Day 78! Newark, New Jersey to London, Heathrow

Well here we are, at the end of our great adventures! We’ve had the most fabulous time travelling the highways and byways of the great U.S.A.

The view of Newark Airport from the Marriott Hotel

The view of Newark Airport from our room at the Marriott Hotel

The cases!

The cases!

We drove 13,183 miles in three different cars (you all know the story of Beasts 1, 2 and 3) and have seen things that will remain with us forever. When we think back over the amazing things we’ve seen it seems like we’ve been here forever, but on a daily basis, we feel as though we arrived only yesterday.

We are going home with two extra suitcases!! I don’t know what we have in those extra suitcases (well, I do really), but we don’t really remember buying half of it! I’m sure when we unpack back home there will be a few surprises in store.

We will post once more on the blog, tomorrow once we reach home, so join us then for the grand ‘farewell’.

Day 77! New York City

So, today was the last ‘adventure’ day for us as tomorrow we fly home.

The South Pool

The South Pool

The Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower and South Pool

The Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower

Simon and Sandra

Simon and Sandra

GZ 7a

The North Pool

The North Pool

The Survivor Tree

The Survivor Tree

St. Paul's Chapel

St. Paul’s Chapel

Some of the tributes inside St. Paul's Chapel

Some of the tributes inside St. Paul’s Chapel

The 'Bell of Hope' at St. Paul's Chapel

The ‘Bell of Hope’ at St. Paul’s Chapel

Two of New York's finest

Two of New York’s finest

We visited the 9/11 Memorial also known as Ground Zero, in New York City. We travelled by AirTrain from the airport, then travelled on a double-decker overland train and last of all on a subway. It was different and with the help of one or two people we actually managed to buy the train tickets too!!

We expected it to be an emotional visit to Ground Zero and it certainly was. Because the area is still under construction we had to book tickets beforehand (Nat, big thanks for the info, without that we may not have been able to go into the Memorial today) and the organisation, as with all things American, was excellent.

There were people from all over the world and after all the adventures we have had on this trip, this was very sobering.

The Memorial consists of two pools set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. Thirty-foot waterfalls, the largest in North America, cascade into the pools, each then descending into a centre void. The name of the victims are inscribed in bronze parapets around the pools.

Every day a white rose is placed in the names of those whose birthday it would have been that day.

For the 1000 people who do not have a final resting place, there are paving bricks set between the two pools and each one is dedicated to one of those people.

Reading all the names was very emotional but one of the things we found particularly upsetting was reading the names of some of the ladies who lost their lives that day and who were pregnant. Next to each of the ladies names was added “and her unborn child’.

The master plan for the site calls for a spiral of new towers around the eight-acre Memorial and will also include a Museum (due to open in 2014). In the atrium of the Museum stands two steel tridents – forked columns from the original North Tower.

On the site is a Callery pear tree known as the ‘Survivor Tree’. This tree was planted in the 1970s and stood on the original World Trade Centre plaza. After September 11th, workers found the damaged tree, reduced to an eight-foot-tall stump, in the wreckage of Ground Zero. It was nursed back to health in a New York City park and grew to be 30 feet tall, sprouting new branches and flowering in the springtime. In March 2010 the tree was uprooted by severe storms, but true to its name, it survived.

In December 2010, the tree was returned to the World Trade Centre site. It embodies the story of survival and resilience that is so important to the history of September 11th.

We then went on to St. Paul’s Chapel that stands very near to the 9/11 Memorial. The Chapel first opened in 1766 and survived ‘The Great Fire’ of 1776. President George Washington in 1789 attended service there on his Inauguration Day and it survived the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre while the buildings around the Chapel were either destroyed or very badly damaged.

During 2001 and 2002 it became home to an extraordinary round-the-clock volunteer relief ministry for recovery works at Ground Zero. Family and friends of those missing in the attack went to the chapel and left photographs and stories about their loved ones and people from all over America and the world visited the chapel to leave tributes and a lot remain their today.

