Getting ready for a ride June 5 through Lake George Village during Americade 2014 rally, Ryan Nawrocki of Boston reacts with mock surprise to a joke shared by her husband (left rear) and her brother-in-law Joe Nawrocki. Many thousands of motorcyclists enjoyed the group tours, the TourExpo trade show, and the entertainment, factory demonstration rides and seminars that Americade offered.
Gazing at several of the hundreds of motorcycles passing by on Canada St. June 5, Ernie Moreira of Woonsocket R.I. brushed some pollen off his decked-out touring motorcycle — as his wife Sandy opened up one of its baggage compartments to grab a jacket.
On the inside of the trunk lid was an array of pins the couple had collected over years of participating various motorcycle rallies — in Sturgis South Dakota, Laconia New Hampshire, Palm Beach Fla., and as far away as Freeport in the Bahamas.
“We love it here at Americade,” Sandy said as she closed the trunk lid, noting that the week-long rally in Lake George was among their favorites. The two had driven their fifth-wheel camper from Woonsocket to Lake George with their 2013 Harley
Road Glide Ultra stowed in the camper’s built-in garage.
“The scenery is absolutely beautiful, we love checking out all the other bikes, and the people-watching is fun,” she said.
Ernie Moreira agreed, noting they had both enjoyed their ride in several of Americade’s tours through Vermont and upstate New York.
“You meet people from all over the country,” he said, adding that he appreciated Americade’s trade show, TourExpo, where he had just bought chromed engine parts for his Harley.
“With so many vendors, there’s so much different stuff — We come with full wallets and leave with ‘em empty,” Ernie said with a grin.
He glanced up the sidewalk, full of people, many of them deciding which restaurant to choose for an early supper. Others were darting in and out of shops.
“What’s not to like about this?” he said.
Strolling past was Scott Sumell, a village Peace Officer, walking his beat.
“I love Americade — it’s family-friendly,” he said, noting that the prior night there were no bar fights, no confrontation with drunks, and he had not even issued one ticket. “Bikers come here with very good attitudes and they have a good time.”
Looking for a place to have dinner were Bruce Bennett and his partner Kerie Heller of Clifton Park. Bennett’s motorcycle was the same model and year as Moreira’s.
“This is the highlight of the season for us,” Bennett said. “We enjoy the camaraderie with the people who ride — it’s like a brotherhood.”
Bennett talked about the bond that motorcyclists share — primarily due to their common two-wheeled experiences.
“We like having a bike underneath us, enjoying the freedom of the open road,” he said. “It’s a great way of life.”
Ryan Nawrocki of Boston pulled up to the curb, dismounted her 800cc Suzuki Boulevard and took off her helmet. She commented about how female riders receive plenty of attention on big motorcycles.
“You get a lot of looks especially when I’m riding by myself,” she said. Nawrocki attended five days of Americade with her husband and her brother-in-law Joe Nawrocki. Their motorcycle trip to Lake George — and the Americade tours during the week — were Joe’s first experiences ever riding in a group.
“I’m out of my element, but I’m having a great time on all the different rides in the country,” he said. “I’m meeting a lot of cool people.”
He added that he particularly enjoyed hanging out around a fire every night at the cabin the three were renting.
“You can’t get any better than this,” he said.
Lake George business owner Patty Kirkpatrick stepped out of her store, Nina’s Sweet Shop and looked at the crowded sidewalk.
“These people bring so much to the community,” she said, noting Americaders’ friendly demeanor as well as the economic impact of their purchases, including the local sales tax and bed tax revenue.
“Because of their business, I can pay the property taxes on my building,” she added.
A half-block north on Canada Street, shop owner Doug Frost stood in front of his purple Harley Dyna Super Glide Sport, watching the crowd. Frost occasionally recognized motorcyclists and greeted them.
“Lake George residents really do make every single biker feel welcome — and they’re from all different backgrounds,” he said.
The warm welcome was a new experience for Tony Watkins of Camp Springs Maine — it was his first time attending Americade.
He and his wife Vicky brought along Tony’s uncle and wife, Kimberly and Rodney Walton, to enjoy a family getaway in Lake George.
“The people here are really nice, and everybody seems to welcome us,” he said as the group walked down Sewell St. towards the village’s main drag. “We’re definitely coming back.”