A road trip through the USA is always a treat. We enjoyed some great scenery and an endless supply of cool campsites across the North Eastern side of the States combined with the hustle and bustle that comes with visiting Boston and New York City. For those of us that have grown up watching a lot of Hollywood movies, travelling in these parts often gives you the feeling of driving through a movie set.
Leaving Canada via Niagara Falls took us in to New York State. We visited a few of the state parks with river canyons where small rivers have carved stone sculptures out of the sandstone. The gorge walk in Watkins Glen State park in particular is a great place to go. Although it was busy the day we visited, it really is a very pretty place with an absolute beautifully crafted walking track.
The Adirondack Museum in the town of Blue Mountain Lake was an cool step back in time to experience the history of the adirondack mountains. The displays are put together beautifully and tell the stories of early settlers of the wild forest and river valleys all around. Now this area really is the wild and wilderness play ground for people that want to get away from the big cities in the North East. With over 70 million people living within a day's drive of this area, it is amazing how well this area has been preserved. The lakes are covered with impressive and very picturesque boat houses but there are also lots of remote tracks and campsites to enjoy.
Maaike has been great with her home work. She has regular contact with some of her teachers and keeps to a schedule of 4 pages of her maths book every day! A good opportunity to brush up on my mathematic skill while helping her with her home work by the campfire.
Deborah had been looking forward for a long time to re-visit some of her favourite places in New Hampshire and Maine, not in the least because of the 120 Million tons of lobster they pull out of the ocean every year and can be bought fresh at many street corners. I really enjoyed the beautiful renovated fishing villages and light houses dotted all along the coast.
We celebrated Deborah's birthday in Boston. We were only in the city for one day but I really liked Boston despite the painful price of a hotel room in down town. It's a beautiful city with a relaxed atmosphere and a happening water front. Attending the Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game at Fenway park was a real taste of America. Very different to attending a rugby game. The crowd is socialising and chatting away and only seem to focus on the game from time to time when there is something exciting about to happen. The stands are continuously busy with people coming and going as well as dozens of guys that sell drinks and food out of boxes they carry around above their heads.
Between Boston and New York it's was great to suck in some of the ocean air and feel the beach under our feet in Cape Cod- a real taste of home. We were impressed how close to these big cities you can still get away into some beautiful beach and bush scenery.
In New York we decided to camp just south of Brooklyn in Floyd Bennett field state park. This is an abandoned airfield with a small campground in the middle of it. Pretty cool to camp that close to NYC. The only small hiccup was that this place is just across the water from JFK airport and it is a training ground for the NYPD police helicopter squad. So although the evening on the campground was pretty relaxed and quiet, the (very early) mornings were filled with the "soothing" sound of jet planes and helicopters. Some so close above the tent you would think they are about to land on your pick nick table. Nevertheless it was a great base to explore New York from; each of the three days we were there we drive for 10 minutes into Coney Island, parked the car and used the subway to get to Manhattan.
Coincidentally, Julie, Deborah's sister, was also in NY with Jess, our niece. It was really cool to meet up with them and explore some of the city together. For me the coolest part of NY is watching its people. The streets and subways provide a continuous stream of entertainment with people from all sizes and colours expressing their thoughts with flair and assertiveness.
For me the highlight of NYC was the experience of visiting ground zero of the World Trade Centre 9/11 tragedy. It really hit home standing in these streets of down town Manhattan how surrealistic and traumatic it must have been for the people of New York to see these buildings collapse and to deal with the horrific after math of the loss, recovery and cleanup. The stories shared in the museum and St Paul's chapel where many of the rescue workers found food and shelter during the rescue and recovery effort were both gut wrenching and inspiring.
On our way back to Canada we cut back through the bush, mountain and river lands of Pennsylvania and New York State. We found a great campground with a swimming lake and many mountain bike trails were we settled in and pretty much had the place to ourselves for a few days. Unfortunately I ended up doing a nose dive over the handle bars on a rocky mountain bike track and busted my shoulder and upper arm. Have had my arm in a sling for the past week as a result; aaarrrggh.