Thursday, July 30, 2015

7/29/15 - Milton, NJ

Jim worked on the blog this morning.  Then he researched and made a reservation for a campsite on Friday and Saturday. We put the awning out and sat outside.  We watched TV.  Jim went and filled up the Silverado with gas. We walked around the campground and then went to the grocery store.  We thought we might go to a museum on Fort Dix but you have to make reservations three days ahead of time.  Jim went swimming in the pool this afternoon and I just sat on the side with my feet in.  I finally got mom to answer the phone today and talked to her.  Tomorrow we are going to the Statue of Liberty.

7/28/15 - Milton, NJ

Jim was on the computer much of morning trying to figure out how to go to the Statue of Liberty and into New York City.  He made reservations for the Statue of Liberty cruise two days from now.  We can’t go to the crown, it was sold out for several weeks but we will get to go into the pedestal to see the museum.  Then we drove to check out the park and ride lot for taking a bus into New York City.  Next we drove to Monmouth Battlefield State Park and watched a movie about another revolutionary battle involving George Washington.  Here in 1778 General Washington and his Continental Army fought the British to a standstill after a prolonged engagement, the first time Washington's army had achieved such a result.

Jim found us a brewery to go visit so we drove to Belmar, NJ and stopped in at the Beach Haus Brewery – it just opened in May.  We got a personal tour of the place by the owner.  While here, Jim discovered that there was a guitar monument to Bruce Springsteen at E St. and 10th Avenue.  This location inspired Bruce Springsteen to name his band “The E Street Band” and also inspired the song “10th Avenue Freeze Out.”  One of his early band members lived on E Street and his home was often used as a practice venue.

Then we drove to the Belmar Beach and walked in the surf again.  This town also had a DDD – 10th Avenue Burritos.  Jim took me there and I had a chicken chipotle burrito smothered with chipotle cream sauce.  Jim opted for the all you can eat tacos.  They came two at a time.  Jim had 2 pork mole, 2 chicken and 2 steak.  They were large and I don’t know how he ate 6 of them!  I was so full that I was still miserable when we went to bed at midnight.  We decided not to go into New York City tomorrow.  It would be a great big hassle and most of the day would be eaten up just traveling.  We may try to go for our anniversary in 2016 and stay in the city. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

7/27/15 - Milton, NJ

Today we drove to Gateway National Recreation Area – Sandy Hook Unit.  This part included Fort Hancock Proving Ground National Historic Landmark and the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.  The lighthouse was built in 1764 and is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the U.S.  The ranger took 8 of us on the tour and the people with us were from Houston.  One of them had lived in the 3700 block of Sunset, just 4 streets north of us.

After climbing the winding staircase to the top of the lighthouse we drove around in Fort Hancock.  Some of the buildings are really dilapidated.  They will grant you a 60-year lease on one but you have to fix it up and maintain it.  One of the officer’s houses had been restored to how it would have appeared during WWII.  Most of the stuff in there looked like it came from grandma’s house.

Then we went to one of the nearby beaches and took a walk in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean.  The water was cold!  There is one beach here that is nude.  Afterward we went to Woody’s in Seabright and had a beer and then to VFW 2140 for another one.


Monday, July 27, 2015

7/26/15 - Milton, NJ

Today we drove to Morristown National Historic Park.  No battle took place here -- this was an area where George Washington and his 10,000 troops wintered.  Washington arrived here on December 1, 1779, amidst a hail and snow storm and made his headquarters at the home of Jacob Ford’s widow.  Other officers were in nearby homes.  The troops were assigned campsites in Jockey Hollow a few miles south of Morristown where they cut down thousands of trees and constructed cabins for shelter.  The Watchung Mountains east of town protected them from Howe’s army in New York City, 30 miles away. The passes could easily be defended with outposts on ridge tops.

The winter of 1779 – 1780 was the coldest of the century in Morristown.  Troops nearly froze and starved to death.  Washington kept writing the Continental Congress for support but didn’t get a reply.  Spring brought relief, both food and clothing.   Also, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived with navy war ships and French troops.  In late spring of 1780 British and German troops had left Staten Island and were advancing into New Jersey.  Washington’s brigades marched toward Springfield and forced the enemy to turn back.  Within days all troops had departed Morristown, ending the winter encampment of 1779-1780.  We had a private tour of the Ford Mansion -- we finally got to visit a place where “Washington slept here” could be said.

We drove back to camp and there was a black bear near us.  We tried to get a picture from the truck but he was walking away from the road into the trees.  We sat outside in the screen room until late and then put it away in preparation for leaving camp in the morning.  After going into the Casita it started to lightning and thunder and eventually it rained during the night.  I made a salad with some raspberries we picked at Jockey Hollow.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

7/25/15 - Milton, NJ

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and the sky is clear.  We drove to Thomas Edison National Historic Park.  The first part we visited was the Laboratory Complex.  Here Edison developed many of his inventions including the motion picture camera and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery.  The main building had three floors filled with test equipment, machinery, and examples of his inventions and consumer products.  One of the items was a precursor to the Chatty Kathy doll - it had a miniature phonograph inside.  There was also his three story library.

