Fall Journey

KENNEDY – The first day of autumn turned out to be a great day for a motorcycle run.

The fourth annual Fall Foliage Run was held to benefit the Kennedy Fire Department, and was given an enthusiastic review by those who took the tour through some beautiful scenery. A total of 93 motorcycles and 120 riders participated in the event.

Kickstands went up at 10:15 a.m. to start the run from the Kennedy Fire Hall. Riders headed east on Route 394, then went north through Ellington, Cherry Creek and Forestville, to the first stop in Gowanda at the Gowanda Fire Department hall. Don Offhaus, Gowanda Volunteer Fire Department secretary, said that when asked a few weeks ago if they would be willing to have the ride stop for a break, they said yes, even though they were holding an event at their own hall. As they were providing a chicken barbecue with all the fixings, they graciously gave a tour for those on the Fall Foliage Run as well, once again showing the community spirit and brotherhood of volunteer fire departments.

From Gowanda, the riders traveled to Springville, down to Ellicottville and Salamanca, then east to Olean and their second stop at Poor Cow Leather in the Wal-Mart plaza. Bob Chambers and his staff again provided pizza, wings and many other refreshments for the group. Chambers has been an enthusiastic supporter of many groups since opening his business, and is happy to give back to the many communities with which he comes in contact.

After the rest at Poor Cow Leather, the tour headed south into Pennsylvania, stopping first in Limestone to fuel up. They wound down into Allegany State Park and finally pulled in at the Willow Bay area. There, a final drivers’ meeting was called by ride organizer Dave Huber to discuss the road conditions on Interstate 86, where construction is ongoing. A short trip west, back to the Cold Spring exit, led to the return to Kennedy on Route 394.

At many places along the route, spectators watched the impressive sight of so many riders in line along the highway. At intersections, the tour was protected by the Red Knights, Chapter 9, and various local law enforcement and fire department personnel to allow them to stay together.

So many riders commented on the day’s tour. They complemented Huber’s efforts, and were impressed with the organization and how smoothly the tour ran. A chase vehicle pulled a trailer supplied by Hector’s in Jamestown in case of breakdowns, which wasn’t needed.

The fact that the tour was about 175 miles was remarked on as well. So many riders told how they look forward to this event, especially because it is long enough to really enjoy. Some were going on their very first long motorcycle run. Others traveled a great distance just to participate. Special acknowledgment was given to eight members of the Red Knights, Chapter 42, from Bath, who rode through the rainy weather the previous day in order to participate and support their brother fire department members.

A large sign, which could be seen both in the morning when starting the run, and in the late afternoon when returning, thanked the Red Knights for all they do. The sign was created by Rob Spencer and Kim Rogers.

Coming back to the fire hall in Kennedy, the tour members received a meal of roast pork, chicken, salads, and desserts, along with hot and cold beverages. So many local businesses donated door prizes that lots of riders got an extra memento of their day.

As riders finally began to head for home, after what many considered the best Fall Foliage Run yet, you could hear them planning to come back next year. When asked what he thought about the day’s tour, Huber said he was very pleased.

“The comments say it all,” he said.

So many people were personally telling him how impressed they were.

Temperatures may have been chilly, but hearts were warm. Huber said he was already starting to plan for next year. Judging by their responses this year, you can bet that a lot of the riders from this year are glad to hear it.