New Jersey and New York City

Moving days are stressful. I usually pack up everything inside, make sure all our stuff is secured, vacuum, and clean. Brian does the outside stuff, puts down the awnings, packs up the camp chairs and mat, hitches the trailer to the truck, puts up the stabilizing jacks, and does any reorganization necessary in the truck.

Driving with the trailer hitched still makes me feel tense. Brian does a great job with driving, but there’s a lot less flexibility of where we can go when we are hauling a trailer. If we miss a turn it might be ten minutes until we can turn around.

The drive from Portland to New Jersey was about the longest I want to do in a day. Google predicted 7 hours, it took us 9 with a few stops, traffic, and detours. We were driving near Boston, Hartford, and New York City. I guess it’s a good thing that one of my worst fears related to driving with a trailer came true, and we dealt with it and learned how to better avoid it in the future…

We drove onto a road with 8-9 foot clearance. We are 10 feet. What the hell, Connecticut?! That really looked like a highway. We saw the “No Commercial Vehicles” sign, but no big deal, we aren’t a commercial vehicle. Brian saw the sign that said “No vehicles over 8 feet” at the last second, when it was too late to avoid getting on the road. He kept his cool, and turned off at the first opportunity. For the rest of the drive I clutched my phone staring at an app I have that can find low clearance bridges. We will be spending more time on navigation before the next big drive!

In New Jersey we stayed at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, a county park. There were not a lot of options in Northern New Jersey, but we are here to visit a friend, and this campground got us about 45 minutes from where she lives. It was so nice to visit Tash, I think Brian and I were both missing interacting with other humans! It was also nice to have someone else help us figure out what to do. Deciding what to do each day can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when we are moving from place to place and not doing a lot of research before we arrive.

We drove to Princeton one day to visit an apple orchard and pick apples. It was almost like being in Michigan! We had tasty cider and donuts, and picked apples and pumpkins, and fed goats, a horse, and a pony.

The weather ranged from the 30s to the 70s in the week we visited! The day it rained and dipped into the mid-30s was the first day we chose to go into New York City. So I put on all of the layers of clothes I could, and we fought the weather. It was fine, though we did end up very soggy at the end of the day.

Brian had never been to New York City, and he was interested in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). I don’t really get modern art. Brian quickly tired of me pointing at stuff and asking “is that art?” The MoMA did have some cool stuff though.

It was crowded, and we wish we had started at the top and worked our way down instead of the opposite. The top floors had all the famous works of modern art, and the bottom floor had visiting collections from newer artists. Some we didn’t really care for, though we did watch one of the weirdest, trippiest movies I’ve seen. It was called “Imponderable”, by Tony Oursler.

We went to Vernon (Northern NJ close to the NY border), and hiked a few miles of the Appalachian Trail, on the Boardwalk Trail. It was so nice to be outside, it was 60 degrees that day.

Tash lives in Montclair. It’s a nice walkable town with good restaurant options. We ate at a carribean restaurant and ate savory pies from a British bakery/market. We didn’t spend much time at the campsite, so we ate out for nearly all our meals.

We had a great time celebrating Halloween! We carved pumpkins, and decided to go into NYC for the Halloween parade. We tried not to bring extraneous stuff on this trip, but Brian’s clown makeup and clown horn made the cut. So,  we dressed as hobo clowns and traveled into the city. Brian shaved his beard in order to paint on a fake beard. He tried to be a clown with a full beard, and it was the creepiest thing ever. Seeing Brian without a beard for the first time in three years was strange! Now he claims to have a phantom moustache that he keeps trying to lick the beer out of when he drinks a pint.

The parade was fun but very crowded, as we expected. It was even more fun to just walk around the city. Whenever anyone talked to us or commented about our costumes, Brian honked the clown horn at them. People seemed to like our costumes! Several people asked to take our photo. The weather was so beautiful, the temperature was in the 50s and felt perfect.

Traveling from the campground to New York City took about 2 hours. We did the car/walk/train routine a third time to walk around lower Manhattan. We saw the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 memorial. This was my fourth time visiting NYC, but the last time was 13 years ago. On the first visit I went to the World Trade Center Observatory and on the third visit I saw Ground Zero. I wanted to see the site now that it’s been rebuilt.  The memorial includes the name of each person that died around the two waterfall pools, which are in the footprints of the original towers. Reading the names of the people that died, in the place where they died made the tragedy of 9/11 feel more real.

We walked through the Trinity Church cemetery to Wall Street and saw the raging bull statue. There were a bunch of people taking pictures with it. There were just as many people waiting to take pictures with the bulls testicles as its head.

While Brian was using the bathroom, I bought a Statue of Liberty foam hat. When Brian came out and saw me, he did a full double take.

This was a very busy stop, and the end of what we’ve been referring to as the first leg of the trip. We are looking forward to slowing the pace down a little bit, and getting out of “vacation mode”.

Day 34 | Mile 4,021


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