Monday, October 26, 2009

last road trip of the season (...maybe)

Work has been hecktic since the start of September. Last Friday was one of the only days I could arrange a day off, so I booked a vacation day a while back and started planing a 3-day road trip with long time buddy, Sean, from Toronto. He took an extra day off and rode the 450 Kms to my place on the Thursday so we could hit the road Friday morning.

A last minute change in destination was necessary after carefully considering the weather forecast. Until mid-week, we had been planning to ride to Mont Tremblant. And a couple of weeks earlier, a riding buddy from work was to join us as well. But with a chance of snow (or at the very least lots of rain) we decided to head south of the border instead. That meant Evan wouldn't be able to come because he did not have a valid passport. But with the almost guaranteed miserable weather, Tremblant was definitely out of the question. Sorry Evan.

The weather outlook for northern and central NY still called for some rain (but much less) and the temperatures would be much milder.

We got away later than planned because of all the last minute preparations (and some work stuff that had to be done before leaving) but we eventually hit the road around noon. We figured we could make it to Lake Placid without much trouble - it's just under 300 Kms. From there, we'd head west or south on Saturday depending on the weather.

Just before crossing the border, we saw very light snow flurries for a few minutes. It was definitely cold (pretty much right at the freezing point) and pretty breezy. That's when I noticed some oil on my right boot... that leaky base gasket that I MacGyver'd up with some high temp silicone a few months ago was now giving out. Oh well, I had put about 5,000 Kms on it since then. It wasn't gushing copious amounts of oil, rather, just weeping a little and it seemed to be doing it only when I was cruising at 130 Km/hr. The solution was to keep the speed down, but that wasn't going to be a problem because until that point we had been riding the slab. On the other side of the border, it would be seconday roads from that point onward. Just the same, I picked up a quart of Rotella and a tube of silicone in case things got bad.

We made it to Lake Placid a couple of hours later and the oil level never dropped. Just a small amount on the engine casing and a little on my boot. We had been checking it every 15 minutes or so.

We stayed at the Crown Plaza. There was a hockey tournament going on and the hotel was just about full of 12 year-old boys. Oh God, get us outta here. However, the front desk clerk offered us a bargain price on a cottage that was completely detached from the main part of the hotel. It was huge and quiet. It was also loaded with everything (full kitchen, fireplace, pull-out sofa, twin beds in the loft, king size bed in the master bedroom, jacuzzi, two full bathrooms, two televisions, wi-fi Internet. We had a great meal at a local surf and turf restaurant, and drank much alcohol that night.

Crown Plaza cottage

I decided to pull the bike through the giant patio doors and into the living room to have a better look at the oil leak. I cleaned off the oily mess and applied another layer of silicone right over top of the bead I applied back in July. With the bike parked in front of the fireplace for the night, the silicone would have plenty of time to cure.

We woke up to a very soggy Saturday and decided we'd just hang tight for another night. We explored Lake Placid on foot for most of the day. By late afternoon, it dried up a little so we rode the local roads for a couple of hours. We got a little wet but it was still very nice.

Lake Placid Crown Plaza motorcycle valet parking

--- Valet parking ---

The view from our room

Olympic ski jump

We ate breakfast both Saturday and Sunday mornings at a local bacon & eggs diner, followed by coffee at Starbucks. When we headed for home around noon on Sunday, we crossed the border at Cornwall and we split company there: Sean hopped on the 401 to head back to Toronto, while I took the farm roads back to Ottawa. Since my ride was shorter than his, I decided to explore a few gravel roads on my way home. It was still a chilly ride as temperatures were just a few degrees above freezing. However, we were both properly dressed for cold and wet weather.

Hopefully this riding season won't come to an end for at least another month, but the weather can get unpredictable at this time of year. Snow can happen just about any time now, so leaving town on the bike could be a sure way to get stranded somewhere. I'll be happy if I can keep riding to work until December.

A Crackberry addict checking his email and getting his caffeine fix.

Somewhere just north of Cornwall.