Ride to the Core of the Big Apple

big_appleGary Fourman | Indiana

This summer our daughter landed an internship at Sterling Publishing (Barnes & Noble) in New York City. I wanted to go see her for a weekend but driving from Indianapolis to Upper Manhattan didn’t sound appealing. Nor did flying. Going on my Honda ST1300, now that had possibilities for adventure! The dilemma, though, was where would I park the bike once I got there?

Enter dinner at STAR ’14 with Archey and Theresia Shearer. Theresia talked about riding to Portland, Oregon, dropping her bike off at a local dealer for an oil change, and then flying on to Hawaii for a wedding. The bike not only got its oil change but it was in secure storage until she got back and picked it up to ride home. I thought if she could do that on the west coast, perhaps I could do the same thing on the east coast in New York City.


big_apple_02When I got home, I did some research and found that there was a Honda Dealer a few miles from our daughter’s apartment. It’s Shelby’s Powersports and they’re located about two thirds of the way across The Bronx. I called them and, yes, they would do the same for me – change the oil in the bike and then keep it and my gear until I got back. Awesome! Trip on!

On the way out, I got the Interstate 80 in Sharon, PA, to visit a candy factory that sounded interesting. On the way there, I stumbled across a great lunch spot – the original location for Quaker Steak and Lube. The décor was awesome for bikers and it had some humor for all to enjoy.

Riding across IN, OH, PA and NJ had been pretty low key. On the other hand, on a hot summer day with heavy traffic, navigating the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson and continuing through Upper Manhattan and two thirds of the Bronx was some good heart pounding excitement! As a matter of fact, I was profoundly grateful for the Garmin on my handlebars. Without it, I still would be trying to find Shelby’s!

big_apple_04Checking in the bike and gear went smoothly although there was a “You’re from where?” exclamation and a careful study of my bike registration. I took a taxi to our daughter’s apartment and we had a great weekend seeing the sights. One was the Rockefeller Center where they tape two of my favorite shows: The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. We couldn’t get tickets to either one but that gives me a reason to go back another time.

On Monday, I decided to tackle the subway system to get back to Shelby’s. After one tactical error and an hour’s lost time, I arrived at Shelby’s, collected my bike, and headed home. (Later I gave them a good review on Facebook to thank them for accommodating me so well.)

GPS technology – ‘gotta love it! To get back out of the city I decided to use not only the Garmin but also Google Maps bluetoothed from my phone to my SENA headset. I had gone only a few blocks when I started getting conflicting directions. Go straight. No, turn right! Go straight some more. No, make a U-Turn! Since navigation algorithms vary by device, initially I didn’t worry about the difference between the Garmin and “the voices in my head.” But the conflicts got worse, so I pulled over to see what was going on. Shameful discovery: I had not changed my Garmin’s destination and it was trying to direct me back to Shelby’s!

On the way home, I diverted off the highway a couple of times. The first was mid-morning in the Poconos after a rain and I got a surprise as I was tooling down a twisty local road. I rounded a corner and there sitting in a dead tree were several turkey vultures sunning themselves! Google search results indicate they do that to kill bacteria in their feathers. Good enough answer for me but I do wonder how they know that’s the reason?

big_apple_05Another diversion was to Punxsutawney, PA, where they have the annual Groundhog Day extravaganza. I rode out to the Amphitheatre where they pluck Punxsutawney Phil from his tree stump to see if he will see his shadow. By that time it was dusk, I was the only person there, and it was eerily quiet. It would be fun to go back some day for the event – just not with the bike on icy roads! (Feel free to enjoy this clip from the 2014 event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEOH0GOt-PI

My journey took three days and two nights going out and the same coming back. That combined with four days and three nights at my destination with our daughter made it a great trip!

Leave a Reply