By: joealaska , 2:16 PM GMT on March 25, 2014

Had a great time in New York. I may even have to go back in a few years to finish up on the stuff I wanted to do. A big part of the fun was seeing my relatives Adolph and Beate. Somehow they were “lost” relatives until about 15 years ago. Now we have been making up for lost time seeing each other during family reunions and other visits.

I gave you a quick idea of what we were doing while I was there, here are a few more details.

I thought I was ready to drive to Smithtown, having looked at the map over and over. But when you are driving alone through there, a wing man would be good. I had GPS, but in heavy traffic through areas where there are many intersections, not a lot of help. Survival mode was kicking in.

I was heading for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Big bridge. I actually went over it one time already back in 1977 or so with my old cruising buddy ACK. I got on the I-94 New Jersey Turnpike. This road is known for all the friendly folk you meet and the constant one finger saluting that has a long tradition. First thing you do when getting on the interstate is get a toll ticket that pops out of a machine, you pay when you exit. But it was chaos leaving that toll booth area, and there were different exits / entrances right away. Not spread out like the west. I had a second to choose and guessed wrong. I guessed wrong and knew it right away. Now I was heading the wrong direction on I-94. OK, I got off the first exit and was going to turn around. As I exit I notice signs saying EZ PASS ONLY - NO CASH. Sounded like a lifestyle. But I knew EZ PASS (or whatever) was a toll pay system for the locals. You have to buy a special card. I had no card. I had seen these signs already, but up until NOW there were CASH lanes too, so the rare visitors to NEW YORK CITY had a way to pay.

Well, it was trubba. I looked for a way out, but there was none. I approached the EZ PASS ONLY lane EZ PASSlessly. I stopped for a second, some alarm went off, and the friendly folks piling up behind me were all honking HELLO . Then I saw a sign that said GO. NOT PAID. So I did. I am sure there was a picture taken of my license plate as I left the area. (I assume they did not take a pic of the front end. That is where I have the ALASKA PARK ‘N SELL plates.) I guess I will get some fine in the mail and I will refuse, knowing full well I am safe. Kentucky and New York have no extradition agreement as far as I know.

I ended up taking NON TOLL roads the rest of the way...

But you cross a bridge and they want 13 bucks. OH, they take cash there, no problem. I went north after crossing the Verrazano Narrows on The Brooklyn-Queens. I caught a glimpse of the big buildings I was approaching, not realizing this was one of those GREAT views, while driving. I was next to The East River, with the southern tip of Manhattan off to the left. 3 or 4 lanes of heavy traffic, moving at about 45 mph bumper to bumper, and I am reaching for the camera. I am on the left and correct lane. Concentrating on the driving, I hold up the camera and aim approximate. I shoot a bunch of pics, most deletable. To keep it interesting, these “freeways” are potholes with wide edges. City freeways, NYC, Chicago... are adventures with their sharp turns, low overpasses, all designed in the 1950s. Really showing their age, but little real estate to spread out and fix it.

The day we went into Manhattan was what I had been looking forward to. We took the train from Central Islip downtown to Penn Station. 45 minutes or so. When I asked Adolph what side to sit so as to get the best views, he just laughed. Not a lot of views worth photographing. Still, it was an interesting ride into town. I would hate that commute, though.

The train arrives in Penn Station in the dark and underground. So we left the train and walked some stairs and popped out into MANHATTAN. Many pedestrians ( as a kid, I thought that was a religion...) walking, many taxis honking. Buildings forming canyons. A lot of noise. The atypical jackhammers, that honking, subways passing just below. A general roar. More honking. Sirens.

Everything I see is worthy of taking a picture. The buildings are so tall that it is hard to square up a photograph.

Everyone tells me that carrying a camera signals me as a tourist, and that is probably true. All the HAWKERS would pick me out and come up as I walked by. They would push a pamphlet at me for SOMETHING. Usually a bus line that I should use, or whatever. I would say no thanks, and I noticed they were all pretty cool at that point. No more pushing. More like, OK, THANKS. It was stunning. It was something I saw all day long. I walked into The Empire State Building, and some guy at the door (working) said HAVE FUN UP THERE. I said - I will, Thanks. He said - I am sure you will! The politeness was overwhelming, not what I expected.

I know a great joke about that NY attitude, but it is not family oriented. Send me an email and I will tell it.

