Our morning ride into Saugerties was under overcast skies. We toured Main Street last night but the stores were closed and I wanted to visit the Inquiring Mind Bookstore for a chance at acquiring a regional tale or two. There were two desperate looking people in the municipal parking lot, their actions filled with a nervous urgency made me wary and I looked over my shoulder as we departed. The bookstore touted a Huffington Post article, faded by the sun but not enough to be too old, which listed it as one of the top 50 in the country. The woman behind the coffee counter directed me to the regional section where I found stories by Washington Irving and a collection of regional essays. Mabel wasn’t disappointed as they fulfilled last night’s promise with a treat. The store had a good feel, inviting and a sophistication lost in the big chains.
The other stores were closed until 10:00 which ended our browsing so back to the car with hopefully all windows intact. On the way, a couple stopped to pet Mabel, she gets lots of attention on our walks and I told them her story. They were impressed and the woman said, “God Bless” when we left. It was the first time I heard this from a stranger on the trip; kind of nice.
Back at the camp we packed up and a family stopped to talk about the camper and Mabel. As you can see I am third string when it comes to attention on this trip. Mabel is the MVP followed by the camper and then me, the lowly narrator of our story. A nice family from Queens they have come up for the last few years and brought a sister that now lives in Italy. They love it up here. I was asked where we are from and surprised when the man knew of Hopkins. He is a music CD salesman/distributor and sold to Best Buy in Richfield. I, of course, asked about Musicland and he remembered the Corporate HQ address. I was amazed as I had even forgotten it! His familiarity with Minnesota; Nye’s Polynesian Room, Stillwater, and the State Fair was a refreshing change from my usual anonymity. Most times when I say we are from Minnesota, I get the response of “it’s mighty cold up there.” I do little to correct them because it is cold, but much so much more than just cold weather. I’ll keep that private, no need to crowd our fair state with people. It was a nice conversation when all I needed was a nice conversation.
Woodstock, NY is only seven miles away so we took a winding back road aided by street signs to get there. The Main Street was crowded; narrow sidewalks filled with people looking into shop windows. To me it seemed very artsy and filled with boutiques, similar to Long Island’s East End, so nothing of interest to Mabel. We cruised through, Arabella in tow, and didn’t look too hard for a parking place eventually exiting into the country. A navigation error on my part caused a reversal and we got to view Main Street for a second time. Still nice, but nothing calling our name to stop.
We used HWY 209 to HWY 17 on our trip to Bethel, the Woodstock Festival’s location in 1969. After passing the Monticello Raceway, we turned right into the Bethel Woods Center for The Arts and I was surprised at the size of the grounds. It is much more than just the concert hill and it looks like they hold very organized events on a regular basis. Passing the museum and the acres of parking lot we found the original concert site which was smaller than expected. Especially considering the number of people in attendance. It was raining, which is fitting because it rained at the Festival, so we didn’t dawdle after taking pictures. No run in the grass for us.
The museum was very enjoyable and I appreciated the Retired Military discount, $0 admission fee, which was later spent in the gift shop. The exhibits are balanced between the events of the 1960’s leading up to the concert and the music festival itself. Brightly colored and succinctly described exhibits portray those turbulent times which to me were worse than what we are experiencing now. The concert footage was excellent and Jimi Hendrix’s finale gave me goosebumps…again. Other displays show the logistics and behind-the-scenes organization required for the event which was overrun by the magnitude of people that came for “three days of Peace and Music.”
Back in the 1980’s we would make a yearly trip to Roscoe, New York also in the Catskills, for our annual deer hunt. Bethel is South of Roscoe by about 15 miles and Google chose a very scenic and windy route for me to get there, eventually spilling us onto the South side of Main Street via old HWY 17. I took a left thinking that’s where the property lay and was correct but it was a challenge finding it. The field fronting to the road was now in disuse. The golf course to the right, and the church to the left gave me my bearings and I am confident I was in the right place. If not, we will go with it anyway. No trip to Roscoe is complete without a stop at the “World Famous Roscoe Diner” where I last sat, a 22-year-old newly engaged young man. Weird to think how much time has passed, yet the inside was relatively unchanged, still filled with college pennants from patrons passing through. A quiet life I am imagining but still one with challenges, maybe just a little different from city life.
Scranton, home of the Dunder Mifflin Regional Office is our next stop, but still a good distance away. I am determined to sleep in Pennsylvania tonight causing the decision to follow HWY 17 to Port Jervis instead of winding back mountain roads. The Pennsylvania Welcome Center was staffed, surprising, and the attendant recommended Promised Land State Park which was fairly close on a rainy night. The name reminding me of the late 1980’s movie starring Keifer Sutherland and a young Meg Ryan. I remember seeing this in the theater and feeling how much, it reflected the Sag Harbor I had left long enough ago to still be homesick; it has a good soundtrack as well.
Mabel and I pulled into the unattended ranger station at the park and after consulting the map she advised to follow the road and select a site near the bath house. The campground was empty, only a few sites taken and little activity as we set up on the asphalt pad, our first. I backed in, not pretty, but no one around to critique my performance. This begs the question, “if a camper is backed with no one around, can it be backed badly?” Kind of like the whole tree falling in the forest thing. Two older couples down the way congregated in the mist and said “hi” as they passed. Other than that, it was eerily quiet and I was again hoping to avoid mannequins. We crawled in the camper and said good night to another day on the road
Thankful today for a water tight camper.