Baltimore, MD ,the surrounding area & New York
Friday April 28th , 2017:
Although we are very tired, I, Tita, regularly wake up. It’s the Jet lag. At half past 6, I take a shower and go to the laundry. I won’t bother Dick. He has no problem with the time difference.
Around eight o’clock Dick is awake and after a breakfast, consisting of a muffin, juice, coffee and yoghurt we leave the hotel to arrange important things for our onward journey. The sky is blue, there are some clouds and the sun shines. Our jacks are in the trunk of the car. First of all we go to Walmart to buy propane for cooking and fuel for our outdoor lamp and of course we take some food and drinks. Now we can prepare meals in our hotel and won’t have to eat muffins for breakfast. Because it’s hot outside, 78 degrees, we don’t want to keep the food and drinks in the trunk of the car, so we drive back to our hotel before visiting Verizon in Columbus, MD to activate our “mifi” (mobile internet). It’s not so easy. Our mifi number has expired after two years. Verizon gives us a new number and the ensurance that our “mifi” will work again. But it is necessary to purchase a $ 60,- refill card. The Verizon store no longer sells these cards so we have to find a Target or Walmart. A nearby Walmart don’t have it (but we find a roadmap with Walmart addresses) and in the Target we succeed. Time to have a delicious Burger on a terrace in the warm sunshine and then driving back to our temporary home in Linthicum. The day passed quickly. Dick has some trouble putting the money on our mifi (what was the password again?) but of course he succeeds and the mifi seems to be working. Soon as we are on our way, we will like this. After a glass of wine, we feel tired.
As we had a late lunch, dinner is not necessary so we go to bed early and sleep until 7 o ‘çlock in the morning of april 29th . Despite the fact that we bought bread with lots of grains and low sugar we not get used to the sweet taste of the food here. But anyway, bread with ham and Dutch cheese taste much better than the Blueberry muffin. We drive to Hanover, PA. At Camping World we will buy the Good Sam guide. Unfortunately the weather is not so bright as yesterday and clouds cover the sky but it is sticky hot and the temperature is around 81 degrees. Time for our summer trousers. Of course, we don’t leave Camping World with only a camping guide, we also have other useful stuff in our shopping cart. As we are close to Gettysburg we decide to go there to get the National Park pass. Unfortunately it’s not for sale here so after a lunch outside on the terrace we walk around.
Last time we already saw the diorama, the movies (both well worth it) as well as the battle fields but we did not visit the National Cemetery. Although walking around is not very pleasant (too sticky) it’s good to visit this part of the civil war too. Unfortunately we cannot visit the farm of Eisenhower. The road is only accessible (and so visits) through organized transportation from the visitor center. So we drive on small roads over the hills of Pennsylvania back to our hotel. Our summer trousers are contagious and after a long day they need a laundry. Fortunately, our room is next to the hotel laundry so, while we are working at the computer doing administration and writings for our website, our cloth are washed. And that for free. Now I remember why we choose this hotel. We have a small dinner while we had an abundant lunch. Along with a glass of wine we look back on a successful day.
Sunday April 30th , 2017
I still feel the Jet lag so after a few attempts to fall asleep I am in the laundry at 6 am. Next to the coffee machine, so it’s not a punishment to be here. We extended our stay in the hotel by two nights. We will not be able to pick up our RV before May 3rd. Later we will drive to the rental company to see or we can extend our Rental too. At half past 7 Dick showered and we have breakfast. It is very pleasant that we have a kitchenette, eating utensils and a huge fridge. We take the nightly noise of this massive monster for granted. If it is not the refrigerator that make noise and buzzes many times a night, than the air-conditioners starting an even more terrible sound. With sensitive ears you should not stay here. After breakfast we drive to the airport. The boy who helped us after arriving in Baltimore says he only can extend our rental car at high costs. It’s cheaper to take a new contract. That’s why we drive back to our hotel. There we have wifi. We look for a new rental. And indeed we find a cheap car. Tomorrow when we pick up our Swiss friends, Christian and Brigitte, from the airport we can change rentals.
