|And WHY did we take the Eastern Seaboard route to avoid Washington DC?|
Before even arriving downtown, we discovered that you should just plan on everything in or around New York (well, the East coast in general) to take twice as long as you thought it would.
|Took me 3 days to get this shot...if nothing else, you can't say I'm not stubborn :-)|
We had a great evening with Kelly and Michael, parting ways after good Italian food and wine, with plans to go the "the Met" the next day. The next morning Kelly called to say she had spent the night in the ER. She is fine, just tired and sore. So, Bill and I (being flexible) changed our plans. We made a valiant effort to see "Ground Zero," but were unable to secure parking of the monster truck. Instead we drove around the "Ground Zero" site, saw the sculpture being worked on (beautiful),
found and old fashioned hardware store in Kelly's "hood":
Now, to know Bill and I at all, is to know that THIS (old hardware stores) kind of place gets us very excited! We spent an hour roaming the place.
New York is great for many things, and not so great for others....but, it's capacity to present neighborhoods that feel like neighborhoods is unmistakable, and witnessed twice on our second day there. After leaving the hardware store, we paused outside on a bench with Tessa on her leash. Shortly, a local woman, on a stroll with her dog, stopped to chat. 45 minutes later we were passing our business card along to her and feeling like we had made a new friend.
Before leaving this conversation, our new friend had directed us to a nearby restaurant which would allow us to sit outside to have a drink, with Tessa by our side (more importantly, she gave us the inside scoop on keeping Tessa outside of the fence for it to work).
We made an early evening of it, and Bill and I retired, excited to be going to The Statue of Liberty the next morning. As it turned out, flexibility would need to be tapped into once again. In the morning we roamed the streets of New York for two hours seeking a parking space, so that we could visit Miss Liberty. Alas, we now fully realize, parking spaces for 1 ton Chevy's with duallys do not exist in New York, and with great disappointment, we abandoned our plans and pointed the monster truck south. The greatest disappointment of all that day was not getting that one last hug from Kelly :-( Lesson learned: next time, rent a small car and leave Tessa at the hotel.
Still, it was worth the trip just to see, even briefly, the Baby Girl
Heading back south, as we had done on the way north, we overnighted with our friends Tom and Linda in Yorktown, VA.
Though we arrived just in time for a wonderful repast provided by Linda and a comfy bed, we squeezed out enough time in the morning to catch breakfast with them at a local favorite "Pappys" and visit Yorktown Battlefield:
Too soon our visit came to a close as we were due back at the Lighthouse for the final "full moon night climb" of the year.
|257 up and 257 down|
Back to work and exciting plans to FINALLY climb the Bodie
|The answer is "yes", there is a man flying a large kite from the top of the lighthouse!|
rather expected that. BUT, what we didn't expect hit us hard the next day when visiting Bodie lighthouse (our sister lighthouse). We did not expect to find a government owned lighthouse in such pristine condition as to shame our infamous Hatteras Lighthouse . It left us embarrassed for the condition of Hatteras. I am left wondering why the most famous and photographed lighthouse in the world has been let go until it is (at least inside) a mere shadow of itself.
The light alone tells the story:
Bodie Island original "1st Order Fresnel lens".
They both still warn Mariners for 20 miles, but the Hatteras light lacks the romanticism of it's origins. AND, as far as money is concerned? You can bet few National Park bring in the kind of money Hatteras does, and, THAT doesn't even begin to address the fact that Hatteras is the most famous and most photographed Lighthouse in the world! Bill and I are now on a mission to correct this wrong. Stay tuned!
So, it was back to work, with this hanging heavy on our hearts. As the end of our season was at hand and a final "going away" partying in the offing, we did not have time to dwell on it.
This last party, sending the balance of the "seasonals" off, was a beach party. We positioned ourselves at the Old Lighthouse Site where no artificial light would interfere with our view of the new Lighthouse location. As usual, Bill was in charge of the fire, and by default, the cooking.
|Smore's were being served up before the main course|
|IT WAS A LOVELY, BREEZY EVENING|
A brief explanation of the previously used term "seasonals":
Seasonal Rangers make up a majority of the workforce for our National Parks. They do a fabulous job, under very trying circumstances. Much like Bill and I, Seasonals work at a park for 4 to 6 months, they scout around and apply for positions they are interested in, the competition is HUGE they are often posted far from their home, friends and family, live in "Government" housing (yes, it is as bad as it sounds)..... and all for the LOVE of the job! BUT, unlike Bill and I, THIS is their PAYING job, their sole support. They never know from one 6 month period to the next, where (or if) they will be working the next 6 months. In many cases, on average, it takes 10 years for a Seasonal to attain a position as a "Permanent" Ranger. These are highly educated young people and their sacrifice is great! We applaud their dedication!
Monday was "Columbus Day", the last day for climbing the lighthouse this season (save the "winter climb" December 13th). The Visitor Center and Museum remain open year round. Thus, when we returned from our days off, it was a very different job. With all of the "seasonals" gone....just Bill and I and one other volunteer running the show. If we weren't here, themuseum
With Bill driving to Chesapeake, VA (3.25 hours) to consult with a plastic surgeon, I was on my own Thursday, running the show. I spent the day in the museum and had a GREAT many awesome conversations!
Have you ever met someone and had an instant "connection" with them, a conversation intellectually stimulating. In which this person really gets what you're saying and continues to pick at your brain? Leaves you feeling like you want to take them home? I had that experience while in the museum on my 1st day back, post season. Would it surprise you, as it did me, that this person was a nine year old boy? His Dad was very patient while this little guy picked my brain for 45 minutes. It made for a fulfilling day....the kind of day that makes all of our efforts really worthwhile.
That brings us to yesterday when, while working the VC (Visitor Center) Ranger desk, Bill made a new friend, which will likely lead us to Rocky Mountain National Park at the end of this coming summer for a short stint.
PS: we have been approved by the "committee" of Christ Community Church, and our assignment at "Camp Zion" in Ellison Bay, Door County, Wisconsin for summer 2015 locked in. We are so excited about this opportunity to serve:-)
A few of my favorite random shots:
|At the North Carolina Aquarium|
|Walking the streets of the West Village|
|Friend of ours|
Until next time: GO WITH GOD!