Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stray Cat Stuttin the Catskills

I am carefree and wild
I got cat class and I got cat style

Heading for New York in the most crooked line I can find, however since Connecticut is right in my back yard, blasting down the highway to get out of town.

Just south of Hartford in New Britain / Newington is the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Dedicated on February 23, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the original flag raising, the Iwo Jima Survivors Memorial Park salutes the 6,821 Americans who died fighting on the last strategic stronghold before the planned invasion of Japan.

The memorial was conceived and designed by Dr. George Gentile, founder and president of the Iwo Jima Survivors Association, Inc. -

Source: Roadside America

Make my way back to I-84 (which is that last on the interstates for awhile) and off on RT7 heading north. RT7 is delightful road, especially as you move into the upper 2/3's of it heading north. Making my way to Weir Farm National Historic Site. There's a lot of money in dem dere Connecticut hills. Not many hedges on the outside, but I bet a lot of hedge fund traders in the inside.

Arrived at Weir Farm right around 9:50 to get my National Park Stamp. Walked up to the Visitor Center and it was closed. I figured it would at least open at 10. Reading the sign on the door, I read 11am. Dang, went back to the bike to see if I could find a place to eat in the area and out of the corner of my eye I see a Ranger. Back across the street I asked would it be possible to simply get a stamp. The Ranger said sure, I have them right here. Turns out my speed reading of the sign missed the part about First Tour starts at 11. Another Ranger came out and we talked about motorcycling and the Spyder for about 10 minutes and then they excused themselves because they expected more customers to show up.

Weir Farm National Historic Site commemorates the life and work of American impressionist painter J. Alden Weir and other artists who stayed at the site or lived there, to include Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Singer Sargent, and John Twachtman. Source: Wikipedia

From the farm I wondered up the back roads out of Connecticut into New York to Katonah. The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is an affiliated site with the NPS and has INK. When I pulled in I realized there was something special going on at this place, a fair of some sort. I saw a Ben and Jerry Ice Cream tent, which was a giveaway. I asked the person directing where to park where I could find the stamp. He indicated at the box office and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Walked the 150 yards to the box office and asked for the stamp. Of course I received the normal response "We are not a National Park". I said "I know but you have a stamp here as one of the NY Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area sites. Panic sets in. 3 people start looking for the stamp. After about 15 minutes they apologized to me but they could not find it.

I started walking back to the bike, when the guy from up front directly traffic, pulls up next to me in a golf cart like vehicle and said "How did you do". I told him they could not find the stamp. He said jump in I will find it for you. We stopped at the pictured house and the lady said "Oh it's right here". Got my INK and thanked them so much.

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is a live music venue featuring symphonic, opera, chamber, American roots, and jazz, performances along with the historic home. Both are legacies of the house's original owners, Walter and Lucie Rosen. The Caramoor Summer Music Festival is held there every summer. It also runs educational programs, and can be rented for events such as weddings.

Lucie Bigelow Rosen was a Theremin soloist known for popularising the use of the instrument in the 1930s and 1940s, and founder of the Caramoor festival. Source: Wikipedia

The theremin is a musical instrument which is not physically touched by the performer. The instrument's controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the thereminist's hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker. Think MOOG !!

I'm pickin' up good vibrations
She's giving me excitations (Oom bop bop)
I'm pickin' up good vibrations (Good vibrations, oom bop bop)
She's giving me excitations (Excitations, oom bop bop)
Good, good, good, good vibrations (Oom bop bop)

Right down the street is the John Jay New York Historic Site. Also a stamping location. Parked right up close to the house which was locked up as tight as a drum. Around to the side is door that lead to the park's administrative offices who pointed across the way to the Visitor Center. She said the stamp is over there.

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site is a site in Katonah, New York. The homestead is also known as Bedford House or as John Jay House. It was the home of statesman John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States. Source: Wikipedia

Traveling down RT35 rounded the corner and had to stop for the spillway for the Amawalk Reservoir. If you looked carefully you can see a guy working just right of dead center to give you some perspective.

The day originally started out in the 60's and I had to layer up abit to gut the chill at 70MPH. Not anymore temps have risen to the 90's, It's getting hot out.

Bosobel was originally in the village of Montrose, some 15 miles away. The house was originally built between 1803 and 1806 by States Dyckman, who was a wealthy early decendent of the Dutch settlers of Manhattan. This house remained in the family until the 1920's. For the next 35 years, owned by various folks, it frequently faced deomolition for the space it occupied. In 1955 the house was ready to be torn down to make way for a Veterans Administration hospital, when is was disassembled and moved to its current location in Garrison NY. Today it is a museum and a place many folks have their wedding reception at.

