Feeling Part of the Family With Friends Old & New in Rochester, New York.

Since July of this year, I’d been in contact via phone and e-mail with Lyn Elting, who along with her husband Art own the Rochester are BMW dealership, Country Rode Motowerks. Eager to host a presentation for their customers, she was surprised that I had decided to ride my bike, given the unpredictable weather in the Great Lakes region. And with my propensity to ride the tiny backroads to wherever I travel, it would be hard to estimate my arrival time in Fairport, a smaller town just southeast of Rochester. With my presentation scheduled for 2pm, I thought I’d be there by noon. But the slow roads and occasional traffic, when I finally rode in around 12:45pm I could see the look of relief on Lyn’s face—I made it!

Country Rode is a family-run dealership where customers make up a loyal community, many choosing to have coffee, use the WIFI and hang out with the regular gang and share stories of travel, bikes and dreams–better here than the local coffee shop. More modest in size than the two Max dealerships I presented weeks earlier, but equally professional and with an alluring energy where locals make you feel welcome, regardless of your bike or background.

One customer who showed up to see my presentation actually spends more time in Chile, than in New York. I was able to practice my spanish and share stories of my Patagonian escapades in southern Chile. The crew helped wheel my bike into the showroom so customers could gawk at Doc, my the hard ridden, if not abused, motorcycle that exhibits more than its fair share of scars.

The presentation this Saturday afternoon at Country Rode Motowerks was perhaps the best attended presentation of this tour. With more than 75 guests, I was amazed to see three French men show up in a Citroën Deaux Chevaux (2CV) which they’ve been traveling around the world. I remembered seeing many of these odd looking cars in Buenos Aires. Citroën stopped producing the cars in 1990 after 42 years of production. which was powered by a simple air-cooled 375cc engine—quite a bit smaller than the 650cc water cooled Rotax power-plant on Doc.

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As the crowd gathers for my 2pm presentation, many check out the bike that took me around the world — and to chilly Rochester in late October.

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Country Rode is a gathering place and caters to a passionate and strong community of riders of all types.

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Lyn and Art took me in and share their home, cats and delicious cookies!

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I’d like to say these guys rode from France via Kabul and Saigon to come see me speak at Country7 Rode, but alas it was merely a serendipitous coincidence that they were visiting a Country Rode customer who happen to also own a a Citroën Deaux Chevaux (2CV) as well as a BMW. So he brought them to see my presentation.

As usual, the question and answer portion of my talk was quite lively and at the end a lucky Canadian female motorcycle rider won the AirHawk Seat Cushion which we give away at each of my presentations. Many customers wanted to hear more, so we agreed to host another presentation sometime in the next year or so—ideally after my book, Tasting Adventure, is published and available.

Lyn & Art were kind to offer me dinner, homemade cookies, the company of great cats, including Murphy and Curly, and a warm bed in their 19th century ‘cobblestone ‘home a few minutes from the dealership. Cobblestone masonry is a regional technique of of using regional building materials and set in what appears to be a linear manner and probably painstaking style. Homes between Syracuse and Buffalo were built by local artisans between about 1820 and 1850. The stones were brought by glaciers to shores of Lake Ontario. Stones gathered when clearing fields for farming were used to build homes, barns, churches and other buildings. Art and I stayed up and talked about old classic bikes, travel and the motorcycle business, while Lyn packed up some of her infamous cookies, some for me and some, at his special request, for Bob Henig, the owner of Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Maryland outside Washington DC and the last location for my WorldRider east coast presentation tour.

As I noted earlier, another bonus of this east coast mini-tour has been the connections and reconnections made with friends old and new. So in the spirit of taking advantage of every opportunity to reach out, I arranged for friends to join us early Sunday (Halloween) morning for breakfast. Elizabeth Lane (Liz) Lawley is a fellow tech blogger (check out my other blog The Digital Tavern) and Rochester Institute of Technology professor. We’ve known each other since 2002 in the early days of blogs and over the years have met at tech-related conferences after we discovered we shared similar passions like blogging, Macintosh, technology, travel and even friends and acquaintances like Doc Searls and Joi Ito, sadly she was in San Francisco the day before so she couldn’t see my presentation. But her husband Gerald, who also followed my WorldRider journey, was able to make the trip to Country Rode and check out the presentation. This morning Liz showed up with the entire family including Gerald and their two sons Alex and Lane.

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Art stands outside his cobblestone home near Rochester, New York.

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Notice the cobblestone construction, a popular masonry technique used by early settlers to the region from the early to mid-1800’s. And below he tries to convince Murphy, the cat, to perhaps join us for a morning ride?

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The Lawley Family joined us for breakfast on Halloween Sunday. (l to r) Alex, Liz, Gerald and Lane.

With the clock ticking and more weather advisories, I packed up Doc, reviewed maps and potential routes with Art and after a bit of nudging, convinced him to join me for a ride at least to the Finger Lakes, if not further. Later, Country Rode Motowerks sales manager, Ron showed up and rode with us until about the snow started falling. Art and I took cover and a warm cup of coffee near Keuka Lake in Hammondsport at the Crooked Lake Ice Cream Parlor. With the temperature dropping and clock ticking, Art headed back home while I make my way toward Watkins Glen and ultimately south toward New York City.

By the time I rode into Binghamton, the skies were dark and my body appropriately chilled, so I took cover at a local motel.

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Ron took off after we stopped high on the western bank of Keuka lake, while Art led me into Hammondsport for a cup of coffee and fresh apple pie.

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Art and Ron outside Keuka Lake near Hammondsport, New York

1 reply
  1. Fernanda
    Fernanda says:

    There is a 20km route that ve done starting right otiduse my back door in Canton (just north of Port Hope). There are a few hills at the beginning and end of the ride but mostly it is on the flat and there is virtually no traffic. The route goes along country roads, through a forest (still on a paved road though) and beside farmer’s fields it is very beutiful. If anyone is interested in doing this ride, they would be welcome to meet at my house (It’s easy to find directions to follow). Pam


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