we wound our way through downtown again. Still not seeing a sign, and detoured by construction, we decided to leave town and head further north to the Ithaca / Tompkins County Airport, where, finally, we found our photo.

Tully

After a nutritious McDonalds dinner, we headed for Cortland to pick up I-81 toward Syracuse. The drive through the farm country, as the sun was working its way toward the western horizon, was absolutely Tully, NY Post Officegorgeous.

We exited I-81 at Tully, just south of Syracuse, as the sun was starting to set. Just past the Best Western where we would spend the night, we found our “T” at the Tully Post Office.

The Best Western was a bit on the no frills side for the price, but the beds were comfortable and we slept well. The complimentary breakfast of bagels and pre-packaged sandwiches was digestible, but the fruit was fresh and the coffee OK.

Route 20, Homeward Bound

Rather than take interstates home, we ducked under I-81 and followed Rt. 11A up to US-20. Route 20 parallels the NY State Thruway across New York. I’ve always found it ironic that while I-90 is one of the most boring drives through Western NY, but just a few miles to the south, US-20 is a scenic delight, especially the stretch from Bridgewater through the Finger Lakes. 2009 HOG ABCs of Touring Contest

After a stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts near Seneca Falls for some real coffee (and to warm numb fingers), we continued to Canandaigua, then north on Rt. 96. By now the sun had warmed up the air, and we stopped at the Victor Fire Department for our final photo-op of the trip.

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A “Hog” is slang for a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Legend has it that a race team in the 1920s used to carry a piglet as a mascot. When a member of the team won a race, he’d do a victory lap with the piglet, and folks took to calling them “hog riders.”

A “Fatboy” is the classic Harley Davidson cruiser, part of the “Soft tail” family of motorcycles. Early Harleys were known as “hard tails” for their lack of rear suspension and rigid frame. The “Soft tail” line was introduced to resurrect that classic Harley look, but it has a rear suspension hidden underneath the bike.

My first three vehicles were motorcycles. I learned to ride in the fields on the farm where I grew up. When I got my driver’s license, a Honda in the 300 to 550 CC range could be purchased for a few hundred dollars in good used condition. They cost very little to insure. So I learned to eat bugs and dodge rain drops, wore a big orange insulated suit in extreme cold, and I got around on two wheels for 8 to 10 months of the year.

After I started my family I decided to play it safe, sell the bike, settle down. I missed riding and the relaxation it brought, but life was busy between school and work and kids and Little League.

When gas prices hit $4.20 a gallon in 2008, I started looking at bikes again. Here in NY we pay primo gas taxes—the same day 87 octane was $4.20 here, it was $3.36 in Springfield, MO. My wife will tell you that’s my excuse for a mid-life crisis. I tried a bunch of Sportsters but found them uncomfortable. Then this great looking used Fatboy showed up at Stan’s Harley Davidson in Batavia. Three days later I owned it.

My youngest daughter, I learned, harbored a secret love for motorcycles. Every time I tried a bike, she’d hop on behind me and let me know how the seat felt. So she was ecstatic when I bought the Fatboy for, in her words: “Dad, this is nice.”

So we started touring around together on the bike, taking photos of the places we visited, and I got to thinking it might be fun to blog about small town America.

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