Lake Placid New York

Lake Placid New York
Fall Ride 2010-Keene Valley, NY

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Busy, busy, busy....

Fun stuff- getting our daughter ready to go to college. It's been a summer of shopping, orientation and paperwork. In between we've been able to get out for rides even in the hot weather.

I have to say that buying a mesh motorcycling jacket last summer was one of my best moves ever! I can't imagine wearing my regular TourMaster Trinity jacket in hot weather. The mesh I purchased was a First Gear and I got it at a super price ($40) from New Enough which is now It has armor art the elbows and a rain/wind liner, which I haven't used just yet. The air flow is incredible and keeps me from feeling like I'm melting while riding.

We've been hitting some back roads in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts and getting in some great riding. Shelburne Falls in Ma. was a great ride last week. The Bridge of Flowers is very nice and the glacial potholes were cool to see. Lunch out and retracing our route home with a stop for ice cream in Hoosick Falls at Big Moose Deli made a great day.

My main concentration on rides this summer is trying to corner more at speed. I'm trying to keep my chin up and look through corners and felt I had a good ride this past Sunday going to Schroon Lake, NY for a short ride. I'm thinking that next spring might be a good time to take the refresher course through Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

All in all we have still been able to get rides in and get done what has to be done before the big college move in date of August 25. Maybe we'll get out that weekend after all of the moving and welcoming activities.

Or maybe we'll just sleep! 

Saturday, June 4, 2011


I won;t go up on a soap box here because I haven't gained any huge following and one of my followers knows how I feel about the subject of paying for your kid's college tuition. But let me start at the beginning...

We've been a camping family for several years. I couldn't do the tent thing so we had a couple of pop ups and then a hybrid camper.  They were all great campers and we got around in them- mostly the east coast. We took bicycles and kayaks with us, toting the dogs along as well.

Last year, with the changes in motorcycles that Blaise and I had, our vacationing habits changed a bit. The oldest child out of the house and youngest looking at colleges and working, camping had been put to the back burner a little and day trips or short weekends became the norm for vacationing. We realized the hybrid camper had to go- its configuration no longer what we wanted. So this spring after one last long trip (Disney's Ft. Wilderness) we put the camper up for sale. We were happy to sell it to a family with smaller kids who were thrilled when they saw the rig. Soon after, the tremendous F150 Supercrew was sold as well- no need for all that room or pulling power.

We adjusted and purchased a smaller truck for Blaise so he could still have the pick up truck utility. We then started to seriously look at motor homes. Smart at this point with gas close to $4 a gallon? No, but this is how we vacation- I don't fly and I don't enjoy idleness. I want to see the country and ride the roads- on my Boulevard.

Ok so the decision was made and we looked at a few rigs. We decided on a 2004 Winnebago 31 foot Class C. It had the floor plan we were looking for and the price was in our range. We will be picking it up tomorrow morning from the former owners. We also decided to get a utility trailer to put behind the motor home to house the bikes. So it begins....we are talking about trips west next year.

Now at the same time our youngest will start college in August- a private college no less. She earned a nice scholarship but there's still a large amount of tuition due. She knows that her education at this point is her responsibility so she's prepared, and a bit anxious, to take out loans. It's what Blaise and I did for our educations and it's what she will do and our oldest did.

So when I was discussing our new-to-us motor home with a friend his eyebrows shot up and the question about paying for a motor home and college came up. naturally I stated that we aren't paying for our daughter's college- she is. This got me a bit of a frown. Oh well....

If people feel they HAVE to pay for their children's college education then they should. Blaise and I feel that if our children have a real vested interest in their future they should realize they need to be responsible for it- financially as well as everything else that goes with it. Will we help? Absolutely we will- within our means. Will be shutter ourselves at home and not travel? absolutely not.

Call us selfish or what have you but this is the way it's happening. Our children need to understand that a higher education does not come free- so they need to work hard at school so they can pay the debt that comes with a college education. Both Blaise and I did this and I am still paying for my advanced degree. My parents never told me they would pay for college and they didn't. They helped where they felt they wanted to but otherwise my college education was my responsibility.

