Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boston, Mass for a Few Days

We left West Point Monday afternoon and made it into Hanscom Air Force Base around 6 in the afternoon.  It was a pretty easy drive and nice weather up I-95 and through the western edge of Boston.  The base is on the north side of town, so we had to drive on through the work hour traffic.  UGH!  On Tuesday we headed into Beantown early for a walk-around the wharf area.  Of couse the center of attention is the Navy's oldest commissioned ship, Old Ironsides, USS Constitution.
 Above, me posing for Miss Nancy!
And above I caught Miss Nancy strolling down the main deck.
 Above, main deck looking aft, and below the first deck.  See those white looking things that look like stancions?  Those are strengthening ribs that made the ship nearly impossible for enemy canon balls to penetrate.  They just bounced off, ie, Old Ironsides.
 Below, our tour guide discussing some relevant items around the main deck and some history of the old ship.  She was an active sailor and her first tour out of "boot camp".  Nice!
 Below, Nancy and our guide talking sailor talk...:-)
 Our guide below main deck with our group as she discuss the story about Old Ironsides and other battles the ship had been involved.  Below, the rudder steering mechanism.  Two sailors would "man" a larke pole that would slip into one of the notches on the wheel, and would turn one way or the other depending on what command was given.
 Below, looking aft at the CO's stateroom and other officers as well.
 Above, our group egressing up to the main deck, and below is another pic of our guide.
 Below is a look at the down and up ladders.
 Above, the ship's shiny bell.  Below, Nancy listening (not really dozing) to the guide.
 Below, a peek inside the CO's Stateroom.
 Above, the ship and the brow, and below anothe angle at the brow with Boston as a backdrop.
Above, the fantail of the Constitution.  And thus ends (pun intended) our time aboard Ols Ironsides.  It certainly was an enjoyable time.  I think it's time for a visit over to the local brewery for a walk around.
Sam Adams!  Need I say more?  We paid our 2 bucks and did the factory tour.  Above our guide explains all the different ingredients that make up their different brews.  On the floor you can spot the hops that folks from previous tours rolled the hops in their hands to smell the fragrance.  We did also, as well as the different grains he passed around.  You can actually see some of the hops they grew inside the room for demonstration purposes.  Pretty neat.  Where's the tasting room?
 Above, some of the storage barrels of a recent brew.  Below more barrels and a large mixing vat or two.  Actually, the vast majority of their brew is made in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  This is a small operation here, even though it was the first, and still American owned!  Where's the tasting room?
 Above, the mixmaster is preparing the ingredients for the cookers and preparing to add the yeast.  Below, more barrels with the type and date brewed.  They were making Octoberfest at the time.  Ok, enoughs enough!  When is the tasting room happening?
 Alright, now that's what I'm talking about, finally.  Look at those pitchers.  Those two pitchers served about 20 people, and we had these little 4-ounce glasses, that we were allowed to keep.  Too cute!  Note the large glass the guide is drawing from the tap.   Hmmm, how does one apply for a job that pays you to drink beer?  Wonder how many tours he does each day?  :-)
Behind him above, are our next two pitchers for tasting.  We tasted 3 different varities, and offered opinions on each.  Miss Nancy justed watched me taste.  And she gave me her little Sam Adams glass too.  Too cute!
 After the tour, at the invitation of our guide, we took the local gas-trolley bus down to F.J Dolyes Braddock Cafe for lunch and a free Sam Adams 12 ounce glass.  See Nancy over in front waiting for the return trolley to the brewery?  Below, one of our tour comoany friends took our pic in front of the cafe.
So, thus ends our nice day hanging around Boston.  We didn't make it to Fenway Park though, even though the Sox were in town.  The city at night is just too much for the both of us.  We did hang around for a couple more days, and we have a few more stories to share as well as some pics.  So, till then, Joe & Nancy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

