Would it surprise anyone to know that I felt tears behind my eyes when I first saw this view of the New York Skyline?
It has been almost two weeks since I last wrote for the blog. I know some of my favorite bloggers manage to write posts weeks, even months after they have traveled, but that doesn’t work well for me. Especially with two weeks filled with as much activity as the last two have been.
I am currently watching the sun rise over 1100 acres of unspoiled Vermont mountain hardwood forests and meadows. We are coming to the end of four magnificent days recuperating from the frenetic activity of New York City here at my friend Jeanne and her husband Alan’s home. It has been a more than perfect way to decompress. But once again, that is another story.
For the time being, you might like to hear how we managed to get from bucolic Lums Pond to the western bank of the Hudson River in Jersey City. It was much easier than I expected.
We left early, with plans to arrive at the rally campground no later than 2PM, in time for the orientation meeting. I had no idea what traffic might be like and no idea how we would manage to negotiate the complex maze of bridges, tunnels, and turnpikes.
Google Girl sent us on a simple route. By this time, when we saw a turnpike route we said, “Who cares what it costs?! Take the Turnpike!”. Just a few miles after leaving the campground we entered the New Jersey Turnpike. Traffic flowed smoothly, and the cost would be revealed at each toll plaza. No matter.
Our main goal was to get the MoHo cleaned up. I read the previous day about the Blue Beacon Truck Wash about halfway north to our destination. It sounded wonderful, and after calling them it sounded even more wonderful. “No problem”, she said, “Just get in line and we will be glad to wash your rig. Shouldn’t be much of a wait that time of day. No need to unhook, we can wash the tow car as well”.
Blue Beacon Truck Wash has a very good reputation, at least according to the reviews. My trucker daughter and her husband later told us they love them. After our experience, so do we! We rolled into the truck plaza, weaving our way around literally hundreds of parked semis, and got in line behind 3 other trucks. Once into the bay, six guys with wands and brushes descended on our rigs and washed, rinsed, and sprayed with Rain-X. All for a price for each service, of course. $77.00 total plus a ten-dollar tip. When we left the wash, our rigs were shiny as new, even the kayaks on top of the Tracker were cleaned. It was an amazing experience that I am sure we will seek out again if we need it.
In the past, we have paid more than $150. for a mobile RV wash contracted for by Adventure Caravans on previous trips. What a treat this was for much less money.
With a blindingly shiny MoHo, we continued north on the New Jersey Turnpike. There was a bit of confusion over whether we were a truck or a car when we reached a dividing point for the turnpike lanes. We decided we weren’t a truck and stayed to the left as we entered New York State. Passing a New York State policeman was encouraging, and we continued when he didn’t come chasing after us. Still, it seemed a bit weird. Even vans were in the adjacent truck lanes, and after a few miles, we took an on-and-off exit to get into the truck lanes. It was a bit more crowded, but a lot less worrying.
Our Google Girl route took us toward the Holland Tunnel, but when we reached that exit, it happened too fast and Mo missed the turn. Crap! Now what. We didn’t know what we were doing, so we followed Google Girl’s directions to Liberty Park Marina and RV Park. Crossing some huge bridges and entering crowded Jersey City streets was a bit challenging, but in no time we were at the park entrance. Sometimes missed turns can be a godsend, since we found out later that we weren’t allowed to use the Holland Tunnel in any kind of vehicle carrying propane. Lucky goof!!
We were one of the last rally rigs to arrive, but we were in plenty of time to settle in before the orientation meeting. The Adventure Caravans New York City Rally had 31 people attending with 18 rigs. There were only 3 singles enrolled, with the rest being couples from across the country. Many were from the midwest, with a few from Florida, and only one other couple from the west coast. Although we have been on 2 previous AVC rallies, there was no one we knew on this trip other than the owner of the company, Tina Poole, and her wife Claudia.
Tina and Claudia wanted to join the rally as TailGunners because they had never been to New York. It was fun to see them again since we had spent time with both of them at our previous rallies.
The RV park wasn’t in the least bit fancy. Most of the sites were in full sun in what was simply a gravel parking lot. We had electric and water but the dump station was at the rear of the park in an area that was a bit difficult to access, especially for the big rigs. There was a decent shower area and a large laundry that worked fine for me, but not always for everyone. Because we have a smaller rig, we were assigned a spot directly adjacent to the park maintenance building, and the only place in the park that had a line of trees to shelter us a bit from the hot sun. Lucky break.
The only thing going for Liberty Park RV Park is the location. Right at the marina, it is walking distance to a ferry to New York City, and a short hop to the ferries that access the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We had been warned that there was no actual “grass” for the dog to walk, but discovered a decent trail along the waterfront that served for our ten days of Mattie walks. Most of the time, we had that walk area to ourselves, and the far reaches of the huge parking lot were empty enough that Mattie could run off-leash. She learned not to chase the Canada geese that also frequented that remote edge of the lot.
There was a restaurant across from the park that most of the attendees had been to the previous night. Stories about a two-hour wait and ordinary food made us happy we hadn’t bothered. On that first night, after the meeting and settling in, we had our own supper at home and prepared for the next week and a half of rapid-fire entertainment. I don’t think we had a clue about the intensity of what we were about to experience. It was enough for us, that after our scary start with a breakdown on our first day out, unexpected problems with overheating the rig, thunderstorms, google girl kerfuffles, and a LOT of driving, we were at last at our destination. Ten days of letting someone else do all the worrying felt wonderful.