To Storm King or Not to Storm King

I am traveling slightly further each time I take a ride on the Brick. Sometimes I just pick a random place and head out. Sometimes I do my research, and sometimes I don’t. This time I didn’t. My friends have often talked about this mythical sculpture park upstate know as Storm King Art Center. I figured I’d just head up there and take a look see. Without much planning I just punched “Storm King” into the GPS on the iPhone. The path illuminated to an end point and I started driving.

I crossed the George Washington Bridge and stopped soon after at the Rockefeller Lookout right off of the parkway. It was early and the morning light was just breaking the mist. I took the time and just sat for a while taking in the wide view of the Hudson. Perched on boulder I pondered. Up until now my whole life has been lived in a rush. I walk quickly, I do things efficiently, I wear basically the same clothes every day, and I am short with people I encounter. All for the purpose of conserving my time for my goals. I think I have always been this way. I have always been preoccupied with some dream – some quest for an endpoint of happiness. Getting my band signed, hitting the charts with a new record, or writing that Broadway rock musical, has kept me occupied for a good number of years. Since I was 15 if I recall. It was all I ever wanted. Earlier in the week, on the very day of my 47th Birthday, I played a solo acoustic show at a great live music venue called Shrine. 6 of my friends showed up. Looking out at the sparseness of people in the audience, I realized those lofty goals were not going to happen. I will say that I don’t consider falling short of these goals a negative thing. I’ve lived a rich and storied life.

Sitting on that boulder, I finally came to believe that happiness does come from the journey. People say it, but to really believe it one must first travel the distance. I thought back on my life. I have done such a varied lot of amazing things I never thought I was capable of doing and I achieved them because I worked hard. I pushed myself and along the way I learned so many things and met so many amazing people. The old saying of stop and smell the roses came to the front of my mind. In my past, I didn’t stop. Hell, I ran past the roses. I ran away from a lot of good opportunities too because of this streamline towards what I thought what was important. But off of exit 1, for once – I just sat. I took a deep breath and breathed in the clean air off of the water as the sun oozed more yellow into the sky. A barge on the river seemed to be motionless as the wind whipped a tune around me. My shoulders fell a little. My tension was let go and my mind was simply empty. I wasn’t thinking about goals or fame or money or work or where I needed to be. True peace for a brief moment near a body of water.

I slid off of the rock and my leathers creaked as I walked away from the river. Now I get why Twain loved that damn Mississippi so much. There is a calming force when one looks upon water. A hypnosis. A trace we fall into if we let ourselves do just that.

I continued up the Palisades Parkway and peeled off at exit 4 and got on the 9 so I could follow the river. I was just heading toward the GPS point and eventually got hungry. I found a great restaurant called the Hudson Street Cafe in a town called Cornwall on the Hudson. I pushed through the front door and drew several stares. I was decked out from withers to brisket in black leathers anticipating some spirited riding, but I realized I must have looked like Mad Max  to the Friday breakfast crowd. I asked the waitress what they do best and she recommended the breakfast burrito with their fresh made chorizo. It was fantastic. Eggs, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and that chorizo. Unreal. I couldn’t even finish it because of the large portion. The coffee was warm and tasty and it gave me a caffeine kick that I needed since before I left NYC. The locals were all friendly and talkative, and the waitress shared that she was going to college in the city. It was a nice meal in a small uncomplicated town.

I remounted the Brick and noticed I was not far from the marker on the GPS. I drove towards the point winding around a beautiful mountain through trees, cliffs, and elevation changes that fill motorcyclist’s dreams. I was so distracted I just kept driving and GPS went into sleep mode. After a while, I checked out my route. It turns out that the mountain I was enjoying so much was Storm King Mountain, and the Storm King Art Center was clear on the other side. I was going to stop in, be all artsy, and look at the sculptures, but I was far from there now. I thought of turning back, but recalled my earlier thoughts. The journey was so amazing that I didn’t think of the end goal of the sculpture park. My path was giving me all the pleasure I needed. I gunned the Brick and smirked at naïveté as I rode towards the city.

As I pulled into my parking garage in Harlem, I vowed I would eventually get to the sculpture garden. Then I realized I didn’t even bring a change of pants. I would have been walking around the Storm King Arts Center in head-to-toe black leathers! So I guess it worked out the way it was supposed to – a day of driving and introspection. This Road Warrior will save his artistic exploration for another day as for today I was dressed properly – for the journey…not the goal.

Click images for larger versions:

Rockefeller Lookout on the Pallisades

Starting mileage The Brick at Rockefeller Lookout Amazing breakfast burrito

Around Storm King Mountain

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