Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Week of New Jersey

After leaving Boston, we headed south along the coast toward New York City. To be economical, however, we are actually staying in New Jersey.

Our trip from Boston to New Jersey took us through the state of Connecticut. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to see any sites but merely drove straight through the state. We did, however, notice that we drove right past the city of Newtown, the location of that horrifying mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary less than one year ago. It was surreal to realize the significance of where we were, and it made us a bit solemn and prayerful as we drove by. (Rest in peace, dear little ones.)

The oldest boys and I arrived after dark to our new campsite. Steve and the others had already gotten set up and were settling in for the night. Steve then left for the week to go back to San Antonio while the boys and I stayed behind and experienced our very first nor'easter thanks to the weather pattern being affected by (what was left of) Tropical Storm Karen.

So we were RV-bound for the majority of the week. Even though we were getting a bit of cabin fever, it was a great way to get a lot of schoolwork accomplished! Oh, and we rented movies. Lots. I think we ended up renting six.

By the time Steve returned from San Antonio, the weather had cleared up; but I was struck with a terrible head cold and my 13yo had sprained his ankle. I spent two solid days in bed trying to get my groove back while our son kept his leg propped up on pillows. We ended up postponing our excursion into New York City so we could recuperate.

In the meantime, Steve and the older boys were getting antsy and wanted to get out of the camper and go somewhere - anywhere! So on Monday, October 14 (Columbus Day), they drove to the Jersey Shore and explored the beach and some lighthouses. They were also able to see some of the destruction from Hurricane Sandy. The boardwalk was destroyed in many places, piers were torn up, and the beach itself was still showing signs of distress even a year later.

We also spent Columbus Day watching the world's largest Italian-American pride parade on local television. Apparently New York City has the largest concentration of Italian immigrants of anywhere else in the US, so each year they strut their stuff through downtown Manhattan (through "Little Italy") in a huge parade. Even just watching it on television was quite an experience for us! We don't have that demographic in Texas, at least not like here!

And speaking of television, just a couple other things we have noticed. First, nearly every single commercial break advertises at least one Broadway show. Again, that's not something we see - ever! - in Texas! And second, it is election season here in NYC, which means campaign commercials are on tv. The difference is that all the candidates are MUCH more liberal than we are used to in Texas! Qualifications they tout as making themselves electable makes me - and my teens! - roll our eyes. Actually, my teens can hardly believe what some of these candidates admit to! I just have to remind them that "we aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto!" So yes, even just watching television here has been an education for us! I can't imagine what we will experience once we are actually exploring the city!

P.S. - We intended to take a day or two this week to drive into Philadelphia, but most of what we wanted to see is closed due to the government shutdown. We aren't ruling out Philadelphia completely yet! We are keeping our fingers crossed that this political fiasco will end by the time we get to Washington, D.C., and hopefully we will be able to drive up to Philadelphia from there. Surely this political nightmare can't continue much longer, can it???