For the past couple weeks since the Equinox to Equinox Rally started I’ve been peppering my regular rides with picking up points. As I mentioned in the post Photo Rally Bonus Hunting – Links, Books, Google Maps, I’ve got maps full of places and points of interest to ride to.
But sometimes… sometimes you just don’t feel like “working.” So, I’ve been taking it easy and making an effort to stop and see some of the places I’ve been visiting and not just doing drive-by point collecting.
Lately the thing that has been capturing my attention is – old cemeteries.
I don’t know what it is about about certain places or things that makes you have an affinity for them. Is it the place itself? Is it what is represents? Is it strictly the visual experience? Maybe it is all of those things?
The information carved on old grave stones can be surprisingly deep – the cause of death, age in years months and sometimes days. I read one stone that said the young boy buried was killed by a wagon wheel. Way to embarrass the kid for eternity.
This stone from Piscatawaytown Burial Ground in NJ was pretty descriptive – mushrooms!
Stone Reads: Spataters under neath this tomb lies 2 boyes that lay in one womb the eldest was full 13 year old yongest was V twice told by eating mushroms for food rare in a day(s) time they poyseond were Richard Hoop(ar) and Charles Hoopar desesed august anno dom 1693
Apparently the type of stone, the decorative imagery and lettering itself give clues to who the local carver was. I’ve just put my toe in the next to water researching information about stones on Long Island. It’s fascinating.
So what is it that makes me keep looking at these old burial grounds? I wish I knew. I don’t find them morbid or anything. On the contrary the spaces are often peaceful and a place of quiet reflection. These people were here. They walked the Earth, they mattered to someone.
During the week I rode to a burial ground in the town of Coram. It was a little less cared for than I would have hoped. Many broken stones, some trash, lots of leaves and bits of tree branches laying throughout it. The sign at the entry way is hanging on by a thread and a prayer.
I parked and walked up the small hill in to the grounds and wound up meeting a gentleman who was also there looking through the stones. We struck up a nice conversation and talked about other old burial grounds on Long Island. He was a very nice fellow.
So, my single friends – if you don’t know where to go to meet a nice man or woman? Cemetery.
On Saturday I meant to just duck out for a few hours before the rest of the family got up. I figured I could buzz out to New Jersey, see the giant tooth and be back home by lunch time.
But, plans changed back at home and so I stayed out longer than I originally anticipated. It was cool but sunny, so I was only too happy to be exploring.
I lingered around near the Grounds for Sculpture to see ‘America the Beautiful,’ an homage to Grant Wood’s American Gothic.
And the dancers across the way…
I was flittering about exploring old cemeteries, looking for parked trains and other roadside odds and ends.
In the process of doubling back to take a picture of a boat-sized banana split, a lady who decided that she didn’t need to use her mirrors or her eyeballs while behind the wheel decided to back up in the parking lot without looking. She came within inches of knocking me over. I went to honk my horn and… nothing?What the hell?
In that immediate irrational thinking moment, I figured I just didn’t hear the horn because I had music on and the wind was blowing. It seemed impossible that the horn wouldn’t work. But, hey, guess what? When I pressed the button again? Nada.
Ever the optimist, I thought it had to be a fuse or something. I resigned myself to taking a look at it when I got home and went on about my day.
My Tiger Isn’t Feeling Well
Never once did I consider that along with my horn, none of my lights would be working either. I rode around for the whole day? Part of the day? Who knows – with no headlight and no tail/brake light. Scary!
The dashboard was fully lit up, the sun was up and so I didn’t pick up any visual cues that I had a greater problem. Now in hindsight I realize I could have looked for my own headlight reflection in the back on another car. But I didn’t. My life is a cautionary tale.
When I got home, Kenny immediately started poking around on my bike while I shed my gear. If you allow the bars to sit at straight ahead, unturned position – the lights and horn failed. If the bars were turned the bars to the right – everything worked. Turn to the left, nothing.
I don’t want you guys to think I’ve gone all smart and stuff so I will be using my usual technical language here.
