Final ride of the season: Night Time Odyssey Through Western New York

Both my bike and I having been idle in Toronto from any long trips for over a month, I decided that I would take the upcoming holiday weekend (thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus day in the states) to take one more trip before it got too cold, and it would probably be my last chance so I was going to go no matter what, premature winter be damned!

So I booked off the necessary days from work with the plan to head from Toronto to Oneonta, NY to visit my brother at college. I also invited my girlfriend along, letting her know of course that she would be signing up for nearly 800 miles in 3 days in very cold weather.

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The trip turned out to be very intense, but just the type of adventure I needed. We left at 7pm on Saturday night after I finished my shift at work with the plan to drive two hours to Niagara where we would spend the night and then finish the trip on Sunday. Well it turned out that virtually all of the hotels in western New York were booked from Niagara to Elmira. So 10 hours later, after sub freezing weather, thick fog, rain, and many hotel desk clerks with bad news (some very friendly and helpful, some complete assholes, and some just plain weird) we pulled into the Mark Twain Motor Inn in Elmira at 5am. I was incredibly impressed with how my girlfriend held up, only starting to get frustrated at about 3 or 4 in the morning when the rain was freezing on our clothes and the condensation on the bottom of my visor was forcing me to tilt my head down to see my control panel, leading my poor passenger to think I was falling asleep.

Needless to say, the next two days were boring in comparison. Having done most of the drive the day (night) before, Sunday was a leisurely 100 mile day into Oneonta and a much less sketchy hotel (bath water did not come out yellow). Even doing the full drive back on Monday was relatively easy, other than long lines at the border, cold at first but we made good time and were able to take the necessary rejuvinating breaks.

It was overall a much welcome exclamation mark at the end of my sadly abbreviated riding season this year. Hopefully it will hold me over for at least a couple of the months that my bike is sitting in storage. Now I can’t help but look forward to that first thaw of next year!

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