A Travellerspoint blog

Driving in the Big Apple (NYC, Manhattan)


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When our rerouting to Delaware became apparent we hesitated for some time to stop in New York City or not. It is a great city to visit but we have small kids and a dog so it is not so easy to get around attractions with them. So I looked for options and I found some state parks close to Manhattan with camping/RV facilities! Unfortunately they are not open for the 2022 season. Another option was in New Jersey, just across Manhattan in a marina. We felt it is a must to stop by if we are there, so we decided to book two nights there and spend one afternoon and the next full day in NYC!

The next step was to decide on the way to the campsite. We spent the last three days on farms and private properties in Maine, Massachusets and Connecticut getting quite close to NY. So the 100 miles for the arrival day seemed like a piece of cake, even in heavy city traffic at the end. However I have some experience with low bridges, a lesson learnt the hard way. So I started to check the route for possible obstacles. I was very happy to find out that the Holland Tunnel is a higher than our rig so my plan was to follow I-95 as a safe bet, then circle around Manhattan on the Eastern side and finally cross the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey. Enroute to NYC we needed a quick stop so I pulled out of the Interstate at Rye and by a nice coincidence we stopped in front of a Montessori school with a nice playground next to it.

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Sometimes plans need to be revisited so as we approached New York the first surprise came: a large sign saying "No trucks/RVs on Parkways". Oooops, our plan to circle around Manhattan involves a parkway, which is a no-no with trailers/RVs. Thinking about my past memories many years ago I came up with an idea: I remember seeing delivery trucks and buses on the Avenues, so 2nd Avenue should be no problem for us! Sounds good until Holland Tunnel and at least we see more of Manhattan! With a bit of circling around a block we got into 2nd Avenue. The traffic was not too bad on a Saturday morning so we were progressing well. A lot of lane closures and constructions going on and changing lanes with the loooooong trailer was sometimes a challenge but we managed with a relatively small number of others honking on us.

When we got really close to Holland Tunnel a second surprise came. Although we would fit in height-wise, trailers are not allowed according to a sign! So we stopped at the end of Canal Street after leaving the ramp for the tunnel and restarted our planning again. I checked the map and the next possible option to New Jersey was the Washington Bridge, which is almost exactly as high North updown where we started our Manhattan tour! Shit, this will take another hour or so and it was already lunchtime, all kids and ourselves getting grumpy due to the long drive and the hunger! Anyway, no other way so press on!

We drove up North on the Amsterdam Avenue which was closed around the Central Park so we changed to the Broadway and almost completed our 25 miles / 3,5 hours Manhattan City Tour with a 32 feet / 10m trailer. Everyone was very hungry so we looked for a parking spot on the side of the road which we finally found just before entering the Washington Bridge. When I stopped the car the rain started and in a minute it was a heavy storm, raining like cats and dogs again!

I could not even leave the car and my phone got a warning message of quick floods across New Jersey, exactly the area we planned to drive through. We waited less and less patiently and after fifteen minutes I jumped out of the car, run to the trailer door to open it and had a nice shower on the way. It was warm summer rain so not a big problem. The kids enjoyed their run as well and at 15:30 we had our lunch in the trailed, on a small bridge overlooking the Washington Bridge in a storm.

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Afterwards the grumpiness was gone, the kids were smiling again and I was also refreshed and relieved after completing my real life practical tow exam across Manhattan. The Washington Bridge was amazingly huge, a two storey steel structure first opened to traffic in 1931. It is worth reading how it was built on this link.

We still had some narrower streets across Jersey City and finally arrived to our city campsite just across Manhattan. Most parts of the Manhattan drive was recorded and you can watch it here:

After all we spent one and a half days in the City and it was worth it for sure!

Posted by divatmotoros 14:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

From Saint John, NB to New York City


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Learning from the trip from Delaware to Montreal we planned about 300 kms per day for our detour to Philadelphia. On our longer drives I looked for one night stopovers at farms and private properties on HarvestHosts which is the US equivalent of Terego.ca in Canada.

Our first stop was at the border crossing from Canada to the USA. The US officer was very kind and we were invited inside for the document checks and the biometric data was also recorded. We spent about half an hour in the US customs building and we were let into the USA without any issues. The car and the trailer was not even inspected inside, I am not sure if they forgot or if this was not necessary.