While I was taking pictures, I had placed my small bag where my National Park books are kept. I was politely but sternly asked to remove them from the table because I was disturbing the setting of wedding favors, like pens, markers, and other trinkets for the guests. I removed the book and dropped it to the ground, then proceeded to take the picture of the Hudson River. I was thinking Franck Eggelhoffer from the movie Father of the Bride.

Just north of I-84 at the Newburgh Beacon Bridge is the Mt Gulian Historic Site another INKING joint. To my dismay there were closed. This was especially disappointing since I spent about 30 minutes to go less the 2 miles due to an accident just ahead of the road I need to turn off on.

Mount Gulian is a reconstructed 18th century Dutch manor house on the Hudson River in the town of Fishkill, New York, United States of America. The original house served as the headquarters of Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben during the American Revolutionary War and was the place where the Society of the Cincinnati was founded. The site is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Source Wikipedia

Back to the bridge and across the Hudson River, headed for the good section of Newburgh. Arrived at Motorcylepedia right around 1;30PM and the temps just keep going up. This is a place I need to come back to and go inside. Apparently there were multiple guests here from the New England Riders (a group of motorcycle riders from up my way), all showing up as separate people. Go figa.

On the opposite of side of industrial looking Newburgh is the Gomez Mill House. Over 300 years old, it is the earliest known surviving Jewish dwelling in North America and the oldest home in Orange County listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I am starting to be aware of the time and the number of locations I have on the list. I have a dinner date with some folks from the SpyderLovers forum and I don't want to be late.

Temps are well into the 90's breaching the upper end. It is freakkkkkkkkkkin hot out and it is taking a toll on my desire to take pics. Hit the Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site called Val-Kill. As I pull into the place to park I see the shuttle carrier leave to go up to the VC. Off the bike, walk the 1/4 miles or so to VC starting to question why am I doing this. The heat is getting to me. Got INK. Found out the shuttle bus back to the parking lot is not coming for another hour and started my 10 mile trek back to the bike. So how did it grow from a 1/4 mile, it just did. No picture.

Next stop is the FDR Library and Springwood (where FDR was born), his home. Eleanor and Franklin took the separate beds ideology to a whole different level. Roosevelt made his last visit to Springwood in the last week of March 1945, about two weeks before his death. At his own wish, he was buried near the sundial in the Rose Garden on April 15, 1945. His wife was buried at his side after her death in 1962. Also buried here are Fala, the famous scottish terrier, and Chief, a German Shepherd also owned by FDR

Pulled out the FDR estate, turned left and right up the street in the Vanderbilt Mansion. I have been at all of these places in the past, however I need to bring Crystal back to see the mansion. The grounds are magnificent and the house ain't bad either. I took no pictures and feel badly about it now.

Crossed back over the Hudson River on RT199 over the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. I found myself in the center of Kingston just around 4pm. I have something like 3 more INKING locations to capture, but given the time they are probably closed. Matter of fact I couldn't even find the location I was looking for in Kingston. I have to admit I was done capturing stuff for the day and I am suppose to be in Accord in an hour.

I was going down the back street and VIOLA, a New York Mural. Nice and big for the Americana Tour. I don't know if this is a Buddhism or a Hindu mural and if I say anymore I will surely insult some future reader, so I will quite while I am ahead.

28 miles from Kingston to Accord NY to meet up with Spyder folks. Took US209 all the way. Right outside of Accord I stopped at a gas station to get some water. I really needed to hydrate. Also took this time to swap out my ucky long sleeve wicking shirt into one of my best T-Shirts. Told the guy at the container I needed to get gussy up for a date.

Hit the Friends & Family II Hillside Restaurant right around 4:45, sat down at the bar, had a beer and asked if they minded if I plugged my phone and headset into the plug next to me. About 10 minutes later the rest of the folks arrived and we had a great meal, swapping stories. It was great to meet some of the folks from the SpyderLovers forum. A first but not the last. The Hillside is a little pricey, however the food is worth the price. Highly recommend !!

After diner we all poured out the restaurants and chatted a bit more in the parking lot. I was suppose to turn right out of the parking lot, but someone pointed out there was a fire that way and I would be better off going up and around, which I did. Grabbed this sunset on Mohonk Rd.

The place I am staying, The New Paltz Hostel, has a curfew of 10PM, no booze or drugs allowed. I was wondering if I made reservations at a half way house. Actually for $30.00 it turned out to be worth every penny and then some. I would stay here again in a heartbeat and even bring Crystal with me. Worth the consideration if you are not looking for fancy.

All in all a good day of riding, right around 300 or so miles. Knocked off some Americana sites, and made a big dent into the last 20 or so spots for the National Park Tour.