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Confessions Of An AmericadeVirgin S unday dawned cloudy and damp as my partner, Kerri, our friend Gina, and I set off on our maiden voyage to Americade. Everyone I knew that had been to Americade told me how much fun it was: the scenery, the great roads around the lake, the people, the vendors ... I had been looking forward to this for a year, ever since 1 had to cancel last year's planned excursion due to a broken foot. I was warned that cloudy, rainy weather is the norm for Americade in June. It might say summer on the calendar, but Mother Nature doesn't always agree with the printed word. A little rain would not deter me; after all, I'm a hardy New Englander! (Note to self, hardy New Englander attitude be dammed. Put on the rain gear the minute you see clouds.)

was freezing. Then it dawned on me that 1 had a ThermalCare wrap in my saddlebag. These things are meant for back pain, but they also make great body warmers for those of us too stubborn or stupid to buy heated vests. Back on the road, warmer and happier, we headed onto Route 9 for the trip back to Lake George Village, stopping along the way at a Ural dealership. By the time we reached Lake George the rain was coming down hard. I was fine, but my boots were completely water-logged. (Note to self III: Water resistant and waterproof do not mean the same thing.)

Getting There

A New Pair Of Shoes

We traveled from Massachusetts on Route 119 into Brattleboro, Vermont, for lunch and then followed Route 30 through Vermont, hooking onto Route 149 into upstate New York. We wanted as much scenery as possible on this ride, but the rain became steadier and the desire for great photo ops diminished. There would be plenty of time for scenery later. We got into Lake George Village in the early evening and checked out the surroundings and the bikes, which were already amassing in great numbers. I was struck by the variety. Gold Wings and Harley baggers, Hondas like my own Shadow ACE, trikes, sportbikes, even a vintage Matchless. There was no posturing here, no pretend outlaws or sportbike/craiser/bagger prejudices, just a lot of cool people having a good time. We had dinner and headed back to our hotel, eagerly anticipating a ride around the lake the following day. Monday dawned cloudy and damp and cold. Attired in rain gear from the start this time, we set off up Route 9N through the Tongue Mountain Range towards Ticonderoga, a downhill slope with a series of sharp S curves that left me momentarily frazzled. (Note to self II: Practice those rider safety course lessons about low-speed cornering whenever possible!) As we turned onto Route 74, towards Schroon Lake, the skies became cloudier, and the wind picked up. I

Tuesday dawned cloudy but not damp. We headed to the vendor area with me wearing sneakers that I was not comfortable riding in and which would be replaced with proper riding boots as soon as possible. Rows of tents bearing every motorcycle accessory available lay before us. You could even get your bike painted, pinstriped, or turned into a trike. Normally I start salivating at these types of things, credit card at the ready, seeking out whatever chrome-plated dodad, helmet, or leather accessory I can find; but this time I was focused solely on boots. I eventually found a pair of Tour Masters marked waterproof. No need to tell me twice. They were on my feet, and we were on our way. We got back on the bikes and headed toward Saratoga Springs to see the motorcycle exhibit at the Saratoga Automobile Museum. We parked in an enclosed garage just as the thunderclaps and lightning began and rain came down in buckets. The exhibit was wonderful, with replicas of the Captain America chopper and Billy Bike from Easy Rider, one of Elvis Presley's Harleys, and my favorite, the last bike owned by Dot Robinson, co-founder of the Motor Maids. It was a pink Harley bagger with "Dot" painted on the front fairing and "Earl," her husband's name, emblazoned proudly on the sidecar. Wednesday, our last day at Americade, dawned sunny but chilly. We made another trip around the village to see more of the bikes and the wares before we headed home on another back-road trip, this time down 149 to Route 22. Rain gear was unnecessary, but extra layers were a plus in the cold. The trip home was spent in pleasant riding and contemplation. Despite the weather, Americade was \ worth it: great scenery, friendly people, and roads meant to be ridden. (Final note to self: Take more time off from work, bring extra rain gear, layer up, and get back to Americade next year!) — Lisa A. Dunn

Americade Article  

Maiden voyage to Americade. Published in Road Bike Jan 2008

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