USMA West Point, NY

After we left Andrews Air Force Base on Sept 9th, we headed that Friday morning to Winchester, VA Camping World.  We had a noon appointment to get our Dometic Model 1402 fridge worked on.  Well, we made it there, driving in rain most of the way up I-66.  I just hate to drive our big rig in the rain.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and plow on though.  So, we got new circulating fans in and left there and headed for Pennsylvania around 3 that afternoon.  We wound up in Carlisle, about 60 miles, give or take a few, from Newark, NJ.  Wanted to overnight at the Walmart there, but were met by one of Carlisle's finest, even before we could shut the diesel down, and were told we couldn't, as Walmart didn't own the property.  And the owner didn't want overnighters.  So we drove about three blocks and parked in Home Depot for the night.  As we put out a couple sides, the rain finally stopped.  What a long day on the interstates in the rain.  Boy were we both tired!  Up the next morning and we headed for Trenton, NJ to pick up my new Nikon D-7000 camera.  What a beautiful day of sunshine and warm temps and a slight breeze as we pulled into the Walmart lot in Trenton for a couple of hours.  Trenton is not an easy town/city to get around in with a 43 footer towing a 4-door Jeep.  So we walked over to Ryther Camera, got the shiny new D-7000 and walked back, which turned out to be about a 3 mile round trip walk.  No worries though as Nancy and me love to walk.  Just not sure how safe we were though in the concrete jungle with all the wild animals.  It's now time to drive of the Garden State Parkway for about 90 minutes, and on into West Point.  And, oh did I mention the tolls?  Do know how much our tolls were?  Nancy does!  Never knew big rigs towing was SOOOOO expensive.  $34, ouch!  Finally, the FamCamp at West Point and it's about 5 in the afternoon on Saturday.
Above is looking up the (muddy) Hudson River just after Irene and Lee made their way through the State.  By the way, has anyone drove up Round Pond Drive into the FamCamp at West Point?  Wow, that was an experience.  Steep and very winding, and it was tricky, wide turns and groaning diesel.
Looking at at the recreation/sports complex.
Looking across the Hudson River above and below, one of the many large homes across the River.
We were fortunate enough to be at West Point on Sunday, 9/11!  And more fortunate to be able to attend worship services at the Cadet Chapel.  And what a treat when we found out that the guest speaker was none other than the past Chief of Army Chaplains, General David Hicks, accompanied by his lovely wife, Janice.  Gen Hicks spent 43 years serving our country and providing support and spiritual leadership to literally thousands of our troops from one end of the earth to the other.  His office on his last duty station as Chief, was the Pentagon, and he was there on 9/11.  His message on this morning was very moving and emotional.  Below is a pic with them and us.
What a beautiful chapel!
When our daughter was in college at Virginia Tech, her engineering class (concrete semester) went to a university somewhere in Minnesota (been a few years back and I can't remember which), and competed in a concrete canoe contest.  That's right, a concrete canoe building and floating/paddling contest.  There were several colleges fromacross the country competing, including the USMA, West Point.  And as luck would have it, she met Pete, (her husband now) who was representing West Point on their entry.  Well, as you know by now, they married a short time later, I would guess about a year, and some 11 years later and two beautiful children, Austin & Alexandra, that concrets canoes brought them together, and by golly it'll take a battleship to separate them now.  So, now you know why these two pics are inserted here.
Well, if you've ever been to West Point, you have heard about the Thayer Hotel and it's renowned Sunday Morning bbrunch/buffet.  Well, we didn't make there for that, as we just can't seem to get $28.95 worth of food anymore from anywhere, much less the Thayer.  So we opted for nice quiet Monday morning buffet of $8.95 at the Hotel.  Below are a few more pics taken from the grounds of the Thayer Monday morning.
Above, Nancy, and I don't think she thinks she was in the frame.  Surprise!
 Above & below are inside the General Eisenhower lounge at the Thayer.
 Below, the patio where we sat for our breakfast.  The picture above with me and Nancy was taken on the steps just inside the black rail seen below.
Below, a couple of pics from the lobby of the Thayer.
And here a few more pics from around the beautiful campus along the Hudson.
 Above, The Thayer Hotel front.
 Above, the Cadet Chapel and below, some of the great chain links that was preserved as a fence around this display.  The chain fence streted across the Hudson as a defensive measure to thwart any British ship's movements up the Hudson during the Revolution days.  The chain was supported across the River by means of pontoon-type flotation devices.
 Below, nice looking canon, eh!?
So, our time at the USMA ended and we were off Monday afternoon, Sept 12 for points north, specifically, Boston and Hanscom Air Force Base FamCamp.  So, till the next time, RVing Beach Bums.