Monday, November 15, 2010

The New River Gorge and beyond...

Our wonderful hosts John and Carrie.
This morning marks two weeks spent in Fayetteville, WV!  We're so thankful to have had the opportunity to engage this new landscape, to visit old friends and make new ones, and to revel in the cosmopolitan megalopolis of Fayetteville, America's "Coolest Small Town".  This scenic "National Recreation" plateau nestled in the West Virginian hills holds some of America's best cragging.  The movement is manifold, bolted and unbolted climbs...and the stone is comprised of skin friendly sandstone that just begs to be climbed.  Moreover, lines here are just jaw dropping gorgeous; most of them full of vibrant hues of orange, yellow, and vertical water streaks.  During our time here we also have enjoyed a change of pace from van living.  Our friends John and Carrie were kind enough to share their awesome digs with us.  They live 10 minutes from the Gorge in a sweet cabin in the woods.  We've had a marvelous time enjoying their company, cooking cookies and brownies, and just kicking it back WV style.  We are truly thankful for their limitless "Southern' hospitality.  Had we only known about their skills with dice...  yes, these people are "Farkle" pros.

T-Rex








As you can see, John is also part T-Rex.  Late one evening I decided to pull out my Velociraptor impersonation... this in turn brought out John's alter ego, the T-Rex.

I've never had a better time waltzing around, pretending to be a prehistoric lizard.  Thanks T-rex!

John 't-rex' shown to the left in our suite.   Look at those feral eyes, that claw like mini arm, and the saliva drooling grimace.












With access to an oven, we made lots of goodies!  Tiffers shown to the right working on some chocolate chip cookies.  We've just not found many good store bought cookies out there.  And, there is nothing better than hitting the road with a fresh batch of baked goods.  Yum!

There were many nights of group cooking as well.  Carrie Bohmer is a wonder in the kitchen, and served up some mean vittles; most of which were not only delicious, but organic and healthy!

John's 5$ haircut.  Apparently, the best deal in the South.

Late last night John and Carrie returned from a weekend in Virginia Beach; where they not only wrapped up some business, but put the hurt on a secret ops, special forces training type of obstacle course.  To prepare himself mentally, John dropped into a Norfolk "Barber", advertising 5$ dews.  Sitting in the hot seat, like a deer in headlights, he came to the realization that the black barber had probably not ever cut a white boys hair before.  But, we all agree that his new bangs could be a trend setter here in Fayetteville.  Now, if we could only get that beard a little thicker.





























One of our favorite hangs here has been Summersville Lake.  Perfect sandstone cliffs adorn the shores of this magnificent pond and the sun always seems to be shining in abundance.  The crowds were also non existent (even on the weekends) here.  Yep, everyone must be at the Red River Gorge.

  We spent 3 days climbing here over the past two weeks and each one of those found us stripping down to shorts and t-shirts.   The rock is similar to the New, and there are loads of interesting 8's and 9's that Tiffers got to sample.  Two of those days we warmed up at an area called Whippoorwill that normally sits underneath the lakeshore.  But, at this time of the year the Army Corps of Engineering does a major water release on the Summersville Dam, and conveniently, the Whippoorwill area surfaces out of the murk; its flawless white sandstone, and sun drenched cliffs beckoning.

In addition to the lovely ambience of created by sun and water, I was more than stoked to sample the Coliseum wall.  Although the New is better known for technical masterpieces... there are a few steeper walls where endurance, wash board abs, and raw rock wrestling are the general rule.  Once off the ground in the Coliseum, be prepared for battle, and the sickening pump that will likely ensue.  My buddy Patrick had recommended a route called Apollo Reed 13a. This line tackles the longest, steepest section of the cliff, and was developed by none other than Porter Jarrard.  I launched up into the abyss.  Sequences that appeared reachy from the ground ended up offering just enough holds for me to creatively navigate my way to the summit anchors first try.   The dyno described in the guide which initially caused much apprehension was overcome with an intermediate and a high foot.  Whenever I'm trying to Onsight routes I get nervous about jump moves and deadpoints; because once set in motion, there is one chance to stick the hold.  Pulling out the final hero jugs on Apollo I meat hooked a right hand chickenhead the size of a coke can, kicked my legs loose into the void, and felt for a brief instance like a rock star.  Later in the week I was also able to do the Pod 13b and gave a solid OS effort at Mercy Seat 13a.  After falling off the latter I spent 25 minutes trying to figure it out.  No dice.

