Day 26 – 2nd long day of driving

Ah another long day of driving, poor Jacob. I haven’t drove once this entire trip, I’ve got it so good! 😉
This morning we moved out of the Walmart parking lot and headed toward Four Mile Creek State Park, NY just down the road from Niagara Falls.
The drive was about 8 hrs. but it was nice and scenic. We discovered, in a book at Camping World, that we are actually traveling a portion of the Oregon Trail. Maybe we will be able to do the entire trail, it goes from east coast to west coast. In the book, we didn’t buy it, they map out the historical and best things to venture off the trail to see. It looked like fun to me.


We passed a few covered bridges. This one looks like the one in Beetle Juice, don’t say it 3 times!
While we were in Camping World we bought a book to tell us the roads that a passible with a camper. Nobody wants to drive up to a bridge like this and have to take a chance that you may or may not fit. We’ve already run into that problem once.

There were a few tolls plazas we had to pass through, gotta love New York…they really know how to “stick it to ya!”

When you get on a Through Way you collect one of these tickets and it tells you how much you will own at the various exits along the way.

HEY! That’s what our camper’s backside used to look like 😦 Maybe we should warn them of what could happen.

As soon as we get on the road, this is what Roux looks like until we stop. It’s like we drug him! It’s so funny that he can sleep the entire time.

This is a rest stop. I will give New York 2 thumbs up on this. These stops are amazing….Clean bathroom, multiple food options, gas/diesel, great big-rig parking, and free WiFi! You really can ask for anything more.

As we drove from Vermont we could tell the land was changing. The rock outcrops, visible rocks on the side of the road, changed metamorphic to sedimentary to eventually flat plains like the picture above.









Day 19 – Tolls, Tolls, Tolls, and Submarines

Hi there, today we left New York. We packed up the camper and hit the road. If anyone has driven through downtown Jersey City/Hoboken area then you can sympathize with me. Driver’s here are crazy! We had just left the campground and were behind a line of cars going up a one way street. All of a sudden the light turned to red and most of the cars in front of us sped through the light, all but the one right in front of us. She did speed up but then slammed her brakes right before the intersection and actually went 5 feet into the intersection. So I’m towing 6,500 lbs and the truck weights 10,000 lbs, do the math, it doesn’t stop on a dime. When I saw her brake lights, I locked up and skidded. Fortunately, there was a turning lane to the left of me and I was able to do a controlled skid into that lane (thankful for Shell putting me through Defensive Driving Class). When I stopped, the truck cab was parallel with her car. I looked over and the look on her face was “what the hell is wrong with you!” like I was the one at fault. I voiced a few choice words in her direction and then we went our separate ways.

We continue driving and finally arrived on the New Jersey Turnpike north. For those who remember, this is the turnpike that cost us 40 bucks to cross. Well, this time, it only cost us $7.50, phew! I asked the toll booth operator if there were any more tolls, he replied, that’s all…for New Jersey, uh-oh. We drove on into New York. When we got to New York, we were directed to take the George Washington Bridge. We crawled over because of the traffic, but it gave us a chance to take in the architecture of the bridge.
After the bridge, Boom!, another toll booth. I knew this one was going to be bad, a regular car is $13. I drove up to the operator, she looked at me, then looked at the camper, “$37 please”, Yeaozza! I asked her if there were anymore tolls, she said she didn’t know. Here’s a picture of me after the tolls drained the cash from my wallet, even Roux is upset!
We drove a little further, then the GPS requested that I turn on New York Throughway, my heart dropped. The little driving I’ve done up here, I realize now when a road has a fancy name, like turnpike or throughway, it means “they want your money” 😀 This toll wasn’t as bad, only $3, phew! Don’t worry, this road isn’t finished with us yet.
After driving a bit, I kept seeing a sign that said “Cars Only”. There’s three classes of vehicles up here, Cars, Trucks, and Buses, I guess we kinda fit between all three which is confusing because I don’t know which roads/lanes to go on and which to stay off of. I kept driving, then in the corner of my eye, I saw a red flashing sign that said “You don’t meet height requirements, exit now!” uh-oh. I swerved through 3 lanes of traffic to get to the exit to avoid having the top of my camper become a tuna can lid! Now Aimee and I were in the Bronx on a regular neighborhood street and my GPS yelling, “U-turn, U-Turn, U-turn”. It was at that point I cried a tear.

No worries, we found a school yard and parked the camper, thank God it was a Sunday. We both pulled our phones out and starting figuring out which back roads we needed to take to get back to I-95. After about 10 mins, we had a plan and Aimee navigated me back to the interstate without even saying “U-turn” 😀 I love that woman!

Soon we were in Connecticut.
We exited at the first rest area we came too. After that haring experience, I think we both needed a break. One thing I will give these Yanks, is that they know how to design a rest area. Up here, interstates don’t have rest areas, they have food courts and mall bathrooms with full truck refueling station…nice!! You can get every convenience you need at the rest areas. We had lunch in the camper before getting back on the road.

