Up until today there has been little excitement to write about. That all changed this morning as I rode my motorcycle into Alfred, NY, hoping to gas up and buy a few supplies.
For the last few weeks, I have been playing hopscotch in state forests in western New York, picking spots that are open enough for my media and secluded enough that I remain somewhat stealthy. No matter where I end up there always seems to be a few individuals that think the forest roads and campsites are their personal baja trails. A lot of the sites are torn up from 4×4’s doing doughnuts and many are littered with beer cans. It is no wonder many of our forests are being closed to the public.
There usually are a few trails near where I camp. Last week I camped in the McCarthy SF and used the Finger Lakes Trail for two nice day hikes. One day I rode to Little Rock City, a wonderland of giant rocks that form caves, mazes, and crevices. It is rather spooky to step across an 18 inch crack between rocks that is 50 feet deep.
In NY state forests there is a short time limit of four days that you are allowed to camp. I’m been pushing that limit a couple of times since I’ve been here but no one seems to mind. There has even been the occasional ranger pass by with only a wave. One thing I pride myself on is leaving the campsite cleaner than I found it. I will even pick up some of the trash left by others. Sometimes I think I should ask if it will be okay to stay longer but revisit the saying “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.”
Yesterday I drove to Palmers Pond, a nice camping area in the Phillips Creek SF, about 5 miles from Alfred, NY. There were several gorgeous sites along the lake but I chose one up a dirt road that was more open. This morning I explored more forest roads on my motorcycle and then headed into town for gas. The ride to town was uneventful and I rode beyond the gas station looking for a grocery store. Just as I turned around to head back to camp, I felt the unmistakable rumble of my back tire going flat.
With no tools to fix anything and no one close enough for help, I was more than perplexed, if you know what I mean? There was a Dollar General about 1/2 mile from me so I walked there and purchased a can of fix – a flat to see if that would get me back to the van. The tire held a little air so I started up the road. I got about a mile when the tire lost all air and almost caused me to lose control. I pushed the bike to a wide spot in the road, convinced I had a long walk home. I kept thinking about Jennifer when she was attending Alfred University several years ago and got a flat tire on the same stretch of road. Back then there were no cell phones and unlucky for her, caught here late at night when there was no one to help. She and a friend ended up walking 10 miles through the night to get back to her dorm. I figured if she could walk it then so could I. It would even be good for me.
On a whim I stood by the crippled bike and stuck out my thumb to a passing truck. It must be leftover karma from the AT because he pulled over and gave me a ride all the way back to my van. I tried to give him gas money but all he wanted was for me to do something good for someone else. Thank you my friend.
I picked up my motorcycle and drove to Arkport, where there is a large motorcycle dealer. He had to order another tire which I will get in about a week. So all my exploring for the next few days will be on foot.
I browsed around the showroom and talked to the salesman for a few minutes and he showed me a used, Honda 250, that looks like new and only has 2000 miles on it, and is less than I paid for my motorcycle new. I now wish I would have bought something with a little more power. There are times when I want to go someplace and decide it is too far on my bike. And it would be nice to get parts everywhere.