Craigmeur Ski Club

Motorcycle Weekend with Pat Brennan June 2009

16 Jun

It can be said that in order to enjoy the sun you have to experience the rain. Friday proved this point as we departed from the Jefferson Diner in Jefferson NJ. There were a dozen riders, some old friends and some soon to bond. As we headed out, we began to thin the herd by mile marker 30 when mechanical failure claimed it’s first victim. We continued on at a moderate pace as the rain continued to lightly fall. A rag tag collection of metric cruisers, euro sport and american iron ridden by a mutually diverse group of both men and women. Mother nature accepted our wet sacrifice of 2 plus hours in the rain and granted us a beutiful weekend that was tailor made. We arrived in Lake George and immediately spotted what we came for, lunch or was it dinner?

After some sight-seeing we headed on to what would be our home away from home for the next two nights, the Lodge. With the wine uncorked and bottle caps accumulating we began to get to know our new riding partners. The tales of rides past were told and talk of the next days ride kept everyone eagerly anticipating the dawn of a new day.

Saturday proved to be what we all hoped to see, perfect weather. As we rode route 100 north it was obvious that we would be stretching our legs a bit with some spirited mountain riding. As the roads wound through the mountains and valley’s we arrived at Smugglers Notch.  A few hairpin switchbacks to challenge our balance and test our metal.  Some more successful than others.  It was again time for what all bikers ride for, food. 30 miles from the Canadian border and who is making our food.  A chef from NJ.  Didn’t we leave on this adventure to get away from these people? As we made our way back to the Lodge, we would be foolish not to stop at Ben and Jerry’s. 200 miles later, we were treated to a fantastic dinner by Phil of roast pork, mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts. With our belly’s full we all enjoyed telling stories of our glory days and events to come.

Unfortunately, the weekend had to come to an end. We said good bye to the mountains and headed south to NJ. Riding through route 100 to route 7 and eventually through NY route 22 we began to disassemble our group of new friends and return home much the same as we had started out, looking forward to meeting new people and having another small adventure.

As we headed out early Friday morning into the light misty rain I couldn’t help thinking about our recent Bike New York trip that started in very similar conditions.  But we went with Pat’s assurance that the weather would clear when we got into NY State.  So away we rode into the wild gray mist; hefty bags bungeed over our gear and all. As we headed up towards the top of highpoint state park mechanical issues plagued a couple of bikes and one rider had to bail out of the ride after only just beginning.  The rest of us pressed on sure that there would be sunshine around the next bend or over the next hill.  Although we found a few more storm clouds and a bit of heavier rain around noon time we made our first fuel stop in New York.  The rain was almost done (along with Diane’s rain pants) shortly after getting back on the road the rain did in fact stop.  Soon after the sun came out…then the humidity.  The rain never made another appearance the whole weekend.  Pat couldn’t have arranged for more perfect weather for riding.  We were all so happy at the next fuel stop to shed layers and rain suits and get on our bikes in true riding style (the wild hogs had nothing on us!)

Getting closer to Lake George we got out onto the highway and stretched our wheels a bit.  Shortly before getting into town the state police set up a rest area for us to take a break in and asked us all to join them.  They really took a liking to Olivier (still hoping it had nothing to do with the Wild Hogs thing!  A few more miles and we were into Lake George and massive seas of bikes were everywhere.  After finding some parking we made our way over for beer and burgers, the staple food of a road trip. Aside from the few minutes at the Jefferson Diner in the morning this was a first opportunity for the new acquaintances to start getting to know each other (I think this was where the bad jokes began to emerge).  After a walk through the main areas of town checking the sights, it was time to get back onto the bikes again and head east towards the lodge.  As we left Lake George we got into some of the first sets of curves.  By the time we got out onto some open highway again some of us needed to clear our pipes out which just raised the excitement for more riding to come.  After arriving at the lodge we all settled in, unpacked our gear and commenced the drinks, talking, laughs and good times.

Early the next morning some riders took the time to wash their bikes before or after breakfast while others just did a quick sponge bath to remove a layer of bugs so the fresh ones for the day would have a clean place to splat on. We hit the road around 9am and rode in a nice neat formation until we go into the curves where some of us like to try and shrink the chicken strips off their wheels.  A couple hours in and we regrouped for a roadside break and the first sightings of a two headed chipmunk.  Pressing on into the curves and then up through the pass near Smugglers Notch; a road probably better suited for skiing down in the snow we of course road up on our bikes with glee making hairpin turns, climbing steep grades and gliding past and around huge boulders and trees.  From the top of the pass it was a short ride down the other side and on to the only restaurant in town which was also the bakery and the local pizzeria. The food was fantastic.  We opted to change the plans a little and follow Route 100 back the way we had come up so that we could stop at the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory.  The bad jokes started getting worse!  Afterwards we pushed straight back to the lodge eager to kick back, have a nice meal and share more stories till almost midnight.

Sunday morning after packing things back onto the bikes and cleaning up we headed out on a short loop past Okemo.  Oliver led this section of the ride but did not offer up his usual calisthenics classes while riding.  We took a pit stop for some last group photos and wardrobe adjustments before settling in for the ride home.  We grabbed lunch, said some of our goodbyes as our group, and started breaking up and people headed off onto different highways working our way home.  As I became the only rider on final approach to my house I began reflecting on the ride and what a good time I’d had.

We had the full range of bikes, cruisers and sports were represented, American and imports, also at least a 30 year span of ages and we all fit together so well and had such a good time enjoying the sport and each other’s company.

Photos and gallery by Diane Bogert.


High Bridge Bike Ride Recap – 2009

15 Jun

We started with an iffy weather day and other issues. However, somehow the weather was in our favor. There was no rain and the temperature was moderate and a little muggy.

In the beginning it looked like our party was going to be dispersed because nobody could drive to the designated meeting place/parking lot because the town of High Bridge was having a block party that blocked it. Somehow just by chance or via a few cell calls, we all managed to meet at another parking lot. It appeared to me early on that nothing was going to prevent this event from happening. Some people came with bike racks on their cars or SUV’s. Lee Desantis came on his motorcycle, mountain bike in tow.

We had the usual problems. Every year at least one person has to get a flat tire. This year was no exception. Wendy Brescia got a flat. However, after watching people line up to help repair her tire, two questions came to mind. How many people does it take to change a tire and how many possible male suitors can Wendy handle?  It was quite amusing to watch one guy hold the tire up in the air as another guy held the tube in the tire and yet another guy pumped the tire. Of course you had the supervisors or back seat drivers, including yours truly who gave their input. But more important the tire repair held up, much to my surprise, thanks to Lee Desantis’s duck tape. From what I hear, Lee never goes anywhere without his duck tape.

After our bike ride most of the riders went to the Circa Restaurant to enjoy good food and grog. Craig Desantis did an excellent job of coordinating this event and deserves recognition for his contribution to the club.

As president, I want to encourage other members to step forth and talk to me about an event they would like to organize. Our club has reached spectacular new levels because so many people have donated their valuable time and expertise to the club. Isn’t that what it is all about?

Larry Ticotin,
Web Master

Photos by Wendy Brescia & Larry Ticotin