Ride the USA-Day 29: Adirondack Park Forest Preserve

Monday, June 22—Newport, VT to Liverpool, NY

I stayed up a little too late last night trying to make a lousy Internet connection work. I wanted to update my trip blog, and needed to synchronize my GPS with Harley-Davidson’s Ride Planner mapping software.

Today I took a hard left to the west, beginning the third phase of my trip. It rained hard last night, so the road was wet. It only took about five minutes for my seat to fire up, so the ride started with a certain discomfort.

The main objective for today was riding through Adirondack Park Forest Preserve along the Olympic Byway. To get there I travelled west along highways 105 and 78. The road climbed just outside of Newport where a road sign warned of grooved pavement—”Motorcycles Use Caution Next 8 Miles.” Sure enough, the pavement had been cut and scraped to make way for fresh asphalt. After about the third warning sign, the road got really rough, and I’d climbed into clouds so visibility dropped to about 30 feet. I just laughed with God at how He set the day in motion. I had to ride slowly, and it was cold, so my butt didn’t get too hot. Then a new sign popped up in front of me—”Pavement Ends”. That’s a really bad sign. There was nothing to do but ride slowly and cautiously through rolled/pressed gravel for about a mile.

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The seat felt hotter as the weather warmed. I wanted to call ahead to the closest Harley dealer, but couldn’t get a U.S. signal until I reached East Franklin, about an hour and a half into the ride. Pete answered the phone, told me it could be several different problems, but come on in and they’ll get me out as quickly as possible. I swear I rode at least 30 of roughly 90 miles in a partially standing position!

Highway 78 also had warning signs for grooved pavement. But they’d clearly been up for a while as the first layer of new asphalt was already in place. That made for a pretty nice ride.

I arrived at North End Harley-Davidson in Plattsburgh, NY after riding about three and half hours. Pete greeted me and quickly assigned my Harley to service. It took a while for Stacey to test my seat warmer. Sure enough, it had shorted and wouldn’t turn off. He told me Harley doesn’t sell the switch separately, so the whole seat has to be replaced, and it’s not a stock item. The quick fix was to simply disconnect the seat warmer, which he did and I headed out. Pete, Stacey, and Jerry, the service manager, were terrific! (Sorry guys, the picture I took of the three of you failed.) Pete is getting ready to do a ride around the perimeter of the country similar to mine. Stacey is making plans to go to Sturgis for the big rally in August.

The Olympic Byway through the Adirondacks and Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, is gorgeous, with Whiteface Mountain and multiple lakes being key features.

Observations:

  • Smartphones are a significant factor in contributing to inefficiencies of road crews. Three supervisors talking while two workers check Facebook just ain’t right.
  • At one point I was about 10 miles from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Fannemora, NY, where Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, cut a path to freedom that involved penetrating a cell wall reinforced with quarter-inch-thick steel.
  • Fly-fishing is big here! I sighted “good water” (for fishing) frequently along the Ausable River.
  • Lake Placid (the body of water) looks exactly as its name suggests.
  • The city is a beautiful Tyrolean village I imagine was modeled after a small town in the Swiss Alps.
  • Driving a scissor-lift down the main street of a town for 20 minutes will aggravate visitors, especially the Canadian riding a Road Glide next to me.
  • There is a series of lakes named by number. I travelled past them in reverse order: Eighth, Seventh, Sixth, Fifth, Fourth, Third, Second, and finally First Lake…the Fulton Chain of Lakes.
  • Riding the road along these lakes, with minimal stop signs, is fantastic!
  • There were lots of road signs warning about deer crossings. I stopped in front of a deer in the road twice.
  • There are also road signs warning of horse drawn carriages in the road as you approach an Amish settlement.

This was a long but amazing day.

Route:                    105E, 118E, 120E, 235E, 78E, 9BS, I87S, 9N, 86W, 3W, 30S, 28S, 365W, I90W/New York State Throughway
Miles Today:         359
Time Today:         10:50
Total Trip Miles:   7,370
Weather:               Overcast in low 60s to foggy to overcast in mid 70s
Lunch:                   A&W Root Beer
Lodging:                B/W+ Liverpool Grace Inn & Suites
Dinner:                  Gino & Joe’s Pizza

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