B eginning this weekend, thousands of bikers from across the country will descend on Lake George for this year’s Americade. But few will drive as far Larry and Mary Ellen Mollerstuen.
The Mollerstuens will drive from 3,000 miles from Oak Harbor, Wash., a small city of 20,000 people located 100 miles north of Seattle. Their trip will take them through seven states, the Canadian providence of Ontario and past all five Great Lakes before they arrive at their final destination, the colored slate capital of the world.
The Mollerstuens will forego Lake George’s water-front resorts and four-star hotels and instead will stay in a small cabin owned by Richard and Patricia Lanne on Beecher Road.
The trip will mark the third time that Larry and Mary Ellen have made the cross-country trip and stayed in Granville.
“It’s a nice downtown and there are several eating places we like to go to,” Larry said. “It’s (Granville) a nice atmosphere.”
Long trips astride a motorcycle are nothing new for Larry and Mary Ellen, who are 76 and 74 years old, respectively.
In 1991, the couple had their bike shipped to Warsaw, Poland, before embarking on a 3,000 mile-trek through former Soviet Union, an experience Larry described as unforgettable and interesting.
In 2007, the couple did the four corners trip, driving down the Pacific Coast to San Diego, east to Key West, Fla., and then north Maine before driving home to Washington.
Larry, a retired Naval aviation officer, has been riding motorcycles since 1952 and drives a GL 1800 Gold Wing and said he has pretty much always had a bike. He describes riding as liberating experience.
“I really enjoy motorcycles. It’s a very free feeling. It’s the closest thing to flying as you can get being on the ground.
“You don’t have any worries when you’re on the motorcycle,” he said.
This year’s trip will be the fifth time the couple has traveled from their home on Whidbey Island to Lake George to attend the Americade, considered the world’s largest touring motorcycle rally.
The couple first attended the Americade in 1998. Larry said over the years he has belonged to a number of motorcycle organizations, including the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA), and read publications that detailed some of the Northeast’s motorcycle rallies, including Bike Week in Laconia, N.H., and Americade.
“I always wanted to go and then one day my wife said ‘we’re going’,” Larry said.
“It’s the best rally in the world, I think. They people are so friendly and it’s a real good atmosphere. There are a lot of families there and they come with their kids; I think that’s important.”
“We enjoy it so much.”
Larry said the couple participates in a number of the guided tours, including some that travel through the immediate Granville area.
He said the trip takes about a week. They left last Friday and expect to arrive in the area this weekend.
“We try and take it a little easy. It will only be the third trip my wife has taken that far as a drive,” Larry said, adding that Mary Ellen drives a GL 1500 Trike.
This will be the third time the Mollerstuens have stayed in Granville.
Larry said before the couple’s third trip, his wife was searching online for a place to stay and came across the Lanne’s cabin.
“It’s a nice cabin and a nice ride over from Lake George,” Larry said.
“We love that little area there in Granville. We spend most of our time in Lake George, but in the evening we come back. It’s such a beautiful area and there’s so much history. We’d like to do it every year, but we can’t because we live so far.”