Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Liberty Harbor and New York City

You don't want to drive an RV in New York City, and you'll certainly not find anywhere to park it! We were booked to do some seminars for a senior center in Manhattan called Senior Planet. So, we looked for an RV park where we could commute into the city and found Liberty Harbor. If you're looking for a camping spot with trees and nature trails, this definitely is not it. But, then again, why would you be looking for that when you want proximity to New York City? It is just a parking lot, with tight spaces. But it has 50 amp hookups, 24 hour security, and helpful friendly staff.

Most of all, it is convenient to the city. Just a short walk in one direction gets you to the waterfront where you can hop on a ferry and enjoy crossing the Hudson river straight to the docks at One World Trade Center. Our first day there had nothing scheduled, so we played tourist and paid the $35 to go to the top! OMG what a view.

When we came down we visited the 9/11 Memorial. What a brilliant design that pays tribute to those who died, and provides a moving and meditative place to reflect on what happened here. All with a beautiful and symbolic space that hits you with the hole that was left in the city on that day.

From there, we took a subway, and did some walking to get to the Senior Planet facility so we knew where to go the next day. Then, the rest of the day was for walking and sightseeing.
According to my Google Maps timeline, we walked nearly 7 miles that day! Here's the map:

And, here's some pictures:

We walked and walked until it started getting dark. When I took a look and saw that the last ferry was at 10 and it was already after 9 - we used our Uber app on our phone and caught a quick ride and all was well. (not to worry, there was another ferry that went close to our destination and ran all night)

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Jonathan and Newport

I went to high school with a lot of talented young musicians, and I am impressed at how many of them have become talented old musicians! I didn't know them well in high school, but got reacquainted at an informal reunion a few years ago - see the blog post, including some video of the music. One of the musicians is Jonathan Tennis, and we knew that he has a summer gig in Newport Rhode Island. So, when we saw we were going to be close, we planned a stop nearby so we could hear him play.

What a great spot - The Port Seafood Grill & Bar. We found seats that faced the open sunset view and were still close to the music with Jonathan as he played all our favorite Jimmy Buffet, James Taylor, and lots more.

Here's just a few seconds of video from our cellphone to give you the flavor.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cape Cod and Mass Good Sam

Hmmmm - we had 3-4 days with nothing planned, we're in the Boston area and next stop is Liberty Harbor RV across from New York City. hmmm, what to do? Up pops a message from a Facebook friend,
Chris, our Good Sam chapter "Fox's Den" will be at Scusset State Beach Safari we invite you to be our guest.
Well, All Righty then! It's settled. Thanks so much Bob!
Scusset State Beach is on the Cape Cod Canal. I've never been to Cape Cod. I'm excited.
We've "known" Bob for quite a few years as he's arranged for us to present seminars remotely to his Good Sam group. This was our first time to meet in person! We had a great time, starting with a steak dinner cookout, and then watching the big ships go thru the canal. This group camps together often in this spot. I can see why. It's right on the canal, and just across a few sand dunes from the beach.

The next day we just had to take a drive to Provincetown - the heart of Cape Cod. We were good tourists and climbed to the top of the Pilgrim Monument Tower. You see, contrary to popular belief, the pilgrims on the Mayflower did not land at Plymouth first ... they landed here, at Provincetown.

We lucked out and had a perfectly gorgeous day for exploring Provincetown. It was also a very crowded day! We had to wait in line a while to get seated at the Lobster Pot, but then, look where they seated us! Wow. And, the food was good too.

Here's the little movie we put together using Google Photos. A great weekend, thanks to Bob and Fox's Den!

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thru the Generations: A Genealogy Stop in Massachusetts

I have vowed that I'm not getting into genealogy! We know people who are devoted students of their family history, and it is a great hobby for travelers. Gives you a reason to study an area if you have ancestors from there. But, we already have too many past times. I am indebted to Connie Bradish who took it upon herself to follow some of my family history and verified that these are my ancestors. It is kind of fun to know this stuff!

When I knew we were going to be in the Boston area, it struck a chord. A few months ago, I ran across this postcard at my Mom's house. My Great-Grandmother's name was Mae Manning, and this is apparently her ancestral home. I don't think she ever lived there, she was from Michigan. But it was definitely her ancestors who built it in 1696! I found Billerica on the map, just northwest of Boston. Right where we were already planning to go to visit Jim's nephew, Stephen.

