I left Michael’s just before 6am. This was going to be a bit of a sprint for the border, so I would be doing as much Interstate as I could stand. The days initial destination was Hammondsport, NY. The home of Glen H Curtiss, one of the founding fathers of US aviation also at one time the holder of the title, “World’s Fastest Man,” a title he held for 30 years, set on a V8 motorcycle designed by himself.
So it was north on US 29 to US 231 which tied into US 522 till I picked up I81 North around Winchester, VA. I81 took me through West Virginia, that weird little slice of Maryland and into Greencastle, PA. Where I grabbed some breakfast. There was a truck delivering some new HUMVEEs parked outside. I got back on the bike and my next stop wasn’t until West Pennsboro by Penn State University. More fuel for the bike and some fuel for me (one of those horrid energy drinks) as I was a bit dozy from the sun the previous day. Even with the cloud cover, I got a decent burn on the back of my legs and upper arms. As it looked like it was going to rain with some amount of seriousness, I threw on my rain gear and immediately began to stew in my own juices.
As per the unwritten natural law, the rain faded away almost immediately.
At Harrisburg, the GPS pulled me off of I81 and sent me along US322 over a bridge and onto the Susquehana Trail otherwise known as US11, a nice scenic ride beside the river. But the temperature inside my rain gear and the lack of rain were driving me nuts. I pulled off into a rest area and shucked my gear. I met a nice family from Dundas heading north as well. My GPS track shows I spent about twenty minutes here. Hmm, didn’t seem that long.
At Shamokin Dam, I took a left onto US 15 a really nice stretch of road with good elevation changes but after Williamsport it really comes alive with fresh tarmac and a 70mph speed limit through low mountains. It was probably the best part of the days ride. By 2:00pm I was in Corning, NY (yes that Corning). US15 ties into I86 and 43 minutes later I found myself in Bath, NY heading for Hammondsport. Of course Mother Nature had a screw you in store for me as just the other side of Bath, I got hit by a sudden downpour. minutes from the museum, I endured it but I was pretty much dripping by the time I had parked and walked through the front doors. Still they had a coat check and this was one museum where a little bit of discomfort was worth it.
Glenn H Curtiss was a man from fairly humble beginnings who loved speed and was very mechanically inclined. He figured, you make an engine small and light enough, it would fit in a bike frame and enable the rider to go faster. He designed motors for everything from motorcycles to boats, airships and airplanes.
I fell in love with this one. It’s a 1905 Nelk and it’s one of the most Art Deco bikes I’ve ever seen. Simply stunning in the touches that make it something special and that gas tank is awesome.
The wooden rim in this shot is a work of art.
The gas tank is cool but check out those grips.
This bike with a rotary engine in its rear wheel is the only surviving copy in the world.
More to come.