Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

New Jersey Visit 2017 (Friends, Family, and the Freedom Tower)

May 14 - 31, 2017: 

This is a very short stay for us this time in New Jersey.  Our time in the East this year will be short everywhere we visit because we are making an extended trip in the west. We still got to visit our family and friends for a nice amount of time though.

Rob and Cindy's driveway campground in NJ.

Because we are headed to the west coast we headed up north much earlier than we have been before.  We were hoping that this is one of the years where summer came early to the Northeast.  So far that had not really happened.  As soon as we headed north out of Georgia we had on and off cold and rain.  The rain and cold have not stopped here in New Jersey either.  Out of the 18 days we were in NJ I think it rained 6 days and was under 70 for 9 days.  It wasn’t terrible but not great either!

The Hudson Trail that I take my routine power walks on.  I just love this trail!

The trail is an old rail line that runs from Keyport to Highlands, 12 miles.

We are here in our friends' Cindy Weber and Rob Laughlin's driveway in Keyport NJ.  This is where we started our RV life 5 years ago.  We have 50amp full hookup here.  We just can't say enough about how grateful we are that they accommodate us here every year.  Many thanks guys!!

Rob and I went out one night to see his son Doug perform in his first paid gig.  Doug is the guitar player on the left.  They call themselves Times Like These.

Another night we went out with Cindy and Rob for local karaoke.

Me, Patty, Rob, and Cindy

While sitting in NJ after pretty much constant travel for the past month from Texas I decided to do a few light maintenance tasks.  I got the 15,000 mile service done on the truck.  This included an oil change (5,000 miles) and the 3 fuel filters (15,000 miles).  We were also losing a little coolant so I had them check for leaks.  They found that a hose clamp was loose and that should fix that, glad that was easy!

As for the RV all I did was give it a wash and check the tire pressures.  These 2 items give me a chance to see a lot of the rig up close.  This time, besides just a few loose screws that I tightened, I found an issue with the suspension.  

As I was checking the tire pressures I noticed that two of the electrical cables going into the kitchen slide were damaged. It appears that the tire has come up high enough to rub the 2 cables.  The cables had worn through to the bare wires!  I cleaned and then covered each of the cables with silicone caulk and then wrapped them with multiple layers of electrical tape.  I then took some slack out of the cables and tie wrapped them up higher in the frame.  I will need to keep an eye on this for a while.

I then looked closer at the tire under the cables and noticed that the tread was just about gone in one area.  Actually the tread was extremely worn on the entire tire but more so in just one area.  I checked the other tires and they were mostly fine.  The other 3 tires are showing slight signs of suspension overload.  The tires are wearing slightly on the inside edge. 

This is the tire in question.  It is the left front tire and has the most weight on it.  It also has new leaf springs on the opposite side.

This one of the other tires for comparison.  

These are not the original tires that came with the RV.  We upgraded these from the 16 inch load range E ST tires to the 17 inch load range H truck tires.  The tires have now been under the RV for just about 4 years.  The tires have very thick treads and are regroovable so there is a lot of rubber on these tires. 

We are going to make some big decisions about our suspension in the next few weeks.  When we are sure about what we are going to do I will add more about the final decision and why in a future post.  For now we just need to keep an eye on this!

The first few days we were in NJ the weather was great and just over 90 degrees!  Since it was that hot we managed to get to our old stomping ground on the beach at Sandy Hook for a day.  Not much has changed here.  We met lots of old friends and saw many, many new people on the beach.  It’s just not the same when you are retired, at least for us anyway.  When we were working we wanted to spend all of the time we could on the beach.  Now we need more than just the beach to keep us entertained.  We could have done another day while we were there but this one was enough for us in what time we had. 

The park has added more mobie mats since we were here last.

It's still a long walk from the mats to the water, that hasn't changed!

My daughter Jennifer and her husband Christian Milling came to our RV to visit a couple of times.  I am so bad with this; I didn’t get any pictures of our time together!  We spend quite a bit of time together this trip and really got relaxed; it was a great time with them.  They talked like they may come down to TX in the Fall/Winter season this year which would be great!  Just can’t believe Jennifer is now 42!!  

We got meet Patty’s son Chas’s girlfriend Sue for the first time.  Again, no damn pictures!  Anyway, they were over a few times so we got to know her pretty well.  We really like her!  Would we say anything else except that we really like her, well no, but we really do like her alot!!  

We had several lunches here at the Old Glory in Keyport.
Seems NJ is turning a lot of churches into restaurants now.

Chas and Sue are planning to move to Austin Texas this year!  That was awesome news!  Sue has been planning a move there for some time. She is an elementary special ed school teacher so she shouldn’t have any problem with finding employment and she has her Texas license.  Chas has put in a few resumes in the Austin area and has received several offers for interviews.  He has already done a couple of phone interviews that went very well for him.  They are now planning to take an extended weekend in June to Austin for interviews and to look for an apartment.  It is a very exciting and challenging time for them!

Chas playing with Jordan Riso, Cindy's granddaughter.
Looks like Chas is a natural at this!

Patty and Chas.

I managed to get a couple of golfing days in with my friends from work.  With John Squitieri retiring last fall we are all now retired.  Tom Vinson, Dan Melando, and John Squitieri came out for some golf twice while I was there.  I missed seeing a couple of the others but such is life.  Just had a thought about retirement; It would be fun if we were still made to go to work but we did whatever we wanted to do while there. OK, but no, that just doesn’t work!  It was great that we got together again!

This is a golf course that Patty and I frequented 5 years ago before we went full-time RVing.  We decided to play a round here at the Farmstead Golf course in Sussex County NJ.

