Crooked Roads of the Finger Lakes

Story by Ron Keys// Photos by Ron Keys
August 18 2020

This area has countless great roads to ride and brings to mind fond memories of a successful racing career.

It had been a rainy night in Calcium, N.Y., but my GS burbled to life on a cloudy Sunday morning. Clinking up through the gears, I rode down to NY 3. With little to no traffic and only the gentle sound of the wind, I rode along through memorable curves at Oswegatchie. Slowing down, I searched for evidence of the deer with which I had an unfortunate encounter a few weeks earlier. Caution reigns supreme after that experience, and I constantly scan the roadside for any movement.

This was the time of year for my friend Tony and I to go on what has become our annual ride. We met many decades ago when I was racing for Yamaha and Tony was their lead mechanical technician. Amazing how motorcycle friendships last forever.

Cruising quietly into Tupper Lake, I found a chic little coffee shop called Well-Dressed Food and parked out front. Tony should arrive soon at our rendezvous point from Montreal. Tupper Lake, like many Adirondack towns, was established because of the lumber industry. The towns of Tupper Lake and Faust (a railway junction), situated on the shores of Tupper Lake, were amalgamated in the 1940s. The Faust Motel is the only visible memory of that forgotten town.

Annual Rendezvous

Tony arrived, and he and I reminisced over some good eats before quietly slipping out of town. The scenery along NY 30 and 30A is spectacular. On our right, peaceful and serene Tupper Lake kept us company for almost 16 km, its shoreline inundated with hunting and fishing camps, motels and cottages, with the mountains as a backdrop.

At Long Lake, NY 30 and 28N join hands and together wind south through verdant forests nestled in valleys protected by the rolling mountains. Long Lake, at 23 km long, is even longer than Tupper Lake. Meandering past South Pond, Mud Pond, Minnow Pond, Blue Mountain Lake, Lake Durant and Indian Lake, we drifted into Speculator on the shores of Lake Pleasant. Speculator Mountain, at 904 metres high, completes the picture of this elite retirement community.

Abruptly peeling out of a parking lot, a little red Porsche stole my right of way and we were doomed to follow him. He spoiled our curves for a few miles before we could leave him in our dust. Idling by Great Sacandaga Lake, Johnstown soon loomed large in comparison to the small villages in our rearview. We found our digs for the night and unloaded. It was nice to not have to mount up again today, although later we did take a short ride up NY 29A to my favourite Adirondack culinary retreat, Dick & Peg’s Northward Inn. It was closed, but we decided to extend our return trip by a day just so we could eat there.

Bring On the Curves

The GPS is a wonderful device. You can ride all day, not knowing where in the world you are and then click on “Home” and be guided to familiarity again. While I was…


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