|03-14-2011, 09:53 PM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2011
Niagara Falls-> Allegany-> Elk State Forest->Niagara on an SS
I've been lurking advrider for a while its time now to contribute my first ride report here.
A little bit about myself: I've been riding for 5 years. I've owned a ninja250, cbr125 and now own a CBR600RR. This past year I've caught the touring bug and I've been doing a lot of long day trips. One of them being Allegany/Elk State Forest. I took this trip back in the fall but decided I want to share my experiences with friends and family so I created a blog.
This happened to be my second trip to Pennsylvania, my last one being a week prior to this one. It’s October and relatively cold. To put a number to it, it was 4 degrees Celcius when I left my house at 8am in the morning. Luckily for me, it would warm up to 10 degrees in the afternoon. When you factor in the windchill when you’re moving, you’re lucky to get something feeling above 0. So why take this trip in such cold weather? Well, it was a Wednesday and I had Wednesdays off school and riding season was coming to an end soon so I had to make the best of what remained.
Took the bike out of the garage, started it up and I was on my way. I packed pretty light today since it was only going to be a day trip. A backpack with water, hoodie, and basic tools is what I brought with me. Since I pretty much live on the border at Niagara Falls, it only took me 5 minutes to get to US side. I pulled up to the booth, kickstand down, helmet off.
“Where are you heading to?”
“How long are you going to be in the states?”
“What are you bringing through?”
Standard questions were asked and no more than 5 minutes later, I was through. I already had a pre-determined route loaded into my Garmin Nuvi 550 GPS so I was at its mercy. To give you an idea of the route I took, I’ll give you guys the map.
It would be about 1.5 hours of riding before I got to anything interesting, but I knew it would be worth it. From what I’ve heard, New York cops are very strict on speeding so throughout the whole boring ride through New York State, the speed limit was the law.
I gas up in a small town called Salamanca at the bottom of New York State. They call it the “Gateway to Allegany Park”. Gas prices in the US are in gallons and I have no idea how to do the conversion in my head, nor do I bother to since gas is cheaper here anyways. I get off my bike and start gassing up. It’s a full service gas station but I gassed up myself anyways. It’s not that I don’t trust the gas attendant with being clean with gassing up the bike, I’m just relieving them of having to do extra work. Who am I kidding, I don’t really trust them with gassing up my bike. The first thing I notice about the people here are that they are all Indian. By Indian I mean Native Indian. I chatted with the attendant and she immediately noticed that I wasn’t from around there. When I told her that I came from Niagara Falls just earlier in the morning, she was pretty surprised that I’ve come the distance especially with the temperature at around 7 degrees at that point in the day. She offered a hot chocolate to me and I went on my way.
It’s when I got on I-86 when I start to see the fall colours of the trees on the various mountains belonging to Allegany State Park. I neglected to look down at my GPS which told me to get off at the next exit. Doh! The next exit is about 6 miles away, pretty far between exits by my standards but I guess I do live in a populated area. I get off at the off ramp and enter the interstate going the opposite direction. I was tight on time if I wanted to make it back home on time and the coast was clear when I rode down that extra 6 miles so lets just say I used this stretch of road to make up for some lost time.
Alleghany State Park is a beautiful park with amazing scenery, with the fall colours and clear blue skies made it even better. The last time I rode through Allegany, I passed this strange looking hole in the lake. It kind of brought back a childhood memory of some kind of whirlpool looking thing from the X-Files. I stopped by and took a picture since I’ve never seen anything like it.
I knew the road up ahead was slightly twisty and offered a nice view of the river that ran between the surrounding mountains so I took full advantage of the GoPro HD Camera that I borrowed from my friend Irina. Thanks Irina. Oh, objects in the video are flying by faster than they seem. Wide angle lens effect :)
Amazing views right? Well there’s more where that came from. There was nothing more relaxing than riding the mountainside with no cars in sight and taking in the scenery. It’s not often that I’m out alone in the middle of nowhere. I could get used to this. I end up riding between the mountains and as I emerge from the next bend, yet another amazing sight.
It took a while for me to figure out how to use the GoPro in camera mode and I realized it lagged a bit. I ended up taking many pictures of myself resulting from turning the camera around immediately after I took the picture to check the picture count.
I end up taking a few more pictures at a lookout point. Sorry, no viewfinder means that I got my hand and random people in the picture.
