2017 VBA National Rally
baggin' the adirondacks
When: July 18-20, 2017
Rally Headquarters: Springhills Rodeway Inn
Rally Leaders: Tom "Tomm" Maziarz
Tim "Top Cat" Conley
Norm "CNC " Ward
Written by Dave "BudMan" Jesse
The VBA's 5th National Rally was also a birthday party. What started as KawaNOW and became the Vulcan Bagger Association celebrated it's 10th birthday the month before the rally.
Although the location was in the northeast corner of the United States and made it difficult for some to attend, the reason Lake George, New York was selected became clear once you arrived. The town has everything you want. Not just the great roads to ride and the beautiful scenery the Adirondacks provide, but plenty of restaurants, shops and things to do.
Most people arrived on Monday and in all 44 people from 15 states and 2 Canadian provinces attended the rally.
Crystal and I got to Lake George early, arriving Saturday night.
Sunday we went into Lake George Village to have a look around.
Of course the lake is the key attraction and there you can swim, ride on a large paddle boat, rent jet skis, go parasailing or visit Fort William Henry just to name a few. We stuck to just looking around enjoying the scenery and having some lunch.
There were several others arriving early, and by Sunday afternoon they had started to arrive.
By Sunday evening 12 of us were there and we decided to head into town for dinner.
We ended up at the Arirondack Brewery and sampled some of their beer and enjoyed a nice dinner.
Monday: It was arrivial day. That morning the early arrivials decided to ride 45 miles north to take a look at Fort Ticonderoga. The fort sits on the southern end of Lake Champlain and the ride on 9N to get there was great and provided a taste of what we would be enjoying the next 3 days. By mid-afternoon the skies started to darken and we needed to get back for the pizza dinner so we headed back to the motel.
The only rain we would see the entire rally arrived late in the afternoon on Monday. A few didn't make it to the motel before it started raining and they arrived a little wet around the edges. Tom had secured the pavillion at Usher Park for the pizza dinner and it proved to be an excellent decision. Fortunately we did have 2 pickups and a few trips of shuttle service got everyone to the park in dry clothes and the pavillion kept us covered. There were a few welcoming remarks and our rally leader Tom (tomm) laid out the plans for the rallies rides and finale dinner along with other useful info about the area. We would have two group rides offered.
One through the Adirondack park and one into Vermont. To keep the groups size reasonable both would be ridden on Tuesday and Thursday.
Wednesday, as usual would be a "do your own thing day."
We ate a mountain of pizza and got to spend time talking to those we knew and meeting those we hadn't met before.
The rain let up and by the time we got back to the motel and it had produced a great rainbow.
Actually a double rainbow. Since Tim (Top Cat) was in charge of the weather naturally he took credit for it.
Everyone spent more time socializing before calling it a day. In the morning we were riding.
Tuesday: In the morning everyone gathered in the parking lot and Tom, Tim and Norm discussed the details of the rides and some group riding rules.
Tim would lead the ride into Vermont and Tom would lead the Adirondack ride.
The rides were all day rides so it was KSU at 9:00. We divided up and headed out.
The ride in the Adirondacks led by Tom headed north with a brief stop at Port Henry. Then by Lake Placid cutting through the beauty of upstate New York. Big sweepers and great views were the attractions on this ride. Past Lake Placid was the rides lunch stop, Tail O' the Pup. After turning back south a ice cream break was taken at Hoss's in Long Lake.
A rest in the big chair was needed after ice cream.
The ride in Vermont was on smaller highways and county roads that made for a pleasant pace and great scenery. Plenty of mountain views and roads where the river runs along side. Lunch was at a small sandwich shop in Vermont. You ran out of road trying to get back to New York so you had to take to the water.
A short ferry ride across the river and you were back in the Empire state.
Then south back to Lake George.
Wednesday: "Do your own thing day" People took advantage of the many things to do and see in the area. Some went shopping, some went on a boat ride, others went to see some of the many historical sites in the area.
Some of us went riding. Tim offered to lead a ride around a near by lake that would only take a few hours so some of us followed him as he showed us more of his home state
That evening some of us went into Lake George for dinner. After dinner at the Lobster Pot we walked further into Lake George. Since they decided to go shopping that afternoon instead of riding several of the ladies decided to get in at least one ride.
Amin decided to join them. His steed wasn't cooperative but his skills were enough to tame the beast.
Thursday: The group rides were on again. This time Tim would lead the Adirondack ride and Tom would lead the Vermont ride. Although I did say the only rain at the rally was on Monday it became clear that for about 15 minutes Tim was on break and he let it rain on those of us on the Vermont ride. The rain was short lived and with the sun shining and warm breeze we all quickly dried out.
The Adirondack ride beat those of us on the Vermont ride back to the motel and we were cutting it close timewise for our finale dinner at the Barnsider Smoke House restaurant. Tom had reserved an area of the restaurant for us and we all enjoyed a fine meal.
Once again the guys at ROK proved to be generous with the VBA and donated some great items for our raffle.
Enough that everyone came away something. Thank you Greg!
A lot of work goes into planning these rallies.
They don't just happen. It takes hours of planning, plenty
of phone calls, riding the routes and going to the location to nail down all the details.
In recognition of the effort Tom Maziarz put into the planning and execution of the rally the VBA presented him with a plaque.
Once again, Thank You Tom for putting on a fantastic rally.
The NorthEast and CanadaEast have a tradition of their own. They award a pair of Kawasaki green boxers to a worthy rally attendee. This years winner was none other than our Vice President, Amin "Rasta" Bakri. I think it was his ability to show up, seemily out of nowhere, well after the ride had started that influenced the judges.
It was that same ability that later led Jesse to suggest that Amin was actually the elusive Kawamin man, a ninja of sorts.
Since Tim donned his award apparently Amin felt he should too. Something we won't soon forget.
Tom wasn't the only person to be recognized for his efforts.
As the NorthEast assistant leader Tim certainly did his part.
Not the least of which was the dealing with the rain.
As the rally approached the forecast looked like the weather may not cooperate. Tim stepped up and made a hand.
In appreciation of the fine work he did with the weather, and producing a rainbow to open the rally, Dick (dkdixie) presented Tim with a rainbow shirt. He must have liked it because he put it on. There would prove to be a downside to this though.
Friday: Unfortunately the rally was over. We had a great time and hated to see it end. The area is one of those places you could spend a month exploring and left you thinking you needed to try to get back there someday. Everybody packed up their gear and said their goodbyes. Most headed home and a few continued to explore New England and the area before turning for home.
A big THANK YOU to Tom, Tim, Norm and Dave and all of the guys in the NorthEast and CanadaEast regions that were our host.
Job well done.
But the biggest THANK YOU goes to all those who took the time and spent the money required to attend.
Glad you made it. It wouldn't have been near as much fun without you.
To those who have yet to attend a VBA rally I encourage you make the effort to attend one of next years rallies. You won't regret it.
Lastly, I want to repeat what I was trying to express at the finale dinner. The VBA has come along way since Trip founded it as KawaNOW in June of 2007. Over 40 rallies and rides have taken place and many friendships have been made.
It's the members that have made it happen and made the VBA what it is. We can be proud of our association.
As always, in the future the VBA will go where it's members take it. Since joining in 2009 I've learned that the VBA is made up of some terrific people. Some of the finest you'll find anywhere. With that in mind it's easy to have a good feeling about the VBA's future.
Stay safe everyone.
Click on pictures for larger version
For more pictures of the rally click here.