Lake George region revved up for Americade

THUMPERRRR's picture

Annual bike rally runs through June 8

(28 pics and video) --- LAKE GEORGE – Fred Howard has a motto.

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes."

That theory sustained him for a rainy 800-mile ride on his Honda Silver Wing motorcycle – from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Lake George. His Gore Tex jacket and pants and waterproof boots, along with occasional stops at coffee shops during the heaviest downpours, helped him survive the journey to the shores of the Queen of American Lakes for the 37th annual Americade.

"I love coming out here," Howard said as he sat perched on his cherry-colored bike. "New York is the best kept secret. Most riders don't want to come out here, but the riding is absolutely amazing. The whole area is wonderful."

He's obviously not alone. touts the June 3 to 8 event as the largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally in the world. Organizers said they are expecting between 50,000 and 60,000 bikers. On Monday morning, the first day of the rally, hundreds parked their rides on the lawn of the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center. But by the week's end, the village's main drag, Canada Street, will be jammed, end-to-end, with motorcycles. Most side streets, too. Leather and bandanas will also be on view as the fashion fabric of choice.

Monday started off chilly in the 50s, with wind gusts off the lake that left event volunteers and vendors worrying their tents would blow away. And rain is forecast for most of the week. No matter the weather, the week's schedule to will motor along with music, fireworks, cruises on the lake, safety courses and guided rides around the back byways of the Adirondacks and neighboring Washington County. Howard, who has come for 20 years, likes the bike demos.

"I will get a chance to ride bikes I've been lusting over," Howard said, including a BMW GTL. "I'm looking to the future."

Howard said it was easier to endure a rain-soaked ride because he was alone. Without a partner, he stopped and went as he pleased, checking out his favorite museums and restaurants along the way.

"No compromises, no complaints," said Howard, who keeps his costs down by staying at one-star motels.

Most bikers at Americade, however, arrive in packs – from motorcycle clubs around the country – as far away as Florida and Ohio, and Alberta, Canada. Leroy and Melissa Gross rode up from the northern neck of Virginia with their friends, Gary and Laura Burns, from Frederick, Maryland. All along the way 16-hour ride, they expected rain, but got lucky, staying hours ahead of the bad weather.

"We made it here safely," Laura Burns said. "It was a great adventure."

A group of men from Quebec said they have come for 35 years as a way to bond over bikes.

"It's boys, no wives," said Alain Prevost, who came with his brother Ivan and friend Jean-Luc Levesque. "It's cold, rains. It's ok."

Howard agreed, but lamented his bike suffers in the rain. Spray from trucks and other cars encrusted every crevice of his 22-year-old Honda in mud. Every night, he washed and wiped down his ride.

"I don't know what it is, but a bike gets so much dirtier than a car in the rain," Howard said. "It was caked."

On Monday, every part of his bike (tires excluded) gleamed as it stood alongside the hundreds of other shiny motorcycles and trikes lined up on the grass.

Volunteer Carol Nyzio of Ludlow, Massachusetts, was directing bikes of all shapes and sizes to designated parking spots. Despite the wind and threats of rain, she said she looks forward to 30 hours working as an Americade volunteer.

"I will be here until I die," she said. "I love it."

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Wendy Liberatore
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