Five Hundred Miles...

A Rogue Wanderer Traveling The River of Life.. Travel, Motorcycles, and Growing Old Against My Will

Saturday, October 07, 2006



The Hudson Highlands on the west side of the river are different; more rural, more agricultural with hundreds of miles of two lane blacktops, small towns that seem to stand still in time. When I need a local ride to clear out the cobwebs and feel the road under my wheels, with the smell of early morning in the air. This is where I go.

There are too many roads, and too much to see to encompass this quite rural area in one trip, or even one weekend. I come here often I never really know where I’m going to go, or what I’m going to see. Most often, I just follow my front wheel.

Some of my favorites are route 218 north of West Point, hugging the face of Storm King Mountain; routes 32 and 7 south out of Kingston, running along the banks of the Walkill River, 44/55 bisecting orange county from west to east, between 209 in the Shawangunk Mountains to Highland on the river’s edge; or 52 from 209 further south into Newburgh. There are really too many to itemize in any one story, but there is also much to see and experience throughout the season.

I always enjoy Kingston, New York’s first capitol, with its covered sidewalks, Saturday Farmer’s Market, and the 1661 Old Dutch Church with its Revolutionary War cemetery, with headstones bearing namesof men lost to history who were instrumental in the movement that created the country. A hotbed of revolutionary fervor, the British burned the town to the ground in 1777.

With that same revolutionary War spirit, visit Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, is what may be the most important small home in American history. It was here where the Man Who Would Not Be King wrote the letter that would define what America would become. His “office” is a small bare 10’ X10’ room. It is hard not to experience goosebumps.

See the speed dirt track racing at Lembo Lake Speedway, or experience the quiet serenity of Storm King Art Center. Or check out the Bear Mountain car and motorcycle show every Wednesday night during the season.

Wherever you go, in whatever season, there is always something to see, another vista to experience, another turn to make, another road to follow. The worst part of any ride up through here is when I have to turn south and head home. And I’m always planning my next ride as I cross the river.

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