Ride around New York


Premier Member
It's Fall, time to see some Fall Foliage, and in the Northeast some of the best around is found in the Adirondack Mountains of NY. While a ride to see the leaves is always fun, I figured why not combine it with an Iron Butt ride that had been on my mind for a while, the Ride Around New York State SS1000. This is a special theme ride, like all SaddleSore 1000 rides it has to be at least 1000 miles in 24 hours, and unlike most of the other IBA rides there are additional rules.

The first rule is that the whole ride must take place inside the borders of New York State. This is pretty simple, though there is one point where the logical choice of road crosses into Pennsylvania by about 100 yards for a short distance because of a mountain in the way, and that portion of road is thus off limits for this ride, requiring a substantial detour to avoid it.

The second and more complex rule is that there are 6 cities around the perimeter of the state that must be visited IN ORDER, with a receipt from each one to prove that you were there. Surprisingly the whole NY City and Long Island area that I grew up in is not included, I almost wanted to add that to the ride but maybe next time, could make it a 1500... The path between the required cities is up to the rider but must conform to rule #1. Planning this ride was more complex than the others that I have done, and eventually resulted in a route that not only was over 1000 miles, but also about 400 miles of it was not on the interstate, but on 2 lane roads, going through towns, which meant slow speeds, lights, traffic, stop signs, we even ran into a few tractors and some Amish buggies. This added a whole new aspect to it and made the ride a lot more challenging, it was like a scavenger hunt :cool:

Here is the official rules page for the ride.
Ride Around New York

I thought this ride would be a fun way to see some fall leaves, and my wife Candy wanted to do it too, so I planned it out a few weeks ago , and then we waited for life to give us the time on the right days, with the right weather, and everything came together this weekend. We had to leave later than usual, some bad weather was clearing out around 4 am so that was when we hit the road. The ride had to start in one of the specified cities, so we began the ride with a 100 mile pre-ride that wasn't on the clock, to get us to Newburgh, NY. The gas station I planned on was there, the pumps were working, the receipts printed, but they didn't include the location. CRAP! Luckily going inside and buying a pack of gum each gave us a better receipt that said Newburgh, so we were off!

The first part of the ride was the easiest, straight up the NY Thruway for 400 miles, gorgeous clear skies, bright red and yellow foliage, the only odd thing was that the temperature didn't really go up as the sun rose, it stayed in the 40s. The cold front coming in and heading into the mountains combined to make it a cool ride up past lake George into the Adirondacks. The leaves in the Adirondack mountains were gorgeous and at peak color, reds, yellows, it was beautiful and we soon were in Champlain, NY, so close to Quebec, Canada that the signs were in French as well as English. We got off the Thruway, got our reciepts and hit the side roads.

This was slower going, 55 mph between the towns but 25 mph inside them, no traffic problems but we did have to work our way around some tractors and horse powered buggies. The roadside were littered with horse exhaust too, this was a very rural and Amish area. I live in Pennsylvania so they are not that unusual to me but I had not realized NY had a big population of Amish as well. I did notice that Amish children like to wave at motorcycles in NY, they do not do that in PA ..no idea why. This was a long portion of the ride, the weather which had been crystal blue started to cloud up, as it often does east of the great lakes. What surprised me was a big cloud came by and it started SNOWING! Just flurries, it was above freezing and not enough to be a problem, but still it was good reminder that we were very far north of home. I don't think we ever got over 51 degrees or so, it was much colder than the forecast or what I expected.

Next stop Watertown, home of Fort Drum, a big military town. We found the truck stop I had planned for, ate some lunch and then got on the Thruway for a short ride to Syracuse.

Syracuse is a big city, a busy area, but we are able to get the receipt we needed right on the Thruway in a service plaza so we kept moving.

Next up, Buffalo, on Lake Erie. This was a long ride on the Thruway, this part of NY is flat and not very scenic,it was busy but traffic was moving well so we made some good time, arriving in the Buffalo area just as night fell. I really wanted to stop in at the Anchor bar, where Buffalo wings were invented for dinner but we didn't have time. That will be another ride! We got out receipts again in a service plaza on the thruway and continued on till we had to hit the side roads again.

Next destination was Jamestown, which was about an hour down a very small, very dark 2 lane road, and what made it more exciting was all the antlers and deer heads poking out of the trees. I've never seen Jamestown and I still didn't see much since it was dark but we were headed back into mountains and the road was twisty and hilly. We found the planned gas stop, got our fuel, and I put on my heated gear, it had dropped to the mid 30s and I needed it to stop the shivering. Candy had her heated gear on all day, she is smarter than I am :)

We then were on the home stretch, a long way back on the Interstate and headed back to Newburgh. It was very dark, but I86 is an easy ride in the dark, so the miles flew by. There was almost no traffic at midnight, this section goes through a lot of Indian reservation lands, there is nothing for miles and miles, the only exception is of course the mandatory Indian reservation Casino, which was a shining beacon in the middle of the dark as we rolled past. There is pretty much no fuel on this stretch at night, I was hoping Candy had enough, I have a big gas tank and go 250 miles but her range is barely 180 miles, it was tight for her. We found a stop and fueled. We got off the road when the mandatory detour to avoid crossing into PA came up, and rode about 20 miles up a tiny little road, then headed back to the interstate. There was fuel there, we hardly needed it but at 0200 we decided to fill up, and I'm glad we did, we saw NOTHING open for the rest of the ride. The remainder of the ride was on NY 17, a main road but a very lonely one, it was pitch black, deserted, twisty, hilly, full of deer alongside the road, and there was NO fuel on it that we saw at all. I was sweating the fuel situation but not anything else because it had gotten SO COLD! The temps had dropped below freezing, it was between 28-30 for hours. I was cold, Candy was colder, but we had no real choice but to press on. Candy had her winter jacket with heat under it, under armor and chaps, and heated gloves , I had a lighter coat and heated liner, but I had the heated seat and I think that made the difference, I wasn't nearly as cold as she was. As we got close to the end there were again some snow flurries, not a lot at all but with the temperatures hovering around 29F snow was something to keep an eye on. This is very early for weather like this, it was not forecast to be this cold and is not normal for this area at all.

We rolled into Newburgh with Candy on fumes, her gas light had been on for about 30 miles and we figured she had maybe 15 miles left, but we made it back to the same station, got the gas, got the extra receipt again by buying something, and stayed inside the store till we stopped shivering. Success in about 22 hours elapsed time for 1064 miles, much longer than a simple SS1000 on the interstates would take.

We had actually decided to get a room for a few hours and defrost and sleep before heading home but there was something going on in Newburgh and there were no hotel rooms available, so we gave up eventually and headed for home, shivered our way across NJ and into PA the last 100 miles, it was only 32F even here and got home just as the sun came up and slept away half the day.

My ride was submitted and verified (thanks Premier for such quick verification) , waiting on the certificate. Candy has to put in her paperwork still but I'm sure her's will be fine as well.

Ride around New York State SS1000, mission accomplished!
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