Summer of Travel 2014: NYC
Aug 28, 2014 New York City
It's one of the most congested places on earth and we drove a
motorhome through it. Yup, Manhattan Island,
New York City's main space. This is not something I would EVER recommend
you do. I've done this once before, in Enterprise A but at a much
probably around 3AM and with less worry about vehicle height.
New York City is tight for CARS, let alone RV's, and we had no
intention of getting off the highway until clear of downtown but
the city had different plans. We got a quick lesson in the meaning of
Parkways, I'm told, were built for cars--a way to whisk the rich, in their newfangled automobiles, out to suburban
sanctity without the bus-borne riff-raff that were kept at by with low
hanging bridges. Well, they
also keep out the trailer trash because our 11 foot high Winnebago
wouldn't make it.
Problem is we didn't know any of this while blissfully entering the
city and following our bitching betty GPS. She found the
quickest route, alright, but had no idea about height limits. Ooops.
Good thing that Tim saw the Maximum height of 10' 6 sign
otherwise we would have had a convertible. Well, more of a permanently
topless vehicle motorhome. That makes the home part of motorhome much
I was driving, too, and have to admit there was something strangely
cool about it. Taking our house through the middle of one of the world's
biggest cities. A number of times our attempts at getting to a highway
were stymied by more low bridges. That's why we went the WHOLE way down
5th Ave, turning right when we finally had a clean shot.
Merging into another diabolical traffic nightmare had just enough
time to digest a sign's message as we descended into the Holland Tunnel.
"No Propane Allowed". Uh Oh. too late now. I'm certainly not backing out
of this mess here. Sure enough, vehicles with propane are prohibited. We
fully expected a police export on exiting but nothing happened and we
went merrily on to our campground.
Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to have this facility because it's
extremely close to NYC which--it's main claim to fame. So it's not
misrepresenting itself but, given how nearly everything is paved around
New York, you can't be surprised that this is little more than parking a
parking spot with water and electric. Internet not so much. It's there
in name, and works acceptably when traffic is low--between 1 and 4am.
What's sad is that we wound up using it a few times at those hours.
There are several ways into New York. Day one we took a ferry and the
next two days used the subway. Once we figured out a few things it
wasn't so bad to get around on. Trains were pretty timely, reasonably
clean and packed to the sills.
The 9/11 Memorial
When it happened I was sitting in a Boeing 737, preparing the cockpit
for another day hauling folks about the country. Like most people of
school age or later, that morning is seared into my memory. The thought
that these people would kill so many people so indiscriminately was
appalling. Then that a country would hide those responsible made it all
Tim & I went to the memorial, built around the footprint of the two
towers, for a guided tour. That was powerful. For anyone who remembers
that horrible day this is a must see. If you can stand it emotionally. I
confess that, after the tour was over, I wanted out and didn't spend any
more time there.
Don't get me wrong, it was very well presented and tasteful but it
reopened wounds that I didn't want opened any further. Being an airline
captain made this far more powerful. People don't realize, they just
don't realize how easy it was for prepared hijackers to pull this off. I
do. My compatriots do. It would be a LOT harder today.
But then seeing freedom tower rise from the ashes was refreshing. It
helped make up for some of the pain. Some of it. We overcome. Of course
it couldn't do anything for the pain of knowing nearly 3000 lives were
The picture below is how I felt after visiting the memorial.
To those who want to destroy humanity, to destroy free society, or
who would rather put us under the thumb of religious oppression, this
tower is for you. This is the U.S. saying F*CK YOU. We rebuild. Life
goes on. As long as there are people willing to rebuild, to work
together in a reasonably free civilization, the world will be a
much, much better place to be.
I hear people tear down our government all the time and, for sure,
some of it is deserved. But we have a LOT to be thankful for. If
you want to know whether a country is really democratic then ask 2
questions. 1) Is the press free? Can you read content bashing the
government easily? and 2) does the leadership ACTUALLY change based on
choices by the people? If those answers are yes then you're probably
living in a true democracy (of some sort). That doesn't happen in China,
Russia, or many other "modern" countries.
World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) as
I imagined it after visiting the 9/11 Memorial
and thinking of the horror inflicted on these New Yorkers.
Victims represented 90 nationalities--it was not just an attack on the
but an attack on free societies everywhere.
The picture was taken from a Circle Line boat tour around Manhattan
At first I didn't notice the potential symbology but then, looking at
the picture, it was obvious.
I did some photoshopping to match my imagination.