I arrived back in New York City (NYC) a couple of nights ago to meet my wife, Jackie.
This is my lovely wife (and me)....
It had been a few weeks since she had dropped me at Heathrow Airport when I flew to the US, so it was fantastic to see her again. We had dinner in New York, intending that we begin to travel north together the next day. However, there was to be a problem....
I should have thought more about this beforehand and it was totally my fault. As you can imagine, I have packed for a 4+ month tour and that means I am using both saddlebags on my bike along with bike luggage which is strapped to the rack on the back of my bike. Collectively, the items I have with me weigh quite a lot especially as these include tools, cameras, clothes and everything else that I will need for 4+ months. Well, Jackie is tiny and I hadn’t given it much thought, but with all of my gear, Jackie and her gear, the bike was a struggle to control as we set out north. It just didn’t feel too safe as we travelled the first 10 miles and I realised the bike was overloaded, but I pressed on, reluctant to admit to myself that I had made a big mistake.
Very soon Jackie asked me to pull over and she told me that she was worried as she could feel how tense I was as I struggled with the bike.
Why is it that women are much more sensible than us men? I was (stupidly) prepared to carry on but Jackie (the wise one) made the decision that we should not. She was right – Good Decision, Sweetheart!
Deep down, I knew she was right so the bike was turned around and we returned to the hotel we had just checked out of. We agreed we couldn’t discard much to lighten the load so we made a plan that we would meet up again later on the tour where we could base ourselves in one location and ride out on one or two day trips without as much to carry. This was much more sensible and we chose Flagstaff to do this from, as there are many places we can get to easily in one or two days and we would not need to carry everything with us.
So, I stayed in NYC another day and this morning, Saturday, set out on my own with Jackie about to travel to Seattle to see her family. Jackie is a US citizen and most of her family are in the Pacific North West. So, in a sad mood, I left NYC.
My mood didn’t do anything to help me enjoy the ride out of NYC. I have to say the roads in the city are pretty awful, with shocking surfaces, huge bumps, large holes, 3” thick steel plates sticking up and lots of other obstacles that you need to avoid and sometimes hit. Ouch! I did a fair bit of swearing as I rode and it seems to me when riding in NYC you spend....
25% of your time looking out for bad drivers (especially the taxi drivers – which ever planet they are from, they sure don’t have good driving education)
25% of your time looking at the poor quality roads
25% of your time looking at the sights and the people
25% of your time looking at which way to go
25% of your time trying to work out how to get around the never ending road construction works
Yes, I know that adds up to 125% of your time – that is why you get so stressed riding a motorbike in NYC and probably the reason why you don’t see many bikes there!
NYC? Carrie Fisher is welcome to it.... !
So I got out of Dodge by crossing the river to New Jersey, the 7th state I have ridden in on this tour so far and I am very glad that I did because I found this house for sale....
I suspect you might be wondering what is so special about this house. The reason is, whoever buys this house will have these views every day....
My journey into New Jersey was very brief as I re-entered New York to go see what Yonkers was about. It is a place with a silly name, but one that is well known, so I went and had a look what was there. Hmmmm. Let’s be positive and call it vibrant and multi-cultural, perhaps the best things I can say about the place. I wish I hadn’t bothered. Now I wanted to leave the city as I was pretty fed up with it. I longed for some open roads where I could achieve more than 10 mph riding on surfaces so rough that I imagine them having off-road aspirations.
Sometime later, I reached the tranquillity of Tarrytown which is like satin sheets compared to the harshness of NYC. Tarrytown was green, peaceful and a wonderful haven that eased my stress levels back to something bearable.
I carried on to Bear Mountain on the west bank of the Hudson River and decided to ride up it. If you ever get the chance to go up Bear Mountain then you should. Not because it is high and not because the views are spectacular, but because there are twisty roads!!! These bought the smile back to my face in a hurry!
The view from the very top is ok, but even better from a small viewing area overlooking the Bear Mountain Bridge.....
The next place I stopped at today was called Cold Spring. The main street through the town (village?) is tree-lined and slopes down towards the Hudson River and due to the towns galleries, antique shops and cafes would be a terrific place to walk and browse. This is the main road and one of the typical antique shops....
Down by the river there was a wedding party and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture....
I was in two minds about visiting the final place on my list for today – Orange County Choppers, or OCC as they are more commonly known. I had enjoyed watching the early series’ of “American Chopper” as tv programmes about motorbikes are rare. The early programmes looking at the relationship between Paul Senior and Paul Junior whilst building bikes was fascinating, but it began to wear a little thin when they became dickheads and the business obviously got in the way of what should be a good relationships between father and son. Their ridiculous recent tantrums was what made me unsure about going to see OCC, but I decided to anyway and just not buy anything – why should I line the pockets of these idiots?
Seeing the bikes was cool and the build quality was better than I had expected. Like many others there I walked around taking a few photos that I am happy to share with you......
Due to the sad morning I had leaving my lovely wife behind, this was the worst day of my tour so far. Kz. G.
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