We did a LOT of walking. From Penn Station, east to Broadway. North to 53rd ST West. Over to 9th AV. Then south to 44th ST West, where we headed west to the East River and the Circle Line Tour Boats. It was a highlight of the trip. There was a tour guide with a microphone who had a wealth of info, and a mellow manner of delivering it. I describe it as the nightclub announcer character Bill Murray did on Saturday Night Live on a recurring role. MELLOW. But he was good. Sometimes I could not hear him, with that wind and all, but what I did hear was interesting, even for NYC. I was the only guy outside at times. My hands were losing feeling. I had a nice pair of gloves back in Red Rover an hour east...

The day before, we had the CLIMB to the lighthouse on Fire Island and the walk just to get to it, TODAY we walked a lot more. By the time we got on the boat my knees were shot. Afterward I suggested taking a cab to The Empire State Building. The cab driver was on the phone for the first 5 minutes of our ride. He was weaving and honking, where applicable. I really thought we were about to hit someone at several points, but NOTHING.

He dropped us off. We were standing right in front of The Empire State Building and looking around for it. It is hard to see it from that angle. It keeps getting narrower as it gets taller. You cannot see the top half of the building from the street. Of course, EMPIRE STATE is etched into the facade...

So you hand 27 bucks to a guy in a booth and they put you on a FAST elevator ride to the 80th floor.
NOW you get in line. Long lines, down unexpected hallways, roped in velour. Like that made it OK. A little was OK, but it went on and on. Finally we were all stuck in lines. They made an announcement that the next elevator ride up to the observation deck would be in 20 minutes. OR, you could walk up the stairs...

When you pay your 27 bucks they hand you what looks like a thick i-phone. This comes along with a pair of earphones and three feet of cord. The device was a source of info as to what you could purchase there. But I never used it and wished I had declined taking it. I considered throwing it into a trash can, but I knew it would be added to that toll trouble. So now I had to carry it around with my camera when I was trying to take pictures in the blowing rain. Not good.

After we finally headed down, I admit I was miserable. The legs were complaining. Loudly. When I have a big day like golfing or walking, I PAY the following day. Today was the day after the lighthouse. It was a painful walk to the train home. The train was so crowded Adolph and I could not sit together.

Next day, Thursday, I headed home across Pennsylvania on I -80. There were snow showers. I stayed in Youngstown, Ohio. Next day I headed northwest to Cleveland, where I wanted to take some pictures of the home my dad grew up in. I may never be back there. I found the house only through GPS. What had been a nice quiet neighborhood in the 1960s, or so, was now pretty rough. Then I left, heading for Louisville via I-71.

It was clear and cool. But it quickly changed. Snow suddenly, then covering the freeway. Traffic slowed for some reason. When we accelerated my tires were spinning right away. I looked at the road and it was shiny wet on a base coat of snow. NO TRACTION. So traffic moved out and was going way too fast. So I backed off the guy I was following, and let any idiot who wanted to cut in front of me. Then DAMN. Sure enough, brake lights everywhere. There were slight movements. But we sat there for over an hour. Finally we moved, where 5 lanes were made one, and we were sent off the freeway. A bunch of the wreck was on that bridge. Getting back on was a mess, as the intersection was not designed for leaving and re-entering the freeway at the same point. Huh.

I saw 6-8 big trucks, a couple tour busses, and a bunch of cars that were involved. They had towed away some vehicles before they let us through. I heard there was a whiteout, from DAD who saw something on The Weather Channel about the pile-up. More likely high speed during high slickness.

FINALLY we were moving. In two hours it was sunny and had gone up from 30 degrees to 55. The wreck was at 10:30 AM. By 2:30 it was 70. When I pulled into Louisville, it was 73.

I opened the patio door and let the cats out to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Sorry. I rambled.

Had a great time!

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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8. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:23 AM GMT on March 28, 2014
joealaska has created a new entry.
7. Ylee
2:30 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Dave, I had to reread New Yawk Sitty; close enough, I guess, lol!

Glad to hear Miranda's holding her own; continued prayers and healing vibes her way!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. dotmom
5:38 PM GMT on March 26, 2014
Dave, my heart goes out to you and your family. Little Miranda has a rough journey now and ahead of her. God be with her as she goes along the way. You know that we are all pulling for her and wish her the best. I read the posts on FaceBook and she is one tough little girl to endure what she has to. She is brave. Thoughts and prayers for her.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. osdianna
3:32 PM GMT on March 26, 2014
Dave, glad Miranda Star is related to a tough ole bird like you...if anybody can make it through that chemical hell, one of yours can.

Maybe you can combine two things next time you see her; a rain dance in her room to bring on a steady but not overwhelming rain while greatly entertaining her and anyone else who sees said dance!

