Thursday, April 27, 2017

Days 211 - Providence, RI

Today started off with a bang as Sr. Geeps took us everywhere we did not want to go.  As skillful as we think we are at using this thing, we still can't get it to avoid costly tolls.  In addition to the $84 the George Washington Bridge cost, yes $84, we had to drive Nirvy through New York City traffic.  We slowly worked our way through upper Manhattan and into Connecticut where things became rural very quickly.  From there it was straight across to Rhode Island where we were now hoping to stay for six nights instead of two.  It seems that there is nothing even remotely closed to Boston that is either open or Rhode Island is going to be our home base for about a week.  We arrived at the campground to find it sparsely occupied.  The site was fine, right next to the showers and laundry, and the WiFi was awesome.  At $22 a night we felt pretty good about our decision to base our Massachusetts exploration from Rhode Island.

Day 210 - The Brooklyn Bridge, Lunch with Alex & Lauren, our Last Day in NYC

Today we got an early start and headed into the financial district in route on foot to the Brooklyn Bridge.  We knew it would be a long walk from the World Trade Center but since it was Sunday, our choices were a bit more limited.  We met Alex and his girlfriend Lauren (bright and quite lovely) at a great little bistro and enjoyed a wonderful lunch.  Afterward we strolled the waterfront and the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. We said goodbye later in the day and headed back to the RV for our last night in the city.

Day 209 - The High Line and MOMA.

The High Line is an old elevated freight train line that ran the length of the lower and middle west side.  Long abandoned, sections of it were converted to a long overhead walking park.  Full of trees and plants, the walkways are beautifully landscaped.  The place was packed with locals and tourists. The entire park is about 2 miles long.  We started at the Whitney Museum end and walked all the way up to the convention center at 35th Street.  From there we wandered into Times Square as we worked our way over to MOMA.  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.  We were hoping to see a large Wharhol collection.

The MOMA was as crowded as the others and it took us a while to get up to the sixth floor to view the permanent collections.  The Picaso, Degas, Renoir, and Cezanne pieces were a wonderful surprise.  The Van Goh was spectacular.

Day 208 - The Met and Dinner with Alex

Today was the Metropolitan Museum of Art day.  We took off early and got to Central Park before 9AM.  From there we strolled through the park watching all of the morning activities:  Runners, Children, School Groups, Seniors.  Walkers.  It was quite a show.

Crossing the park we reached the museum and a huge line to purchase tickets.  Being a Sunday, it seemed that the whole city was there...along with the us.  We later learned that the museum is free if you ask.  The prices are only "suggestions."  That would account for the large crowds.

The museum was immense...if such a word is large enough to describe this collection.  We had planned on about six hours.  We used all of that and a bit more and still did not see better than 1/4 of the entire museum.  Absolutely outstanding...even if you are not into art!  The American Wing was spectacular.

Later than evening we met up with the son of our friend Suzanne Doty.  Alex is a playwright and lives in NYC.  We met him at a traditional NY pizza joint, John's on Beecher.  There we had a great meal followed by a visit to the local cannoli shop.  It was great seeing Alex again and we made plans to get together once more on Saturday in Brooklyn.

Day 207 - A Long Walk, Central Park, and the Museum of Science and History.

Being an overcast day, we had some decisions to make that did not include a lot of walking.  In all the times I have lived and visited in NYC I had never been to either the MET or the Museum of History and Science.  So today we decided to make a museum day.  We departed early using our newly discovered access route to the subways.  We got off this time at 33 Street and decided to walk up to Grand Central Station and then catch another train to 79th.  Ha!  We got out on the busy, crowded streets and with a bit of sunshine got swept up into the chaos of it all.  Three hours later we had strolled a near 60 blocks through all of midtown, Chelsea, and the financial districts.  We walked by Roosevelt Center, Radio City, the Library, St. Pat's, and then up Lexington and into the upper east -side.  We realized that we had overshot our cross-over point for Central Park and had to backtrack a bit before crossing over the park and down to 79th.

We first toured the Historical Society's Museum.  They had an awesome multi-diminsinoal video and music presentation that was truly well done.  The exhibits were interesting.  The whole place was really hot and that cut our visit short.  We decided to get some lunch and opted for a Mexican cafe called Frida's that ended up being more of a South American/Cuban fusion.  It was tasty.

Then it was off to the big museum.  With five hours left to tour it we met huge lines, tons of ugly tourists, and gobs of kids.  Oops, we realized it was a city school holiday.  Once inside is wasn't bad and we wandered floor after floor of really cool exhibits.  The space center was very interesting and was full of adult oriented exhibits instead of catering to younger eyes.  The meteor room, dinosaur collection, gem stones, native american history, and some of the art were all outstanding.

We eventually ended our day with a rush-hour subway ride back to Grand Central Station where we met up with Andy Applegate.  Last we saw him was in Arkansas last November.  Being an active pilot, he had a layover during our visit and we hooked up for a few beers and oysters in the basement of Grand Central.  It was a great visit and the oysters were amazing.  We called it a night much later on and headed back to Jersey City.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 206 to New York City

We left Philadelphia earlier than planned hoping a loop around the city would avoid traffic.  Once again our GPS took us for a joy ride through the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia and up the coast.  The turnpike toll were pretty high.  For the 150 mile journey we doled out $74 at four different toll booths before reaching Jersey City.  It was flat countryside most of the way with a small town at the intersection of major highways.  It was gloomy as well with the sun only peeking out here and there.  It didn't really start to get dense until we were about 15 miles south of Newark.  Wow...rural property that close to the city.

Once again...still trying to get this thing to not take us on wild goose chases, Senior GPS had us heading toward the Holland Tunnel even though according Google maps, there was one exit left before committing to be in the center of Manhattan.  As we paid the last toll, the attendant assured us there was an exit before the tunnel.  So crossing our fingers we drove through the toll booth and just before the tunnel entrance was the exit for Jersey City and the RV park.  Whew, that was a close one.  We can't imagine what that would have been like to be driving our streaming 55' rig in Manhattan at noon.

We arrived early to discover a basic RV park at the harbor.  Literally a full service marina with views of the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, and Freedom Tower.  Electricity, Water, and a dump-station. The WiFi was sporadic and broadcast TV was spotty, but for $89 a night, we couldn't have asked for a better spot.  The subway was a four block walk and we could be at the World Trade Center in fifteen minutes.  We set up camp and headed into the city.  It took us 15 minutes to walk up to the station.  From there we took the Port Authority Transit Hub (PATH) to the WTC station.  We walked around the memorial, crowded with tourists and lines too long to consider seeing the memorial.  Funny how folks are smiling, laughing, and taking photos in front of the memorial fountains.  We both remarked the lack of somberness for such an austere memorial.

We settled on lunch at a local cafe in the financial district, then walked down to Battery Park where we had a beer at the wharf.  We walked up the east river to Pier 11 at 33rd street and caught the ten minutre ferry back to the New Jersey Liberty Harbor and our RV.  Sweet.