After our planned drive the first overnight location was Twin Maple Lane in Pittsfield, Maine. The kind couple greeted us and we were the first guests visiting them via HarvestHosts (while it was the first visit through this website for us as well). There was a nice little river on the other side of the road and the kids enjoyed the swings for the rest of the evening.

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Then we travelled to Holden, Massachusetts and we had a nice chat with the owner of this small town home who is a long time RV-er himself, travelling to Florida in an RV for the winter months. My son was invited to their RV and he was asking his "What's this" question about a hundred times, pointing to the different technical parts of the other RV. All questions answered, our water tank filled. We also walked to the nearby school where the kids played on the playground and Echo was running wildly on the football field. After a good night sleep we returned to the playground and after some further play we went on.

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Last stop before New York City was in Connecticut, at the March Farm in Bethlehem. There were goats and blueberries at the farm and a nice little pond with frogs and a big pump, where the tractors were filling their trailers' tanks to provide water to the rest of the farm. We had nice burgers for dinner and another good night sleep.

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I started some maintenance work on the trailer as our right light goes off sometimes and refuses to work. I plan to write a more technical post about all the maintenance issues I did so far so tech-savvy readers hang on for a while!

The next morning we started around 9 for the 100 mile trip to New York, we planned to have lunch there. Well, it happened, not exactly at noon but rather about 15:30 and not exactly at our campsite but somewhere half way there. How? Why? Read about it here (soon).

Posted by divatmotoros 10:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Jack Kerouac: On the road


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In my late teenage years Hobo, a Hungarian blues singer was one of my hero. Here is a concert of him I also attended:

On top of Hobo Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac were my USA heroes. His book "On the road" simply made so much sense. A huge contrast to the mandatory readings of the disconnected and hard to follow greek mythology and Hungarian and Russian writers from the 17th-18th century.

We passed by Lowell, the town where he was born and also buried in the Edson Cemetery.
So we had to stop and make a tribute to his grave, thanking him all the hours helping me escape from my teenage reality. And after all, we are on the road.

"Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'
'Where we going, man?'
'I don't know but we gotta go."
-Jack Kerouac: On the road

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Posted by divatmotoros 21:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Revisiting our plans, aka flexibility


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After a few weeks on the Eastern coast of Canada we planned to move to the West, seeing Toronto then further West across Ontario, Manitoba and Saskachewan before arriving to Alberta. We are visiting a friend there and they are also amid campers so gave a lot of good tips. We also plan to spend some time together offgrid! But on such a long trip you need to be flexible and an earlier mistake forces us to take a bit longer drive to Toronto, as we need to stop by in Delaware, USA.

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Although it was not planned like this we are fine with this change. Maine in the USA will be a scenic drive and we wanted to find new challenges on this trip, one of them being able to accept things you can not control. Here is another one.

The earlier mistake was related to our car's registration process. The dealer where we bought the car said there is no need to do anything in person in Delaware and they will take care of the plates. That time I did not check this myself on the website of DMV but believed the dealer. Now, after a month later it became clear that we should have visited a DMV office in Delaware to show the car's Vehicle Identification Number which we did not at the time I picked up the car.

As this step can not be done remotely in any way now we need to get back there and have it done. So it be, we are excited to see this part of the USA as well! Now we plan to explore Maine, pass Boston, Philadelphia, New York to Wilmington, Delaware and then up North to the Niagara Falls near Toronto. Compared to driving back through Canadian land (Quebec) it is just 500 kms longer and it is told to be an epic drive! Will see.

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Posted by divatmotoros 04:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Reversing Falls in Saint John, NB

sunny 24 °C
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We have already learned about the highest tide of the world at Fundy National Park and now we have seen the Reversing Falls at Saint John, NB, which is, well, reversing. Every six hours the river is "pushed back" by the high tide of the sea.
The first part of the video was shot at aroun 3pm, at low tide, then the river was flowing "normally" to the sea. The second part of the video was shot at 9:30pm, at the highest tide, then the seawater flows into the river bed and the falls is reversing.

In the background there is a large paper factory of Irving.

Posted by divatmotoros 16:55 Archived in Canada Tagged tide saint_john revering_falls Comments (0)

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