I have just spent the past few days enjoying the best scenery and back roads that the Catskills and Adirondacks have to offer with the wonderful folks from Backroads magazine.
It’s hard to put into words how great this trip was. The weather was perfect and the ride pace set by my good friend MB was spot on – fast enough to enjoy the roads to the full but without being a hero. We rode through spectacular scenery and little towns with architecture straight out of a fairy tale. I spent a good deal of time checking out the beautiful old stone churches with tall spires and thinking how great they would look photographed from the air – my current obsession.
While on the trip I finally came to realize that the bike I bought new in 2001 is now the old girl of the group. Despite that she still rides great and, even though at least 50hp down on most of the bikes we were riding with, can hold her own. After 15 years the old girl can still fly.
MB and I were joined by Jeff, an honest to goodness private detective sadly minus the obligatory fedora. Hanging out with Jeff and MB was a blast. Their irrepressible charm and quick wit turned even the mundane items such as ordering lunch into a laugh fest for all concerned. My cheeks ached from laughing so much.
Over lunch on Friday we talked about how sad it is that so many people are afraid to enjoy life. When I told people I was going away for several days of motorcycle riding many assumed the worse. As Jeff put it “People are afraid to go in the water because of the one in a million possibility of being eaten by a Great White when they are far more likely to encounter Dolphins.”
This led to the catch phrase “It’s all dolphins” being used for the rest of the trip. This caused a few raised eyebrows with the wait staff:
- “How was dinner guys?”
- “It’s all dolphins!”
On Backroads rides most of the riding is done in your own group, and at your own pace, with everyone meeting up at the end of the day for some lively chat and a few drinks.
If this is your first time with Backroads the first thing you will notice is just how friendly people are. Everyone is family. People will walk up to you, shake hands and start chatting as though you have known each other for years. Brian and Shira somehow know everyone personally and have great stories of their own but, as hosts, are in much demand.
Sadly our little troop all had things to do and couldn’t stay so we headed home early on Saturday morning. I followed MB down as far as Lake George where we ate breakfast and then went our separate ways, with him blasting home on the highways while I took a more meandering route down through the Catskills and Bear Mountain.
I arrived home mid afternoon on Saturday after about 900 miles of amazing back-road riding in near perfect weather. My BMW performed flawlessly and now needs to be rewarded with a service and a new rear tire, which is completely shot.
It’s a shame that many people will never experience something like this because of fear of the unknown. Yes, things can go wrong. But more often things go right and, personally, some of the most amazing times I have started out as a disaster and ended with the making of life long friends and memories.
I once heard the quote “Everyone dies, but not everyone lives” and that resonates with me personally. Don’t be afraid! Get out there and enjoy life. It’s all dolphins!