Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Rockers! Of a different kind...amfAR's ceo Kevin Frost, Conrad Leach, Jared Zaugg
Riding hundreds of miles a day on a hypersportbike in company with two dozen interesting companions is no way to keep a daily ride report...much easier to summarize after the least a few hours' sleep before the morning ride is a good idea, and competing with the youngest/handsomest actor/rider in our gang for late night honors was like racing against the pros.
Alain de Cadenet gives an impromptu talk on carriages, erudite and funny as hell
Arriving at Milford at 10pm gave us little understanding that Hotel Fauchére had such charm; our concern was dinner, drinks, and bed.  Dinner was farm-to-table fantastic, and the surprise bar in the basement helped us unwind after a long and frustrating day of getting lost, getting very hot, and herding cats.  Some motorcyclists are easy 'group riders', but we were not so inclined, and grown accustomed to simply going our own way.  Not so good when that meant going the wrong way...but by day 2 we'd acquiesced to the need for a leader with GPS, and luckily our point person had a lead foot in her new BMW 7-series sedan.
Conrad Leach and Grant Reynolds debating the route...
As reward (or redemption), our second day was the shortest, and the gods blew cool breezes on our necks as we sped towards the Hudson river valley over picturesque farmlands and twisting deciduous woodlands.  I'd never ridden this part of the world, so it was all revelation and wide eyes, and an appreciation of just how free of cars my native West can be, as even in relatively open farmlands, population density meant getting around slowpokes.
BMW's Matt Sublett also braved the racing crouch of an S1000RR for the week
 At a roadworks stop, I sidled up to our leader and asked 'how far up this road are we going'?  '40 miles, wait for us at the end', and boyo I launched like a rocket to find out what my S1000RR 'Best Sportbike in the World' was all about.  Apologies to BMW for admitting my indulgence in license-losing antics, but if you're going to sell 180hp motorcycles, let's call a spade a spade here and say the RR was used 'as the maker intended'.  With an ability to hit 100+mph speeds in a couple of seconds, it was inevitable that the lower regions of 6th gear speeds were briefly explored where driveways disappeared and open fields suggested at least a measure of safety.  'Lower regions' meaning 130 of the RR's possible 180mph, but not beyond, as those open stretches ended pretty quickly!   A full ride report will follow after my week of 'getting to know you', but the bike never felt anything but completely composed on all angles of lean, attack, aggressive throttling, changes of line mid-corner, and even a few nasty bumps while rocked well over on a ton-up corner.  In other words, for better or worse, it felt 'safe at any speed'....thank the heavens Ralph Nader never became president!
Touring on the Other Coast...not so bad
With only 160 miles on our unreadable rally map, we arrived at legendary Mohonk Mountain House, awed by it expansive flanks and seemingly endless surround of natural beauty.  The soft green forests were cut through with limestone cliffs, a series of which created an invitingly swimmable lake out back, which is exactly what we did.  And rowboated, and hiked, and lazed about, and in the evening, had a lobster bake atop the cliff over said pond.  This is motorcycling on a slightly different plane than I'm accustomed, but I could get used to it.
The back of Mohonk, from the lake...
John James Audubon's actual bird models for his avian studies, in the Milbank town museum
If there is a Shroud for democracy, this is surely it; the flag in which Abe Lincoln was carried from Ford's Theater to medical attention, stained with his blood.  Milbank town museum.

Milissa Skoro keeps Teddy Sears comfortable on the 6-cyl BMW cruiser
Teddy Sears and Lauren Rodolitz of Kiehl's
Tricia Helfer...
Photographer Timothy White caught by the 'golden hour'...
amfAR's David Yu discusses lobster with Matt Sublett


Larry said...

Looks like a beautiful ride! Great pics! I drove through that area when I took my daughter to Cambridge for grad school. Not like the West at all!

Pipérade said...

This isn't a full-blown whinge but I'm starting to display signs of GFW* symptoms..

* Girder Fork Withdrawal

GuitarSlinger said...

Having been born and raised in New England , there's just nothing like it .

Having spent most of my adult life in the West though I won't be moving back ( East ) anytime soon .

But for a visit/vacation or just all around break from the wide open spaces ? New England definitely has its charms . The main one being how close almost any destination you chose is there . Compared to everything being at least a 4 hour drive away in the West

Sounds like that Beemer's really got your attention Paul .

The Vintagent said...

Girder forks coming back soon! Team Obsolete reportage...