Now we drive to Fort Mc Henry, where we manage to purchase the National Park Pas. Unfortunately not the one for seniors. That one is reserved only for American citizens. Of course, we visit the fort, after, as always in a National Park, we viewed the movie. The fort played a decisive role in the battle with the English in 1814 and the text of the National Anthem. That was written by Francis Scott Key after the battle. Suddenly the words came to life. Of course, this can only be written at dawn when the clouds of smoke (caused by the battle) around the fort disappeared and the flag was hoisted. For those who don’t know, here are the words:
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
And the home of the brave?
As the film ends a Park Ranger stands in front of the movie screen and salutes as the National Anthem plays. Of course we all stand up and with our right hand at our hearts we see the movie screen disappear and through large windows the fort with waving Stars and Stripes appear. Awesome!
Now, we all have to come outside where the Park Ranger let unfurl the flag by all of us. Then he recounts again of that Sea battle on September 14th, 1814 and the origin of the National Anthem. After that we may visit the beautiful restored fort. The Americans succeeding again and again, me, an “art barbarian”, to visit exhibitions, museums and other historical things, I previously would not have done. After also looking for a geocache we drive to downtown Baltimore. It is 82 degrees and the Sun is shining so what is more fun than strolling over the boulevard along the inner harbor, looking at people, sitting on a terrace, and eating delicious food. We hang out at the square where children play in the fountains.
Late afternoon we leave the Inner harbor, a cosy place, after buying a calender at the largest book store of America, Barnes & Noble and drive to Candlewood Suites. My pants aren’t white anymore so the laundry has to work again. Why not? In the meantime Dick publishes the first writings about our trip and arrival in Baltimore so anyone knows. And our ship? It’s about to leave the port of New York.
Monday May 1st 2017
I still did not lose my jet lag but now I wake up later, at half past 6 am. Time for a delicious cup of coffee in the laundry. After having breakfast, the roasted Turkey tastes delicious on bread, we find the address of REI and Best Buy because we need to purchase new Keens and a mouse. Near our Verizon store in Columbia, MD is a REI shop. I love that shop with outdoor gear. I would love to buy all. But I only look at the clearance. In the meantime Dick fits new Keens. The soles of his old shoes have holes so it’s not a luxury to buy other shoes. After walking around we both leave the shop. I managed to find lightweight shorts (in clearance). It’s an easy way to make a women happy and Dick has good fitting shoes. The mouse for my laptop (works much more pleasant) is also available so it is time to celebrate our purchases on the terrace of a bakery.
It is around 82 degrees, cloudy and this temperature feels sticky. But on the terrace it’s great. I don’t understand that most of the Americans sit down inside where it’s cold because of the air conditioning. In the afternoon we try to find a propane station where, if we picked up our RV we can fill up, but without an address we fail, so we drive to Greenbelt National Park to see what we’re missing. Normally we should arrived here without the delay of the ship. At 5 pm we drive to the airport to return our Toyota Corolla and moments later we are more than warmly greeted by the guy from Alamo. After the paper work we are handed over our new rental, a Dodge Grand Caravan. This one had the same price as a small compact car and because we hate to sit low we have chosen for this monster. We did well.
Wooow, what a huge car, awesome to drive in. Only 500 mile on the counter, still smelling brand new. Alamo, you did your best for us. We eat something and look on internet for our ship. It’s sailing under the bridge into the port of Baltimore. Then Dick drives me to the arrival hall of BWI. He is not allowed to wait outside so he drives to the rental pick up. I will follow with Christian and Brigitte. We take a ride up there with the shuttle bus. After meeting each other rain start falling. There is little to see of the environment. Too bad, because we drive straight through the center of Baltimore to their hotel, not far from the port where hopefully soon we may pick up our motorhomes. We say good night to each other and drive back. Our hotel has a better location, because we don’t have to drive through the town of Baltimore.
