So here I am on another trip but this time in a 4-wheeled vehicle. Across southern MI, southwestern Ontario, and much of New York today. Much congestion for over 50 miles on both sides of the border near Niagara Falls! Creeping along mile after mile, being teased by signs that said 100 kph but realistically averaging about ten or less.
Beautiful weather this weekend. I am so envious of all the motorcyclists I've seen on the road! Probably a couple hundred overall, counting the ones parked in restaurants and rest areas. Many bikes on the road solo with two up - no doubt husband and wife duos - mostly on Harley Ultras - heading off on a weekend getaway. Many groups of young guys on racer replicas - looking like they were having a blast effortlessly squirting past traffic and nimbly making their way through the congestion. Lots of groups of 3 or 4 bikers riding together, looking like they were having a good time enjoying the road, the weather, and their bikes, together. Saw a large group of 7 or 8 full dressers pulling motorcycle camper trailers at an ON rest area. They were fully loaded and off on a long trip, would be my guess. This is perhaps a perfect weekend for riding motorcycles. The temperature is ideal, the wind is light, and the sky is partly cloudy so as to not have the sunlight be overpowering. Did I mention how jealous I was? But I'm riding with my family in my 4-wheeler, enjoying the time together, so I'm not complaining. There is a time for everything.
Today's perfect weather, and all the bikes I've seen, made me think back to something I've pondered frequently - and that is why are there more motorcyclists per capita in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and so on instead of in warmer southern states. And I think the young highway flagman I spoke with while stopped for highway construction in Oklahoma, in temps well over 100 degrees, had it right. He said simply that it was too hot to ride a motorcycle in Oklahoma. And in fact he's right. When a person is confronted with weeks of temperatures above 90 or 95 degrees, including many over 100 degrees, the last thing they want to do is expose themselves to even more direct sun and heat.
We may complain of northern winters, and of having to park our bikes for large parts of several months each year, but when riding season does finally arrive, it is marvelous. 75 degrees, not 105! I don't have the facts to back up this follow-up theory, but I would not be at all surprised that more cars with sun roofs, and convertibles, are sold in northern states than in the deep south. Again, folks there are taking pains to protect themselves from the sun, not unnecessarily expose themselves to it! So rack one up for the great white north!
Taking 401, 402, and 403 across Ontario is efficient (usually) but not much more. If you have the time follow the north shore of Lake Erie across southwestern Ontario. It is very pretty with light traffic and frequent views of a mostly undeveloped lake shore. You will see lots of other motorcyclists on these beautiful stretches of 2-laners. Fort Erie at the eastern end of Lake Erie is a fascinating place to visit to understand history from a totally different perspective. Remember, during much of our existence Canada was part of Great Britain and thus our enemy during periods such as the War of Independence and the War of 1812, and beyond. Thankfully our wonderful neighbors to the north, or east if you live in Michigan, have been our strongest friends and allies for a very long time and the history we share is now very positive and mutually beneficial.
New York state, like Pennsylvania, is one that I love to ride in. I've made a few bike trips through NY but my three main motorcycle travel goals for NY have not yet been accomplished; these are: extensively riding through all portions of the Adirondacks, following the Hudson River Valley from end to end, and following the old NY Thruway, and the Erie Canal, completely across the state. I've done some of all of these on past bike trips, but there is much more to see, up close and personal.
So tomorrow the Albany area, crossing the Hudson, driving through the beautiful Berkshires of western MA, and on to Cape Cod. It'll be a nice drive, no doubt surrounded again by two-wheelers taking their owners out for a run, and time with extended family.
Till the next time I come across a WIFI location where I can check in; Ride - or drive - Safe, and enjoy life. It's all good.