Americade: A Father-Daughter Motorcycle Adventure in Lake George

Americade

As far back as I can remember, my dad has always had motorcycles. When I was younger, he used to take me around our village with me riding behind him, and I loved it. Much later, in my late thirties, I finally dared to get my motorcycle licence. After nearly four decades of watching my father devour miles of road on each of his summer vacations, I wanted to go on an adventure myself and feel the fresh air enter through my slightly opened visor. But, as you know, life moves at a frantic pace, and if you don’t put important dates on the calendar, you wake up at the end of summer realizing you haven’t taken the trips you wanted. So, last winter, my dad and I decided to go to the Americade event together, and we marked it on the calendar!

But before I tell you about it: What is Americade?

americade

Today, Americade is one of the must-attend events in Lake George. It attracts more than 50,000 motorcyclists, and their passengers, for a week of festivities. But originally, the event took place more than 2,000 miles away in Ruidoso, New Mexico, under the name “Aspencade.”

In 1981, Bill Dutcher from Lake George decided to launch a similar event in his region. In 1983, he moved the event to Lake George under the name “Aspencade East.” The first editions were a success.

In 1985, the naming contract for “Aspencade East” expired. During a Fourth of July party, Dutcher’s wife suggested the name Americade. Although he was initially hesitant, Dutcher adopted this name as it reflected the national scope of the event.

Since then, Americade has continued to grow. The event went from 2,000 participants in 1983 to over 50,000 today. The official headquarters is now at the Fort William Henry Resort, and the expo with the booths is held at Million Dollar Beach. Americade is known for its family-friendly activities and attracts between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors each year. Whether you’re a motorcyclist or just a spectator, it’s an event not to be missed.

We’re off on an adventure!

Dad in front of his tent trailer: even behind his 2024 Gold Wing, it still looks enormous!

My father can easily cover 10,000 km per month during the summer. Living in Chapais, Baie-James, he rode nearly 800 km to join me in Mirabel on Thursday. Then, we did the 400 km to Lake George the next day. Of course, we could have done it faster, but the fun of riding a motorcycle is always taking the longest route!

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With my dad, we set off well equipped! We don’t need a hotel on site because he brings his legendary motorcycle tent trailer. Yes, yes! A real tent trailer!

Adventurers at heart, we hadn’t reserved anything and thought we’d find a spot on-site to set up our tent-trailer. But karma works in mysterious ways! While waiting in line at the Lacolle border, we met some members of the Ladies and Gentlemen Riders. It’s a group of motorcyclists from the Laurentians who were heading to the same event as us. By an exceptional coincidence, a couple had to cancel their attendance, and they had a free spot in a campsite five minutes from the event. We had found our campsite and, most importantly, a great group to share this beautiful journey with.

View my Tik Tok video here.

The Legendary Beauty of the Adirondacks

To get to Americade, we took Route 22, as well as the beautiful Route 9, which winds along the shores of Lake George. This is an elongated lake located southeast of the Adirondack Mountains in the state of New York. Needless to say, for those familiar with the legendary Adirondacks, the scenery in this region is exceptional. Plus, the weather was on our side with 27 °C (80.6 °F). The sun was shining brightly, and the road was worthy of the most epic rides. With its curves and impeccable asphalt, every kilometre was savoured!

Upon arriving at the campsite, with our group continually growing along the way, we set about settling in for our two days of the festival.

A Motorcycle Tent Trailer: Incredible!

Under the intrigued gazes of our travel companions, we settled into our spot and began unpacking the famous tent trailer (click here for the time-lapse video). My dad’s trailer is a few years old, but it’s in excellent condition.

For the curious, here are some interesting details:

Manufactured by BunkHouse/B&F Specialties Inc., it has impressive specifications:

  • It is equipped with a large, comfortable queen bed for two adults.
  • It has an interior zippered division that allows access to a 2.5 m by 2.5 m kitchen space.
  • Inside, it is easy to move around with its seven-foot-high ceilings.
  • The lockable compartment (the trailer itself, under the bed) is large enough to hold the camping gear that two people would normally bring for a week-long trip.
  • The design of this unit is well thought out to be both compact like a trailer and spacious like a camper.
  • With a total length of just under two metres and a width of just over two metres, the folded trailer stands 38 inches high on 12-inch wheels.
  • The trailer’s torsion bar suspension maintains its standard weight of nearly 600 pounds and keeps it steady.
  • The outer canvas is made of durable 400-denier polyester material that is wind and rain resistant. The canvas also includes five large clear plastic windows with curtains and mosquito nets, providing excellent ventilation.
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When it comes to driving, it’s essential to practise. Riding with a trailer of this kind requires significant adaptation. Turns are more complex, and there is a different management of throttle and balance. That said, once mastered, the ride feels natural. Steep descents and winding roads posed no braking issues for the Gold Wing, even though the trailer is not equipped with optional electric hydraulic brakes.