I continue my journey through the mountains of Allegany snaking up the mountains in the distance. The moment I make the turn…crap. Construction. Traffic was halted on both sides due to heavy equipment driving around, but eventually about 10 minutes later, we got moving again. Drivers out in the middle of nowhere are courteous than in the city. As traffic started to move slowly, the drivers of the 5 cars in front of me signaled me to overtake them anticipating that I would want to move at a faster pace. It wasn’t like I was riding up their back bumpers either. Why can’t city drivers be as courteous?
Another lookout point is ahead at the peak of the mountain and I wasn’t going to let an opportunity for a picture slip by. I learned a lesson not to forget my camera from my last ride so I was going to take every chance I could to capture the amazing sights of Allegany.
The picture didn’t turn out the way I thought it would…kind of makes me look like a cone head.
I spotted a little hiking trail and since I was here anyways, I decided to go for a short hike. Back when I was planning my route, I street viewed this location and saw a big rock. I eventually found it. Ya ya, I know, its a rock but just wanted to say I found it.
As I was heading back to my bike, I see a sign. “Caution: Bears!” Now, I’ve never seen a bear in the wild before, and wouldn’t really know what to do so I was hoping that I wouldn’t see one.
I get back on the bike and start riding the trail out of the lookout point. At this moment, I start to feel a little hungry. I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to find any McDonalds around the corner. I’ll stop and look at my GPS to see how I’m progressing with my route. I wonder what’s around? Burger King? Some random sketchy restaurant? *bump* Oh crap. As I was parking my bike to look at my GPS, I ended up bumping into a curb while my mind was pre-occupied by food. Thinking about food+riding…not a good combination.
Luckily for me, I was only going about 10km/h so I got away with no damage.
Not only was I hungry at this point but I was running out of gas. I had to ditch my route and find a gas station and make it into town to gas up and buy some food. I didn’t see any restaurants in town so food was limited to convenience store food. Luckily, they had their own mini supermarket there with a food counter. Mac+Cheese with a slice of pizza was on the menu for me. After my nutritious meal, I walk up to my bike and notice that my brand new GPS charger was out of the socket and reduced to a bundle of frayed wires. Why does this happen to me? It turns out that the charger fell out of the socket while riding. There’s still one leg of the journey left. Oh well, I should have enough batteries in my GPS to take me home.
Unknown to me, this would be the best part of the whole ride for me. Jumping back on the route I left off on, there’s a sign saying “watch for motorcycles”. Probably a good sign that I’m jumping into motorcycle friendly roads For the next 2 hours, I was in motorcycle heaven. Never-ending twisty curves with no end in sight. Carving up and down the mountainside was just an exhilarating experience that I’ve never experienced on two wheels…at least in Ontario. These videos do not do justice.
I must have been riding the curves for 2 hours or so. Ever since my last gas fillup until my next one, I was exercising the soft side tire compound of my Pirelli Diablo Corsa 3’s. These tires were on its last straw but never let me down. I eventually end up in Elk State Forest. This is when I recalled a conversation I had with a Victory motorcycle rider and his wife from Pennsylvania back at the Niagara tourist center. He asked me if I’ve ever seen an elk before and said if I ever wanted to, head down to Pennsylvania. This must be the place he was talking about. Unfortunately I didn’t stop to take any pictures, I was getting tight on time.
The ride home was long, cold, and uneventful. Temperatures dropped down to 5 degrees Celsius and I was still 3 hours from home. I could probably benefit from some heated gear if I’m going to be out in this kind of weather. Meh, I’m going budget for now, not much a poor student can do. I eventually made it to the Fort Erie border and crossed over with no problems.
Arriving home and taking a hot shower was very soothing and relieving from my frostbitten hands. It was a pretty tough ride riding a super sport for 11 hours with protection from the wind for my hands in this kind of weather. But it was damn worth it. After today, my urge to find the ultimate riding destination got stronger...I have to find it. Where is it? It’s only a matter of time.
Super Sport Touring Ride Reports
lostNfound screwed with this post 03-14-2011 at 10:09 PM
|03-15-2011, 11:51 AM||#3|
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Toronto Ontario Eh?!??
|03-15-2011, 01:10 PM||#4|
Joined: Feb 2011
In Ontario, the only roads that I've found entertaining were up in Muskoka/Parry Sound Area and north of Kingston.
I used to think the Niagara escarpment was the best thing ever until I ventured a little further. Now, I have an endless list of places I want to visit!
Super Sport Touring Ride Reports
|04-15-2011, 02:14 PM||#5|
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Binghamton, NY
You can't go wrong with most roads in Pennsylvania. You were in God's country or at least close to it.
Nice report, thanks for sharing it.
“A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.”
― Tom Waits
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