Another Damned Roadtrip

July, 2009 by Ray Bendici
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So being a geek with multiple interests, I have combined them in what pretty much everyone has told me is a bit of an odd three-day vacation across upstate New York -- on my way to New York Jets football training camp, I stopped to see the grave of The Old Leather Man and paid a visit to the Cardiff Giant! Yeah, a true ODDyssey! Being a good fan of this site, no doubt you've already read the story of The Old Leather Man -- and if you haven't, well, just click the link! I'll wait here for you rather than re-hash it ... Okay? Good! Anyway, as mentioned, the Old Leather Man was buried in Sparta Cemetery, located on Route 9 in Scarborough, New York, which is just a few minutes north of Sleepy Hollow -- double your damned fun with the town immortalized by Washington Irving, right? As luck would have it, it didn't take me long to find the grave as it's literally right there when you drive in, less than 10 feet from the road! ny_trip3 Bonus -- an orb in the picture! Here's a couple of close-ups ... ny_trip2 Even close enough to read. Of course, research from when the marker was first erected has subsequently proven that the Leather Man's name was NOT "Jules Bourglay." [click to embiggen!] ny_trip1 And an artsy black-and-white shot! ny_trip4 From there, I drove north toward Albany, hanging a west through the Catskills, home to the men who bewitched Rip van Winkle (another story by Washington Irving) -- although all I didn't see anything but a coyote crossing the road. I eventually made my way to Cooperstown, renowned for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but more importantly for the lovers of the damned, the location of The Farmer's Museum, which is the current resting place of the Cardiff Giant. Again, rather than re-hash the story of one of the greatest hoaxes of the 19th century, I'll let you click the link above and read it. Skipping the rampant commercialism that has essentially destroyed the once-charming downtown Cooperstown, I got to the museum and paid my admission, which I sort of regretted because the Giant is currently being displayed about 10 feet inside the entrance -- I could've taken shots with my telephoto lens! I'll just chalk up the admission to the upkeep of the Giant, aka "The Giant Naked Guy" thanks to our pal Dr. Kenny ... Here are some photos -- ny_trip5 He looks so peaceful! ny_trip7 There were actually people there with me who were half reading the signs and were convinced (temporarily) that it was real. Sad. ny_trip6 They do a nice job of displaying it and telling the story -- you know, for those who are "smart" enough to read. ny_trip8 Still, fun to see! ny_trip9 Okay -- enough damned stuff. I'm in Cortland now, so it's time for some JETS football! If I see any other damned stops on the way back, I'll update this post.
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