Outside of the Chapel is a bell called the ‘Bell of Hope’. Accompanied by an honour guard of British police offers it was presented to the people of New York by the Lord Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Centerbury on September 11th 2002. It was created by the famous  Whitechapel Foundry in London which also cast America’s Liberty Bell and London’s Big Ben.

The bell is rung every September 11th, was rung on March 11th 2004, when trains were bombed in Madrid and on July 7th 2005 after the London tube (subway) and bus attacks. The ringing of the bell symbolises the triumph of hope over tragedy.

Day 76! Elmira to Palmerton, Pennsylvania and on to Newark, New Jersey

Penn 1a

The house on the hill

The house on the hill

I've been trying to get a shot of a Coca Cola truck all holiday - and here it is at last!

I’ve been trying to get a shot of a Coca Cola truck all holiday – and here it is at last!

The Gang 2

The Gang 2

NJ 1aWell, today we said our sad farewells to Dot, John and Kasha and travelled down to Palmerton to see our other great friends, Nat, Terry and Ty and we had the added bonus of also seeing Terry’s Mum, Judy and her husband Terry.

After a lovely dinner with Nat, Terry and Ty, (no, Si did not have ribs tonight, he had crab and shrimp cakes!) we have driven to Newark Airport to stay here in a hotel until we fly home on Wednesday.

Tomorrow we return Beast 3 to the rental company and our plan then is to go into New York City for the last item on our agenda, to visit the memorial at Ground Zero.

Day 75! Elmira

That pesky squirrel up at camp - he's trouble!!

That pesky squirrel up at camp – he’s trouble!!

Dot and John's Flag of Freedom

Dot and John’s Flag of Freedom

Dot and John's dog, Kasha, she's a sweetie

Dot and John’s dog, Kasha, she’s a sweetie

Home from home!! Dot and I on-line - wonder what we are looking at!!

Home from home!! Dot and I on-line – wonder what we are looking at!!

We started off the day at camp where it rained again this morning but we have now travelled back to Dot and John’s home to prepare for our departure tomorrow when we head back to Newark, New Jersey.

On the way we will be stopping off to have dinner with our other great friends, Nat, her husband Terry and little son Ty who live in Pennsylvania. Nat completes our Twilight trio with myself and Dot.

I’ve spent part of today sorting and repacking the four suitcases we now have to take home and am pleased to report that we just about meet the weight requirements. I think it will take a few days when we get home to unpack them and sort everything out!!

Day 74! Hammondsport, New York

House Finch

House Finch

Red Cardinal

Red Cardinal

The Farm on the way to Hammondsport

The Farm on the way to Hammondsport

Curtiss V8

Curtiss V8

Restoration project at the Curtiss Museum

Restoration project at the Curtiss Museum

Life on the lake

Life on the lake

Racing on the lake (is that Si Smith we see?)

Racing on the lake (is that Si Smith we see?)

Life on the lake (again, is that Si Smith?)

Life on the lake (again, is that Si Smith?)

Hammondsport church

Hammondsport church

The bandstand at Hammondsport

The bandstand at Hammondsport

The monsoon!

The monsoon!

The monsoon!

The monsoon!

The day started cloudy and warm but this afternoon we’ve had rain. Luckily, we had just finished lunch and were back in the car before it started. We so enjoyed dinner last night at the Waterfront Restaurant that we went there for lunch again today. There was racing on the lake, Si Smith we think we saw you there!!

Our first visit of the day was to The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport. The museum covers local history with a focus on Glenn Curtis and boasts a large collection of Curtiss’ airplanes, motorcycles and many other items pertaining to the local Finger Lakes area such as boats and wine culture. Curtiss (May 21, 1878 – July 23, 1930) was an American aviation pioneer and a founder of the U.S. aircraft industry. He began his career as a bicycle racer and builder before moving on to motorcycles. As early as 1904, he began to manufacture engines for airships. In 1908 Curtiss joined the Aerial Experiment Association  (AEA), a pioneering research group, founded by Alexander Graham Bell at Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia to build flying machines.