Yesterday we went back down to the Cirque so that I could give the Proper Soul rigatoni some last try effort.  The pre climb jitters were in abundance; knowing the following day we'd be headed away from the New and into other parts.  Though a weekend day, we found nobody at the wall.  There was an eerie silence that was only broken by the plummet of dead leaves, that echoed off the cliffs and spoke of change.  And then, it started to Rain.

The dreaded dyno.
Doubts clouded my mind as I lapped the warmup several times.  Climbing in nothing but shorts I was hot and sweaty.  The rock was smarmy and less than ideal...  But, what the heck.  We were there and I wasn't about to throw in the towel without giving some effort.  With Tiff giving me moral support, I launched into the rig, flowing up the easy approach...legs swinging wildly into space.  At the  Dyno I set up, launched, and missed!  Without a hint of pump I was sagging on the end of the rope, somewhat dejected; Arrrg.  Without hesitation I pulled the rope, tied back in, and within moments was setting up for the dyno.  I launched...and missed. At this point I was feeling less than confident.

Earlier in the week I had fallen up much higher.  And now, I was regressing; falling lower, and forgetting important details.  Pulling back up on the rope to recheck the dyno, I was surprised to notice that my right foot was being positioned lower than before; which accounted for my misfires.  After sticking this a couple times from the dog, I lowered off, and took a breather.

Ladder Mainia!
As the Rain increased in cadence, I began to also worry that the finish (if I was ever to get there) would possibly be wet.  Proper Soul is mostly steep and overhanging, but at the end one has to pull onto a vertical face with smaller holds; grips that I was less than thrilled to imagine soaking with water.  With my mind swimming in doubt, I closed down, and quietly ushered my pervasive negativity into a holding area I like to call, the 'ignore' area.  Game time.  With purpose, I cast off into Proper Soul, feeling each movement, and the subtlety of every hold.  The Rain, Smarmy rock, and other self doubts were gone.  Space pulled past me as I Kareem Abdul-Jabbar'd through the air, three fingers of my left hand finding their mark, legs counter coiling back under the roof.  After that it was a blur until my left foot popped at the last Dihedral crux move.  It was only blind luck that my left hand was partially ensconced in the finishing jug.  Feeling more pumped than ever, I pulled another dyno to a jug, and tick tacked my way to the rest.  The rain slowed, the leaves continued their fall, and I did my best to recover.  With mouth completely parched, and tongue sticking, I moved into the second crux.  Locking off with feet smeared high, I found one of the routes small holds, and slapped up into the crux.  Amazingly, I felt great!  Soon, I was fully recovered on the worlds best knee bar; in an airy position with the last draw 20 feet below.   Jugs flew by and then I was deadpointing to a sloper, clipping, drop knee...right hand crimp, left feet up high on jib, left hand crimp below right hand...and PULL to left hand crimp.  Standing up I realized that not only were the holds dry, but that I was going to finish this amazing climb, on a day that I had resigned to failure.  Clipping the anchor I was reminded that the mind is a powerful beast.



Proper Soul is the first 14a that I have redpointed outside of Little Si, WA.  And, it has me fired up to try some other climbs of similar difficulty.  With no outstanding NRG projects, I'm leaving quite happy, and ready for the Red River Gorge!  Thank you New River Gorge.  We love ya!









Tuesday, November 9, 2010

D.C. Blitz!

This afternoon marks yet another beautiful day here at the New River Gorge.  We've been here now just over a week.  The climbing, community and weather couldn't be better (aside from two days where it snowed a bit).  We've climbed at Kaymoor, Summersville Lake and the Endless Wall; the latter of which is four miles long.  Man oh man, there is lots of rock here!  Best of all, most of it is very accessible; which is more than I can say for Washington Crags.  The only downside is that we have seen our cardio slip a bit.

Yours truly pulling on Proper Soul.
Though I've managed to onsight a couple overhanging 12d jughauls (Kaymoor), most of my time has been going into a world class rig at the Endless Wall called 'Proper Soul'.  Hitherto, I've not had the time or desire to try anything that I thought I couldn't do in a few tries.  This last Spring and Summer I poured a mammoth amount of effort into making the FA of an epic linkup called "The Wide World of Fitness" (14b/c).  I'd say I put in 4-5 months and probably 30 goes...it was mega.  And by the time I wrapped it up (aug) I was way burnt out on project climbing.  Therefore, I've been focused more on doing lots of routes.  This has been such a great change of pace for me, and as a result, I've been able to sample a myriad of climbs.  Its been the perfect tonic.

