What a great weekend for riding in Allegany State Park! The foliage was near peak and we didn't even get wet (at least not while we were riding!) Six tandem teams spent Columbus day weekend in cabins at the park for off road riding. We headed down to the park on Friday around noon time. Monica and Tim wanted to follow us down on Friday afternoon, so we stopped at their house to meet them. Brian wondered if there was a better way to get there besides Rt 390 to NY 17. So while he was dropping something off for a friend, Monica and I obliged by finding a very direct route through Leroy, Warsaw, etc.... He wanted direct, he didn't say fast!
Lunch was number one priority, but choices in Leroy were limited. The LB Grand restaurant had a great fish fry, and even better brownie sundae, although Tim said the strawberry shortcake was better!!! That's debatable. Just before leaving the restaurant, we saw one of the new RBC jerseys ride by....didn't recognize the rider, but the jersey was unmistakable! Finally around 3 pm we were on the road again. That's the time we originally planned on getting to Allegany! So we were running a little late! The route we chose followed route 19 to Pike then headed diagonally to Salamanca. Definitely direct! The big hill in the middle of nowhere with the semi stopped in the middle was interesting, especially when we got over the top and had a sharp left for a detour. His brakes smelled pretty bad! As long as this was an adventure, why not take the dirt road too???? It was going our direction. Monica and Time didn't see the cow wandering along the side of the road when they came by, we must have scared it off. AFTER this section, they told us they don't have any shocks on their truck. Oh well!
Finally at the park, we checked in and found our cabins. They were quite rustic to put it mildly, but served their purpose and didn't leak. The pit toilets matched the rest of the accommodations. At least we didn't have to remember to flush!!! The first to arrive were our friends (Malcolm and Judy) from NJ. While they went off to find dinner, Dale and Cindy showed up and decided to move in with us. Anthony and Lorraine (as in Chungbin) were next to arrive, followed much later (bedtime) by Chuck and Bonnie Dye. No one stayed up very late that night even though we built a fire. The rain might have had something to do with it too!
Saturday morning we woke to sunshine. After breakfast and major repairs by the Chungbins on their brakes, we were off. At the trail head we met up with Brendon who came down for the day. Starting at Bova trail we climbed to the summit on XC ski trails, then followed dirt roads to Stone tower for a great view over Red House Lake, then back to the trails again. Lunch was at a spot on the trail overlooking a valley, but with leaves still on the trees, we couldn't see much. Last year was later in the season and most of the leaves had fallen. A great downhill to the starting point and off to the showers. There actually were real bathrooms not to far from our cabins. Hey the price was right! The sky was starting to look a little dark, but again the rain held off till midnight. No major mechanical breakdowns, only a dropped timing chain when a stick was thrown up into our chain rings.
Brendon came back to camp with us for dinner. After all, he did move a couple of logs for us on the trail. Dinner was kind of a community effort with everyone making their own and then sharing. A lack of food there wasn't! The only problem was no one really wanted to do dishes afterwards. Maybe it was the wine? It got pretty quiet around the campfire at a very early hour too.
Sunday morning was damp and gray, but no rain. We had to pack up our stuff and check out before hitting the trails. It seemed no one was in a hurry to get started. Dale and Cindy went home (she wasn't feeling well.) The rest of us decided to try some abandoned dirt roads today. About a mile or so out, Chuck and Bonnie dropped a timing chain. After going around the gate it was UPHILL for one and one half miles over some small loose stones and lots of fallen leaves. Even though we scheduled this a week or two earlier than last year, there were still a lot of leaves on the ground. Tim and Monica decided to turn around and opt for something flatter.
The rest of us went up, walking or riding, whichever worked. This was a horse trail on an abandoned road used to service some oil wells now. As we started down the other side, Chuck and Bonnie dropped their timing chain again. Time to stop and fix it on the spot. No sooner did we get going again, and Malcolm and Judy stopped. Next thing we knew they came WALKING down the hill leaving a dead bike in the middle of the trail! They had stopped freewheeling...looks like they'll be walking back! We seemed to be dropping like flies! We decided to get back and see if there was a way we could get a car up to meet them. We didn't really have a map, but it made sense that if we kept making right turns, we would eventually get to where we started. Our first turn left us at a dead end. So did the next one, AND the next one!!!!
Finally on our way, it was mostly downhill, which makes sense. We had climbed a long way on the other side to get here. The only problem with our rescue attempt was that somewhere while we took a right that didn't lead anywhere, Malcolm and Judy went by us and wound up getting back before us! Some rescuers we were! Lunch was enjoyed by all before we started home. Nicer weather may have gotten us back out for more riding, but why risk getting wet, when we had done so well all weekend?
This years weekend saw a 200% increase in attendance, and much more colorful foliage. The cabins were a big improvement over the tent, and we had a full moon again as we did last year. Next year we hope to find some cabins with more modern bathroom facilities nearby, maybe have dinner at the park restaurant Saturday night, and explore more horse and snowmobile trails.