If you will send me her address (you, hospital or home), I will write letters.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. DHaupt
12:55 PM GMT on March 26, 2014
RAIN in Livermore! This is after a high of 78F yesterday with clear, deep blue sky all day long. We are supposed to have a rainy week with the jet stream coming right over us. But, so far today's hard shower dropped maybe 0.05". We need another 8.5 to bring us to normal for this date. It should look like Ireland around here at this point in the year. Things are definitely green and mustard grass is blooming all over the place bringing with it the joy of watery eyes and explosive sneezing. AND grass fires! Even the green stuff is dry this year. We may not have such a bad fire season this year for the simple reason that by August there won't be anything to burn. OXYGEN + IGNITION SOURCE + FUEL - FUEL = NO FIRE!

Joe, you seem like a duck in a chicken coop. You need to get back to your pond. Load up LEGS and take off for the Wild West. Millions of idiots a year visit New Yawk Sitty but how many people can say they have ever even heard of Anaktuvuk. Don't go to London, head for the Faroe Islands. Visit the backside of the Moon.

Miranda Star is hanging on but chemo is really rough on a little 10 year-old girl. She's been fighting off neutropenic fever, profound anorexia, esophageal ulcers and things not to be mentioned. She is keeping up her spirits and even jokes with her nurses and parents. Brave little girl.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. insideuk
7:33 PM GMT on March 25, 2014
Rambling with a sore knee is probably ill advised, but there is no need to apologise...

I like it when you get carried away.

Can I make a small suggestion, just for your future reference, with regard to the 'spot the obvious tourist with the camera round his neck thing'?

I have this feeling, call it a sixth sense if you will, that your future incognito vacationist status may be blown right out the water not simply due to the camera equipment that you are wearing like a sightseeing pro, but also by that 30 foot long recreational vehicle parked right behind you...

That LEGS is a dead giveaway. You might as well be wearing a garish Hawaiian shirt, holding a multi-hued cocktail in one hand and a set of golf clubs in the other.



Okay, moving swiftly on...

There is a shortish section of toll motorway here in the UK, it acts as a relief route for the main north/ south road called the M6. A relief road for all those who wish to avoid the traffic hell associated with Birmingham, the second largest city in England. It costs 5.50 / $9 to use it in a car like my Betti, but it is charged according to a sliding scale.

A 30 foot RV would cost approximately $65,342. 73. Correct coinage only. If we have to send a photo of your criminal misdeed out to your registered address (c/o LEGS, Boondock Crescent, Middle of Nowheresville, USA) you will pay double. And you will be required to airmail your fine back to the UK in correct coinage only.

We have extradition agreements with the US, though we also have a sense of humour. If you can prove that was you, with both hands up in the air, acting like you were having your photo taken on the crest of the roller-coaster whilst smashing through the toll booth barriers at 85mph we will pardon you.

We like it when people act like tourists.

Just take the bloody pamphlet next time. It is somebodies JOB to hand them out. I'm certain it was no more than a special VIP pass for the NO WAIT elevator to the observation deck on the lee side of the building...

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. osdianna
4:03 PM GMT on March 25, 2014
I really enjoyed Joe's Magnificent Adventure! Now THAT is tourism at its best, just give in and enjoy the experience. I have to admit one of the things that prompts me to deny myself those kinds of experiences is fear. I lived in the suburbs of L.A. for most of my adult life, worked downtown in a seedy part of the city, and regularly felt threatened by those on the streets, and there were a lot of them, many strung out on meth.

Then there were the seemingly constant drive-by shootings, and I just quit going places by myself. This after spending nearly 10 years during the peace, love, and whatever of the 60's...I just wasn't equipped to deal with that sort of change.

So it's cool to hear others talk about their city experiences, but I think a cab is the way to go; I wouldn't try to drive in that madness.

About the knees...Aleve; when you know you will be doing some heavy walking take them first. As long as it isn't daily, they do the job.
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1. iaotter
2:31 PM GMT on March 25, 2014
WOW! What a trip. Thanks for sharing. Bet the girls were glad to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Can't wait to see the next set of pictures.

It is all the way up to 19 here and the guys are hard at work on the siding. Banging and screeching nails coming out and more banging. Poor dog is going nuts trying to check on them. She has been good about not barking at them, but she has to come yodel at me every so often to let me know they are still out there. Three guys, often on different sides of the house, so she has to keep pacing and looking out windows. Last night she was exhausted when I got home. Slept like a furry rock.

So, where's the next adventure taking you?
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About joealaska

I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.

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