So when I load up that motor home and the bikes in the trailer I won't feel guilty. Our children see us working to live OUR lives the way we want to and they need to see that they will need to work to live THEIR lives they way they want to. This is their time to make decisions as to where they want to see themselves in the future.

Is is scary for our daughter? You bet but she is already seeing that she needs to be responsible for herself and her confidence level is soaring. She knows we'll be here or her no matter where we are physically! And she knows that if she has a vacation period at school she'll be on the back of Dad's bike tooling around the country with us as well.

Pictures to come and hopefully lots of stories from the road!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

First it Was Snow...Now It's Rain!

I would swear we had the longest winter in history this year. The snow never seemed to end in upstate New York and the riding season began much later than we like (well, that happens every year anyway but this year was ridiculous).

I was optimistic when I purchased the Tour Master heated vest- I thought we would be riding in some cool mornings in April. Instead Blaise was still shoveling snow. So the one time I did wear the vest for a ride I was sweating. Now I'm being optimistic about late fall rides.

We had one nice day when I didn't have to drag a ton of stuff to work so I rode. This is something I want to do more often but with grocery store stops, client paperwork, etc. taking the bike isn't always convenient. I also don't have great places to park it.

We did work a two-up ride in when we delivered our F150 to a new owner. Blaise followed me to Plattsburg and then we rode home together on the Connie. Although we hit some rain it was a good ride, proving to us that our gear is mostly weather-proof and comfortable in those conditions. We also made a nice day ride to Massachusetts to look at a Class C rv that we have decided to purchase. Although we took the slabs there we decided on some alternate roads home and had a 330 mile day of riding.

So we've worked in some riding between the raindrops and will have to just keep doing so until the weather pattern changes. I see bikes out there even in downpours. We know we have the gear for it, but I still shake my head  when I see it. Getting caught in the rain is one thing- starting out in it is another.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Spring????

April 3, 2011 and my bike is still sitting in the garage- clean, fluids changed, saddle bags on- ready to ride. Only it hasn't been above 50 degrees yet and the wind has been gusting to 30 mph for the last two sunny days.

These are excellent reasons to move south- at least to the mid-Atlantic area where spring actually comes- well- in spring time. The short riding season of upstate NY is frustrating to many. I'm reading blog post after blog post about how it's "getting here"- it being spring. I did see some hearty souls out on bikes today and I give them kudos. I seriously thought about a ride today but having those huge wind gusts kind of put me off. I really didn't want to get on the bike for the first time this year and have to fight against the wind.

My bets are that Easter weekend will be the nice one. We might just take the bikes out and take a chance on a dinner somewhere. Even holidays are second to getting a ride in at this point.

Hopes for the future- a riding season that starts in late February and goes until early December- if not longer. But I want to avoid those horrid humid days in the summer. So we'll be scoping out the south-western corner of North Carolina this fall. Hopefully we can make a move there and our bikes will see less of the garage and more of the road.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Trying to Motivate Myself

With the tons of snow piled up here it's hard for me to even begin thinking about riding, but I have anyway. This winter seems like it will never end so I have the feeling that once the snow is gone and the sand/salt on the roads has washed away with the spring rains, I'll be on my bike with no hesitation.

So it may still be very cool, temp wise, here when I do get back on the bike. In the likely event of cooler-than-optimum riding temperatures, I picked out a very unromantic Valentine's Day gift for myself- a heated riding vest.

I did my homework and went straight to webbikeworld to check out the reviews on heated vests. The Tour Master Synergy Heated Vest with Collar is the one I decided on. It comes with everything you need to hook it up and get it going- no buying other wires or controllers. The Synergy comes with a controller that allows 3 different temperatures and has a leg strap to put it around your thigh for easy access while riding. The vest also comes in a collar-less version but I like to keep the heat in so I opted for that nice tall collar.

The vest draws 52 watts- somewhat less than some of the other vests on the market. Tour Master touts this vest as being very lightweight and lacking significant bulk. This was a plus for me since I could stand to lose a few pounds so my jacket will fit a little better. :)

I was able to pick this vest up for $125.99 with free shipping. They seem to be out of stock at many online stores but Competition Accessories had one in stock in my size.