There is a “thingy” below the ignition key tumbler that seems to be the culprit. If you press it up towards the key, everything works with the bars in any position. If you don’t press that “thingy” everything only works when the bars are turned to the right.
I’ve got to call the dealer tomorrow to see if I can get my bike in ASAP.
In the meantime, Kenny has cleared his Tiger for me to use – you know – if I should find myself in some type of rally emergency situation where I need to visit a giant elephant in south Jersey or something.
I have to say, it’s kind of handy having a husband that rides, too.
I was supposed to be on vacation this past week. Instead, life happened. Dashed were the daydreams I had of sneaking off to pick up a few interesting E2E Rally bonus locations like the giant barbells in Quakertown, Pa. That stop will just be another one for the ole To Do List.
The upside of going back at a later date would be talking Wendyvee from Roadside Wonders into meeting me there and going for lunch. She’d also be the perfect person to snap my photo trying to get on the barbells. Or to call an ambulance when I break my neck …trying to get on the barbells. One day I will grow into a graceful swan. In the meantime, I’m fun to laugh at.
In the hours that I was able to squeeze in since last week, I did pick up some more bonus stops. Though I have picked up a couple here and there, I’ve tried to avoid going for the easy pickins like Post Office, Police Station and Firehouse here on Long Island. There are a bajillion of those around. I’m trying to keep them in my back pocket for days when I don’t have a lot of time.
This week I seemed to pick up a lot of trains, cemeteries and historical landmarks with a light sprinkling of oversized roadside stuff. You know, just to keep things silly.
Living in an area that had a lot of early settlers means a big selection of cemeteries that are well over 100 years old. I’m quite surprised by just how many, in fact.
One thing that the Rally has taught me so far is that no matter how much planning I do, how many books I read, or placemarks I put on a map – there is no substitute for just opening my eyes to my surroundings. I cannot believe some of the great things I have simply overlooked going about my day to day life. Things that were hiding in plain sight.
I’ve lived in the same town here on Long Island for 11 years now. Yesterday I ‘found’ a train car that I’d never noticed before, even though I’ve passed it no less than 5 million times. Wake up and smell the coffee!
It’s been great looking through all of the photo galleries and seeing where the Rally is taking people. If you’re doing the E2E Rally also, I hope you’re having fun with it.
For the E2E Rally, I’ve been thinking about how I can string together historical markers, monuments and engaging sights to ‘theme’ my bonus stops. We’ve got 6 months to dash around and pick up points. Keeping things fresh will mean that my interest will stay piqued and I’ll be more likely to play through the whole time.
With one of the E2E Rally bonus categories being “Historical Landmark,” I think this app just might help in route planning…
Ridin’ Nerdy – Roadside Presidents
If you’ve read this blog for more than the last 3 minutes, it may not come as as shock to you that I’m a bit on the nerdy side. I like history, learning “stuff”, roadside attractions, visiting touristy and vintage locations. I’m always on the lookout for blogs, websites and apps that weave my geeky interests into my motorcycle rides.
I’ve long been a fan of Roadside America. I use their website, iPhone app and have their GPS travel guide on my Zumo. So, it would seem that downloading their Roadside Presidents app for the iPhone would be a natural fit. The Roadside Presidents app gives you the same irreverent slant that their roadside content does – just with a Presidential twist.
Interested in checking out a statue of William McKinley’s VP – Garret Hobart? (Isn’t everyone?) What about the rock where Alexander Hamilton rested his head after being mortally wounded in a dual with Aaron Burr? Right! I bet you didn’t even know you wanted to see such a thing. That’s is precisely why this app is so important
The app uses your phone’s location services to deliver up these delicious (and weird) Presidential road stops. I’m certain some of these places will find their way into my E2E Rally photos.
The Empire State has a long history of being… histor… i..cal.. ? Right. New York is jam packed to the gills with American history. Lots of rich, important, famous and Presidential-type people have lived in, slept in, fought, died and vacationed in the great state of New York. Do you know what that means? Lots and lots of potential bonus points.
