Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

It’s Saturday morning and the forecast looks unbelievably good for riding. I have a few tasks to take care of this morning before I get underway and of course it is 6am. Well some how I occupy my time until about 7:45 and I grab Steve’s power cord for his Garmin and drive to his house so that his brother can use his GPS. Ring the bell 2 times, no answer and leave the cord in Pam’s car. Now off to Bill’s place to pick up my bike that just had the valves adjusted and carbs synched. At his place around 8:45 and many people pulling up to get their oil changed and leaving because Bill has posted “Not Open” sign. Call John his son and find out he will be here in the next few minutes even though they are closed today. Now keep in mind I was ambivalent about riding today. Call it mid season burn out, but when something happens that prevents from riding I then get anxious. Go figa.

Pick up my bike and off to home to get ready for the trek. Don my new riding pants and fill my new tank bang. Geez it’s big, I bought for the big 5000 coming up. We are all set, bike is running, GPS is acquiring satellites and I am raring to go. GPS says arriving destination. WOW that was a fast trip. Out of the driveway and onto the Mass Pike. First impression of the mesh riding pants is unbelievably favorable from a cooling aspect and they are unbelievably comfortable.

Now I have ridden the Mass Pike a million times west so really don’t bother with having the camera ready. Well as Murphy’s Law kicks in I rummage thru the tank bag to find the camera. The Hudson Hornet was built by Hudson between the years 1951 and 1954 and dominated NASCAR racing in the mid 50’s. Hudson was taken over by the American Motor Company and they built the car for a few more years and resurrected the Hornet name for the AMC Hornet.

Off the Pike and onto the Route 20, which becomes Jacob Ladder around Westfield MA.

This guy has a matching sibling someplace in Connecticut. I could look it up, but I am too lazy.

First scheduled stop in Martin Van Buren National Historic Site. In the VC (visitor center), the movie about our 8th president is going on. There is a couple that arrived on a HD. She is intently watching the movie and her SO is just looking around the room wondering when this is gonna be over. I agreed with him, the movie was very uninspiring so I made this a grab and run.

Back on the road to Thomas Cole NHS. This requires crossing the Hudson River via the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. As I cross, I see the toll booths on the east bound side and reminded that one of my fellow riders just about got whacked by the automated gates to prevent toll runners.

Thomas Cole was an early 1800 painter and founded the Hudson River School of Art. At the VC, I had my first stumble of the day. The person manning the ticket counter, a very pretty lady and my age too, didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked for the stamp. I showed her my book and she said she has never seen such a thing. As I was looking around there was a brochure with the sample of the sites stamp. She is very accommodating and starts going through the drawers looking for the stamp. Ahh an ink pad but it is black, another ink pad and this one is brown, we are getting hotter. Viola the stamp. Set the date, stamp the 2 books and the index card and realize the date is wrong. She immediately apologizes and wants to correct the problem. I say it is close enough. I had these visions of her riding off into the sunset on the back of my bike as we visited the rest of the parks that day. SLAP up the side of my head. I was here for about 30 minutes just gabbing away with her.

Back over the RVW bridge and even though I have EZ Pass, I pull up to the cash window, so that the attendant can control the gate. Thanks Deb for the warning, your lay down did not go in vain. In front of me is this HD with straight pipes. Both me and the attendant cringe as he pulled away and I make the comment, “I don’t understand it either" and shrug.

I am a little stylishly late for lunch with the Vanderbilt’s. Now this place is big, and the land around the estate is certainly large, but I can’t say I was in awe as I drove up. Now I am sure the architect of the place would be disappointed with that comment and the Vanderbilt’s would be out right pissed, so I will keep my thoughts to myself. There is a pay for tour, which I don’t take, but I do walk around the grounds.

Heading to the Roosevelt’s to discuss politics I pass this place and have a destination for a meal on my way home. This site has FDR’s home and presidential library. I grab my ink and head for a late afternoon tea with Eleanor at Val-Kill.

Right across the street from FDR’s is this place. I am a sucker for Drive Ins. They are dying institutions and go with Diners, Americana and the fond memories I have of the 50’s and 60’s

It is 4:15 and the VC is not supposed to close till 4:30, however it is closed. An employee walks up the path and confirms they are closed and the stamp is identical to the one over at FDR’s shack. I walk around for about 5 minutes and then notice the door to the VC is open. I walk in and ask if they mind (like I really cared if they minded) I get the stamp. The girl says I told you the stamp was the same. Well upon testing the stamp they are in fact different and I point this out to her. I proceed to stamp my stuff. I glad I trusted my instincts on this one.

Out of there I review my print out of the stamps for the day and I realize there are 2 stamps that I did not get at FDR’s, so I head back that way. At FDR’s I question the person in the book store and they said the stamps I am looking for don’t exist. I press a bit and show here my list, however she indicates she is not going to help me and it is closing time anyways.

The stamps for the day are done and I am headed for the Eveready Diner for a bite to eat. Since I was late at the Vanderbilt’s, they snubbed me and didn’t provide any food. A sign on the way to FDR’s grab my attention about a historic train station. Train stations are like drive ins so I head there. I pull into this side street expecting to find the train station here and find this place.

The road heads into the woods and I find it inviting and come across this scene.

I am back at the Vanderbilt Mansion. I will say the road from the carriage house was far more impressive than the main road to the mansion.

Back of the grounds of the VM and turn at the sign for the historic train station again but go all the way to the river this time. Here is where the Vanderbilt’s got off in Hyde Park when they took the train.

At the Eveready I order chili and a meatloaf sandwich. The chili was very very good but the meatloaf sandwich was unbelievably good. Bill (not me) is sitting at the counter and during my meal we have a conversation like we have known each other for a lifetime. This is all part of the experience of riding and a very common occurrence.

With a full stomach I head for home. Now when you plan roads in MapSource you never know if the roads are going to be the right ones to travel on. Are they going to take you thru downtowns that are just stop and go, thru roads that are major shopping areas or are they going to be idyllic and serendipitous in nature. Well I hit the jack pot and if you are a rider, try these roads; you won’t be disappointed ( ). As I travel this path I come across many of those feared critters, the deer. At one spot along this great road, I spot a deer running on the other side of the guardrail next to the road, ducking under the branches, just looking for a good spot to make a quick left and take me down. They are so suicidal.

It’s dark out and estimated time of arrival home is 10pm. Now remember in the beginning of the day, I was in a riding funk and didn’t know if I really wanted to ride today. Think of what I would have missed if I had listened to my mood of the morning. At Ludlow, I pull into the rest area on the pike to be entertained by this event. Best seats in the house btw.

1 comment:

PatnWilton said...

I saw your stamps and wanted to cry. It's not like I can "stop by" and get new ones. SOB!