125 Jersey City, NJ and NYC, NY to Newark, NY

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Our random walk through Jersey City teased out the funky Kitchen Café for breakfast one morning. Heading for the Path subway entrance on another morning we came upon a tiny coffee shop with huge mouth-watering, tummy-filling muffins. Our wandering revealed a community upgrading itself from rundown to a happening place to live.

We rode light rail (wished they’d called them trolley cars) to the end of the line now extending to Hoboken and spent a day just wandering around enjoying the neighborhood. Well-tended brownstones along concrete walks proudly displayed tiny islands of landscaping and spring flowers growing in well tended flower pots, urns and tiny islands of dirt among all the paving.

Doors slid open and a burly army of construction workers poured aboard. The light rail car flooded beyond its standing room capacity as the men packed in shoulder to shoulder. The last few minutes of our ride were totally entertaining as very New York and New Jersey accents from the hardhat crew exchanged stories and busted one another’s chops as they headed home.

The Museum of Television and Radio was a total surprise. We expected a traditional museum containing props, mementos and other memorabilia from radio and television. Instead we found small theaters showing special retrospectives of past TV shows. We had a ball watching a Dean Martin summary of all his shows. Brought back fun memories. Then we visited the library and were overwhelmed with choices of old television and radio shows we could select to see. In the time we had left to closing it was tough to choose. Finally we had the library queue up videos of the Smothers Brothers, Red Skeleton, and the Avengers. It was a fun enjoying the old shows and seeing how good and in some cases bad they were.

A long line stretched back from the tiny booth at the farmers market in the heart of Manhattan. People were waiting to buy eggs: special eggs from chickens fed on salad greens, eggs selling for $4.00/dozen. We passed on purchasing, but enjoyed the market with its unique collection of very upscale farm products. Off at one side we found a booth of very non-farm products. Wallets, and all kinds of tote bags were for sale. It cost all of $5 to replace my well-worn wallet. A bit more poking and we found a unique $10 bag that now carries our camera, books and other stuff as we explore.

 Ninth Ave Street Fair early in the Morning

Ninth Ave Street Fair early in the Morning

The scale of New York events always catches us by surprise. Ninth Avenue was having a street fair. This street fair stretched over twenty blocks. We’d arrived early and grazed along snacking on unique foods as we flowed with the huge crowd.

A dude with blue and orange spiked hair distracted us from our count of tattoo and body piercing shops as we wandered along a street in East Village. We’d reached four or five on each within a single block before his passing and our losing track as we wondered to each other about the maintenance of spiked multi colored hair. How does one sleep? Are there stains on the pillow?

Sparkle from a store window slowed us down. Inside hung a huge chandelier with a dazzling array of cut glass crystals. The shop was filled to overflowing with fancy chandeliers, their only product. We quickly discovered we were on a street where almost every shop sold some kind of unique lighting fixture product. We wandered along checking out all the shop windows dazzled by the uniqueness and variety.

Bannermans Island Arsenal

Bannermans Island Arsenal

A close up look at the ruins on Pollepel Island and a sign cautioning about dangerous conditions changed our minds about going ashore. Instead we slowly circled the tiny island in the dinghy wondering why there was an arsenal on the island. “Bannermans Island Arsenal” is carved into the building’s stonewall next to the castle both of which are in ruins.

Back aboard Odyssey we settled in to enjoy cloud shadows scurrying down spring green mountainsides along the Hudson. The island a few hundred feet away provided some protection from the occasional powerboat running the river. After our busy week of exploring NYC and NJ it felt good to just sit and read. We seem to scale our activity to match the pace of where we are, and matching the fast pace of the NYC area had worn us out after a week. It felt good to just sit and read while watching freight trains run the west shore and commuter trains run the east bank.

Out of curiosity we started noting commuter train engine numbers, direction and time. Soon we were into reverse engineering the commuter schedule as outbound trains passed at 15-minute intervals and the much fewer inbound trains passed less frequently and in a different order. We mellowed out with the setting sun and went back to watching sun and clouds play shadow games with the island ruins.

In the time it took to take on fuel I was in and out of the water looking for the source of what seemed like excessive vibration. Under water it felt like one cutlass bearing was worn excessively so it went on our repair list along with returning the just repaired alternator to be repaired yet again.

Going through the Federal Lock at Troy, NY on the Hudson took us out of tide and back into totally fresh water. What a treat. No more cleaning rust off stainless and salt off of everything.

Little Falls screwed up our plans. The terminal wall was being rebuilt and heavy construction equipment moving around convinced us to move on. Further west, we notified Rita and Jim about our new location for a meeting. They showed up in their camper and provided transportation back to Little Falls and Canal Side for a classy dinner reunion. Sometimes old sages are right, you can’t go home again: the uniqueness of our 5 star restaurant in a small town had lost some of its luster.

Three scruffy guys wandered down as I cleaned the grill after our barbeque for dinner. Exchanging pleasantries I went back to working on the grill as we continued to talk. All of a sudden we were being boarded. Looking up I discovered that one of the scruffy guys was our brother-in-law Steve! He’d been kayaking with friends, knew we were in the area and had tracked us down at a remote lock along the Erie Canal. We made friends with guys we now recognized from Steve and Linda’s solstice parties in December, and had a delightful time chatting.

Odyssey came out of the water on a marine railway at Brewerton. Four years earlier the marina had been extremely helpful when we’d lost Tranquility’s mast overboard. Now we stopped to have the cutlass bearing replaced. Ruth waxed boat sides; I took advantage of being out of the water and replaced zincs as the yard crew worked on installing the new bearing. Back together again hours later we went back in the water heading west along the quiet canal.

One of the joys of being on the Erie is the nearness to family. On a very rainy Memorial Day Linda and Steve picked us up and drove us into a wonderful Irish pub for lunch—a great way to spend a gloomy day.

Fallen, twisted and broken trees poked out from both shores as we entered areas that had been hit by the massive late Winter ice storm. In many areas a navigation cut had been made removing just those limbs blocking passage. The damage went on for miles making for a massive clean up effort for the canal authority.

Newark’s terminal wall had expanded since our last visit. Now power, water, showers and a washer/dryer are all free as the town works hard to attract boaters and people to its canal waterfront. Steve and Linda, exuberant having just learned Linda wouldn’t need a lung transplant showed up to welcome us to town. Our reunion with all our family had begun.

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