So every long expedition needs a good test run. We made ours the first week of April. I put the finishing touches on the motorcycle with the help of a good friend. We installed new highway pegs made of two old, very oversized allen keys. The pegs turned out to be the perfect distance forward and angle because I can ride on them for 60 miles without moving my feet and it feels fine. So once the bike was ready to go we loaded up our “luggage” which consists of a water proof canoe bag, a magnetic tank bag, and rain suits in the saddle bags.
That was all we took for a week.
Because of an eye appointment and other inconveniences we didn’t leave Hamtramck until around 3pm headed to Niagara Falls, NY. We decided on going through southern Ontario because it created a nice straight line from Detroit to Niagara Falls and I have a Great Aunt there who graciously let us stay. Leaving home we headed out across the Ambassador Bridge (supposedly the busiest border crossing in North America). It would probably be easier to take the tunnel which has smoother roads surfaces, no wind, and no semi trucks but they banned motorcycles from using the tunnel because of their insurance company. That said we crossed and road through Windsor. At first we tried to stick to back roads, but the speed limits are pretty low and it was already getting cold, so we got on the 401 to the 403 to the 405 and made it to my aunt’s house around 10:30 PM and 37 degrees. We discovered that a good solution to the cold was to wear our rain suits as wind breakers.
My Great Aunt's beautiful house
The ride the Tuesday was much eventful. We decided that we couldn’t stay in Niagara Falls without going to see the falls so we spent the morning first trying to find them and then taking pictures. Evidently I can’t read my Aunt’s handwriting or didn’t understand something about the directions because it took about 3 times as long to actually get there as it should have. We ended up asking someone and since they were headed that way we followed them till we got close. We spent some time taking pictures of the falls and playing with the fun settings on our new Olympus Pen e-pl2 camera.
Overcast day at the falls
The Dramatic Tone art filter makes even a cloudy day look interesting.
Another Dramatic Tone Shot
After leaving the falls around 12:30 we headed for Poughkeepsie. The first 50 miles we followed the interstate and then, instead of taking freeways the whole way down, we got off in Batavia and took NY 28 and NY30 through the Catskills down to Poughkeepsie. The upside to the back roads was that I managed to average 50mpg going through the mountains. The downside was going around the fingerlakes and through the Catskills on twisty backroads in the freezing cold dark.
But cold and dark or not, we made it to Poughkeepsie around 10pm. We had a wonderful visit with our friends there including some walking paths around the city, just hanging out in the country, exploring the rural farms and the old downtown, and even got to torment a snake.
Quaint gas station in Poughkeepsie using the pop art filter.
Walking Bridge over the Hudson River
Hanging with our friends
Playing with the dog
Random really mad snake that we found sunning itself
Old farm on the outskirts of town
Pretending the Shadow is a dual sport and exploring an old two track
Downtown Poughkeepsie, NY
More hanging out with friends...old rail bed walking trail
After joining our friends for an Easter services, we hit the road for home. A check of the weather forcast showed that Niagara Falls and Southern Ontario were supposed to we wet, windy, and cold so we opted to ride across Pennsylvania and Ohio. There was no good backroads route so we took interstates. The wind was terrible. Most of the way through the mountains we were riding into 30+ MPH headwinds with gusts well over 50 MPH. This was more than a little stressful on the shadow. It kept going, but drank gas to the tune of only getting around 25-35 MPG. Monday was almost as bad, but we made it home safely. Other than dealing with head winds we had two equipment failures. The GPS charger quit working because of a bad connection and the speaker/microphone connector on my headset separated (it’s back for warranty repairs so I’ll write a review when I find out how they treat me). We are looking forward to our long summer trip, just hoping for a little warmer weather!
Getting started again in the morning. Clarion, PA