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2006 Americade Motorcycle Rally Blog - Day 5

By Walter Kern

This year I'm publishing highlights of Americade 2006, day by day in this blog. Americade is scheduled for June 5-10 this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal -- before the next set of rides to the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) Wing Ding national rally in Nashville, TN and the BuRP rally in Maggie Valley, NC. (BuRP is a rally for Motorcycles forum members.)

We were up at 6:30 a.m. today. A quick breakfast and a check of email for both Jane and me and then last minute packing and loading of the trikes. We were out the door on time at 8:30 a.m. and headed for a gas stop. Next we traveled up to the entrance to the Garden State Parkway just south of the Driscoll Bridge. As we rounded the entrance ramp to the Parkway, I noticed a sea of nearly parked cars across six lanes of traffic heading for the Bridge. This was not good news. We threaded our trikes into the traffic stream. Jane was just ahead of me maybe two car lengths. I moved to lane three and lost sight of Jane. I called over the CB for Jane to tell me what lane she was in. Dead silence. I called again, and again, and again, and got no response. Where did she go?

I couldn't see Jane's trike anywhere. Did she have an accident? Was she ahead of me somewhere? I felt a bit of panic. I went over the bridge among six lanes of cars and threaded onto I287. All the time I kept calling for Jane over the CB. Still no response. I traveled down I287 about 8 miles and didn't see her anywhere. Finally, I pulled over to the shoulder and took my helmet off. I tried to call her on my cellphone. All I got was voice mail. I waited and waited and still no Jane. Just truck after truck flying by at 65 mph. We had long had an agreement that should we get separated, the one in the lead would pull over and wait for the other. She was ahead of me the last time I saw her but I had not seen her. Maybe she was still behind me and I had missed her somehow. I had to go back and look for her.

I turned around and headed back over the Driscoll Bridge peering over into the other direction of traffic looking for her trike. Nothing. I got over the Bridge and pulled to the side of the road. I got out my cellphone and tried to call her again. I got the voice mail again. I was really in a panic now. I decided to retrace my steps so I turned the trike around and headed back over the same route. Just then I heard my cellphone ringing in my pocket and I pulled over to the side of the road and yanked off my helmet. The ringing stopped. I tried to call her again and she answered. "Where are you? Why didn't you wait for me?" I said. "I'm at the rest stop in Morristown, waiting for you," she said. Well, I was furious. Not much I could do now except ride the trike to the rest area where everyone was waiting for me. We were now 45 minutes behind schedule.

We finally all got together and headed north to the NY Thruway. All of a sudden I could see traffic stopped ahead of us. We slowed down and finally stopped and then inched along for more than 30 minutes. Switching to CB channel 19, I found out that some sort of accident had occurred involving three fatalities. An accident investigation team was on the scene and that had slowed traffic to a crawl. Will we ever get to Lake George? Last year we got half drowned in thunderstorms. This year it was a delay because Jane and I couldn't keep track of each other and then we all got further delayed because of traffic.

We did save some time when we got to Lake George since we were so late to registration that all the lines were gone and we rushed right through.

Things have changed a bit at Americade. There used to be very few people around on Monday and Tuesday. This year, it looked like Thursday with people and bikes everywhere. Very crowded. Still, I enjoy the variety of bikes and the people that go with them.

It's been a long day. My arthritis was noticable but it didn't stop me. That's good. Tomorrow, we visit the TourExpo Vendor area. It opens at 9 a.m. and we plan to be near the head of the line.

Photo, "Car Surrounded by Bikes, " © 2006 Walter Kern

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