Making The Most Of 12 Days on Motorcycles-Part 2

Making The Most Of 12 Days on Motorcycles-Part 2


Our ride Sunday to the Poconos was uneventful if somewhat ponderous.  Getting used to having a Garmin Zumo on my bike with all it can do sometimes means you miss a setting, or not.  We decided that, with the distance we needed to cover, the threat of rain and what would be a spectacular Veal Osso Buco waiting for us for dinner, we decided a direct route would be best.  Except that I’d neglected to remove the “Avoid Highways” option on my routing.  So for about an hour and a half we had some good riding but not exactly what I was expecting.  We’ll call it a happy accident.  Eventually we were routed to US-4 and then I-87.  87 becomes the NY Thruway in Albany and we split off west on I-84 for a handful of miles until NY-507 and NY-447 that would take us to Canadensis and eventually Lake In The Clouds.  Al and I met in college at UMaine when we were both RA’s in Kennebec Hall.  We share an Italian heritage, a love for cooking, football and the Yankees and became fast friends.

Al was a poly-sci major, did a summer semester in Moscow before the wall fell and was hoping for the FBI.  One of the things the FBI looks for is stable employment, so they don’t just take recent college grads and give them a gun.  So Al and his then girlfriend moved to SW Harbor where he went to work for the local fire department.  What he discovered was a love for his work.  After marrying in Bar Harbor, Al and his wife Suzanne moved to Al’s hometown of Brooklyn NY where he became a part of the NYFD.  They eventually settled at the family’s house in the Poconos with Al commuting in and out of the city as his shifts allowed and they started a family.

The weeks after 9/11 were absolutely miserable for NYC, the FD and PD, the families that lost loved ones, the nation and the world.  It was for me because I had no news about my friend.  His house was out of Brooklyn so they would have surely been one of the first across the Brooklyn Bridge and on the scene.  Not hearing, not knowing.  I reached out to mutual friends who were in the same boat as I.  Finally, a long three weeks later I got the news that he was not one of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day.  The sense of relief was overwhelming.  Al was late for his shift as he had a doctor’s appointment that morning.  One of his firefighter brothers in the house was covering for him that morning. Thankfully, he survived as well but not without injury.  The ensuing years have not been easy for my friend or any of those that survived only to fight a different kind of fire down the road.  It was not lost on me that the next morning was 9/11/23.  Al and his girlfriend Laura were headed into the city very early that morning for a special ceremony where his former chief was to be memorialized with a plaque dedication.  He was contemplating not going in if not for this ceremony.  That seemed kind of foreign to me but I most certainly do not have the same perspective so I can understand it.

If you are interested in the stories of some who made it through the storm of 9/11 and their experiences then, I’d suggest picking up a copy of

Al has a prominent role in the documentary.

I will offer that Al’s a happy father, grandfather and companion these days and his cooking skills are amazing!  His and Laura’s hospitality to us on our trip was a gift for sure, one we plan to repay when they venture this way.

Kathy and Turbo

With Monday morning being clear and cool and us with no particular place to be, we made a leisurely pace of packing the bikes and getting moving.  We knew the one place we wanted to stop on the ride was mecca:  the Yeungling brewery in Pottsville Pennsylvania!