Tuesday, May 2nd 2017
Again I wake up early, a good opportunity to write. The rain has disappeared the clouds and sun is shining. On Face time I speak with my sister Hannah. After her elbow operation she is doing well. Before leaving the parking lodge Dick gives me some driving lessons in our huge Dodge. I find out that it’s easier to drive than the other (low sitting) car so the lessons are limited to parking and turning around. We drive over the Francis Scott Key bridge. Thanks to Fort Mc Henry, we know that this is the author of the National Anthem.
On top of the high bridge we see our boat, the Atlantic Conveyor, in the port of Dundalk. Pride International give us good news. Tomorrow morning, we may pick up our RV. Great, no more extension of hotel or rental car. After a picture of our moored ship we drive through downtown Baltimore to the South. We really want to know where we will be able to fill up our propane tanks. What about adventurious? Near Millersville we find the propane gas filling station. After asking or they can fill up our European tanks, the owner says: “we will work it out”. It reassures me. We will be provided with propane. Time for a milkshake. No good choice because it’s too sweet. No wonder that the size of many people is a bit more than in Europe. We actually have no plan for the rest of the afternoon so we decide to take a look at the Chesapeake Bay. The town of Mayo sounds attractive. We have no luck, Mayo Beach is closed due to a private party so after a brief look at the Bay we drive back. But first to Walmart. We need a cooler bag to transport our food tomorrow. Half past 4 pm we are back in our hotel. I wash all our clothes, we answer mails and then have a delicious meal with meatloaf and potato salad. What a wonderful day, 78 degrees, sun and blue sky.
Wednesday May 3rd
At six I’m awake. Cannot sleep any longer. We need to be in time to pick up the RV. Dick moans next to me but when I shower he climbs out of the bed so at half past seven we drive to the port where we arrive before 8am. Brigitte and Christian arrive early too. Although the Office of Pride does not open before 9 am we walk there anyway and we’re lucky. After 20 minutes we have our import papers so we can leave for the harbor. Our escort service is called (I repeatedly bothered him the last few days about the time of arrival and pick up) and around half past 8 Dick and another Swiss guy are leaving. I am not allowed to come to the harbor so I stay in the car and wait, enjoying the sunshine. There is a cold wind so I need a coat. After an hour the first camper arrives and directly after Dick appears. We unload our stuff in the RV then drive to Baltimore airport where we drop off our Dodge (with regrets).
Together we continue our trip to the propane fueling station and at 2 o’clock we arrive in Greenbelt National Park. We find a nice place and start reorganize our RV. This is necessary because I removed everything from the closets and now the content of the various boxes have to get a place again. It’s a big mess. I cannot find anything and go around as a headless chicken. Fortunately, Dick also lost things. But, going on hour after hour helps and at 5 pm a lot of things found a new place in the RV . Together with Brigitte and Christian, who found a place next to us, we can raise our glass and have dinner together . The on the grill prepared fillet with potato salad tastes good.At 9 p.m. its getting cold outside so we go inside and sleep.
Thursday May 4th the air is covered with clouds but it’s not really cold.
We get up early because we found out that we left all our propane valves at the propane filling station. A disaster because such valves are not available in the US. After a quick breakfast we go to Millersville, an hour drive. Fortunately, the owner took our valves inside so I can hug our box together with the owner of the gas station.
It’s getting warmer and we can walk around in our T-shirt. At 5 pm everything got a place, we can hit the road now. After a quick spaghetti meal I am going to build a wood fire. Dick set fire in the wood and all four of us enjoy the campfire. At 9 pm rain starts pouring down but then most of our wood already burnt out.
Friday May 5th 2017 , the weather looks bad. It’s raining cats and dogs.
