Grandmother Jane Frogatti of Ontario and her granddaughter Trinity, 9, share a hug as they wait June 5 on their motorcycle for a safety inspection offered at the Americade motorcycle Rally, which continues in Lake George through Saturday June 9. Trinity’s trip down from Canada was her first ride ever on a motorcycle — a memorable way to begin a week off from school.
Thousands of motorcyclists descended on the area this week as Americade, the leading touring motorcycle rally in the world, began its annual week-long stint here — for its 30th consecutive year.
Motorcyclists weren’t deterred by rainfall, which was experienced daily through last weekend and the opening days of the rally — Americade fans traveled many miles over soaked pavement to attend the event.
Arriving Tuesday June 5 in Lake George after riding from Westchester County were a trio of friends piloting their Harleys. They said they were ready for some adventure, whether it was resort-village night life, or navigating the mountain byways.
“This is our type of motorcycle rally,” said Al Vigliotti as he took his helmet off in the parking lot behind the Lake George Holiday Inn, which has hosted Americade registration since the early 1980s.
Vigliotti’s friend Joe Canosa flipped his throttle and shut off his ignition.
“Lake George has great night life — D.J.’s Night Club is awesome — and we feel comfortable walking the streets of the village at 3 a.m.,” he said. “People are very nice and welcoming in this community.”
Unzipping his racing jacket, Canosa’s friend reached for his cell phone.
“Our wives regularly check in on us,” Canosa quipped, noting they’ve been attending Americade for as long as 10 years, and their wives like to keep tabs on their activities.
Nearby, a motorcyclist said he’d heard about the friendly spirit prevailing in Lake George, and he was looking forward to experiencing it. Louis “Enterprise” Gilmore made the comment as he was checking in at a registration table with his wife Joy.
He serves as Sergeant-at-Arms of the Charlotte, N.C. chapter of the motorcycle club Buffalo Soldiers/Troopers — named after the first black squadron in the U.S. Army, which Gilmore said dates back to 1886.
“If we have a good time like I hear we we’re going to, we’ll be returning home and letting our other club members know, and there will be many more Buffalo Troopers attending next year,” he said. The Gilmores traveled a total of 900 miles over two days, much of it in the rain, to attend Americade.
Another couple didn’t have to travel many miles — friends Joe Osborn and Michelle Mailloux arrived Tuesday after a short jaunt from Stillwater, their hometown. Like many others, the Americade rally annually serves as their vacation.
The highlights of the rally for Osborn and Mailloux, they said, are the guided motorcycle tours, and the dozens of other daily activities. Americade’s TourExpo, they said, always offers up new motorcycling accessories, whether its chaps for Mailloux or LED lighting or a custom seat for Osborn’s motorcycle.
“We like to see whatever is new at TourExpo,” Osborn said.
“Also, we thought the ghost tour at Fort William Henry was fun,” added Mailloux.
Diana and George Wunschel donned their helmets after finishing a stint volunteering at the registration table. George is considered the “Voice of Americade,” due to his work behind the microphone announcing events. The two also serve as models for the rally’s fashion show. Hailing from Harrington Park, they’ve volunteered for six years, having attended the rally for several years prior as paid attendees.
“We knew how great it was, and we wanted to help out,” George Wunschel said. “We enjoy seeing the various brands of bikes and love being around all the different people.”
The Wunschels’ 2012 trip to Lake George might pay off for them. George Wunschel works as a salesman for a motorcycle dealership, and he rode a Harley trike, one of his dealer’s demonstration motorcycles, to the rally — and another Americader fell in love with it and pledged to purchase it, offering a deposit.
Other motorcyclists were experiencing Americade for the first time.
Piloting her 2009 Suzuki Boulevard C50 —which weighs nearly 700 pounds with its touring accessories — grandmother Jane Frogatti of Ontario pulled up towards a safety-check operated by Dunlop Tires. Hugging her was her granddaughter Trinity Teeple, who rode nearly five hours on a rumble seat behind her, through wind and rain on her trip down the I-87 Northway.
Trinity, 9, said she was happy to get the week off from school to experience not only her first Americade, but her first ride ever on a motorcycle.
“I really liked the ride here,” she said, noting she enjoyed waving to other motorists as they cruised down highways. “...Even if it was really windy.”
Pulling up behind Frogatti and her granddaughter was Nirit Rechtman, 58, of Sugar Loaf, NY (Orange Co.). She’d just finished her trip up on her 1500cc 2003 Harley Heritage Softail, which she bought after selling her Honda Gold Wing to acquire a more nimble ride. Rechtman began piloting two-wheeled machines 38 years ago, beginning on a scooter in Israel, where she was born.
She said that the spirit of Americade was unmatched, anywhere.
“It’s the incredible energy with everyone sharing their interests in motorcycling,” she said.