By Bob Addis
Originally I had hoped to be test riding the slow Neracar on this weekend, so I approached a cheapass friend, a genius really, who was known for picking driving routes to avoid hills and save gas. The Tres Amigos turned out to be Dan Dwyer on his MP3, Scott Brodie on Nelli, his ET4, and myself on Ingrid, the Burgman 650 since the Neracar wasn’t ready yet.
After breakfast at the Blue Ribbon Diner on Rt. 5 in Schenectady, we headed west on that road to Utica. Chasing a freight train, we would gradually pull ahead only to be reminded that trains don’t stop for traffic lights! We crossed the Mohawk River in Utica, wandered through some construction and picked up Rt. 31 West. What a delightful road – light traffic, stays north of Syracuse, and runs along the south shore of Oneida Lake to Cicero. I was leading and should have stopped the group for lunch at popular diner exclaiming “home of the 10 cent coffee!”, but I was focusing on reaching known facilities at Cicero. Perhaps we’ll stop next time?
Rt.31 west of Cicero was basically 14 miles of traffic lights- Ugh – when in Baldwinsville I missed the critical turn of Rt. 31 and instead followed Rt. 370 to the NW for a distance. In my defense, who would re-route a bunch of scooters onto I-690, the Interstate to the State Fairgrounds? Damn DoT! Anyway we were cruising nicely in the country when towns with “Port” as part of their names occurred more frequently and that didn’t seem right. Dan’s gps was pulled out and it said to go 20(?) miles south to find Rt. 31 – Oops! From there on, the route was quite nice with a much-needed rest/gas stop in Geneva.
We were booked into the Old National Hotel about 13 miles south of Hammondsport, and it was an instant hit with Dan and Scott. Over a celebratory beverage at its beautiful old wooden bar, we learned from the locals about The Office, a bar down the alley which permitted cigar smoking and beer drinking in its alley out back. That was for us.
Saturday and Sunday’s breakfasts were at a recommended spot with the delightful name of Chat-A-Whyle Café. We then purred up to the Glenn Curtiss Museum of Transportation and the site of their annual old bike show. With a word at the gate, the Tres Amigos and their mounts were invited to display in the bike line and we were a hit! Scott pulled out last year’s display card stating he had ridden from Albany on a 150 cc Vespa. The Museum is well worth a visit any time of the year; Curtiss was an absolute genius and big influence on early transportation of all forms.
I asked to stop at Bully Hill Wineries (the why is entirely another story! Ask Dan or Scott who had to hear it!), and that got us on a ridge route, CR 76, which paralleled Keuka Lake and gave panoramic views of wineries as we rode north. Tiring of or maybe not committed to touring the various wineries and getting sloshed while piloting scooters, I consulted my new brochure on the Beer Trails of the Finger Lakes. Now, that made sense to three wild and crazy guys, so off we went! This idea too had a downside, so after one stop we decided to ride carefully on a loop out in the country and back to Bath.
Sunday Dan lead a straight line route to Bainbridge which shirted the bottoms of two Finger Lakes and went through Watkins Glen and Ithaca. We passed dozens of Amish buggies going to church. At Bainbridge we routed onto Rt. 7 basically all the way back to Schenectady. We utilized I-88 to route around Oneonta and stop at Brooks House of BBQ for a chicken lunch, and then Bob’s route around Cobleskill which conveniently stopped by an ice cream parlor, Gobbler’s Knob.
I clocked 619 miles round trip. It was a beautiful ride in all respects with good friends and no rain! Keep the first weekend of August free for next year to do it again!