Friday, April 15, 2016

Great North American Adventure - NYC to Lake Placid

Time of departure - 915 am
Time of arrival - 445 pm
Distance covered - 292 miles

Morning of any motorcycle trip is always hectic. Despite all the pre-planning there is something always missing. In my case that was my motorcycle pants without which I couldn't really go! After looking frantically for my pants I found out Amina had taken it out of the bag where I keep all the motorcycle gear and put it in a random closet. I don't think it was her way of stopping me from going, just her way of making me feel stressed out.

 After having successfully located and putting on my pants as I do wear the pants in my house :-) I headed out to meet Vishal on the next block. Vishal and I have riden together for almost 8 years now. In that time he has lived in NJ while I was living on UWS, then him living in London and me in São Paulo but still managing a trip to the Swiss Alps from London, then I was living in São Paulo and he was back in NYC and we rode to Shennendoah national park. Now we are literally living one block from each other so logistics are a little bit easy. However, one thing never changes... He is always late. After texting me he was ready to go he still took 30 mins to come down blaming it on his boss.

Anyway, we finally took off and one the first light while I was trying to fix my head set, I dropped my glove in the middle of 2nd avenue.  So had to pull over, and do a frogger type of move to get my glove back from on coming traffic.  When we finally got on the road the first hour was super uncomfortable.  My hands were cold since I was not wearing my winter gloves. It is April after all. My new shoes were hurting my feat and most importantly my playlist stopped working on my headset. So we ended up taking a break pretty early.

Our goal was to do half way to Albany by lunch time and we actually made it

there around 12 40 pm. We had lunch In downtown Albany at a pretty nice pub but the service was Slowwww. We ended up spending almost 1 1/2 hour for lunch. Post lunch the riding was relatively easy although Vishal complained I was going too fast. His sweet spot is 75 MPH and mine is more like 85 but we compromised and settled at 80Mph.

The trip was uneventful and the road was non exciting as we always planned to take the fastest route to Lake Placid which was I87. Once we reached Lake Placid we checked into a very old Best Western which made me nervous about the sheets and bed bugs but so far so good. Dinner was at a very local restaurant called Liquids and Solids which made me wonder what they were talking about.

For those who don't know, Lake Placid and the nearby white face mountain are the home to the USA ski team and has hosted two winter Olympic Games. Perhaps the best known one is the USA versus Soviet Union Ice hockey final on which the great movie Miracle is based on. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, it's almost 10 pm. I just finished writing this and now it's time to rest. Next up ...Montreal. 

The Great North American Adventure- Pre Planning

Hello everyone, it's been a while since I published this blog. I won't use the lame excuse of being lazy. The truth is I had done nothing or visited anyplace interesting on the motorcycle in a while.  My last great trip was in Brazil to Serra do Rio Rastro in September 2014 and since moving back to NYC it's been rather dull as it comes to trips. So V Man and I decided to break the inertia and started planning a real trip.  I was intrigued by going and visiting our neighbors up north, the ones Donald Trump doesn't hate.  Initially, the idea was more ambitious, ship our bikes to Seattle and the ride to Vancouver and Whistler and all the glorious twisties. But work ruined that plan as we both quickly realized taking 2weeks off would be tough so we settled for something closer. Ride to Montreal and visit Mountains north of Montreal.

Montreal is approximately 329 miles from NYC and not something we wanted to do in 1 day so we have planned to spend the night in Lake Placid and the ride to Montreal the next day. The night before a big trip is always full of anxiety and excitement.  Making things more complicated is packing for 6 days in one bag that will go on the back seat and be evenly balanced. It requires skill!! The anxiety stems from looking at riding 300 miles on two wheels at 80 mph against the wind. It may not seem like it but it is actually a test of your endurance, concentration and of course balance.

Anyway, the packing is done and I need to get a good night's sleep to be on the road at 9 am sharp.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Another Weekend Another Fazenda

Woke up early today and headed to the SP BMW dealership where they had organized a ride for BMW riders. The destination was Morungaba, SP approximately 100 km from Sao Paulo. See route below.

