July 22, 2008
The past three days have been most adventurous for our roving band of family crossing the country. There is much to tell.
In the Boston MA area, we were up early and at church with the Belmont 1st Ward at 8:30 am on Sunday. Nice church services and we felt like we were where we were supposed to be. But the real surprise came as we drove out of the chapel 3 hrs later, made two turns and saw the welcome sign to the Boston LDS Temple, right there just a short distance away (couldn't be seen for all the trees). We pulled in to see this beautiful, majestic, sacred House of the Lord there on a hilltop in a suburb of Boston. It is quite an edifice, and made the Sabbath day simply perfect for us.
Things we did on Saturday, and later on Sunday at the Minuteman National Park in Lexington and Concord, MA, thrilled us to learn what really happened on that fateful day that began the American Revolutionary War. We learned things that were never taught in our high school history classes - but should have been. We walked along the path the British and American soldiers followed, shooting at each other with those old-time muskets, with gunsmoke surrounding them. We learned the British wore red so they could be more easily seen admist that smoke. We learned that while at first the British prevailed, at one point later the American minutemen, coming from miles around outnumbered the British and inflicted serious causalties. That first day was really a defeat of the British and the feeling spurred on the efforts that led to the full war and all its agony and challenge. But the outcome was God-inspired and we were proud to be Americans with all that we learned. This really was the beginning of the Revolution.
Sunday afternoon we thought we would visit the "freedom trail" in downtown Boston. But we forgot to check the skies and left our umbrellas behind. After parking the car and walking for 30 minutes or so, it began to sprinkle. We were out in the open and tried to get under cover, but it was too late. We got wet, then wetter and then wettest...Riley really liked that part!! We had to hold Riley back from running out into the rain, kicking his heels up, and ?maybe breaking out in a strain of "Singing in the Rain". His black Sunday shoes were now blue from the rain. Mom's Sunday denim skirt was getting heavier from the moisture and a challenge to run in. We ducked in under an awning, and it really started to rain in torrents -- raining cats and dogs and critters. Finally it slowed down, and we started to walk further up the trail, to Paul Revere's home. But then it started to rain again. Then there was a crack of thunder louder than any of us have ever heard -- it caused us (and others around us) to literally jump from surprise. So over to another awning for protection. Then it came in torrents and torrents -raining cows, horses, and with the lighting the rare white elephant. More crackling thunder & lighting, with car alarms going off and other people laughing from relief they didn't get hit! - a real show from Mother Nature. And we got even more wet. And mom was still trying to keep her hair protected with a soggy map of the Freedom Trail. So much for enjoying historic downtown Boston.
Our time gone, we had to be on our way to southern Connecticut. We spent that night in New Haven, Connecticut in a Motel 8 -- and we vowed never again to stay in another Motel 8 (even changed a future reservation later next week to another hotel). A word to the wise. Cleanliness, size of rooms, sparce breakfast, and the overall "feel" were the reasons.
On Monday morning we were off for the Big city: the Big Apple, New York City. Thank goodness for Tomtom, our GPS helper, because there were so many roads, so many turns, so many options that we certainly could have gotten lost without that help (how did we ever do without it in the past?). We drove up to our hotel in Flushing, NY -- and immediately decided that would NOT be the place we would be staying in that night. No parking. No room on the road even to unload. Chinese characters on signs (and Chinese people on the streets) everywhere. One way street in front, tight, cramped, and a total foreign feeling. Flushing was a clogged toilet at its best. It might have been okay if we were in a foreign country, but not here in the USA; it was a ghetto! -- let's get out of here! So we decided we would find a different hotel for the night. Red Roof Inn in a city 20 miles away --here we come! Parking, clean, nice -- but no internet nor breakfast. Sorry, that is the reason we did not post on schedule last night.
But we were here to experience NYC, not Long Island, so we took the afternoon train into downtown Manhatten to see the sights: Empire State Building, Broadway, 5th Avenue, Times Square, Central Park, pretzels on the streets, and people, people, people!!! You can't walk a decent speed down those streets! You feel like a pin ball bouncing from one bumper to another.
Purchases were made for memories and practicality- T-shirts for the boys, a watch, sun glasses, and a cold drink or two to deal with the heat. It was a great experience: Riley's reaction: "This is amazing!!". Mom's reaction: "Central Park is humongous!", and Tyson said: "New York is awesome". Dad's comment: "It's just like it looks in the movies!" Riley noted a number of men wearing capris -- thought they were just for women; maybe there is a change coming. And we noted that, like we have seen throughout the East, there is on every corner, on every street, a Dunkin' Donut shop. They must like donuts in the East like Utah likes ice cream and jello in the West. Or is it that donuts go well with that coffee stuff they all drink? What is that all about?
Tuesday morning we returned by car (don't do that -- pretty expensive parking in lower Manhatten) through the maze of roads to get where we could see Lady Liberty. We saw Battery Park, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island (these two from a distance) and Wall Street. And yes, more people, people, people. We found they have some very beautiful areas in this hustle, bustle area -- we walked through a gorgeous park, and along a nice, peacful esplanade. And as we left we traversed the Lincoln Tunnel -- underground and underwater and into New Jersey. We looked in vain to see Godzilla atop any building, but imagined the many things that have and do happen in this unique part of the USA. And everywhere we saw those great men in blue -- the New York Police Department (they are everywhere). Riley learned that this is now the safest city in the USA because of NYPD.
Tuesday afternoon was a drive through the Garden State - New Jersey. While dad was at a meeting, the two boys enjoyed a hotel pillow fight -- six pillows flying back and forth from one end of the room to the other, leaps from the beds, and war hoops (sorry, hotel neighbors, but boys will be boys!!). For dinner we almost went to "Chickie's and Pete's" just down the road -- but when the people inside looked at us as we walked in (two parents and two children) the looks could have shouted - 'you're going to bring kids in here?' Guess a diner with neon lights, and beer on the shelves at the bar isn't a good idea. We decided instead to go for a family diner further down the street. There Riley experienced a crab cake sandwich for the first time, and the rest of us ate superbly too. A good ending to a busy day.
We now head further south before returing west. More to come!