Finger Lakes trip to NY (2011)
Lauren and I took off together for a nice vacation to northern New York on a sunny May morning. Around 7, the weather hovered in the low 70s as we merged onto 495 to escape the city. Unfortunately, two complete closures of the inner loop delayed our departure as we sat in traffic, engine off, naming all the car brands back and forth A-Z.
Once reopened, we enjoyed a brisk ride up 495 to 270 exiting in Frederick, MD and heading north along 15 toward PA. We made a side excursion to explore Cunningham Falls once more. I had made a visit in a past trip to Reading, PA but arrived before they opened.
This beautiful trout stream along the road deserved a stop to breathe in the fresh morning air and relaxation soon to come.
Obligatory AM flower shot
Say hello to my little friend :sweeti
Up to Cunningham Falls, we walked around the lake and snapped a few pics
Beautiful morning for a short hike to the falls as the evening rains evaporate around us.
A little geologic information about the mountain
Finally reaching the falls, the water was sort of low but at least it was flowing :D
Hello Mr. No Shoulders :eek1
Did I mention this beauty also enjoys taking pictures? Expect a few of hers added below :D
Very nice - almost stepped on ya!
From here we made it to the border of Pennsylvania and pulled in to a McDonalds for a quick bite to eat (her first trip ever to a McD breakfast). To my surprise, I spy an identical 2001 GS and park alongside it.
The rider was inside and also was wearing a faded red stich' which only made things even more interesting. Wonder if I'll be back here one day?
From here we made the short trip up to Gettysburg for a brief ride through the battlefield together.
"Hey hun, do you want to go climb that?"
"Sure, let me take off my gear!"
Whoa check out the view to the west. That is Eisenhower's family farm!
The last time I climbed this was age 12 in Boy Scouts. Sorta neat to be back.
From here we rode west into the mountains to get lost and explore in the general direction of North. Lauren couldn't quite make out what this sign meant. I imagine they have a bit of snow up here in the winter :nod
The sky looked quite ominous as we rolled through Carlyle but somehow we managed to stay in a pocket of sunshine. I think I'll keep her along in the future as a good luck charm.
Then we came upon this scenic covered bridge! What a pleasant surprise and great place to take a break.
A view down the river:
From here we rode across the Susquehanna to the eastern bank and explored the less traveled side of the river for the better part of an hour. Eventually we passed back over and returned to the more busy side where we spotted a drive-in movie theater deserving of some exploration.
Lauren took some more shots as we rode through so expect to see those too. I was too busy not crashing. I'm trying to do more of that recently. Good plan.
Now we pull the :cromag and take a stop to consult the GPS(s)
Maybe I'll just take pictures instead. Good plan.
We rode through scenic mountain roads northward until the sky became ominous ahead. This mountain view greeted us as we crested into the town of Williamsport, PA
Descending into town, we both decided this would be a neat place to spend the night as thunderstorms seemed to be all around us and the hour growing late.
"Wow that's a cool mural!", Lauren exclaimed.
"Yeah!" I said roaring past it in a blur of carelessness. I circled the town once more in search of a restaurant when I finally listened to that wise voice behind me and pulled in to investigate.
OH!!! What a great idea!
The Bullfrog Brewery was just what we needed! They had live music, great food and beer. We will certainly be staying in Williamsport tonight!
I enjoyed some kind of Beef Ale Stew while Lauren enjoyed the Philly Cheese Steak with sweet potato fries (I ate half...NOM)
While ordering, a guy walked up and introduced himself then asked what kind of bike I was riding? Turns out he is a fellow GS rider and said it was rather rare in PA to come across wandering GS riders...usually 'merican muscle and little else. We exchanged information and he was kind enough to share routes and places to visit via a late-night email later on. Thanks random GS dude! I'll fwd. this along to you :wave
After lingering around and allowing the shower to pass, we rode aimlessly around the town forever contemplating the best place to stay. Eventually, we settled on the Holiday Inn Express just so we could later remark "I don't know but I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night". Okay...just so "I" could later remark...have to be clear here.
Gear unpacked, we returned on foot to the Bullfrog for more beers and live entertainment.
Settling in, I see a BMW pass by outside the window...NO SHIT! It is a Maccao Yellow 95' R1100RS IDENTICAL to one I recently sold. The rider had just removed his helmet out front as I came up and started jabbering on with him. I have never seen one like it and was in shock. Too cool! He later came over and chatted with Lauren and I and introduced us to a fellow cartographer in the bar. Great night out and a great relaxing end to the first day!
