Ride Round the Empire State

Newburgh NY ….and back to Newburgh NY
Fri-Sat June 29-30, 2018
(~1469 miles for trip – 1069 for Saddlesore)

The IBA’s in-state ride series had caught my attention a while back. Basically, you must complete a standard IBA certification ride (usually a Saddlesore 1000, or 1000 miles in 24 hours) while remaining entirely within the geographical boundaries of the state. Because of the limited area and road choices, especially in the smaller states, this can create a bit of a puzzle and requires careful planning of documentation points along the route, to ensure you can prove your ride.

July was approaching, and I had one more certification ride left to do if I wanted to claim IBA’s Mile Eater Silver award status (five documented rides in one year, including two extreme rides). Riding down to the start of the Butt Lite rally in Lexington KY crossed my mind, but would be too late to count for the award. I quickly decided it would be a good time to attempt my first in-state Saddlesore and chose New York state, for various reasons. It would make a good shakedown run before Butt Lite for some of my recently added farkles like the aux tank, Zumo 595 GPS, and Valentine1 radar detector with bluetooth module and phone app. The route fairly made itself as I looked over the shape and highways throughout the state and connected the dots together.

Marc and Roy, companions from the Great Lakes trip, made noises about joining me. Marc and I were going to do the entire ride together. Roy ended up deciding to do a longer ride with the intent to meet up with us and ride some of the way together. The plan was to start from Newburgh NY at 03:00 on Saturday morning. After work on Friday, I shot down to Newburgh NY to meet up with friends Ken and Felicia for some dinner before hitting the rack for some Z’s. I got the nickel tour of Newburgh’s gritter section en route to the popular Billy Joe’s Ribworks, sitting right on the Hudson river. I had a decent plate of ribs on the expansive waterfront deck while catching up on life. Marc ended up having to bail out on the ride due to “life happens”, so it would be another solo ride except any portions where I would meet up with Roy.

At the Super-8, the desk clerk seemed a bit odd but very friendly once he discovered I was there by bike. He mentioned their close proximity to Orange County Choppers and made sure to find me a room where I could see my bike out the window. I pulled up near a rear entrance to the hotel as directed, just a couple spaces down from a pickup truck full of good ole boys drinking and carrying on loudly in the parking lot. They paid me no mind so I did the same – though I did take the time to come out later and cover up the bike from prying eyes. When I awoke a few hours later to start my ride, I snapped one photo to document their previous night’s revelries.

After some hotel room coffee, I packed up, stopped by the front lobby to fill my thermos with ice and left my keys to check out. I rode the few miles to the Pilot station by the highway and filled the tanks for my starting receipt.

Everything was a go and I quickly made my way north on I-87. As I neared the proposed rendezvous point in Halfmoon NY, I dialed up Roy to check on his status. He’d started out a bit earlier than planned and was already 50 miles past the rendezvous, so we agreed to simply keep riding and see if we’d meet up somewhere along the way.

The northern portion of I-87 going through the Adirondacks in the morning light was nice. I made my first gas stop to mark the corner of the route in Champlain NY, after 267 miles. I picked up a fairly fresh breakfast biscuit sandwich and wolfed it down to get some solid food in after some decent early morning progress. The next leg was off the interstate, following US-11 west. Around Burke, my two GPS units disagreed where to route me and so I ended up following the instructions from my newer Zumo 595, leaving route 11 to continue the most northerly route across New York on SR-122 and SR-37, along the St. Lawrence River. This was a new road for me and I enjoyed the occasional views of the river along the rural route as well as the fairly quick speeds allowed in between the towns.

As I hit I-81, Roy called to exchange status info and I appeared to be only 40 miles behind him at this point, having gained some 20 miles. The slab took me down to Syracuse where I stopped to mark my next route corner with a fuel receipt. The next leg was a long mindless run on the New York Turnpike (I-90) west across the state, through Buffalo. Kill. Me. Now.

I was probably more excited at reaching Fredonia NY than anyone has a right to be, as it meant turning another corner and leaving I-90 behind. After the fuel stop to mark that corner, I moved south on NY-60 for 20-30 miles before hitting interstate once again. I took I-86/NY-17 east, enjoying yet another unfamiliar (to me) section of New York state, with forested hills and a distinct lack of visible civilization. Especially nice going through the Alleghany Indian Reservation area. At one point, I picked up a very lively “rabbit” to chase across the state at a higher average speed. I ended up finally catching up to Roy somewhere in the vicinity of Corning. I decided to surprise him and see if our group intercom was still configured from the Great Lakes ride a few weeks back. I hit the button and all of a sudden we were in comms, much to his surprise. We rode the next several miles together chatting before our paths separated.

At the town with the unfortunate name of Horseheads, I peeled off the interstate to continue due east toward the small backwater town of Van Etten, where I made my penultimate fuel stop. This 40 mile detour off the faster interstates was purposefully planned in order to avoid the small section of I-86 that actually crossed the border into PA (a no-no in an in-state ride!). I returned to the main highway after crossing the Susquehanna in Oswego. The next section of the loop was another pleasant surprise, as I enjoyed the sweeping curves and hilly scenery in the many miles of NY-17 east of  Binghamton, as I skirted the Delaware River and then Willowemoc Creek by the Catskills.

Garmin decided to route me east on Route 17K for the final stretch into Newburgh rather than taking me down to I-84. I didn’t mind the break from highway riding, but future rides with the Zumo 595 will offer more evidence of its questionable routing choices. I picked up my final receipt from the same Pilot station I’d left about sixteen hours earlier, though I neglected to take the photo with ODO (not a problem for verification since I complete a log too). Done…now for some dinner and pie at the Red Line Diner in Fishkill before the 200 mile ride home!

This in-state SaddleSore thing could become addictive…

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