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Cheesequake State Park will be our only stop in the state of New Jersey, but we have a lot planned while we are here. The campground itself is geared more towards tent campers and small popup trailers. There is a bridge you must pass under to get to the campsites and it only has a clearance of 11'0". Our height is just about 10 feet so we had plenty of room to spare, even if we did hit a good sized bump at just the wrong time!


YEAR #2 - STOP #27

"The Garden State"
is our 14th visited state

The major surface roads here in New Jersey are a little bit different than what I'm used to. They are a lot like little Interstate highways, there are no left turns. If the store you want to go happens to be on the left hand side of the street, even if there is a traffic light at the intersection in front of that store, you have to go past the intersection and make a right hand turn into a 270 degree loop and then go through the same intersection you just went through a few seconds ago. If there isn't a loop road then it is even worse. You still get off with a right hand turn, but then you come to a stop sign and have to cross traffic coming through the same intersection that separates you from the store you're trying to get to. I guess some engineer somewhere decided this was a superior way to route traffic, but to me it just doesn't seem efficient, not to mention all the extra roadway and stop signs it creates.

Thanks to Jeri, an ex-NJ blog commenter, I now know that this road design is called a jughandle. I included a link to Wikipedia where you can read a very detailed explanation if you're interested.

One thing they did get right was the way they separate cars from trucks on the Parkways and Turnpikes. There are three lanes on the left for cars only, then a divider, then three more lanes for trucks, buses, and cars. When a car wants to get off at an exit they drive over the three lanes of trucks on an overpass. The same thing goes for when they want to get on the Turnpike, they pass over the three lanes of trucks to get to the right hand lanes. No cars are weaving in and out between trucks and trailers that way and the truckers know how to drive and what to expect from the other trucker's driving habits. It works out very well, but it does mean there are at least six lanes of traffic and twice the number of bridges to build.

And while I'm on the subject of roadways and not making sense, can anyone explain to me why there are mile marker signs on the Interstate Highways around here EVERY TENTH OF A MILE? For nearly 150 miles today I saw about 1500 mile marker signs, that's ten times the budget needed to inform motorists where they are on the highway. No wonder all of the Interstate Highways around here charge a toll!



Today is going to be a busy day for us! First thing this morning at 8:00AM we have an appointment at the nearby FORD dealership to get the oil changed in ROVER. He's got nearly 20,000 miles on him and while we're there I think a front end alignment is also in order.

With the truck maintenance items out of the way we need gas. In the state of New Jersey, and a few other states in the U.S., you are not permitted to pump your own gas. An attendant has to do that for you, but you don't get anything else like a windshield wash or the oil level checked, so it's not really what I would call a Service Station. I'm not sure why this is, I'll have to do a little research, but I guess it does create a few more minimum wage jobs and I'm sure add a few more cents per gallon onto the already high priced gasoline.

Next it's off to the Post Office we go, to pick up the mail that I had forwarded here by General Delivery, then to the Whole Foods Store to grab an Amazon order from an Amazon Locker that I purchased online several days ago. While at Whole Foods we picked up a few non-refrigerator food items and then went in search of a place to eat lunch. Hey, there's a Five Guys across the street, I've never eaten there, let's give it a try. Of coarse we had to drive 2 miles to get across the street, it was on the wrong (left) side!

We both ordered a burger of coarse and we ordered a large order of fries to split like we usually do. Let me tell you, the burgers were huge and delicious. The fries also were awesome but there is no way the two of us could finish a large order, there were just too many.

Afterwards we ended up grocery shopping at a WalMart, that was not a Super Walmart, which meant there were no fruit or vegetables. We'll have to get there some other time somewhere else.

Finally it's time to head for home. Tonight we're going to have our New Jersey campfire with all the free firewood I picked up from around our campsite yesterday.



You may be wondering why we're at the library working today. Our present campsite for this week has no electricity or water and our trailer is nestled up under a fairly dense tree covering. So the combination of a lot of tree and only a little sun means our rather small array of solar panels isn't up to the task of generating enough power to run our laptops, cell booster and phone charging. So it's easier and cheaper to get into the car and drive just a few miles to the library than it is to get out the Honda generator and burn some propane to make in run. We have already scheduled an install of a massive solar package early next year to avoid just this scenario. We won't always have the convienence of a library just down the street.

