Canadian women talk of motorcycling, Americade

WARRENSBURG Karen Carroll slipped a thermal Harley headband over her long blonde hair and set it in place as she zipped up her dark leather jacket. Karen Reed fired up her Harley Heritage Softail and its throbbing exhaust note resounded in the early-morning air. Lori Wilson pulled her hulking 920-pound Gold Wing off its kickstand, its 1,850cc displacement engine larger than the motor in her SUV at home in Ontario. Then their three fellow members of the Durham Divas, a motorcycle touring club in Canada, straddled their looming V-twin motorcycles, leaving their rented Warrensburg home, and drove off into the light rain June 6, on a 211-mile Americade mini-tour through Vermonts mountainous region. Their day-long tour would be their third in their four days attending Americade touring motorcycle rally in Lake George. They had traveled with several other women on a 900-mile round-trip from their hometowns near Toronto to attend Americade. They rode to the rally on the recommendation of several of the women, who had attended last year, they explained around a table in the dining room of their brick rental on Adirondack Ave. Americade not only brought them into beautiful country with friendly people in every little community, they said, but this rally centered in the Adirondacks was devised to please motorcyclists who truly enjoyed long-distance touring. Long, well-planned guided and unguided tours, they said was what its all about, not just posing behind your chromed steed on Canada St. in downtown Lake George. This years new scavenger hunt event prompted them to ride into and explore quaint remote villages and see plenty of new scenery, they said. Carol Potter, president of the Durham Divas, said the southern Adirondacks had charm. Youve got all this beautiful farmland, winding roads, ponds, and quaint Victorian homes around every bend, she said. People stand and wave as you go by, or theyll stop and talk you feel really welcome here. Many of the eight women around the dining table said they got into motorcycling first because their boyfriend or husbands all left at home for this recent trip enjoyed riding, and they wanted to experience the joy of driving rather than riding on back. Haija Wilson talked of the experience of motorcycle riding, that is almost mystical to so many. Its about falling in love with the wind in your face, the beat of the engine, the smells of the surroundings, she said. And out on the long highways, its just you and your machine. Lori Wilson agreed. You get on your machine, and your lost, youre in another world, she said. The ladies have ridden across Canada and the U.S., frequently with motorcycle rallies as their destination. Their vacations are spent in one favored way not on cruises, not in minivans or on tropical islands, but cruising on motorcycles, experiencing that feeling of ultimate freedom, they said. Among the rallies theyve attended which include the famed Sturgis, Laconia, Daytona and Myrtle Beach events Americade is their favorite. This year, they drove their iron to Lake Placid, where five of them squeezed into a bobsled, and careened down a track, laughing and yelling most of the distance. They cruised up to North Creek, where they rode a tourist train, enjoying the scenery of the adjacent river, as well as prompting Lori to talk with the trains engineer. She drives a locomotive back home in Ontario to make a living. Haija Wilson, a nurse who gets 7 weeks vacation, says she saves every week each year for two-wheel touring, and off-season, she is savoring the anticipation of the next trip. Potter agreed. Thinking about the riding is the thing that keeps me going all year long until bike season starts up again, she said.

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