When I looked through the E2E bonus list, aside from their point values some of the categories generally appealed to me for different reasons. The big dog on the list for me was “Presidential Library.” Do we have one of those around here? No. Well, actually, sort of.
When I Googled a list of Presidential Libraries I discovered that there are only 13 of them. Wouldn’t you know it? New York has one. Good ole FDR. And as it turned out, it was easily reachable considering I had the whole day free to ride. Yay!
Hyde Park, NY was my focus for the day. If I picked up that stop and nothing else that would have been fine with me. I would get out for a ride, enjoy the sunshine and earn at least 10 points.
Muffler Man – Always a Bonus
After getting off of Long Island and into Westchester, I made a quick stop at the lovely green-eyed Muffler Man in Elmsford.
As I stood there taking a picture I heard the sound of a car horn honking. I turned and looked but the early morning sun glared in my eyes so I quickly turned away when it became apparent I wasn’t about to be mowed down by a car.
But there it was again… honk honk…
This time when I turned I was able to see my two friends Pete & Edyta waving at me from their truck. Whattheheck?!
What were the chances that I would be 75 miles from home, standing in a gas station at 8:30 on a Saturday morning taking a picture of a muffler man and run in to friends? When you consider all of the things that have to align just right to make that happen? Boggles the mind. Small world indeed. :)
Since I was in the neighborhood before continuing on to Hyde Park, I stopped in to Sleepy Hollow, NY. Yes, the town made famous by Washington Irving’s and The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow. Having passed through the area several times before, I knew there were quite a few historical markers around but I specifically wanted to get the Headless Horseman Bridge marker.
Never Underestimate Your Ability To Screw Up
I took some time to go through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. There are some lovely old mausoleums, headstones and grave markers all throughout the grounds. Seeing that it was arrowed on the cemetery roadway, I followed the route to the Irving family burial area.
I also took a picture of the Old Dutch Church. But, as I noted on my rally flag postyou should never underestimate your ability to forget something simple. I took a picture of the Old Dutch Church with my bike and flag and even the church sign which features the year it was built (1685). But… not the church’s historical marker :-/ So I didn’t submit that one for points. Duh.
Finding My Way
The rally rules say that only 1 picture can be submitted for each bonus stop. I’ve found that at times it can be difficult to get the bike, the flag, the bonus ‘thing’ in to a photo and have something like a marker or a date on a stone be readable. I bungled a handful of snaps this weekend that I opted not to submit.
I suspect over time I’ll learn some tricks to get all of the required info in without so much fumbling around.
Hyde Park – Historical New York
By the time I’d made it to Hyde Park to pick up the one bonus I really wanted – the Presidential library, I’d probably already stopped 5 or 6 other times.
Once in Hyde Park, the stops came fast and furious – A Vanderbilt here, a Roosevelt there. And then just like that… I’d done what I wanted to do.
I put my mind on cruise control and rode past historical markers, town halls, firehouses, post offices, and police stations because I just didn’t feel like stopping. The roads were in good shape, the sun was out and I just felt like riding.
That was until I came to a fork in the road…
Serendipity at Work
I spent the rest of the afternoon just riding along, stopping for things that crossed my path but not really working hard to navigate to anything in particular. There were some really good finds that just happened to be along my route – the giant 8 ball, the turtle rock, a big cow in someone’s yard.
I just kept chugging along, heading south through Connecticut towards Long Island – picking up bonuses along the way.
I submitted 34 pictures this week. More than I anticipated considering I just had my mind set on the FDR Library. But, NY is a historical and weird place. There is no shortage of things to see and places to stop even of I never left Long Island.
I wonder what I’ll be able to pick up in my travels when the days are long and the weather warms up?
Riding around looking at things – it’s what I do all the time. That makes these types of rallies a comfortable fit for me. When I’m making a concerted effort to find something or really take my time to look, read and observe something – it makes the ride that much more of a good experience for me.
Ride your motorcycle, learn stuff and see cool roadside statues. What could be better?