Enter----'Proper Soul'---, this 14a is long, bad (in the best sense) and beautiful.  It starts out with 5.11 jug hauling and revs up at the 3rd bolt.  Most people use a heel hook and statically reach over a blank roof to a left hand crimp; but, with my stature I'm forced to make a three points off dyno up over the roof.  As I'm flying through the air my hand has to blindly bananna around a bulge and quickly find purchase on what amounts to a one finger pad, 4 finger crimp.  Its a low percentage move for sure, but super cool.  After that, the crux comes in the form of an overhanging corner with slopers, crimps, gastons, and crack features.  Fortunately for me, my buddy Eddie (who is also trying Proper Soul) put up a top rope.  This enabled me to crack the code of beta without taking endless whippers.  The dihedral crux finishes at a jug where it launches into a brilliant 13a finish on the most awe inspiring orange Sandstone.  Though many of the New River Gorge routes require marathon long reaches, Proper Soul works for me.  Yes, I have to Dyno a few times.  But, that is all part of the fun.  Yesterday I was psyched to pull through the crux 4th go...  arggg, to fall off of moves I'd never fallen on before.  Trying this rig has reminded me about one of my favorite aspects of climbing, problem solving.  Great fun!  Enough of climbing ballyhoo though.  Let's rewind things a bit.  Because before the NRG we had one wild and crazy night in Washington D.C.!!

On October 29th, we hot tailed it from Scranton PA down to D.C.  Our plan was to find some sort of parking in and around the Arlington area.  And, from there we would peddle our way to the Monuments, and take in some of the iconic landscape.  We were lucky enough to nail a free parking space just North of the Arlington National Cemetery.  Not only was it free, and open till midnight, but it wasn't more than 15 minutes by bicycle to the Lincoln Memorial.   We grabbed some warm cloths, our cameras, and wallets and made haste.

Blue skies and late afternoon sunlight couldn't have been more perfect for viewing this historic collage.  And, with our legs pumping our bikes along, we really got around quick.  We'd recommend this any able person who wants to check out D.C.  The sidewalks are real big and most cars seem reasonably aware of bikers (at least in the daylight).








Our first stop was Lincoln Memorial.  We locked our bikes up and went up to take a closer look...  This is what we saw.

This was my first time ever in our Country's Capitol.  It wasn't only visually impressive, I'd say that reading the words and seeing the images of some of our Country's most visionary leaders moved me deeply.  Politics and Nationalism are not normally things I think about much, but here, surrounded by great men and ideas, I was helplessly transfixed.












Soon, we were standing beneath the Washington Monument.  We took some time to walk around this amazing obelisk, take pics, and look back at Lincoln's memorial and an ever fading sun.  In the opposite direction we saw the Capitol.  We both wanted to get there for some 'alpenglow' lighting.  So, we peddled back down the path, carefully might I add.  For though we were there on a week night, there were still masses walking around, and for some reason these people just love to walk shoulder to shoulder.  We did our best to be polite and get around them without crashing.  Not to fear! (breath....) we made it with just amount light to be take some photos, and get told by secret service not to leave our bikes anywhere not connected to our persons.

























In addition to saving time, our bike ride gave us some much needed exercise, and was a boon to our spirits.  Within 10 minutes of riding around the Mall Area we had completely forgotten about the 6+ hours of driving earlier that day.

As the Westerly sun sank into the metropolitan abyss, our stomachs were beginning to talk.  Tiffers, an erudite practitioner of I-phone internet technology quickly found a tasty brewpub only blocks from the white house.

30 minutes later we were ordering burgers, yammer jammers, and some delicious porter.

After a lovely dining experience we said farewell, saddled our bikes and headed to the White House.  Well, I should say "near" the White House.  If you squint real hard you can just make it out in the distance.  I attempted to set up a tripod to get a higher quality image.  But, no dice.  Two policeman quickly informed me that I couldn't set a tripod up, but that I could take a picture and be on my way.  So, I cranked my machine to ISO1600, found a chink in the fence, and held my hands ever so still...  It isn't anything that would look good blown up.  For blogging purposed though, I suppose it will do.

Yes folks, this is the White House, where the President lives.