How to Get One

For your information: The MSRP of the Bunkhouse Queen trailer is around $6,000, depending on its age and condition. Additionally, many accessories are available, and several owners customize it according to their usage. Less than $10,000 for a house on wheels is a great investment, especially when considering the price of other common accommodations. It doesn’t take many riding seasons for a trailer like this to pay for itself!

Unfortunately, for those who want exactly the same trailer, the company that created it is no longer in business. However, many of these trailers can be found on online sales sites, so keep an eye out!

Let the Fun Begin!

Ladies and Gentlement Riders

After setting up the base camp, it was late in the day. So, we decided to eat on-site in the evening while enjoying the festive atmosphere of the campsite. What a great opportunity to get to know our travel partners, the Ladies and Gentlemen Riders!

This is a group of about thirty members, surrounded by many friends sharing their passion. They form a tightly knit group of friends united by their love of motorcycles. They neither seek to recruit new members nor support organizations. Without a president or hierarchy, they advocate equality among all their members. Both men and women ride their motorcycles with the same fervour, and it’s beautiful to see.

The sole objective of their club is to gather for the pleasure of the company and the joy of shared moments. Their motto, “just for the fun of it,” perfectly sums up their mindset.

During the summer, they organize numerous rides, ranging from one-day outings to longer excursions. Their destinations vary, alternating between campsites and hotels. They also participate in various motorcycle events. In winter, they organize parties and dinners, always in a festive atmosphere. In short, they are united by friendship and a passion for motorcycles, living each moment together, “just for the fun of it.”

A Sunny Day and 50,000 Motorcycles

After a hearty breakfast prepared by my dad on his massive camping barbecue (I’m always surprised by the amount of equipment he carries in his trailer), we hopped on our bikes to head downtown to Lake George and enjoy the festivities. Surprisingly, the town seemed empty… but not for long! By noon, we were walking among the booths near the pier and realized that motorcycles had taken over the place. We saw all kinds of bikes. There were road bikes, off-road bikes, adventure bikes, electric bikes, touring bikes, and more. You can see a glimpse of it in my video right here.

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Americade

Between the streets dotted with motorcycles, the main site bustling with passionate bikers, and the uniquely themed booths, there were motorcycle manufacturers hosting test rides all day and seat cover suppliers with catchy slogans.

Food trucks with gigantic American hot dogs

On-site, there were vendors selling clothing, equipment, and accessories, custom patches, motorcycle mechanics doing on-the-spot modifications, leather artisans, knife makers, lighter engravers, and so much more!

kiosk at Americade

Americade kiosk

americade kiosk

We spent the day enjoying the beautiful weather while admiring the stunning view of the lake with its steamship.

You’ll be pleased to know that, for just a dollar, you could take the shuttle bus that serves the town and its surroundings. So, we brought our bikes back to the campsite to return for dinner in town by bus in the evening. That way, we could eat well and drink safely.

Under the thunderous noise of modified exhausts, our day of exploration ended with our group of friends at the Beach Club. This restaurant is located right on the lakeside with breathtaking views of the beach. The long sunset walk gave us a colourful experience. From the simplest models to original and immaculate bikes, there were thousands of people, and just as many motorcycles, cruising the streets.

white motorcycle at americade

Paper maché at americade

In Conclusion

Americade is a grand gathering of motorcyclists and enthusiasts, as well as major players in the industry. Above all, it’s a week-long opportunity to admire what impassions us!

For my father and me, it was a chance to meet exceptional people, forge bonds, and most importantly, cherish precious moments together. Life moves so fast: go ahead, mark these dates on your calendar now!

Here’s What’s Coming Up:

A big thank you to OffRoad 104 for my beautiful V-Strom 800DE, which allowed me to travel comfortably, and to all the wonderful people we met during our trip.

Follow me on my socials (Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok) for more adventures !

Americade Website : https://americade.com/

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