Southwestern New York

Text: Chris Myers • Photography: Chris Myers

I've been hammering the Interstate for the last nine or so hours and I'm ready to quit for the day. Despite the surprising comfort of the Aprilia Falco and the diversion of my trusty iPod, I'm beginning to wilt. Thankfully, the mileage numbers to Jamestown, New York, have also wilted to single digits. This mind-numbing super-slab has me thinking curves, hills, and scenery. Right now though, I'm ready for a cold beer, a hot shower, and a firm mattress.

Amazing what a good night's sleep will do. I thought I'd be showing signs of distress from yesterday's concrete keelhauling, but I actually feel great. I credit the potent combination of comfy ergonomics and my own giddy anticipation of another tour. I've got a map with a bunch of squiggly lines highlighted, so how could I not be excited? On top of that, this tour is starting here in Jamestown, New York, the hometown of that most irascible redhead, Lucille Ball. Growing up, I enjoyed watching "Here's Lucy" with my parents and still love catching the reruns of "I Love Lucy." Yes, I'm a Lucy fan, and the idea of riding around her hometown is just plain cool. But just as Lucy left Jamestown to pursue her dreams of stardom, I, too, must leave to pursue country roads and the splendor of early fall in New York.

Off to Pennsylvania
The first morning begins with a southward jaunt out of town on Forest Avenue that heads for a brief meeting with Pennsylvania. The crisp fall morning is the perfect welcome for a ride in the country. The sky is a bit hazy, but not enough so to put a damper on the fall colors creeping into the trees. The road meanders over rolling hills and farmland off the beaten path. I pick up Route 957 in Sugar Grove and head west toward Corry and take Route 426 north back into New York. Across the state line in Findley Lake, it's coffee-break time, and there's nothing like being lakeside with a nice hot cup of Joe on a cool fall morning.

On the road again, heading east on Route 430 toward Stockton, the day becoming very pleasant, but this pesky haze will not burn off. I'm hoping this isn't a portent. Picking up Route 380 towards Lake Erie, the road begins to wind through grape country. The vineyards lining both sides of the road form an aromatic tunnel thick with the scent of the ripened fruit. The fall sugars are running strong through the dark clusters and roadside stands offer every type of unfermented grape product imaginable.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the May/June 2005 back issue.