Oneonta, New York Shamrock Tour®: City of the Hills

Oneonta, New York Shamrock Tour®: City of the Hills
“The Neuhauser gang is on the road again.” I’m almost certain that’s how my dad would have started this tour article. The last time we were on a family tour it was 2003, and it was four of us. Now more than ten years later and only three strong, the stars—mainly schedules—align for us to pull off a few days of family riding.

Whereas previously our family motorcycle vacations incorporated comparable motorcycles, this time around our bikes couldn’t be any more diverse. The boss, aka Mom, is riding a sporty, lime green Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS. My brother, Manuel, is hooked (literally) on a Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle. And I’m aboard a luxurious Honda Gold Wing. Will it be fun chasing each other through the curves on such different machines? Will we be able to keep a steady pace where everybody is riding in the comfort zone of their particular motorcycle? The short answer is a resounding “Yes!” (After all, my dad was the one who pretty much taught us all to ride.)

Batter Up

Oneonta, NY, is baseball country. Our hotel is filled with little leaguers who are in town for tournaments and camps throughout the summer. Cooperstown is just north of here and is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. We didn’t grow up with baseball. Instead, Manuel was a judo fighter, and I was (and still am) an ice hockey player. Yet even though we don’t share the connection to America’s favorite pastime, we still look forward to a visit later today.

The morning ride leading us north is a series of twists and turns that follow valleys and over hills. The roads are narrow, and there’s no traffic. About every 15 minutes, we pass through a small village and notice the abundance of old Victorian homes. Most of them are in disrepair, but some of them are beautifully restored.

The first noticeable lake is Canadarago Lake along Route 28 North. It seems to be a popular spot, since the shore is lined with one cottage after another. As we typically attend the Americade rally each year (held the first week of June in nearby Lake George, NY), we’ve explored the Adirondacks before.

A short while later, Route 8 takes us to the southern tip of the Adirondack Park. The road gets a little rougher and bumpier. It’s no problem for the Japanese-made bikes, but Manuel is feeling them intensely on the V-Rod. Good thing he has a strong back because his spine is the backup suspension.

We ride around Piseco Lake, but the road is even rougher. It’s only a short stretch, but the views of the lake to our right make up for the conditions. We stop for lunch at the Pine Lake Lodge. We can’t miss it as it’s located right where Route 10 runs back into 29A. The friendly staff—and the golden retriever that takes a liking to us—provide information and entertainment while the soups and sandwiches hit the spot.

Narrow roads lead us to Cooperstown, a charming town with a wide main street and lots of shops and restaurants, on the southern end of Otsego Lake. A beautiful golf course and a farmer’s museum greet us on the way in. As expected, the entire town is about baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum costs $ 19.50 for adults to enter, but it’s free for military personnel. The Hall of Fame is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014. Too bad the Gold Wing can’t swallow a baseball bat. That would have been the perfect souvenir. After a stroll around the town with indulgence in some bakery items and coffee, we head back to the hotel.