We awoke the following morning and enjoyed the continental breakfast to the fullest then rolled out following the suggestion from the GS rider's email. What a great route!!!
His first recommended stop was Cohick's Trading Post
While hopping off, we caught the attention of this gruff trucker who told me a bit about the joint and pointed out the cool old baths once operated out back.
I apparently don't have a pic but Lauren does...so she will post it shortly. This beautiful house was located beside it.
The back attic entry to the trading post and a very old spider web
The Old Timer's sitting out front. That is how you know it is genuine!
Let's go inside!
They have EVERYTHING! I get my love for these old trading post from my father.
Well how do you do?
I like the "sold" tag
A back garage/barn near the property
From here we explored along Rt 973 to 44 which followed this picturesque river. I felt like I was back in WV. Swoon
Small waterfalls cascaded along the roadside as we blurred past.
Oh my! A dirt road...sorta going in the same direction as the paved road. No brainer.
SOOOOOO Worth it!
and idea of scale:
All I can say about these roads in the Susquehannock and Tioga State Forest is WOW
The following action shots are courtesy of Lauren once her camera battery died. Fortunately she was able to capture some AWESOME video from these roads.
This area is known as the PA Grand Canyon. It sure is beautiful but Grand Canyon it is not.
This one road proceeded to get more and more slippery.
I didn't want to risk any limbs on the ascent so decided to take my chances going straight. It wound up being a much faster stretch of dirt up and over a mountain towards Rt. 6
Emerging from hours of shit-eating-grins in the forest, we explored some of the surrounding farmland on our way to finding petrol.
Fueling up I saw two interesting sights.
A Live Bait vending machine:
A gorgeous MG TD
The recent flooding in this area is evident in the foreground while the antique steam locomotive sat chugging in the distance.
Getting closer to NY
I love this shot! Wide open roads and a cool breeze.
We made it!
Thank you GPS!!! More dirt roads courtesy of "Shortest Distance - Avoid Highways"
Followed by the largest Chirstmas Tree Farm I have ever seen!
Long trains abound around Corning (home of the famous Corning Glass Works)
Here we are getting closer to the Seneca Lake valley ahead
Welcoming all farm traffic...behind us.
Cruising into downtown Watkins Glen (more pics the following day)
The view alongside the Lake Rd was to-die-for
More wineries than you could shake a stick at.
Five miles from our destination, the skies opened up but we were all smiles checking in and unloading our gear. Ahhhhh time to relax.
The Belhurst Castle was absolutely picturesque but I won't bore you with "vacation" shots...er I will try not to.
Bar view on the lake after the storm
Food Porn beware!!!
Underwhelming sunset but what a view of Geneva, NY
Morning broke in a cloudy cover but the view was still grand.
The following day, we set out to explore the surrounding region known particularly for their climate/soil ability to grow complex white grapes for Rieslings and Gewurtzraminers.
Rolling through Geneva, NY, Lauren snapped some pictures of the town's buildings and architecture:
The wind made it a great day for sailing. I bet they are out there having a blast!
This kind man walking the lake path stopped and offered to snap our picture. Thanks walking dude.
^ This is where I hopped off the bike and scared the hell out of Lauren as she thought the whole thing would collapse and fall on top of her. I should have told her I put it on the kickstand.
Rolling on the east side of the lake wishing I had brought the GPS.
So so many vineyards:
We explored a number of them but I won't go into depth boring you with the pics. They can be found here: LINK
The geology of the area lends itself to many waterfalls. It was absolutely stunning and right on the roadside!
RUN RUN RUN!
Down we rode into Watkins Glen at the south end of the lake in search of a bite to eat.
Neat little market. Lauren said it'd be cool and it sure was a great stop!
I love old floors
Just south of Watkins Glen is another waterfall along the roadside
Back to relaxation mode.
I woke around 5:15 to enjoy the morning sunrise.
It was nothing short of spectacular.
Packing up, we had one last delicious meal and set forth back to VA. This Winery deserved a visit...I mean check that out!
HOORAY! TIMER SHOT
The remainder of the trip was beautiful albeit mostly high-speed riding to cover the distance back to VA. We made it home before dark and unpacked before falling fast asleep. Over 1000 miles for the vacation and back to work for TWO DAYS until our next trip to NYC for Memorial Day Weekend. Those pics soon to follow!