2017 Travel Map

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Back to the Garden State

January 15 - 25, 2015:

A direct flight from Fort Myers to Newark arrives on time and no turbulence.  My Baggage arrives also and no issues with car rental, all good !  Always shaky getting into a strange vehicle and having to jump right into the frying pan, that would be the New Jersey Turnpike at night.  They didn't explain and I didn't read the contract information that explains how the built in E-Z-Pass works.  Actually I didn't even know I had it so when I pulled into the non-EZ Pass toll lane and it told me to Go, I was very confused.  EZ Pass is great and so are many of the modern technological innovations in todays cars, but it is also so refreshing to get in my 38 Dodge where I know how everything works and how to fix it if it doesn't.  There is something to be said for that ?

My grand daughter Sierra gave me a warm welcome which was a little surprising to me, it's been a long time and I expected her to be a little shy.  The Christmas tree was still up along with all her presents so I sort of had a second Christmas.  She showed me all her Christmas presents along with many many other stuffed animals, toys and books.  She seems to be brilliant, knows more at 4 years than I did at 5-6.


Sierra doing letters

Christmas Tree

Jeremy and Sierra in front of tree

Volcano built be Jeremy and Sierra erupting

My first order of business was to check out the old 38 Dodge in storage.  The car has been sitting in a dark, unheated storage space and has been run once or twice in the past year.  I always expect the battery to be dead, the tires flat and the brake fluid to have leaked out.  I sprayed some either down the carburetor, hit the starter and it fired up on the first turn.  I pumped up the tires, took it for a ride and all seems normal.  It is amazing, who ever restored this vehicle did an amazing job !  Oh, that would be me !

We went to a place on Saturday called Jer-Z-Jump which is an indoor jumping park for children.  It was pretty crazy with children running and jumping everywhere having much fun.  Sierra had a ball !


Wacky Duck game

Sierra on slide

We watched the amazing comeback of the Seattle Seahawks over the Green Bay Packers. My son Jeremy's girlfriend Christina came with us to a favorite local pub, City Streets, where we met Jeremy's step sister Stephanie.  Sierra had a great time running back and forth between our table and Stephanie's seat at the bar.    

Grand daughter Sierra has taught me all about the Disney "Frozen" characters, princess Anna, Elsa, Prince Hans and Swen.  We also watched a BBC production called the "Gruffalo"  a few times.  I actually find it to be very entertaining, well done, educational.  I even understood most of it.


Frozen book

Jeremy, Sierra and I went for a ski day at Camleback Ski Area in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania.  She has been Skiing several times now, was nervous at first, but by the time we left was wanting to do it herself and go up to the big hill. My ski boots no longer fit me and were killing me just to walk or stand in them.  As a result, I mostly watched the action on the bunny slope, which was entertaining especially when a totally out of control girl plowed straight into the fencing next to me at about 15 MPH. 

Jeremy and Sierra

Camelback ski area

Me, Sierra and Jeremy

Jeremy and Sierra

I had a doctor appointment with my old primary care physician for a routine physical.  Everything turned out good, except for slightly off cholesterol and blood pressure.  Well I guess it's not really that good ?  I'm blaming it all on the Christmas holiday eating binge.  I have had borderline issues with blood pressure all my whole life.  Now I will start taking pills and monitor it a little closer. 

I have been looking all over the country this year for "corn" flavored Thomas English muffins.  They were a favorite of mine in New Jersey prior to RV'ing full time but I haven't been able to find them anywhere in the country since then.  Anyhow they still have them here in NJ to my surprise ?, (a couple of packages are going in my luggage) .  I also went to my favorite local Guatemalan bakery for their sweet rolls, another local favorite of mine.  I've been very bad, I had a Porkroll and cheese breakfast sandwich at the Hightstown Diner.  Also a Tastykake pie, remembering my old friend Chris Kimble who's father had a Tastykake delivery route.  At his house there were always boxes of Tastykake pies and cakes to snack on.

A trace of snow on Wednesday evening into Thursday morning.  I actually miss the snow, so beautiful, as long as you don't have to work or drive in it.  Then on Friday night into Saturday morning a combination of 4-5 inches of snow/ice/rain fell.  I actually shoveled the sidewalk out front.


View out front door in Hightstown

Thursday evening was a train ride to Newark to a hangout in Newark near NJ Transit headquarters where a few retirees known as the OBC (old bastards club) get together once in a while to relive our glory days.  The stories get better very time they are told !  I'm afraid the OBC is about dead due to lack of interest, it was just my old pal Tom and I. I rode to and from Newark on NJ Transit's Multi-level rail cars which brought back memories from when I was a project manager on their acquisition. NJ Transit is not maintaining or cleaning them particularly well inside, true to form.


NJ Transit train pulling into Princeton Junction

I'm feeling really old as I go over to Village Road East near Dutch Neck where I grew up. It was all open farm fields back then which over years has been transformed into solid housing developments. The one holdout was the Grover Farm, but since Mr. Grover died the house is now torn down.  They have put up a monument in front of the property identifying it as the boyhood home of Thomas Grover who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for valor after being killed in action in Vietnam. The grade school nearby is also named for him.  It's strange to see something like this for someone that you used to work and play with when growing up. I also rode to the nearby Schenk farm, now restored as the Schenk Farm historic museum where I used to work for Wilton Schenk carrying irrigation pipe in the potato fields during summers.  I always knew that house was very old and special, but at the time didn't appreciate it as being historical. There are many old farm impliments  in front of the barns donated by local farmers. Many looked familiar to me and some that I think I may have even operated.  It's strange to think of stuff that you once used as having historic significance.


Thomas Grover monument

Driveway to the Grover Farm

Our farm would be in there somewhere

The old Schenck homestead

Might be the last Potato digger in Dutch Neck area

I had the 38 Dodge out 3 times during the week and the office managers at Uncle Bob's storage, who couldn't be nicer and were excited to see the car again.


On the road again

Friday night to Pete's Steak House in Hamilton, NJ with Jeremy and Christina to see Ernie White and Tom Reock perform, two of the finest musicians in the Trenton, NJ area.


Jeremy and Christina

More family times on Saturday with my sister Doris and brother-in-law Dave Boss visiting.  Then to the movies to see "The Sniper" which was thoughtful and interesting, but equally sad and depressing.  The thing that I came away with, which I already knew, was the cold blooded horror of the killing all for the sake of religion once again.  We then had dinner at "Fridays", then to "Tavern on the Lake" in Hightstown for a pretty decent country bar band.


Jeremy, Sierra and me

That's me, brother-in-law Dave, sister Doris and son Jeremy

The forecast looks like a serious snow storm is coming Monday, I am getting out just in time, perfect timing ! 


Back to Tucson, Twinkles needs me !

Slick 

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