First Trip of 2022 – Cayuga Lake – Finger Lakes Region of Central New York State

Getting a late start this year. While most of the US suffers through a serious heatwave, the western and central NY regions have been unseasonably cool and rainy. I’m not really a fair-weather rider, but I at least wanted halfway decent weather for the first trip. There were also some personal issues holding me back at home. I seen a break in the weather over the weekend and decided to go for it.

Image of The Dude
Snapped a selfie while I took a break. That’s me, The Dude.

For the most part, the trip went off without a hitch. I’ve been focusing so much on video content though, I realized when I got home, I didn’t really snap a lot of pictures. It was also my first trip with 3 cameras and I ran into an issue with SD cards. Basically I recorded so much content, I ran out of SD card space (memory) on the first day. Luckily it was pretty much right at the end, and I recorded MOST of what I would have wanted to capture. More on that in a bit.

The DR all packed and ready to go.
Packed the previous evening and already to go on an adventure.

I’m going about things much differently now. For anyone that’s been following, I’m downsizing my kit on each adventure. I’m down to my Saddleman tail bag, a backpack, and my Stanton saddlebags. This system is working out great. I’ve got just about everything I need. I’m hoping this system will cover me on a cross country trip if I ever decide to take one. I’ve broken it down into a food system (food and cooking kit), a sleep system (tent, sleeping bag, air mattress), clothing system, hygiene system. I’ve been reading a lot of back packer articles about packing light and also articles by people who travel around with just 1 bag that fits all their needs. 2022 is going to be all about minimizing my kit and deciding what is really essential for these trips.

This configuration was so nice though. The ride was enjoyable. The bike handled well. I’m really happy with this current configuration.

I love NY
I Heart New York at the mouth of Geneva Lake.

I made one small stop at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere, then pretty much drove straight through to my destination. My first real stop was at the Geneva Lake information center about 40 minutes from my destination. Geneva Lake was absolutely beautiful. The information center also featured a craft brewery and restaurants. I took Route 20 out of the city and stayed on this Route all the way to Cayuga Lake. It was the first time taking this Route this far and it was a really enjoyable ride. So much scenery!  I would definitely take this Route again if it pops up on the way to future destinations. I never really worry about the time it takes, I’m more concerned about the scenery. This is only about a 20 minute difference from taking the main interstate. IMHO worth the extra minutes!

A map and helmet
I navigated the old fashioned way using a paper map.

I navigated the trip the old fashioned way with a paper map. I picked this up on my previous trip to Pennsylvania. There was a NY state information center at the border and I stopped for a free map. I guess, technically, this was the second trip of the year. I forgot about my fireworks run to Pennsylvania.

On a side note, whenever I see those state information centers on the side of the road, I’ll usually stop and grab a free map. They come in handy. My phone plug is broke anyway, so I haven’t installed the charging port on the motorcycle for the phone yet. The map worked out great though, and map reading is a good skill to have on the road when you’re in areas with dead zones and no GPS on your phone. This has happened to me, and without a map, it can become a real issue that will waste a lot of your time as you try to navigate without internet. Having a backup map can really come in handy!

Cuyuga Lake Was Beautiful.
Cayuga Lake was Beautiful.

I absolutely love central NY state. Rolling hills and so much beauty. I drove along a scenic byway that rides along the edge of Cayuga Lake. The ride was relaxed and I really took in the sights. I came across a lot of other bikers riding the byway as well. I stopped in this park pictured above to rest and snap a couple pictures.

View from my tent
After setting up camp and collecting wood I took a little nap. I was pretty beat after being on the motorcycle for close to 6 hours.

My plan was to camp in Cayuga State Park. After leaving the park where I snapped pictures of the lake I stopped at a smaller state park I came across. I was then told that ALL CAMPING RESERVATIONS for NY State Parks have to be made online due to Covid protocol. I honestly thought we were past all this yet here we are. She then suggested I try Finger Lakes National Forest which was only 2o minutes away and offered free dispersed camping. I love free, that works for me!

When I arrived at Finger Lakes National Forest I wasted no time and set up camp. I set up my new tent, collected wood, then took a short nap. I really needed a rest. I rode for close to 6 hours at this point. The new tent worked out great. Not only did it save me a ton of space in my tail-bag, it was easy to put up and all my kit fit inside comfortably. I was a little concerned about that, this tent is about half the size of my old one.

The sunset, fire lit, pulled out my guitar and relaxed by the fire.
I snapped a couple images of the camp in the dusk light.

As the sun set I pulled out the guitar and relaxed by the fire for a bit. I had plenty of wood and the fire kept away the bugs. Thank the gods for that, I had forgotten to bring bug repellant. Surprisingly, I only ended up with a couple mosquito bites. It was pretty buggy in the forest too. The tent also did a good job keeping the bugs out!

There were a few issues …

Like I said earlier, the trip went off without a hitch for the most part. It was shortly after the dusk campsite image that I discovered ALL my SD cards were full. That kind of sucked. I woke up around 3AM to discover it was pouring rain. I did get a small 30 second clip of that.  The rain lasted throughout the night and into the morning when I woke up. The good news is that the tent didn’t leak at all. I was shocked because I had wanted to spray it with waterproofing and hadn’t gotten around to that yet. Seems it’s waterproof, direct from the factory. That was a REALLY lucky break.

I packed up the campsite in the rain without any problems. It was the first time breaking down in the rain. I was really happy about how smoothly that process went. The rain and high winds really made for an interesting ride home. I didn’t capture that on camera due to the SD card issue and I really would have liked to. Had I realized how windy it really was, I probably would have waited out the storm in my tent. At one point, as I started out my journey, I was almost blown off the mud road I was on. Luckily there wasn’t a lot of mud and it was only about a 20 minute ride back to civilization. It wasn’t anything serious, I was just putting along around 20MPH being cautious. Still, a bit sketchy though!

When I made it back to civilization I stopped at McDonalds and had a delightful conversation with a bald portly gentleman from Pennsylvania about the joys of McDonalds pancakes while I ate sausage biscuits and sipped coffee. I really do love meeting and talking to people on the road. You really meet some interesting people. This dude was awesome!

I took the main interstate back home. I just wanted the quickest way home at this point. It stopped raining shortly after I left McDonalds. By the time I got about 30 minutes from Buffalo the weather calmed down considerably. I took off my rain gear and enjoyed the rest of my ride with blue skies and sunshine.

This was a great adventure. I’ll be adding the Finger Lakes region to my list of local places to explore regularly in NY. If you’re riding through New York State routes 5 and 20 have some fantastic scenery, great towns, and offers some fun places to stop and rest.

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