The Catskills

I had to put on 600 miles for my first maintenance check before my Cross Country trip. I decided to head up to the Catskill mountains. It’s a nice easy drive up the Palisades then Route 9W before turning West into the Mountains. I had a few sites I wanted to see up there. The first Being Opus 40.

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Opus 40 is a magnificently landscaped property created by one man, Harvey Fite. It’s not easy to find, but well worth the visit. Being someone who enjoys carving a piece of stone I truly appreciated the work that went into this place.

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When I finally found the place there was a sign at the front of the driveway which read CLOSED. Undeterred I continued down the dirt driveway. A wooly looking dude approached me and said I could check it out but there was a $10 admission fee. I already knew that, I was just happy they accepted it and didn’t send me on my way. Another guy came out to greet me. He was a biker and want to know more about the Bonneville. We talked for a while. He had a great story about being knocked off his Harley by a passing owl. Broke his sternum and send him flying backward. He still has a big lump on his chest from that bird. While he was dealing with the cops after the accident a guy from the EPA showed up and wanted to fine the guy for having killed a bird of prey. The cop took the EPA guy aside and asked him to let this one slide which he did. I mentioned my plan to go cross country. The Wooley guy said he has plans to ride a horse cross country. Hmmm. So after talking with these guys a while I checked out the site.

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No one is really certain how Harvey got that monolith up there by himself. Some say he knew the secrets of the Ancient Egyptians.Opus40_04

All these stone meticulously cut and fitted is an extraordinary task for a team much less one man. Sadly in 1976 Harvey’s lawn mower got stuck in gear and hurled him off the ledge of his own creation killing him. The place remains open to the public and is maintained by members of his family.

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After Opus 40 I stumbled upon this place where a guy makes sculptures and furniture out of car parts.

Roswell or Bust!

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And he had this cool green globe. His name is Steve Heller.

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And I just can’t resist a stage.

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Below is me and Bonnie fully loaded. (OK, I am not loaded. That would be the next day at the Cheap Trick, Poison, Def Leppard show.) I got a new tank bag for the cross country trip. It’s a Bags Connection tank bag. Same brand as my rear bag which has held up well in extreme conditions. My old tank bag (pictured here) is just a bit too large. If I had to turn the handle bars all the way, either the horn or the ignition would be pressed. The horn is just annoying, but hitting the ignition switch while the bike is running is not good.

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I found a nice campsite next to a rolling brook that made for a restful sleep. The next day I went to visit this old grain silo which has been converted into the world’s largest kaleidoscope. It’s really cool. I was the only one in there at the time. It was recommended that I lay on the floor instead of using the inclined seating they have inside. The kaleidoscope show takes you through a trippy history of the United States put to a well timed soundtrack.

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Here is piece of the show I grabbed from YouTube.

From the kaleidoscope I headed North toward Secret Cave. On the way I came across Pratt Rock. This guy Zadock Pratt hired a guy to carve into the side of this mountain.

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You have to appreciate that old school graffiti. Those brothers had style.

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And I guess the guy carved himself a niche to get out of the rain.

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And here is my favorite sculpture in the side of the cliff.

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The last scheduled stop on my trip was Secret Caverns.

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It’s not the most spectacular cave for Stalactites and such but at the end of the cave is a 100 foot waterfall. The waterfall however is nearly impossible to photograph because the warm water from above mixes with the 50 degree temperature below creating a steamy atmosphere. Cameras get foggy quickly.

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From the cavern I headed home. Hit some ugly weather but endured. The only real issue came as it got dark. I had my half helmet and only dark goggles for eye protection. There were parts of Route 17 in NY that had no lines depicting the 3 lanes of traffic. Very scary! I will not make that mistake again.

4 Responses to “The Catskills”

  1. I’m going to be in the Catskills for the Boxing Hall of Fame induction weekend, plan on riding the Bonnie up and exploring the area, this page gave me some good ideas for stuff to see, I am impressed by the Opus 40 most of all . You take good pictures Pat.

    • Opus 40 is most impressive. It’s easy to miss, so keep an eagle eye out for small signs. Even if it looks closed or says it’s closed continue down the dirt road and see for yourself.

  2. Thanks’
    My boyfriend is the one who invented the worlds largest Kaleidoscope. (Cru Chase) . So happy to see you took the time to write about it!

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