There were almost 35 bikes there for the ride today and that is not usually a recipe for a good ride. Now you have to look out for 34 other idiots on the road around you. Anyway, Felipe and his wife Camila that I always ride with on the BMW sponsored rides were there as well. Around 10 am we headed out of SP. As I imagined it was a cluster F#$%. People kept trying to pass and get close to the ride leader and he kept slowing down to make sure everyone was following. Finally Felipe did the right thing and just sped past the group and I followed him so we could ride on our own pace. At the mid-point we met up with the group and then rode the rest of the way together to the Fazenda. While the route itself there was nothing to rave about, the Fazenda was very nice.  Check out the link below. But I also took some pictures.

After a typical Brazilian lunch and a lot of horror stories about people falling from the motorcycle at the lunch table which left me thoroughly irritated, we headed back to SP.  The ride back was much shorter as we didn't take any breaks although the traffic and the speedy curves gave quite a challenge.

That's it folks. Until the next ride. Tchau.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Visit to TAM airplane museum - June 2011

One of the most interesting places I have seen in Brazil is the TAM airplane museum. . One Saturday morning we rode out to Agua vermelha, Sao Carlos which was around 250 km from Sao Paulo. It was a ride organized by the BMW club and about 20 of us rode out there on a very nice sunny day.

Here is a very cool video of the museum.

Here are the pictures from the trip and the museum.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ride to the Chocolate Farm and a Moody bike

 Waiting outside the Biker's station on Marginale.

 Isn't she beautiful?

 Look ! No crutches.
 Taking a break on one of the narrow windy roads.

 River next to the road, beautify but heavily polluted.

 Stables in the Fazenda

 Peacocks running around in the farm

Our route

So friends after almost 3 weeks of using crutches as an aftermath of an ill advised move in London. I finally got on the bike today and the wait was worth it. Woke up early on Sunday and headed over our usual meeting point on Marginale where all the bikers gather before the head out. Around 930 am four of us headed towards Itu.

It felt really strange to be on my own bike and I was feeling quite nervous initially. The route was very challenging and the road full of tight turns that closed on you quickly. I don't know if it was being off the bike for a few weeks or getting used to a different bike but I was lagging everyone but decided not to push it and take it at a speed I was comfortable with. No point being back on the crutches so soon.

Our destination was

Fazenda da Serra, also known as Chocolate Farm, was founded more than 400 years by the bandeirantes and passed through various stages of Brazilian history, it belonged to Domingues Fernandes, founder of the city of Itu. Fazenda Serra still retains its old buildings and the rich architecture of the colonial period that recall a novel scenario, your visitors have the opportunity to meet and visit the ancient senzala, where today it operates a winery and the cafeteria where meals are served to tours that visit the farm, the farm also conserves the ancient terraces of coffee that were left as inheritance of the coffee economy period the casa grande, and several houses, and in one of them still exist the belongings of the daily life of ancient Italian immigrants.

Because of the natural and architectural beauties of the farm, it was used as the setting for several novels and mini TV series and also as private commercial recording of the most diverse types of products, CD covers and calendars.

Anyway, after finishing lunch we all headed back to our bikes and headed back to SP. However, Robert's BMW refused to start. Turning the key and pressing the ignition would do nothing. After spending many frustrating minutes trying to lift his seat to find the battery and still not being able to detect the problem he decided to call his insurance company for a tow truck. We even tried to jump start the bike several times but pushing it and then starting it but it just refused to come alive.

We headed back to the restaurant and waited for an hour or so and then headed back to the bike to wait for the tow truck. Robert walked to his bike, put his key in and screamed. The bike started! Robert and his friend did a small victory dance which I wasn't able to capture on my camera but I did get a picture.

It was the weirdest thing with the bike. At the exact same time the two truck arrived but we decided to ride the bikes back to SP and just told Robert to keep it on at all times until he gets to SP. The ride back was quite uneventful and I was just happy I was back to riding again after almost 4 weeks.