I just completed a nearly 2,000 mile trip through NY and MA, during which I was once again reminded of the marvelous beauty and fascinating history of that part of the country; a history that goes back much further than much of the country's. Seeing signs about towns incorporated before the Revolutionary War, or even dates going back to the late 1600's, is very cool!
What's more, the area has some of the best motorcycling roads to be found anywhere. The back roads in the Berkshires, the Catskills, and the hills of southern New York state - almost all the way to the Pennsylvania border near Lake Erie - offer some of the most enjoyable twisting, turning, rising, falling, and scenic two lane blacktop in the country. And because school was still in session last week in NY and MA the summer tourism season hadn't really begun yet, resulting in light traffic on these roads.
While in Springfield, MA I visited the Indian Motorcycle museum. It is now part of a larger city museum but it has marvelous displays and is a recommended stop for anyone who enjoys antique motorcycles and related items from the early and mid-2oth century.
Some observations from the trip:
There is obviously a lack of serious crime in New York. I don't believe I have ever seen so many police working traffic on back roads in my life. It seemed that around every curve or over every hill there was a patrol car running radar traffic enforcement. I think I spent as much time looking in my mirrors or scanning the roadsides for police cars checking my speed and waiting to pull me over as I did normal riding duties. Very frustrating, and I think mostly for naught. I've long believed that riders and drivers will 'float' to the proper and safest speeds on various roads, depending on all of the circumstances and conditions present at any given place and time. This speed might be less or more than the posted speed, which is a best guess average which unfortunately has the inflexible power of law. Many speed limits are set too low in my opinion. Expressway speeds in NY, PA, and OH are set at 65-mph, which I think is foolish, because nearly everyone naturally, and safely, goes 70. It makes a mockery of the law and of enforcement. But of course if a particular highway patrol officer wants to pull a driver over and ticket them for doing a safe and appropriate 70, they could (and do).
I thankfully had no close calls of any kind, and saw no deer or other potential hazards anywhere near the road for the entire trip. I did notice that the amount of weed cutting along the roads is less than past years, no doubt due to budgetary problems in state and local coffers. I like it when they don't mow the entire right of way - I think that's overkill and destroys a lot of habitat for small animals and ground nesting birds like pheasants. But I do like at least 6-feet or so mowed back from the edge of the shoulders so deer near the roadway can be spotted sooner.
I ended up blitzing home the last day and arrived close to 11:00 p.m. I rarely ride after dusk because it's simply too dangerous with deer and other large wildlife moving about. Once darkness descends completely the potential dangers of being on the road increase across the board. Car drivers are less likely to see a rider, there are more intoxicated drivers on the roads, it is more difficult to see dangers in time to take avoidance action (a muffler lying in the middle of the road, etc.). So I have had a long personal preference to avoid riding after dusk and it seems to have worked for me. I read about a lot of night time accidents involving motorcycles and sometimes it's the riders fault for missing a curve or other danger, other times a driver claimed to not have seen the biker. But having been an observer of such things for nearly forty years I have seen patterns that I choose to avoid to increase my safety margin while still allowing maximum enjoyment of daytime riding.
Home for a couple weeks then off on another much longer trip to the west. Gotta get the bike ready for the rigors of the wild, wild west!