Well, folks, another one is in the history books. I woke up early on Sunday morning to the soft and pleasant sound of rain falling outside my window. Ahhh, great sleeping weather, I have the day off and don't have to get... WAIT!! It's not supposed to be RAINING!! I have plans for today. Big plans. RIDING PLANS.
As I became fully awake, I headed straight for the computer and the TV for a check of the weather forecast and the MIG Forum and Mail. The forecast looked promising as the rain showers sweeping across northern NJ were starting to pull out. The day would not be a washout after all. The cell phone rang, it was Rudy from CT (a friend of Jacuzzi's) who, with his friend Ed from upstate NY would not be making it due to having to ride for two hours through the rain. I understand. I also read an email from Jim 'Helfyr' Hathaway that he would not be making it due to illness. Feel better, Bro. See ya in the Spring.
I quickly dressed (layered up, really) and headed out the door. It was brisk and very damp, but at least it wasn't raining. Heading out for the meeting spot, I was hoping I wouldn't be alone when I got there. On arrival, I wasn't disappointed. In the lot arleady was Jim "GimpKnee" Alden with his Honda 996 SuperHawk. Another Marauder which I recognized to be Ernie "BigE800"'s, and a big, black C90T that I surmized to be Glenn "GAF"'s. Shortly after my arrival, Ernie and Glenn came wandering back from Dunkin' Donuts. Within a few minutes more, JD arrived on his 800 Intruder. Rounding out the group were Jon on his Marauder and his friend John on his 800 Intruder, arriving after some minor mechanical difficulties on the road.
With the exception of Jim's Honda, we were an all-Suzuki bunch, a real rarity on these rides. And 3 Marauders...Wow! ;-)
We waited around a bit to see if we'd see any others. I was expecting Bob "RTHOMSE" from Lansdale, PA, and perhaps a few other folks, but I think the weather may have dampened their spirits. So we were a total of seven guys on seven bikes. Really a good, manageable number.
We set out from Bedminster west and then north on country roads through rolling farmland and across the ridges and valleys that characterize north-central New Jersey. We rode in and out of some mist here and there on roads that were slowly drying. No more rain was seen the rest of the time, though. In Hackettstown we turned west along US 46 following the valley of the Pequest River and then the Delaware River to Columbia. The sun began to make itself known in earnest by the time we reached Columbia.
Briefly joining I-80, we proceded through the scenic Delaware Water Gap and into the DWG National Recreation Area. We exited the Interstate onto Old Mine Road right at the foot of the Delaware River Bridge. We rode north along the east bank of the river into Worthinton State Forsest and to our first break stop at the Worthington boat launch. By then the sky was blue and the sun shining brightly. It was good to get off the bikes for a bit and stretch the muscles, take care of nature's business, and enjoy the scenery. We took our obligatory group shot (attached) at this stop as well.
After our break, we continued north along the NJ side of the river. After about 38 miles of backroads, we wound up in Port Jervis, NY. Our lunch stop was at a little family diner called Arlene & Tom's, "Home of the Meanyburger". Following a delicious, if less than healthy meal and some great conversation, we headed out again for more miles of smiles.
We continued north along the New York side of the Delaware. We passed through the spectacular Hawks Nest, where the road is cut into the cliff side high above the river. Glenn split off after Hawks Nest to head for home. Our route took us north on NY route 97 as far as Barryville where we turned across the river into PA and began to loop south. We followed a route that lead us into Milford and then onto US 209 and back into the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area.
Our after-lunch break stop was at the Dingmans General Store, located at the entrance of one of the many campgrounds within the DWG NRA. There we came across a park ranger who seemed to like Ernie's Marauder and said something about having one himself. He split before I got a chance to share the MIG Word with him. ;-)
The last leg of the ride took us further south on the PA side of the river and back into the Delaware Water Gap. Our last stop was at the Resort Point Overlook in the heart of the DWG. From there, Jon and John headed off for home. After some time to relax, the remainder, JimA, JD, Ernie, and I headed out as well. Crossing back into NJ at the Portland - Columbia bridge, we retraced part of our earlier route. Jim, JD, and Ernie headed south toward home and I continued east.
I arrived home at about 6pm, tired, a little chlly, and thoroughly thrilled with what a great bunch of riders were along for the trip. MIGs consistently prove themselves again and again to be fun folks to ride with, share stories with, enjoy good times with, and just generally hang around with.
I want to thank those of you that made it out for our ride once again. Without you, these rides would not be worth the effort. With your enthusiastic participation, they are a pleasure. Thank you again and I hope to see you all in the Spring!!
I would also like to recognize a few missing MIGs from this ride. You were in our thoughts. Jacuzzi - I hope your Mom finds rest and comfort and is relieved of her pain. Helfyr - feel better, aMIGo. I need you back in the sweep spot.