With all our jackets battened down, we made our way to the WWII, Jefferson, and FDR Memorial.  It was cool to see them all lit up, stark against the night sky.  Here are a few more pictures from our night in D.C.  We would have stayed the following day to see more (Smithsonian etc).  But, the following Saturday and Sunday were slated to be mob like; with a major political rally and Marathon.  With that knowledge, we made our way back to our Van (10:30), and sauntered down the road...



WWII memorial with Washington Monument in the distance.  This Fountain really shines after dark.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New York City!!

On the morning of October 26th, we were dropped off at the Garrison Train Station.  Copious thanks goes to Heather for getting us to our train perfectly on time!

For 30 dollars we acquired one way access to Grand Central Station.  The commuter train rolled in and we were off for an adventure much different in character than what we had experienced thus far.  For months I knew that my lovely wife very much wanted to visit New York; and to see her good friend Jessie, and to experience the big apple.  Being more of a country boy, cities tend to not be my most natural environment.  Within their confines I sometimes feel a latent restlessness and unease .  Although I can certainly appreciate the art, cuisine and culture that only mega cities tend to create.  It is the endless concrete, towering infrastructure, and crowded streets that usually find me running for the exit.  Anyhow, I knew deep down that I really should see NYC at least once in my life; and there probably wouldn't be any better opportunity then right then.  In hindsight, I'm entirely glad that I did something out of my comfort zone, and I would be a poorer individual for not experiencing the big apple.

Our train ride into the city took roughly an hour.  Along the way we were treated to vistas of the mighty Hudson River and the rocky cliff bands that tower over sections of the West bank.

It was great to take the train and avoid the hassles of driving our oversized van around around Manhattan.  After getting there and seeing first hand the hustle, bustle, and burgeoning streets...we felt great about our decision.



And I thought Seattle was big...the buildings here go on forever.

Once at Grand Central Station we took our bearings, and made a b-line for Times Square.  It was only 10am, but we had a host of items on our itinerary and no time to dally.  In our minds we had pictured this place void of automobile traffic.  Perhaps this is because the only times we really saw it was on New Year's Eve via television.  Which, we learned, is one of the only days of the year that the city closes its roads.  After soaking up the flashy billboards, towering skyline, and getting solicited by the local tour bookers, we escaped and made our way to Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller was mostly on our agenda due to it hosting "The Today Show".  We unfortunately arrived only in time to see the crews taking down the set.

Another attraction at the center is an Ice Skating Arena.  There were quite a few folks down there enjoying the cold ice on what was otherwise a very pleasant 70 degree afternoon.

Soon we found our way several blocks later to St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Catholicism played in integral role in New York History evidently.  And, throughout our two day stay we found several majestic Gothic Style Cathedrals adorning different sectors of the city.  Though I have a difficult time imaging that people actually go to church in these ornate edifices, I certainly did appreciate the Old World architecture, and the amazing prowess of its builders.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is gargantuan.

Shortly after exiting the Cathedral we were greeted by an exuberant Jessie Brugger.  It was nice at this point to feel the freedom to put away our tourist guide, and wander the streets knowing we were in the capable hands of a New York local.  Jessie and Tiff have been friends since junior high and their close friendship was immediately evident to me.  Jessie took us North on Fifth Ave.  Soon the ever ubiquitous skyscraper overhead was replaced by the trees of Central Park.  And, for a moment it was just like being up in New Hampshire!   Just like in the movies, there were people of all sorts out, biking, running, and otherwise relaxing in Manhattan's biggest park.

This girl was just having way too much fun!  New York has lots of fountains.  It would be nice if they added a few more public bathrooms into the mix.  Because, when you gotta go, ya gotta go.  You know?

From Central Park we wound down to Washington Park, had some nice gyro's at a little hole in the wall, and then made our way to Jessie's Art School (from which she has now graduated!).

Here we were privileged to see one of her art works on exhibit.  It is an amazing pieces incorporating  thousands of pictures and clay figures into an animated multi media experience.



With our stomachs full up, we made our way to Ground Zero.  We were hoping to be able to see something, but the entire area is a construction zone; and the fences and security make it almost impossible to know what is going on.  Nonetheless it still felt important to us to witness this place, and to connect with a tiny piece of land that has affected millions of Americans and will affect each of us as we take to the skies in the future.  Seeing the absence of the Twin Towers first hand really brought home the brutality and the horrific nature of the 9-11 attacks.