We found an Elk's lodge nearby where we could park. I had to go.

I understood that the Tea Tavern was no longer there, but we were delighted to find a pub in its place, John Ryan's Pub, so we could sit and have a beer and a snack. And, the delightful manager - a young man from Nepal! used his key to let us into the restored residence ... the "Manse" part.

For the other end of the generational spectrum, we were able to make arrangements to visit with Jim's nephew Stephen and his wonderful wife, Sarah. Believe it or not, these are the real geeks in the Guld family. We just caught them home, and we were so glad. They just returned from attending cyber security conferences out in Las Vegas. Devcon and Blackhat. There was some fun conversations around this dinner table! Fun for geeks anyway!

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Monday, August 08, 2016

FMCA Rally at the Big "E" in Massachusetts

Kind of like you'll find two major drugstore chains with locations in the same block, the major RV rallies seem to be scheduling themselves near each other. So, we end up with two big rallies right in a row. We were at Escapade in Vermont from July 22-30, then the FMCA rally started August 3. Although I appreciate not having to criss-cross the country and arrange our whole year according to the rallies, it would be nice to have a little more time between the two. We enjoy the rallies and have fun, but we are also working pretty hard. We're exhausted by the end of a rally. Even more so at the end of two rallies back-to-back. Luckily, the grounds here at the Eastern States Exposition, provide for staying parked after the rally at $20/night. The rally was over on Saturday - now it's Monday and we're still here. The Internet was good enough for us to do our "Button" show on Sunday. This was episode #90 on Sync'ing Contacts.

From Essex Junction, Vermont we came pretty much straight here. We needed to get some printing done, and because of a dynamite FMCA discount at Office Depot/Office Max - we always look for them. Using Google Maps, we found that there are none in West Springfield, so we looked afield and found an Office Max in Albany, NY that we could route thru. They had a big parking lot so we just stayed there for the night while we waited for our printing job to get done.
I wonder how often Office Max hear's this: Them, "I'm sorry sir, but we won't be able to complete your order until tomorrow. We can't do it while you wait."  Us, "That's OK, we'll wait. Our bed is in your parking lot!"
We had planned to stay at a campground west of the rally for the couple of nights before, but when we got there, we saw no Verizon signal (or any other) so we simply turned around and kept on driving. They were able to accommodate us early at the Expo grounds - yay! We're all set. Let the rally begin!

Here was our schedule for the FMCA rally:

There's nothing quite like an RV rally. You are at home ... in your motorhome. Here's Jim grilling our dinner.
But, your neighborhood was just thrown together for a few days and includes hundreds of other RVs. In this case, about 1,300 others. We're here to work, but "work" is just a short walk from our RV door. There are friends and frolick galore, and even live entertainment most every night.

Our work started at 7am on the first morning, when people came to register for our one fee-based workshop on smartphone photography. Many of these people, like Chuck - in front - we know well and see at many rallies all over the country.
I think we overextended ourselves a bit at this rally. It's only 4 days long, and we did 7 of our seminars, Jim also sat on a panel for the Fulltime RVer's seminar - AND - we had our fee-based workshop for 30 people with 2.5 hours of teaching on smartphone photography. The weather was gorgeous all week, but warm, and the seminar facilities had no air conditioning. I think there is an extra stress that comes from trying to speak to a group over the roar of industrial-size fans used to keep us cool. One night we were in bed and sound asleep by 8 o'clock.

When we weren't in seminar, we were at our table being "Smartphone Help Desk." We love that! It's so good to work with people on their personal devices and show them how to accomplish what they want. And, see so many different phones teaches us a lot too!

One Teaches, Two  Learn
The smiling blonde to Jim's left is Joyce. We're so glad to have her helping us at these rallies! She is also helping us with our website. Thanks Joyce!

This is what we mean by a "Hands-on" class. aka "Learn by Doing" We teach how to use your smartphone's camera functions, and also how to use Google Photos for Storing, Organizing, and Sharing all your photos.

This is the "Honey, Tell Me Where To Go" seminar about Google Maps, and other software for Trip Planning

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