Tag Archive: Northway


Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

Image courtesy of Rose

Yesterday, the temperature hit 94 degrees here in Albany.  According to Channel 10 New’s Steve Caporizzo, we tied 1994 for the record temp on this day in history.  It was pretty warm for upstate New York in spring.

Every Wednesday, we ride with a meetup group called No Destinations.  Yesterday was no different, but it was a little bizarre.  We put on the gear (yes the jackets, boots, full face helmet and gloves) and set off on this adventure.  It was to be different that most days.  We usually leave here around 4:30 so we don’t get stuck in rush hour traffic on the Northway.  Sure, we get to the ride about an hour and a half early, but it beats sitting in traffic for an hour or two.

We left a little later than usual, probably around 4:45 or so.  The Northway was already moving pretty slow, so we jumped off exit 6 and picked up Route 9.  That wasn’t much better.  We hit every light on 9, and it seemed those lights took forever to change.  We were roasting.  I needed gas in the bike, so I pulled into the Hess in Halfmoon.  I got off the bike and Rose noticed a sign on the door that the air conditioning died, so they closed early.  The sign also said that the pumps were still on for credit card users.

Great!  I spin around to the pump and look at where the numbers should be, and there are none.  What the ?  I guess we wont be getting gas there.  As we rode up the street, we noticed a bunch of stoplights were out.  Not flashing, but out.  If you live in the area and know Clifton Park drivers, you will understand why that scared the hell outta me!

We headed up to Malta and grabbed some gas, then headed back to the Mill to wait for others to show up.  As we were heading up for gas, I saw the tire marks where my friend was riding and a van did a u-turn in front of him.  It was pretty eerie.  Word on the street is that he is coming home from the hospital tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Back at the Mill, about 25 riders braved the heat for the ride.  We did a nice ride up to Saratoga.  We stopped at the Horseshoe Inn Grill & Bar.  It was a really nice place, just across from the Saratoga racetrack.  While we were there, I got a text from the Weather Service telling me a thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area.  I pulled up the Weather Channel on my phone and the radar showed the storm North and West of us.  Nothing to worry about right now.

When we got back to the Mill, the club had some meatloaf and mashed potatoes waiting for us.  We ate dinner and had birthday cake for our good friend Murph.  There was a sign up sheet for us to volunteer to help our friend that was in the accident, as he wont be able to do these chores for a while.  People signed up to mow the lawn, help with the pool and cook food.  That is why I love this group so much.  The list filled up quickly and people were more than willing to jump right in and help out a member who fell on hard times.  It’s like a great big family.  I am honored to be a part of it.

It was getting kind of late and it had been thundering and lightning to the north of us, so we decided to head home.  As I turned the key on to start the bike, I noticed this fine mist in front of the head light.  I took my glove off and felt for rain.  It wasn’t rain.  We got on the road and it was coming down almost like fine snow.  I joked to Rose through our communications device about volcanic ash.  It was really weird.  I chalked it up to being pollen blowing out of the trees because it was very windy.

Heading down the Northway, the lightning show was amazing!  I could tell that we were heading for some rain though.  Around Exit 8, it started to downpour.  At 70 miles per hour, the rain felt like needles on my skin.  It was crazy, but I loved every minute of it.  It was a great day.

See ya soon!

Last night, like most Wednesday nights during the warmer weather, we went riding with our Meetup group, No Destination.  It’s a bunch of guys and gals with bikes that like to ride and have a good time.  They are a very mellow group that all get along well and there are no bad attitudes to deal with.  It’s always a lot of fun to get together with the group, especially for our first ride together after a long winter.

We had a nice group, probably around 40 bikes on the ride last night.  We kept it short as it is still a little cool and it gets really cool after dark.  After our ride, we always go back to our starting point and have some food and hang out some more.  The place we ride out of has a nice patio section with a big fire bowl for those chilly nights.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s a picture from tonight’s ride.  Pardon the crappy pic, but the sun was setting and the camera on my Blackberry isn’t that good.

So, we hung out and had a bite to eat, and then Rose and I headed for home.  On our way home, we saw some guy getting cuffed and stuffed on the Northway.  He was driving a Subaru Impreza WRX and wearing a suit.  Not a good day for that guy.

When I got home, as we were getting the bike tucked away in the garage, we realized there was a package on the porch.  It was from Lexar.  They sent me a 4GB 300x Professional Compact Flash Memory Card to review.  I am pretty excited!  Gonna have to go find something to take pictures of.  I will try it out and see how it works, and in about a month, I will right my review and let you know what I think.

Photo courtesy of Lexar

How was your Wednesday?  Tell me about it!  See ya soon!