My first experience with a motorcycle rally was the Finger Lakes Rally held by the Finger Lakes BMW Club. I was told that if I only attend one rally, this is the one to attend over Labor Day weekend. And it was an awesome experience.
I met up with my friend John and six of his friends at Summerdale Diner in Enola at 7am on Friday. We had breakfast and introduced ourselves. We were on our bikes shortly after 8am. Five BMWs, and one Harley. We headed up route 15 towards New York as the weekend had officially begun.
After getting off route 15 and onto the side roads towards Watkins Glen, the thrill sunk in. I’m not sure how to explain it. Here I was on my BMW R1100S with touring cases packed full, tank bag packed, tent, and sleeping bag strapped over the passenger seat and just traveling. Looking ahead at s few more BMWs packed with similar gear as we glide the back roads and lean through the turns as the sun glimpses over the ridges and hills to light our way. It’s a sight I will not forget.
As we arrived at Watkins Glen State Park shortly after noon we checked in and found a camping spot to call home for the weekend. Just $55 at registration gave me 3 nights of camping, dinner Saturday and Sunday, a rally mug, and entries for door prizes. It was quite warm so I set up my tent under some trees and found some shade under the dining tent to hang out until it cooled off a bit. The bikes continued to roll in all day and night.
Saturday morning was cold, windy, and forecast for possible showers. But I wanted to go to Monica’s Pies in Naples, NY for a blueberry pie. I had come this far, so I figured, why not? I talked a few of my friends from the BMW Dutch Country Riders into going. Everyone questioned my fondness for this pie I was craving and thought I was crazy. But I was a man on a mission. That pie would be mine.
It was just drizzling so I opened up my side cases and grabbed my rain gear. Pulled my rain gear over my riding gear and slipped the key to my cases into my pocket. This would be the cause of much frustration but more on that later. We headed off to Naples which was about an hour ride.
After arriving at Monica’s Pies I reached into my pocket to grab my key for my side cases and noticed that what I thought was a pocket, was not a pocket. It was merely a hole with access to my pants pocket. So when I placed my key into my pocket, it dropped to the bottom of my pants and fell out somewhere between Watkins Glen and Naples. And it was my only key to these cases. Regardless, I got my blueberry pie. Goal accomplished, but frustrated that I lost my key.
All day Saturday I spent asking people to try their keys in my side cases to see if they would work. No such luck. But Sunday morning I guy overheard me talking about it and offered to come over to my bike and help pull the locks out. This sounded too easy. But after about 45 minutes he had both locks pulled from the cases and I was able to open them. I offered him my blueberry pie but he refused. It was suggested that I take these locks to a guy who was selling used parts and see if he could match the locks to my ignition key. So I stroll over to George and explain my situation. Within about 15 minutes he had my locks re-keyed to match my ignition key. I asked him what I owed him and he said he didn’t sell me anything and that he just gave me some of his time. Again, he would not take anything in exchange for saving my butt. He simply said to do something nice for someone else. That seemed to be the mentality of everyone at the rally. I couldn’t ask to be amongst any better people.
Now that I had access to my side cases once again, it was time to go visit a winery. Friends recommended Bully Hill Winery in Hammondsport, NY so I found the address, put it in my GPS and hit the road.
The parking area at Bully Hill Winery with Keuka Lake in the background.
They offered wine tasting every half hour. For $2 you could sample five wines of their choice. And they made it fun! White, red, rose, dry, or sweet, it was fun. Then in their shop you could pay $1 per sample to taste any wine you wanted. I tasted a red wine and bought a bottle to bring home. Wrapping it in my rain gear and placing it in my side case.
On my way back from Hammondsport I passed this area between two lakes where boats would travel between the two. This was between Waneta Lake and Lamoka Lake. The sky was beautiful and I just had to stop and soak in the scenery for a bit.
Watkins Glen was a beautiful town and Seneca Lake as well.
Monday came and it was soon time to hit the road to head back home.
I think I found an annual vacation! The Finger Lakes BMW Rally!
Check out my BMW Finger Lakes Rally photo set on Flickr for more photos from the weekend.
I left Harrisburg around 7am this morning for a motorcycle ride to western Pennsylvania. I met up with my friend Daneen and we headed west towards Bedford. Then we took route 99 north. After stopping for gas for the second time and after around 180 miles, I used Urbanspoon on my trusty iPhone to locate a place for lunch. Clem’s showed up and was only about 5 miles away.
I could smell the BBQ as we pulled up. Dismounting from the bikes I could see the cook beside the building piling some wood on the fire as the flames grew. Time to go inside and see what this place is all about.
The female employees meet the upmost standards! It didn’t hurt that she leaned over towards me revealing her, umm… yeah… as she rang up our order. But on to the food!
Ribs, chicken, fresh cut fries, a roll, and Jones soda. As an added bonus, they have vinegar on the table. Fresh cut fries with vinegar! I couldn’t finish my meal so I packed up the rest and placed it in my side case for later. I will definitely make the trip back out here for BBQ.
On Saturday I met up with a few members of the Dutch Country Riders at 9am at the rest stop on I81 north of Harrisburg, PA. We were riding to Alpha, New Jersey to have lunch at Charlie’s Pool Room. Charlie’s Pool Room is known for it’s famous hot dogs which have been cooked in a small skillet in their kitchen the same way for probably 50 years. Who would ride 3 hours and 100 miles for such a lunch? We would.
Charlie’s Pool Room would be easy to miss. It looks just like the other houses on this block in Alpha, New Jersey. Once stepping inside you see the old counter that looks like it hasn’t changed in 50 years. Sodas are purchased in a soda machine and ice cream is available in an old cooler.
There’s just one round table in the back to sit down and enjoy your meal beside the one lonely pool table. This place has charm.
My lunch consisted of two ht dogs with sauce. The sauce is a sweet onion sauce and the recipe is only known by one of the two brother’s who owns the establishment.
On the way back we stopped at the Peanut Shop in Port Clinton, PA. The candy in this store was amazing! They had anything you could imagine.
I stocked up with some butter roasted peanuts while others bought licorice (which was the best I’ve ever had) and other assorted candies. Hermy’s BMW is just a few hundred feet down the road from this store. I need to return!