Monday, October 22, 2007

The Trip - New Jersey

We left my brother's house in Massachusetts for New Jersey. We had wanted to go to New York to see my ex-sister-in-law in the Albany area, but according to our directory, every RV Park for that area closed October 15th. So we had to skip Albany and drive all the way to New Jersey, where there was a campground still open.

We missed the turn at Port Jervis, because I didn't see a sign that told us we were there already. Instead, the interstate took us from New York into Pennsylvania, which wasn't where we wanted to go, and it was another five or ten miles before they gave us an exit where we could turn around. And then we finally found the road south that would take us to our RV Park.

I pulled into the first gas station we saw when we went south, and I knew we were in New Jersey right away. A gas station attendant came up to the motorhome to pump the gas. New Jersey and Oregon don't allow you to pump your own gas. They require professionals for that. It takes some getting used to.

By contrast, Massachusetts lets you pump your own gas, but they've got laws that require removing the latch on the gas pump handle that keeps the gas pumping without your help. In Massachusetts, they want you actively pumping your gas at all times. Hitting your windshield with the squeegee has to wait.

We finally got to the RV Park after the sun went down and got checked in. At the office they gave us some information on how to get to the Park & Ride for the bus into New York City, and they gave us some city tour info as well. We absolutely, positively do not want to drive or try to park in Manhattan. But when I started looking over all the information, there was too much missing. The bus would "Arrive in New York," but didn't say where, so we had no idea how we'd make the connection from the bus to whatever tour we decided on. And we couldn't pick up the internet from our motorhome. It only works near the office, which had closed by then.

I made the executive decision to stay an extra night. We'd spend today figuring out how and what to see in New York, and time permitting, see some of New Jersey. Then tomorrow, we'll tour New York.

We followed the directions to the Park & Ride. It took us over a half hour to get there. Good thing we checked, or we would have missed the bus tomorrow. But you can't buy tickets at the Park & Ride. I called the bus company and was told where we could buy our tickets: at the Newton News & Tobacco shop in town. So we got some directions from a teenager working at the Shop Rite store (the adults were from other towns and had no idea).

The owner of the News shop asked my mom if she had the Senior ID card or the booklet of tickets. She didn't. According to the bus company's website, getting a senior ID and booklet is a long process of sending in a birth certificate and other ID and waiting for the ID card to come back, at which time you can go to a bank and get the booklet that lets you buy half-price tickets. We hadn't done that, of course.

But the man told us to go to the bank across the street and show them my mom's ID proving she's at least 63 and ask for the booklet. The lady at the bank didn't even ask for ID. She just handed both of us the booklets, but I made her keep the one she gave me. Then we went back to the News shop, bought our tickets, and talked to the owner for a while about New York.

He's originally from India but is now a US citizen. He said the last time he went into the city was when he wanted to visit India, and as a US citizen, he had to get a visa from the Indian Embassy. But he said they put some kind of booklet in his US passport, so he doesn't have to go to the Indian Embassy every time he wants to go to India.

He told us we won't need to take a bus or a taxi to go the 5 blocks from where the bus arrives (at the Port Authority terminal, which seems to be Union Station for buses) down to where our likely tour company is. He showed us on a map that 5 blocks on an Avenue is miles and miles (OK, I'm exaggerating), but 5 blocks on a Street (we'll be going on 8th Street) is next to nothing. So we'll be able to walk.

But all this News shop visiting and bank going cut into our New Jersey sightseeing time. We didn't have time to go to the Morristown National Historic Site the way I wanted to. That's where George Washington and his men spent the horrible winter of 1779 - 1780. Oh well...

So here are a few pictures. First, Scooter discovers autumn.

A really cool house, in Newton I think. We had to take the picture while we were driving, because there were no shoulders whatsoever.

The fading autumn glory of our campground.

Tomorrow we have to get up before the crack of dawn. Ugh!


skyetrueheart said...

Ohhhhhh, you finally made it to New Jersey...WOO HOO!!

Scooter's a cutie, and that house looks cool. I hope you have a great time in New York City. If you or your mother get tired of all the walking, don't be afraid to take the subway. It is very nice in that area of NYC, and I didn't feel unsafe using it.

Can't wait to hear what all you do there. Enjoy yourselves!

All_I_Can_Stands said...

I guess your mom had to take the picture of the yellow house because you fainted at the beauty of it? Very nice.