Then we drove over to his house, the Glenmont Estate.  The 29 room red brick and wood mansion was built in 1880 by an office clerk who spared no expense in the building, furniture or decorating.  It was built using embezzled money for $400,000.00.  He was forced to sell it back to his company for $1.00 in exchange for staying out of jail.  Edison bought it lock, stock and barrel for $250,000.00.  We went on a tour of the house (no pictures allowed), saw Edison's grave in the back yard, and walked through the greenhouse.

Next stop was an in-progress, new park named Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.  There will be a grand opening sometime in August.  It is about water power to the mills and factories in Patterson, N.J.  One of the factories here was the Colt Paterson factory.  It was Samuel Colt’s first firearm factory and they made the first successful revolver, the 1836 Colt Paterson revolver.  It played a role in Texas’ war for independence from Mexico.  Jim wanted to see the 2 story remains of the building that was destroyed by arson in 1980s.  The ranger said that area of destroyed buildings was inhabited by transients and there is a lot of crime and it is not safe to visit.

It was rather warm today, 88 degrees, and we went to Cricket Brewing for a beer.  We also went to Magnify Brewing.  Magnify has only been open since May.  Next door was Jersey Spirits Distilling that opened today.  I had a sample of their Cucumber Vodka.  They will eventually have a bourbon and a whiskey for sale.  On the way back to the Casita we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to purchase a DeLorme atlas of New Jersey. 


Saturday, July 25, 2015

7/24/15 - Milton, NJ

We left early this morning and drove to a new camp.  The owner tried talking us into staying but no way.  The place was the pits.  We took showers this morning and the bathrooms were filthy.  We drove into New Jersey -- there are three national sites to visit here.  Jim found us a county park to camp at for $20.00 but the office didn’t open until 1 pm for making a reservation.  We drove there anyway.

Three miles before the entrance the road was blocked.  We made a u-turn and were trying to find the police station when we came upon the fire station.  We pulled over in the parking lot and were trying to get the phone number to call the police about the road when the fire chief drove in.  I had just gone to the Casita restroom and could smell propane.  The propane tank we had just had filled in New York about an hour earlier was leaking.  We called the fire chief over and he made a few calls.  He said it was one of two problems.  Either the valve was bad and was leaking or the tank was overfilled and it was venting.  I asked the fire chief if the road was blocked until late could we stay in the parking lot at the fire station over night.  He said sure and he would let the police know.  He also told us a bear visited the large trash container and if we stayed we would probably see him.

We drove to the propane company he called, they checked it out and it was an over fill.  He fixed it and every thing is okay and we won’t blow up.  Jim called the camp office as it was 1 pm by now.  They told him sites were available and to go the back way into the park.  We did, and when we got there, at the barrier sat Sgt. Caruso who told us we had to go into the park from the other side (the one we had been at originally.)  He said that we could go around the barrier there and go into the park.  If anyone stopped us to tell them that he okayed it.  Sgt. Caruso was very friendly.  The road was closed because of a DWI wreck into a power line with the lines down on the roadway.  But it was just past the entrance to the park and we would be able to go in.  We finally made it and I think we know the roads as good as the locals now.

The friendly camp host who checked us in talked for another 30 minutes to us.  He had been a camp host in Palo Duro Canyon and was trying to get a host job at Lake Livingston State Park for the winter.  He has a big friendly rescue dog he got in College Station. We walked around camp and found a geocache by the restrooms and then went on a hike.  After supper we watched another Roger Corman sci-fi movie, “Piranhaconda”.  


Thursday, July 23, 2015

7/23/15 - Accord, NY

We left camp around noon today and drove to Accord N.Y.  We saw an Escape today at a rest stop as we were passing by on the highway.  This is only the 2nd molded fiberglass trailer we have seen in the 6 weeks we have been gone.  Jim found us a place to camp and this is the worst one we have been in and the most expensive.  Mostly trashy permanent residents.  I cooked spaghetti arrabiata with hatch green chili sausage for supper, yummy! Tomorrow we leave, even if we have to stay in a Wal-mart parking lot.  We were going to Montreal today for a few days but changed our mind.  When we drove through Saugerties today we saw a lot of decorated pedal cars that had been auctioned and placed on poles throughout the town.  Sort of like our cow parade in Houston.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

7/22/15 - West Chazy, NY

Jim went back to the Chevy dealer and had the transmission flushed today.  It was rainy and I stayed at the RV park and washed 3 loads of laundry.  After Jim got back we drove into Plattsburgh and went to SUNY (State University of New York).  There is a museum with a large collection of paintings, drawings, woodcuts, and etchings by Rockwell Kent.  His pen and ink drawings for an edition of Moby Dick were partially responsible for this previously obscure work becoming the classic it is today.  Then we went to Livingood’s Restaurant and Brewery in Peru, NY and had a couple of beers.  They were among the best we have had on this trip.  We stopped by Walmart and picked up a few items.  A gentleman in front of us had on a WWII veteran hat.  I asked him where he served in the war.  He said he was in the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy.  We told him that we had been there to see the cemetery.  He said he just couldn't go back there.  He also said the German POWs they took were very friendly.  We went back to the Casita to have supper.  After the sun came out we had a beautiful day -- it was in the 70s all day.