There is a certain Bull down near Wallstreet.  Its crown jewels are much sought after icon.



From Ground Zero we sauntered down to China town, past Wallstreet, and down to the Staten Island Ferry.  The skies had turned from blue to grey, and with the forecast for rain the following day, we opted to get ourselves within sight of the Statue of Liberty before the weather obliterated all hopes.

To our delight, the ferry to Staten island doesn't cost a dime.  With Ferry's coming and going every 20 minutes, it wasn't long before we found ourselves cruising past the Lady of Liberty.

It was truly cool to behold.


Getting on the Staten Island Ferry.  





I think this bird has been following us since Maine.



It was sometime in the early evening that our feet gave out.  Walking around all day on concrete just isn't the same as taking a long hike in the mountains.  At many points you just stand there, on ground like rock.

With spirits high and bodies beaten we caught the subway to Brooklyn and found some nice Thai Cuisine.  Being true Thai snobs...we were pleasantly surprised and impressed with our entrees.  It was hot and tasty!  Yum.

After dinner we caught a subway to another part of B-town where Jessie lives. Within a couple hours we were happily sawing logs on a futon.
This guy looks how we felt after a full day in NYC
Day 2 NYC was a little mellower.  In the morning we stopped by a cute cafe', ate some tasty vittles, and were soon riding with Jessie back towards Manhattan.  Once back on the island we said our farewells to Jessie who had work to attend to.  Feeling quite beat from the previous day we opted to take it easy.  We were soon reclining on a bench in Central Park, drinking some tasty java, and watching runners and walkers get their exercise fix.  

Our only real agenda for the day was to wander around the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Some friends we met at Rumney had mentioned a phenomenal Armor exhibit and cheap entry as reason enough to check out the Met.  In addition, they have art from Ancient Egyptian mummies to the most abstract Modern type mind bogglers.  Here are some pictures from the Met.



Henry the VIII wore this armor towards the end of his life.  Big guy?

I never will imagine late medieval chivalry the same.  quite the package of armor.

Just imagine running into an ancient soldier wearing this helmet.  Rrrrrrraaaarrrr!

After 4 hours (mostly standing) at the Met, we were done for, and getting hungry too.  Therefore, we headed back to Grand Central, purchased some return tickets and chinese food, and a couple hours later were back home at West Point; cause naturally, home is where 'the van is'.  Not sure if we'll ever return to New York, but, we leave feeling satisfied that we've truly seen the Big Apple.  Now if I could just get that New York, New York song out of my head...






Friday, November 5, 2010

Brrrrrr, New England part 3. The End.

Tiffers reclining atop Moat Mt.  We huddled behind an enormous cairn.
It is difficult to believe that roughly 3 weeks has elapsed since our last entry!  And so it goes, that we are now in West Virginia, with nary a shred of cyber journalism to leave witness to our most recent adventures.

Fortunately, I've got ample time and opportunity to bring current the Gilkison Saga...  Today is a rest day at the New River Gorge and the weather has turned foul!  Tiffers and I had been observing the weather in these parts for weeks leading up to our migration South.  For the most part high's were in the 60's, 70's and sometimes 80's (the latter of which is quite warm for late Fall conditions).  But, some shift has recently occurred and snow and colder weather is around for a couple days.  We're holed up in our friend Carrie and John's Cabin in the WV woods, stoking a marvelous fire, and enjoying good company, reading, and food!  Without further ado, this is what has gone down, and what we have been about.

October 16th we awoke in North Conway.  Wind and torrential downpour had pounded our rig all night, but by morning the squall had subsided, and we were greeted by mostly clear skies (though the wind hadn't dried up).  With showers still a possibility we decided to forgo climbing, and take a hike.  After harvesting some ideas in the book section at EMS, we settled on a 10 mile loop up Moat Mountain.  Tiff did some camera phone memorization of our chosen route; because, honestly, it was quite complicated, and I had no doubt that without written aid we would be lost.  This was later to be verified by the many unmarked trails and turnoffs that would have otherwise baffled us.  We had a great adventure hiking Moat Mountain, and managed to not get blown away or otherwise completely hosed.  On the decent we did have to stay on our toes while pummeling 60-70 mph gusts assailed us crosswise; and there were several points that we thought we were goners.  Rough stuff up there folks!  I understand only too clearly now how Mt. Washington can have the highest confirmed wind gusts on Earth.