Tour Master has been very trustworthy for me- I think pretty much all of my clothing and bags are Tour Master. I'm fairly sure this vest will do right by me as well. Now I just have to hope this snow melts fast so I can get the bike out of the shed.

Here's a link to the Tour Master Synergy page:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Much More Can I Put On It?

Well the Boulevard is all snuggled up in the shed but I find myself, on a daily basis, still researching various things that are motorcycle related. I'll probably be surprised when I start to wrap Christmas presents how many of them have to do with motorcycling. I think I went a little overboard this year.

I guess I never really got the idea about not overloading a bike with too much stuff or "farkels". Saddlebags, tank bag, clock, grip heaters and then all that stuff that goes into the bags. Communications and all the little things that go with it too- mp3 player, dongle, cell phone. Then there's the gear- heavier textile jacket for spring and fall with a zip out liner for when it gets warmer. Then a mesh jacket for those 90+ degree days, but it has a liner for when the sun goes down and it gets cool. Then there's the 4 pairs of various weights of gloves. An extra thermal shirt packed away, extra socks, maybe a light-weight fleece if I want to leave my jacket with the bike while strolling. The list, freighteningly enough, goes on.

Surrounding myself with comfort is my way of taking away a little of the apprehension of riding I still have. Even though I've had my license for several years I didn't actually put solid miles on a bike, while piloting, until this year. Having background music and being able to talk to Blaise while riding seems to keep me calmer. On a few rides this year Blaise got ahead of me (I told him to have a blast on the twisties) and I wasn't nearly as nervous to be out there alone. I ride my own ride and I am definitely getting more comfortable with it.

But sometimes I ask myself how much is too much to take on the bike- to the point of thinking "I could have just taken the car". Ah, but the point is the ride. And if I can ride in comfort then I ride with less anxiety but not with any less attention to all that needs attention on the road when you are a cycle rider.

So I won't chastize myself too much for perusing tool bags to hang on the Boulevard's front end, or a cool matching thermometer to go next to my clock. I know where this need comes from and I'm conquering it- one ride at a time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Necessity = Modifications by the Husband

In case I haven't mentioned it here on this blog, Blaise is quite the mechanic. He has a nice set up in the garage and has accumulated a variety of tools. But the one thing he has is a true knack for modifications and fabrications of all kinds.

I recently decided that I needed grip heaters to extend my riding season. So Blaise went online and researched a bit then ended up purchasing two grip heater kits from a gent on his Concours board. The issue with regard to installation on the s50 is that I have no fairing so there isn't a good spot to mount the hi-off-low switch. I went in search on the internet and found a handlebar mounted switch housing complete with a round hole in the center for a switch. The grip heater kits Blaise ordered included round switches so I was hopeful that the switch would fit in the switch housing.

Unfortunately we don't usually have good luck like that. The switch housing opening was too small for the switch that came with the kit. We probably could have found a smaller switch to fit the housing but the kit came in the day before we were to take a long ride and Blaise was ready to do the install.

The heater pad portion of the install went well. Blaise added a small piece of rubber inner tube to the clutch side of my bars. This is used to keep the metal bars from sucking away the heat. Then he installed the pad, made a notch in my grip ring for the wire, made a notch in my light switch housing to pass the wire through and then went to work on the throttle side. This side needed to have the ridges on the plastic twist ring ground down so the heater pad would install flat against it. He made quick work of those ridges by using a Dremel tool and a sanding tip. On the throttle side a loop needed to be added to the wire so when the throttle is twisted there is enough slack in the wire. He pulled all the wires through existing wire pathways and hooked the power wire to my headlight.

Next all the wires were run to the switch. At this point Blaise had to open the round hole in the switch housing to accommodate the switch that came with the kit. He used some files to enlarge the hole and then he had to open the bottom of the switch housing to make room for the connections. He did all of this without cracking the switch housing. As you can see (or not) the switch is fairly inconspicuous. It looks great up close but I can't get a good picture of it.

Start to finish I think he worked about 2-2.5 hours on the project. I was tickled pink the next day when we started out in 30 degree temps and my hands were toasty warm!