Up On Bear Mountain

My day to ride is turning out to be Saturdays. I leave early, gas up, and just go and get lost. The early roads are beautiful to traverse because there is little to no traffic. During my first ride I got extremely lost. My iPhone in the new cradle is helping, but I still have no power source wired so I use it sparingly. I headed up the Saw Mill and this time took the proper exit towards Tarrytown – the one I missed when I attempted to visit Sleepy Hollow. I stopped in a little restaurant called Bella’s which I found online to be the best breakfast place in the small town. It was just a great straight up diner. No pretension, no cool decor, just good coffee and cheap food. I ordered a short stack with a side of ham and wrecked eggs. It was just what I expected and yes, the coffee. There’s something about good diner coffee that has a visceral effect on me. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of being cooked in large old style percolators. It’s not overly strong or too weak, and the aroma carries me back to o post church functions my parents dragged me to as a boy at Saint Rose of Lima in East Hanover, NJ. Maybe it’s the memory of my busy father taking me to a diner near his Saab Shop in Monclair, NJ on the rare day he would bring me to work. Hell, maybe it’s just the caffeine. Whatever it is it sure soothes after being on the bike for few miles.

During breakfast I overheard two locals discussing the rock group Van Halen. I tried my best to be a fly on the wall but I had to break the news to them that the rest of the tour was canceled. A genuine look of sadness filled their eyes. They were fans. I told them I just saw them at the Madison Square Garden show and Eddie was a s good as ever, but David Lee Roth couldn’t jump as high. We chatted and reminisced for a few minutes and I wished them a good day. I pulled out the phone and just scanned around. Bear Moutain. It sounded as good as place as any for a scenic ride. I calculated the route and sputtered away on the BMW.

Crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge was amazing. This cantilever beauty spans the Hudson at one of the widest parts. The sun beamed off of the water in a miraculous way. Boats floated calmly on the dark blue water and I felt at peace. I thought about so many great memories and how interesting it is that water always seems to be around. Fishing with my grandfather at Lake Hapatcong, having a small row boat in the lake behind our home in Jacksonville, tethering Sunfish sailboats together in the gulf while on tour with a band, walking my chihuahua along Tampa Bay, sunset in the Keys, and so many more remembrances were all surrounded by this stuff that makes up 60 to 70 percent of our bodies. I never thought of how present it has been in my life until this moment.

I headed up the 9W which follows the west shore of the Hudson River.  I had to make a small repair on the road. My brake light was stuck on and I noticed that the tab that connects to the actuator switch was bent out of the way at the contact point on the rear brake foot lever. I pulled into a gas station, flipped up my seat, unrolled my tool kit and bent the tab into a better position all without removing my helmet. One thing I am glad of in my life, it’s that I know how to work with my hands and fix things. This ability sure comes in handy when your brake light is jammed on and you are miles from a motorcycle shop.

I eventually hooked up to the Pallisades Parkway. What a great piece of road. It cuts through the rock faces of mountains with lots of trees and almost zero cars. I followed it to it’s end and wound up at the Overlook Lodge which faces Hessian Lake. At the moment I couldn’t think of a more serene place. There was nobody on the overlook, and although it was a place for guests, the desk clerk didn’t seem to mind me sitting for a few minutes and taking in the beauty.

The ride home was beautiful. Once again, I took a trip just to drive. I didn’t take too many pictures this time. It didn’t cross my mind. There was no destination and no real point other than to get breakfast and be in the wind. And right now, those are the only reasons I need.

Bella’s – Tarrytown Brake switch fixed Brick on Bear Mountain


A slow 97 mile trip

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