With slightly more stable weather the following day we opted to check out Cathedral Ledge.  This wall had been on my radar for some time; it having played a significant historical roll in the lexicon of American rock climbing crags.  Like Index back home, this place also has fickle weather.  For this reason I wasn't able to get on the classic Prow(11+), Edge of the World(13c), or Liquid sky(13b).  In fact, with recent rains and newly accumulated debris, we were happy to scrap our ways up Recompense (5.9). I'm not sure if it was just the damp rock...but I thought it quite burly for the grade.  The highlight of the climb was an amazing finishing corner taking us to the very top of the Ledge.  On the summit we found lots of tourist who had driven up, and were amazed that we had surmounted this wicked face!  And no, we didn't bang in any of them "Iron Pegs"...though, we did use quite a few of them snap clips.  Not to denigrate the less knowledgable neophyte, I'm always quite happy to explain the process, and to illuminate that it isn't really scary, and really no big deal.

Having only spent one day at Whitehorse and another at Cathedral we hoisted sail, and set our sights for Rumney.  Upon our return we found the scene much more palatable.  The crowds that we first had experienced had all but gone (which we soon found out why).  Tiffany took it easy during our first day back due to a sore wrist.  Fortunately, I was able to climb in with my buddy Mike Patz (and crew), a Harvard Medical Student that I first ran into while in Squamish, B.C.  Over the next few days I was able to tick a few 13's and some 12+'s, despite ever worsening weather.  Tiffany was also able to start climbing again, though her wrist kept her on more moderate terrain.  Personally, I think climbing with completely numb fingertips, hands, and feet just isn't that much fun.  One morning we woke up to actual snow wafting through the air.  Yeah, I don't mind sucking up some gnarly weather once in a while, if that is what I have to do.  But, when your traveling and have the mobility and flexibility to change latitude...that is what you do my friends.  SOUTH!

The Hamlet of Rumney as seen from Rattlesnake Mountain.

The flying hobbit keeping it static on Man Overboard 12d.
For those of you non-climbers, this position shown to the right is only possible because I'm jamming my knee into a large hole while pushing with that legs same foot.  The technique is called aptly, the "knee-bar".  This particular 80 foot route finishes with a steep roof; and I was quite happy to find a great knee bar before the crux.

The rock here is 'Schist' amazing.  Gotta say I really liked Rumney and only wished it was a little bit more friendly for the traveling climber.

That said, it is still worth a visit!


















Raining and 37 degrees f.  This just wasn't super motivating weather.  During these less than ideal conditions the van really came into its own.   We just really love our diesel heater!










The locals at Rumney are not only knowledgeable regarding route information...they are just great people.  We very much enjoyed everyone we met and look forward to seeing them down the turnpike.  The shot above was taken during a particularly grim morning.  Great times boys!

Almost looks like a typical day at Little Si, WA.

But, all good things must end; and they were just as happy to go climbing in the cold rain.  Right on guys!  Hope you'll found some dry rock.

After seeing our house guests wander into the Rumney wilderness we hoisted anchor once again, and set the helm for New London, NH.  An hour later we arrived at my Uncle Tom and Aunt Liz's places in the New Hampshire hills.  It was so great to see them again!  15 years was just too long. They were nothing less than magnanimous in their hospitality. Furthermore, nothing says love more than family Home Cooking!  Endless thanks goes to these wonderful people for spoiling us rotten.  :)  Sometimes this is just what the doctor ordered.


Next stop was West Point, NY.  According to our trusty navigational tool (i-phone) our route should have taken us roughly 4 hours.  Well, 6.5 hours later we arrived at Chris and Heather Miller's house in West Point.  There could have potentially been a quicker route.  But, after having lost serious coin on the drive out to Toll Roads, we decided to avoid them altogether.  

We were starving, and luckily just in time for dinner (which was excellent). Our next plan of attack was to blitzkrieg New York City.  Driving the van into the city wasn't really an option for us.  But, the Miller's were kind enough to allow us to park our rig at West Point and even drive us across the Hudson to the Garrison Train Station.  We felt very safe knowing that our van was in a military compound.




Tiffany very much appreciated getting caught up with her College roommate Heather, and getting to know her Son Nathaniel!

The autumn colors were still quite nice around West Point.  The shot to the left shows some of the West Point housing as seen from the Garrison Train Station.

To be continued....