While most people were relaxing under the warm sun in a swimsuit along the beach, Kim Bolduc ’17 took a different approach to the idea of a vacation.
Bolduc and her father went on a spontaneous 600-mile motorcycle ride in just three days and two nights. The trip was mostly unplanned, but there had been talk at the beginning of the summer of doing a trip like this one.
When the last weekend of summer rolled around, Bolduc and her father decided to pounce on the opportunity to follow through on their idea from June. The very next day, they left on their bikes and everything following was spontaneous.
Bolduc shared, “All the places we had stopped at on the trip I had visited before, but not in the same context. I was much younger, around five years old, when I had originally visited these places. Taking a trip in the context of riding also changes the trip. You see places differently, stop more and see scenery differently from inside a car. We stopped at many more little diners and rest stops; if we had gone by car, we probably wouldn’t have stopped at these places.”
Bolduc and her father rode about 100 to 200 miles a day. She explained, “It is very freeing being on a bike; you feel like you’re weightless. As you ride there is a powerful and incredible feeling of empowerment that is overwhelming. However, after riding all day you do become sore.”
On day one, Bolduc began her journey from her home in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and her first stop was Mt. Greylock.
This is the highest mountain in Massachusetts and has very twisty, windy roads that need to be taken at a low speed.
Bolduc remarked, “This was an extra destination and I was scared because of how dangerous the roads are. It was the best thing I did, though, because I got to conquer my fears. It was also a throwback. I had been on this mountain before, but I was sitting on the back of my dad’s bike, and now I had done it on my own.”
After this destination and a brief stop right below the summit of Mt. Greylock, Bolduc and her father headed to the New York baby Catskills.
This part of the trip included driving up the border of Massachusetts to New York, then to the town of Hoosick Falls, near the border of Vermont and New York.
Why this stop? Bolduc explained, “My dad and I are big history buffs. On this trip we got to see a lot of historical sights and signs, but in this part of the trip in particular we got to see a lot of historical signs. We rode side by side and would try to motion to each other while riding about the signs; it was very funny because neither of us knew what the other person was referring to.”
The signs that Bolduc and her father passed had names and descriptions of people who had been to certain places. This part of the trip allowed for a lot of bonding with Bolduc’s father, because they would stop and Google the names they read on the signs.
Then, the next spontaneous decision was to take a left and make the trip longer by skirting Lake George on its eastern coast.
“It was really amazing because I never actually saw the lake until that view. It actually looked like I was going to drive right into it. The Adirondack Mountains were hugging us on the left and the lake on the right provided for an amazing ride,” exclaimed Bolduc.
During this ride, they saw people swimming, rode right along the beach and finally stopped Fort William Henry, but it was closed.
While taking a break from riding, the Bolducs changed transportation methods. Bolduc recalled, “My dad and I decided three minutes before the steamboat the Minne Ha Ha left and ran to get the last two tickets for the boat ride. I had been on the boat before, when I was five years old, and I remember having a greater sense of wonder when I looked upon Lake George. Now, in comparison, I look upon Lake George with thought of more important things, like if the job I secure post-college will allow me to purchase a house on Lake George.”
Following the steamboat ride, Bolduc and her father secured two hotel rooms with a view of Lake George so that they could wake up to a view of the water.
Day two rolled around and the next part of the trip started bright and early at 7 a.m. On this part of the journey, they went to a cute, folksy diner and then quickly headed up the road past Silver Bay YMCA.
This brought up memories for Bolduc because it was where she had her outdoor pre-orientation experience before her first year at Union.
Bolduc and her father headed all the way to the tip of Lake George, where Fort Ticonderoga is situated. Bolduc explained, “I went to the fort when I was a little girl. This time, my dad and I walked around a little, listened to a tour, explored a lot and took pictures of our bikes, because bikers love taking pictures of their bikes. We were excited to see on a plaque that Union College was once given a portion of the fort. We also watched people make period clothing using the methods they would have used then. All the people who work there wear that clothing. They also had a really exciting exhibit of the oldest known U.S. military uniform still intact.”
Another decision was presented to Bolduc and her father — whether to continue the journey or head back home.
Bolduc’s spontaneity took over and they decided to continue up Lake Champlain and get as close to Canada as possible, instead of taking a ferry to Vermont. After the second night, day three began. The two dawdled in the Green Mountains of Vermont all day.
“It was absolutely beautiful, no traffic, and you could really enjoy and take in the scenery. While I was riding there, I started to enter a Zen state, my body worked in such perfect symmetry and harmony with my bike,” Bolduc described.
After the three-day trip, Bolduc went to a fundraiser at her father’s dealership for a friend who had gotten in a motorcycle accident.
Bolduc stated, “I’m very lucky to have not had an accident on my motorcycle, but I do know people who have had accidents on bikes. People driving cars often don’t think to look at motorcycles. However, motorcycles accelerate faster and brake faster than cars do, so many drivers don’t anticipate our movements correctly. Overall, it was an incredible bonding experience with my dad. I think it’s so interesting that people think motorcycling is a male-dominated sport but some of the best riders are women. Any girl or woman shouldn’t be dissuaded in trying to ride; anyone can ride. This trip was an incredible experience.”