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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Americade 2008 - Day 7

This year I'm publishing highlights of my activities at the 2008 Americade Motorcycle Rally, day by day in a blog. Americade is scheduled for June 2-7, this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Lake George, NY, my observations while there, the ride home, and getting back to normal.

The trip will now also include intermediate stop-offs at at our son's house in Boonton, NJ (three grandsons) and daughter's house in Middle Grove, NY (grandson and granddaughter). Our daughter made a move to the Saratoga Springs area last year after Americade. Since her house is now 25 miles south of Americade (and on the way), we now have a fringe benefit of making the trip.

I'm finding it difficult to stay up-to-date with this "daily" blog. It takes a lot of time out of a day to do a blog entry especially when pictures and videos are involved. I'll do the best I can but first priority will be going to doing the actual activities of Americade.

On Monday I got to thinking that I should do some demo rides. I didn't want to go out on straight motorcycle demos since I'm basically riding three wheels these days. I decided to sign-up for the Vectrix electric scooter, the Cam-Am Spyder, and the new Stallion trike made by Thoroughbred Motorsports, INC, a Motor Trike company.

On Tuesday, we got up early and rode up to the Lone Bull Restaurant, a favorite of many Americaders. We've eaten there almost every year we've attended Americade. It's part of our ritual. After breakfast we always ride down to Tour-Expo at 9 a.m. This year the ritual changed a little.

I decided to go to Americade headquarters at Roaring Brook Ranch (RBR) to register for my three demo rides while Jane rode to Tour-Expo. I would meet her there later.

I entered RBR and found Vectrix Scooters at the foot of the infamous corkscrew road on which a motorcycle dares not stop. I registered for a ride and was told to return in 40 minutes for the next ride. I didn't think I would get in so fast. While I waited, I decided to continue up the road to the next parking lot where Cam-Am Spyder was located.

Cam-Am had an elaborate sign-up process. I first signed-in and got a plastic tag on a cord to put around my neck. A special code was on the tag. I was told to get in another line that led up to four laptop workstations. When I reached the laptop, I sat down and followed a series of instructions. I had to pass the tag through a card reader. I then had to pass my drivers license through the card reader which read off my name and address. Then I answered various other questions about my experience with motorcycles. Finally, I signed a release and then got an armband that had my demo time on it. My appointment was to be in mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

I rode back down to the Vectrix demo and got briefed on its operation. The Vectrix is a zero-emission vehicle - no gas, no oil. It was quiet. Here's a 2008 Vectrix Road Test report that I did after I returned from Americade 2008. This report also contains a short video I took of a Vectrix demo group.

On the way out of RBR I stopped at the Thoroughbred Motorsports area where demos were being organized for the Stallion trike. I signed up for a demo on Wednesday morning at 9:40 a.m. Rain was expected overnight and into Wednesday morning but I took the chance that conditions would improve. I asked if I could add my wife to the demo as a passenger. I was told that she could sign-in at the demo tomorrow.

The Can-Am Spyder demo was held at 2:30 p.m. and seemed to be the most popular place at RBR. I first had to attend a 10-minute video on the technical features of the Spyder. Then there was a riders' meeting where the demo leader went over everything about the operation of the Spyder. They even gave you a short cone-weave test to make sure you could turn the vehicle and stop it. Hit a cone and you were out. Here's a 2008 Spyder Road Test report that I did after I returned from Americade 2008. This report also contains a short video I took of a Spyder demo group.

More to follow. Read the blog each day for further reports.

An evolving blog index to these Americade 2008 blog entries is also available.

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