One thing I'm going to tackle at the library today is to upgrade the Mac Operating System on my 10 year old laptop. It hasn't been running quite right and my version of iTunes is not compatible with my iPhone so I can't upload my music library to my phone. I hope everything goes smoothly!

On the way home we sought out another great burger joint. There is a Red Robin store just down the street and guess what, I've never been to one of those either.



We were up early this morning and since the library doesn't open until 10:00AM we decided to go on a short 3/4 mile hike on one of the State Park's trails. We arrived at the trailhead close to 8:00AM and there was already a group of people hanging around in the parking lot. It was obvious most people didn't know each other because of all the introductions and handshakes going back and forth between everyone.

They were all equipped with backpacks, water, maps and hiking sticks, so it was also obvious they weren't here to do just the 3/4 mile hike we were set to do. We left them behind in the parking lot and it wasn't long before they were passing us on the trail. As they passed I asked one of the guys if they were a hiking club and not to my surprise he told us they were an informal group called DESI: Outdoors, a Meetup Group. Now most of you who know me from South Florida are aware that between 2008-2013 I also co-organized an outdoor Meetup Group, so I knew exactly what they were talking about.

When I got back home I searched for their Meetup Group online and it was easy to see the similarities between their group and mine. While both groups participated in the same kind of outdoor activities there was one big difference, the word DESI in their group name implies their family heritage is either from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. While most of the people on today's hike appeared to be of that heritage, I was pleased to see several who appeared not to be.

After our hike we headed for the library and later went to sample another burger joint, White Castle. When I was growing up in South Florida back in the 70's and 80's we had a couple of Royal Castle restaurants around town. I remember the burgers were the same back then as they were today. All bun, very little meat, lots of onion and very cheap. Back then I can remember getting 5 burgers for $1, now they are nearly $1 each.



Today we have reservations for a tour! We made they plans six months ago and because we did we will be able to climb all the way up into the crown on top of Liberty's head. Only a few dozen people a day get to do this and if you don't reserve it 3 to 4 months in advance they are usually sold out. Without holding Crown Tickets you'll only be able to climb to the top of the pedestal she stands on (half way to the top), but it's still a nice view from there.

We spent so much time on Liberty Island in the morning that we didn't get to explore Ellis Island as much as we would have liked to. But hey, it'll still be there if we come back someday.

The Historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, located inside Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ. This is where our ferry boat tour began.
A view of the New York City skyline as seen from the ferry dock.
Our first view of Ellis Island from the ferry boat dock.
Ellis Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background.
The Statue of Liberty is a nickname. The name given to the statue by the artist is "Liberty Enlightening the World".
The Statue, the pedestal and the military fort that it all stands on.
The Statue of Liberty with the One World Tower dominating the NY skyline
The view from the top of the fort (base of the pedestal)
The view from the middle balcony around the pedestal
The view from the top of the pedestal
The walkway leading up to the Statue from behind. The brand new museum in the background will be opening next month.
The top of the fort and the walkway around the base of the Statue.
Four of the 6-inch round bolts that holds the Statue to the pedestal
This is what the crown's windows look like from the outside...
...this is what we saw from the inside.
The view from inside the crown
The very top of the inside of the statue
This is the entire space inside of the Statue's head. It's only ten feet from ear to ear and less than that inside.
Time to take the tight winding stairs back down to the ground.





Today's sightseeing schedule is to go visit "The City of Brotherly Love", Philadelphia, PA. It's a bit of a drive from where we are camped in New Jersey, but this is about as close as were are planning to get, so it's now or never! We have a few things on our to do list for today but I think we'll manage to see and do them all.

Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell

Looking down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the "Top of the Tower" at City Hall

Halfway down The Parkway is the fountain at Logan Square.

At the very far end of The Parkway is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
If you look real close you can see the Rocky Statue
and the stairs that Sly Stallone triumphantly ran up in the movie Rocky.

A look up at The Tower at City Hall where the previous three photos were taken from.

We couldn't leave town without trying an Authentic Philly Cheesesteak
complete with peppers, onions and of course "The Wiz".

• • • 100 MILE • • •

15.25 MILES

With a .75 mile hike around the Yellow Loop Trail
it brings our annual total up to 15.25 miles.

Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?

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