Under our umbrella we walk to the toilet building to get a shower. After breakfast we dump our black and grey water. The weather has totally changed. Brigitte and Christian have a bad faucet so we drive to Hanover, PA. The rain is pouring down. Fortunately the rain stops when we arrive in Hanover. Unfortunately, the broken part is not available in the USA but hopefully there will be a solution. We cannot do anymore so we leave our Swiss friends. As New York is too far to drive we only take a part of the route. The landscape is beautiful. The first Walmart in Phillipsburg, NJ does not want us to stay overnight but in Clinton , NJ it is allowed. In the distance we hear a train toot. It sounds familiar, we will sleep good. As we sleep at Walmart I am able to look around in the shop, Dick stays in the RV, reading. After about two hours I bought a nice bag, leggings, and two films. I like looking around shops.
Saturday May 6th after some last shopping we drive to Jersey City.
The fuel in the State of New Jersey is significantly cheaper than in Pennsylvania so we fill up our tanks with diesel and moments later we see the contours of New York on the horizon. We have to pay attention with so many roads and crossings but soon we are facing the gate of Liberty RV Park in Jersey City. There is room enough and we have a place in the front with views of Ellis Island (the statue of Liberty is behind the trees). Once we are settled, we walk to the Path station.
This train will take us to World Trade Center. The new station (looks like wings ) next to the pools of the 9/11 Memorial, is gorgeous and we make a lot of pictures. Then we visit the fire station nearby. We listen to the stories of 9/11 2001 and talk about it when drinking our coffee in a Deli. I suggest that we walk to Wall street and thereafter to Macy (the oldest, largest and most attractive department store in New York) located on the 34st street, before going to 23st street where we can eat at Outback steakhouse. It won’t be more than 7 miles. With less enthousiasm Dick agrees so we walk and walk and walk along Broadway, looking at shops and enjoy the people around us. It is very crowded. When we arrive at Macy’s Dick stays outside on a terrace while I look around at Macy’s, searching for socks and a North Face sweater. The socks are located on the 6th floor and the sporting goods on the 8th so it is a huge climb up but after 40 minutes I return to Dick with socks and a Calvin Klein bra. Just in time because Dick changed into an Igloo. The temperature is only 58 degrees, too cold to sit on a terrace.
We walk 11 blocks to the Outback and enjoy a delicious Bud Light and the really excellent steaks of this restaurant. Later that night we find access to the Path train to Jersey City. Back in Jersey City we enjoy the excellent views of the Freedom tower, in the evening light they have an enchanting look. We are stiff from the long 7 mile walk.
Sunday May 7th we wake up late.
It is even colder, every now and then we see a ray of sunshine through the clouds . On our pushbike’s we drive to Jersey Liberty State park from where the Ferry to Ellis and Liberty Island departs. After buying a ticket I see that I have forgotten my camera. I grab my bike to cycle back to the campground but one after another bus approaches so I return and search for Dick. Today we only have Dick’s camera and my IPhone. Fortunately, the lines did not formed yet and quickly we are searched by the thorough baggage control. We take the 10 am ferry. Ellis Island, is the first stop. From 1892 on the immigrants arrived here before there access to the USA was granted. It is possible to undergo an access procedure. It turns out that Dick would be denied access. No wonder if you laugh and sing in yourself. Also Auntie Ank tried last year to get access but was denied because she was an immoral woman (Single women received no access). While we walk around and see what happened with these 12 million immigrants, we’ll see a certain similarity with the current influx of refugees in Europe. After looking around everywhere and of course stamped our National Park passport, we take the ferry to Liberty Island. The temperature now dropped to 50 degrees and it starts to rain. A good time to have lunch in the restaurant. More people think the same so it is rush hour but the food is delicious. The cold makes us hungry.
After lunch, we walk around the Statue of Liberty and enjoy the view of Manhattan. We make countless pictures and are astonished about the size of the statue. Finally after looking at a movie about the gift of the Statue (donated to America by the French) we take the ferry to Jersey City and cycle back to the campground where we have a coffee to heat up. It is now three pm and raining. The rest of the afternoon we stay in our RV and do administration.