Orange County Chopper Tour
Orange County Chopper TourBy Ray Sharp One of the great pleasures of owning an old British car is being able to take it for a drive for a few hours among some beautiful countryside and in the company of others who share the same love. Such a time was to be had on the JAG tour to Orange County Choppers, which took place on October 19th. We assembled as planned at the Parsippany Hilton; our group consisting of eight cars and fourteen travelers. Complementing the Jaguar contingent of three E-Types, two XJS's and one XK8 were a Morgan and Triumph TR2. The first leg of the tour took us for a while on Route 287, but after that it was essentially all country roads. The route to Orange County Choppers took us through some lovely countryside, up and down hills, and alongside several reservoirs and lakes. The leaves had turned and the view was really quite wonderful. After a brief "pit stop" at a Dunkin Donuts on the way, we arrived at the new Orange County Choppers Headquarters on the outskirts of Newburgh, NY sometime after noon. For those who haven't seen the television show, Orange County Choppers ("OCC") make customized "theme" choppers as well as parts for enthusiasts around the country. It isn't just about the bikes, however; it is also about a purportedly dysfunctional family of overly- testosteroned men getting into arguments whilst constructing the theme bike of the moment under a very strict deadline. Most of the theme bikes made for the TV series are on display at the showroom, and there is also a gift shop and aviewing area where one may see the bikes being made. It is fascinating to see the bikes up close - one is struck by the wonderful craftsmanship in all aspects of the work. For my part, I found the paint jobs to be particularly impressive. There are so many bikes on display, including some ancient motorcycles, that it is a bit overwhelming. Certainly, if you love motorbikes, this is a good place to visit! After visiting OCC, our group took a short drive to "Cosimos", a very pleasant little restaurant just around the corner. Lunch was just as invigorating as the drive to OCC; it being close to the election, talk inevitably turned to the relative merits of the candidates and their respective parties. At our portion of the table there were four Republicans and four Democrats - we soon found ourselves going at it hammer and tongs, much to the delight of the waiter who had a huge grin on his face every time he passed by. (As I am wont to say, I haven't had so much fun since I took my last actuarial exam _ ). After lunch we had headed home via another very pleasant drive -- through the village of Cornwall on the Hudson and then onto a very lovely scenic road that runs high above the Hudson. The view from this road was quite spectacular. Perhaps one should say dangerously spectacular because it was very tempting to partake too much of the view and too little of the curves in the road. The rest of our homeward trip took us through the West Point Military Reservation, again a lovely drive, and then onto Route 17/New York Thruway and on to home. This is a very nice little trip for anyone who is looking for a day out. Julia prepared a detailed itinerary, with very complete directions. If anyone would like a copy with a view to making the trip on their own, please let me know.