On Memorial Day we went out with our friends Diana and Nick to Ocean Place in Long Branch NJ.  We met at Diana's great condo on the ocean for dinner first.  Then we were off to the Ocean Place just a mile up the beach.  We were there to see a great local band that Diana and Nick follow, Hired Guns.   They were probably the best local band that I have heard anywhere!  We had a great time!  Thanks to Diana and Nick. 

Nick, Patty, and Diana all working the grille!

The band Hired Guns

Diana and Nick

All of us on Memorial Day

We took a day and went to the city (New York City) to visit the new Freedom Tower and the new 9/11 museum.  Cindy took the day off from work to go with us as she hasn’t been there to see the new tower either.  Patty and I were last there 6 years ago when they first opened it in 2011.  Wow, what a difference 6 years have made!  When we were here back in 2011 we had to go through metal detectors just to get into the memorial.  Thankfully that level of security is gone now; you can just walk right into the memorial like it is a park.  It really is a nice park now.  

This what the 9/11 memorial looked like just after it opened in 2011.  Note the small trees!

The memorial is now complete with the PATH train station in the background.

Six years ago the Freedom Tower and the Museum had not been completed yet.  The museum had been open for a couple of years now and the tower just opened the observatory last year in the fall.  

I also wanted to see the PATH Train Station that was built to replace the one destroyed on 9/11.  We took the NJ Transit Coast Line train from Aberdeen to Newark.  We got off of the train at Newark so we could take the PATH train from there to the new station at the World Trade Center.

I knew the station was going to be nice but this place blew me away!  I have been to many train stations around the world and this is the nicest one I think I have ever seen.  The station really adds to the whole attraction that is now the 9/11 WTC experience.  Well done NYC and PATH! 

Hard to imagine a train station this clean, and in NYC too!

Hard to believe we are in NYC!

Patty and Cindy in the PATH station.

Sort of has a star wars feel to it.

The main concourse.  This picture makes it look like an ice skating rink.

We went to NYC the day after Memorial Day thinking we wouldn’t have as much of a crowd and we were right.  It is also still the off season as kids are still in school.  There were just enough people visiting to make it a pleasant experience. Everything was just full enough with people but no long lines. There were enough people that we couldn’t just walk up and go right in but we just had to get in the crowd, so to speak, and follow them in.

The Freedom Tower

We thought these kinder wagons were different!  4 kids each to a wagon!

We got tickets to the tower earlier in the week online.  They are pricey at $36 each, but it’s a once in a lifetime thing, so what!  The tickets are for a certain time of the day which you can pick, we chose noon.  We thought we would go up and see the view and have lunch and then go to the museum after that.  It didn’t work that way because it was cloudy when we got there so there was no visibility from the top of the tower.  Looking up we couldn’t see the top of the tower from the ground.  The people at the tower told us that there wasn’t a problem today if we came back later to go up.  So we went to the 9/11 museum instead first.

The museum is $28 a person to get in which isn’t too bad considering this is NYC.  We were there on the day of the 15th anniversary marking the last piece being removed from the fallen twin towers site.  Since it was the anniversary they had a special presentation being given about that called the “survivor glass”.  It was amazing that any of the windows survived the towers collapse and even more so that just one glass window did survive the collapse!  This museum is a must see if in NYC.  It is tastefully done and brings you back without being overly dramatic.

This is the original retaining wall that surrounded
the Twin Towers 7 stories underground

Only window that wasn't broken from the Twin Towers!  It was from the 86th floor!

The twin tower footings.

Twin Tower footings still with the wooden concrete forms.  These were never to be seen again after the original towers were built.

Part of the antenna from the north tower

After the museum we went up to the top of the Freedom Tower even though there was very limited visibility.  If we had wanted they would have given us tickets for another day due to the visibility.  We chose to go up as we were not coming back just to go up in the tower again.  We have been in NYC many times and have been to the top of the Empire State and the Twin Towers many times too.  So the visibility was not that important to us.  We just wanted to say we went up, and, as an extra, we did have lunch up there. 

Let me say a little about the trip to the top of the Freedom Tower here.  It is the tallest building in the USA at 1776 feet. However, you just go to the 102 level which is just 1,254 feet up, still high enough though.  That height is fine as the last time anyone could get this view was when the Twin Towers were still standing.

The ride up is very, very fast.  It was the fastest I have ever gone up in an elevator!  The elevator reaches a speed of 23 mph!  It is pretty cool that going up the walls show the surrounding area through time to the present as you go up. And on the way down the view is like you are in a helicopter going over the cities attractions.  The elevators are very well done!  Now, except for the view, the top, it's not much.  And even the view is just OK. The Empire State building, in my opinion, has the best view of the city.  

Since the tower was in the clouds all we could see at first were the clouds.

The clouds lifted a bit so we could see the Hudson River and in the center of the far side is the Hoboken Train station.  In the left corner is one of the ventilation towers for the Holland tunnel.

Here’s the thing about the Freedom Tower area in NYC for me.  It isn’t just about the tower as it was when the twin towers were here.  The Twin Towers were iconic to look at on the NYC skyline and maybe the new Freedom tower will be too in time.  

For me, I will always miss seeing the Twin Towers and the Freedom Tower just isn’t the same.  Now the attraction is the entire area with the 9/11 memorial, museum, the Freedom Tower, and the new PATH Train Station.  All of those together make the attraction, not just one by itself. 

By the time you know it we are ready to move on again.  We both don’t like to say goodbye but we also like our adventures.  If we don’t say goodbye here then we can’t say hello at our next place.  ~We love our life!~

Next up, Buffalo New York

Stay tuned!

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