Finger Lakes...


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May 31, 2002
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Dereham, Norfolk, today...
25th October

A dull, drab, grey Monday morning. I start the day by applying for another job back in the UK – I get the fourteen pages of application forms faxed to me and, unable to face the task this morning, put them in the left hand pannier (= pending tray) for now… I then phone up a couple of bike shippers – the one I think I’ll go with will airfreight my bike, fully insured, from JFK New York to London Heathrow for $1350, including all taxes, pallet charges etc.

I’m awaiting an Email from the shipping agents in London, confirming their additional costs, before committing to the deal. I’ll just have to deliver the bike, with battery disconnected and tank drained, to JFK, then pick it up, connect the battery, refuel and ride it off the other end – seems like a good, no hassle deal. The best bit is that I’ll be able to ride it right up to when the insurance expires – so I won’t lose so much as a day’s travelling…

I have a huge breakfast in the Denny’s (think American Little Chef, but with food a third of the price) next door to the motel, then pack the bike and I’m on the road at about 1030.

It’s still dull and damp, although it’s warmer than the last couple of days. After Bettie’s recalcitrance, I programmed a route into her last night and I head south west, initially, before joining route 20 west. To begin with, the weather’s reasonable, though autumnal colours are rarely seen at their best under a dull overcast. I ride through several small towns, most, like yesterday, are built in the older American tradition of a main street, occasionally with a town square, with the main shops grouped in the centre. Some of the houses are huge – this one reminded me of the one the Addams Family lived in…:D


I switch my heated clothing on, but leave the thermostat at a low level. I climb out of the Mohawk Valley…


…and as I do so, the mist gets thicker and turns into a sort of pseudo-drizzle. I stop and put the waterproof cover on the tank-bag. Riding in these conditions is difficult, principally because of the effect the mist and rain has on your visor. Without the benefit of windscreen wipers and washers, I’m forced to use my gloved hand to clear the raindrops. Trouble is, my glove is filthy from all the crap thrown at it, so the best result I get is a smear. Add to this the fact that I have to keep the visor cracked open slightly to stop my glasses from misting, and you’ll see that it’s hardly the most pleasant of riding environments.

My route is taking me along the northern tips of the Finger Lakes – a series of large stretches of water, running roughly north/south between Syracuse and Rochester. The weather is stopping it from being a scenic ride, although I’d imagine it would be very pretty on the right day. As I come into Auburn, I’m beginning to seriously consider stopping early for the day, when the weather suddenly perks up – I’ve clearly just been through a front of some kind.


Lots of American towns have extra signs around their name plate, showing off the prowess of some sporting achievement or another. I can’t help but feel that having the state’s best tasting drinking water 7 years ago is hardly an advert to move here…:p

I had to stop and take a pic of this…


Although it has clearly been customised – the paintwork changes colour from gold to purple as you walk from one end to the other – it must be based on something like the 1960 Cadillac I saw the other day – anyone care to hazard a more accurate guess? Whatever it is – I’m guessing you wouldn’t be wandering around in a car park trying to work out which one was yours…:D

Actually, this 53yr old Chevrolet, advertised for sale a little further down the road, is far more my style…


…at $500, it (according to the sign) runs and drives well and the owner has another car for spares…

It’s looking like rain again – I decide to wimp out, attracted by the sign outside the Finger Lakes Inn, a mom & pop in the unpronounceable town of Canandaigua, offering free hi-speed internet in all rooms. $45 later, I’m settling into the cosy warmth of room 104, with the Adv tucked up safely outside.


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