Curtiss made the first officially witnessed flight in North America, won a race at the world’s first international air meet in France, and made the first long-distance flight in the United States. His contributions in designing and building aircraft led to the formation of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, now part of Curtiss-Wright Corporation. His company built aircraft for the U.S. Army and Navy, and, during the years leading up to World War I, his experiments with seaplanes led to advances in naval aviation. Curtiss civil and military aircraft were predominant in the inter-war and World War II eras.

After visiting the Museum we went into Hammondsport, a small town that in 2011 had a population of 662 and in 2012 was voted ‘America’s Coolest Small Town’. Dot and I found two lovely small gift shops to spend some money in while Si spent time taking photographs.

We are currently trapped indoors as we are experiencing near monsoon rain! Have we been transported back to the Mother country?

I’m happy to report that Dot managed to ‘get her act together’ this morning and the hummingbirds are again enjoying their special water.

We had a camp fire last night (sadly the resident photographer didn’t take photos!) and were going to have another one tonight and eat s’mores (a traditional nighttime campfire treat consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two cracker pieces) but I don’t think that’s going happen as it looks as though the rains’s set in for the night.

Day 73! Elmira

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

The Gang at the Waterfront Restaurant

The Gang at the Waterfront Restaurant

Flaming Hurricanes

Flaming Hurricanes

Sea Plane

Sea Plane

Sea Plane landing on the lake

Sea Plane landing on the lake

We’ve had a lazy day today! We’ve travelled up to Dot and John’s summer camp where the weather was beautiful and we were treated to Blue Jays and Mourning Doves. We would have seen the wonderful sight of Hummingbirds feeding but unfortunately, Dot slacked off this morning and didn’t prepare their special water. Dot’s response to that was that she was being the perfect hostess and taking care of Si and myself before looking after the needs of the wildllife!! Tonight, John treated us to a lovely dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant on Keuka Lake and we had most delicious cocktail, Flaming Hurricanes. The waitress surprised us all when she actually set light to the sugar cubes on top of the cocktails. People on the lake are able to pilot their boat and tie up to the dock, come in to the restaurant, eat and then sail off down the lake again. When we win the Lottery that’s what we are going to do. We also had one exciting moment when a sea plane landed just on the lake in front of us.

Day 72! Columbus, Ohio to Elmira, New York

Before I start today’s post there’s a couple of things I forgot to mention yesterday!

Firstly, hands up all those who watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’, this will be mostly Americans I think! You know how Howard’s Mum is always going on about eating at the Red Lobster, well we had dinner there last night, the first time ever and the food was excellent and guess what, it was right next door to the Olive Garden, another one of her favourites!! Shame we didn’t have one of Howard’s Mum’s coupons!!

Secondly, granola is one of my most favourite breakfast cereals. Can anyone from the US tell me when they started selling it in individual breakfast packets? I only discovered the individual packets yesterday when we went for breakfast at the hotel where we were staying. I must check this out when we get back home.

Penn State 1aNY 1a

A swing and a miss

A swing and a miss

Base hit

Base hit

Homer?

Homer?

Play ball

Play ball

Take a walk

Take a walk

Struck out

Struck out

The Guys

The Gang!

Terry

Terry

Anyway, today was the last our long drives, just over seven hours from Ohio, through Pennsylvania and into New York State. The journey was mostly made up of long boring roads with lots more road works and the speed limits only ranged from 40 to 65 so it felt as though we were driving for ever!!

We are now staying with our good friend’s Dot and John, and their lovely dog, Kasha. We also had the pleasure of meeting their son-in-law, Terry.

We had a real treat this evening, we all went to see the local baseball team, The Pioneers. After visiting the ‘Field of Dreams’ site recently, we felt that we knew everything there was to know about the game, but of course we didn’t. We weren’t lucky enough to catch a ball but we did partake in the singing, the eats and beverages. Our section was even lucky enough to win vouchers to be used in the local Christmas store! I knew our holiday was passing very quickly but surely it can’t be Christmas already?

Today we will be going up to Dot and John’s summer camp so you may not hear from us again until Sunday when we return to Elmira as the wifi at camp is not quite so accommodating!