We drove for another hour or so then we were at our next campgournd, Seaport Campground. We quickly set up our campsight.
We left the campground and headed to the Submarine Force Museum. This is a free museum and is solely dedicated to telling the history of submarines. This museum also houses the Nautilus, which you also get to tour, pretty sweet. I had a coworker of mine tell me about the museum, thanks Bill! 20130819-110533.jpg20130819-110540.jpg20130819-110547.jpg
This next picture is pretty cool. The inner ring is the actual diameter of the Holland Class of submarines, these are from the turn of the 20th century. The holland class submarines were actually purchased from a private entity. The outer ring is the actual diameter of the Ohio Class, the current submarines we are using today…big difference!
They had some actual control rooms and periscopes you could use. The periscope actually looked over the harber, pretty cool!
The next picture, is a replica of the first submarine. A scientist in 1700s developed a vessel that could sneak up to ships and install a dynamite charge into the hull of the ship. This was actually used during the revolutionary war.
Next we toured the USS Nautilus. The Nautilus is actually named after the submarine in Jules Verne’s book, 20,000 leagues under the sea. Verne wrote the book in the 1800s, 100 years before the Nautilus was constructed. In the book, he predicts that humans will use submarines in the future in warfare, pretty cool tribute I’d say. The Nautilus was the first nuclear submarine and the first submarine to reach the North Pole. It’s an impressive sight..
The quarters are definitely tight, check out the manways and bunks…and Aimee’s best side 😀

I highly recommend a visit to the museum if your ever in the area. We left the museum and went grocery shopping for a few items. We grabbed a redbox movie and had a quiet movie night. “42” is a great movie if you haven’t seen it yet. Aimee whipped up left overs and some more fresh tomatoes, delicious!

That’s all for now, until tomorrow, Bon Jour!

Day 16 – 9/11, Lady Liberty, and Accordions

Hi there, 2nd day here in New York. We got a later start this morning because we planned to take in a late night comedy show. We left the campground around Noon and headed to the Path train. It was a lot less crowded this morning compared to yesterday during rush hour, we actually were able to sit! We headed to the World Trade Center station. This statue greeted you as you exited out of the subway station. It’s a soldier riding a horse. It’s symbolic because, when we invaded Afghanistan, some of the troops did so on horses. Soldiers haven’t ridden on horses in battle in over 50 years. I didn’t know we used horses in Afghanistan, but , it makes sense given the mountainous terrain.
We headed to the 9/11 memorial store to obtain tickets. We had an hour to kill since our tour was later in the afternoon, so we headed to St. Paul’s Chapel. St. Paul’s is literally across the street from the WTC. It was a place of rest and prayer during the days following the Twin Tower collapse. Hundreds of fireman, policeman, paramedics, and countless volunteers took shelter, rested, and were fed here. Another interesting piece of trivia, New York was actually our country’s first capitol. George Washington often came to St. Paul’s to pray and reflect on his many political decisions, his pew is below..




After touring St. Paul’s, we found a nice park nearby and ate some lunch. Soon, we were in the security line for the 9/11 Memorial. The memorial was very nicely done. It consisted of 2 pools with waterfalls that were built in the footprint of the north and south towers. The names of the fallen were inscribed around the perimeter of the memorial.


Below is picture of the not quite complete Freedom Tower. There’s plans for more sky scrapers to come…

After the 9/11 memorial, we took a subway to the Staten Island Ferry. On the way, we found a great example of New York DOT 😀 Yeah, that’s a road on a sidewalk..

We arrived at the Staten Island Ferry and boarded. The ferry is free to ride and has great views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan Skyline. Below is some pictures we took on the ferry..




Aimee and I are huge “How I Met Your Mother” fans. If anyone isn’t familiar with the show, it’s about a group of 30 somethings who are very close friends. They live in the New York and the series centers around Ted who’s trying to find the love of his life, but all his friends give him a hard time, its a funny show. The majority of the show takes place in the bar downstairs from their apartments. The creators actually developed the bar from a Irish bar they used to frequent, McGee’s. Aimee and I of course had to stop in and have a beer.



After our beer, we headed to Bryant Park. Aimee had goggled for stuff going on in the city this week. One thing she found was “Accordions in the Park”. So those of you that know me, know that I play the cajun accordion. Aimee and I love the music, so of course I had to check out other accordions. The majority of players up in New York play a keyboard accordion, which is a little different than mine. They play mostly polka, Italian, and German music. It was nice to enjoy a little music in the park.


Another cool thing about this park is there is tons of stuff to do. At the same time the accordion group was playing, a group was doing Yoga, there must have been a hundred people doing Yoga. Also, there’s plenty of games such as chess, checkers, ping pong, and shuffle board. There’s even a reading section with books that you can check out. What’s great is all this stuff is free!


Our stomachs were starting to growl, so we headed to a Chinese Restraunt that Aimee had wanted to try, Sammy’s Noodle Shop. The restaurant is in Greenwich Village. Aimee and I love Chinese and Vietnamese food so we ordered a little bit of everything! And the portions here are humungous so we had leftovers! We had dumplings, egg rolls, “A Little bit of everything” soup, and house lo mein. Everything was great.




After a full belly and tired feet, we didn’t feel like taking in a comedy show 😀 We headed back to the campsite and took in a movie. Until tomorrow, Bon Soir!