Sunday, July 14, 2019

Our Final Days in NJ -- Homeland of the The Sopranos

Oh, my.  I have been remiss in keeping you updated on our travels.  I’m still telling ya about NJ, and we have been in Vermont for a month! Let me catch up…

We were enjoying immensely our time volunteering at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Basking Ridge, NJ ( We met some terrific RVing folks that we are sure we will see down the road. In fact, we are hoping to all get reunited in Arizona in January 2020.  Most importantly, though, we had a chance to visit with lifelong friends from NJ, like my favorites, Aunt Maureen and Uncle Ted.  Though we share no blood line, they are truly our “family”.  They are kind, caring, folks who devote themselves to helping animals at their farm, from adopting retired police horses that lost their sight, to dogs with severe medical conditions, to stray cats that need to be spayed/neutered.   My parents met them more than 30 years ago, and Mom and Aunt Maureen are kindred spirits.  The bond between these soul sisters withstands all obstacles; no distance can come between them.  Uncle Ted has not been well and has been hospitalized multiple times this summer.  So we were so glad to be back in NJ to offer encouragement and emotional support in person to this special couple.

We also had an opportunity to see Dad’s best buddy Kevin and his wife Ellen.  Kevin and Dad go back to high school days, Kevin was an attendant in my parents’ wedding party, and the professional paths of Kevin and Dad have crossed many times throughout their careers.  We entertained them at Mama’s Café Baci in Hackettstown, NJ (, having had a wonderful lunch there  recently ourselves.  Mama’s has an extensive, unique menu, offering “duets” of many delectable choices.  (Why settle for one entrée choice when you can get a nicely-sized portion of two?) As we learned from the owner, who made a point of speaking to all the patrons, you can even devise your own combos.  There is also a special menu the size of an Epistle for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and even Keto-conscious dieters! Eating here was a trifecta: the best Italian food we have EVER enjoyed, exemplary service, and a great atmosphere (including some live music) to share good times with good friends.  Mama’s earns one of my coveted 5-cheese awards!

Strolling musicians at Mama's--great rendition of Sister Golden Hair!

We enjoyed a day at the Jersey Shore on July 5.  Ironically, we rarely visited the beach towns during peak season throughout our many years of living in NJ.  Instead, we would head “down the shore” in the fall, when most of the tourists were long gone.  But we had good reason to break tradition—seeing Cecilia, a grammar and high-school mate of Mom’s, and Cecilia's main man, Michael, at Point Pleasant.  We drove to Secaucus and took the train down to Point Pleasant.  We figured it was easier than finding parking for Big Boomer, our medium duty truck, in the land of parking meters on a holiday weekend. (For those unfamiliar, the main source of revenue for NJ beach towns is issuing parking tickets for expired meters and charging for badges in order to access the public beaches).  We enjoyed an early lunch at the Local Urban Kitchen (, which touts using fresh, local ingredients.  Dad found this little treasure (and the aforementioned Mama’s, too) using his Happy Cow app, which lists vegetarian/vegan restaurant options.  Dad enjoyed a black bean burger and Mom and I found our veggie panini quite tasty.  Then as we walked the beach and the boardwalk at Jenkinson’s (, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2018, we realized that much of the place replicated the shore town of our childhood memories.  We watched folks scramble to claim their 8 square feet of beachfront property for the day and families spend a small fortune on games of chance.  I, too, dove into my cheese money.  I tried my best at Ring Toss to save my fellow stuffed toys from a life of living on a hook, but alas I was unsuccessful.   And who can forget the infamous Skeeball.  Yup, we remember Skeeball well—and nothing has changed.  Popping in money and putting all we had into tossing those balls, most of them ending up in the 10-point hole.  Grabbing those tickets as they spit out of the machine.  Honing our math skills as we tallied our points.  Holy cow—750 points!  We would run over excitedly and eye all the treasures from which we could pick our redemption prize—only to learn that for 750 points your choices were (and still are!) two pencils or a paddle with a ball attached to it with elastic.  What!  We must have spent 20 bucks--we busted our piggy banks!  Mom always reminisces about the one time she and Aunt Laurie chose a paddle/ball.  Grandma, who was an overly protective nurturer of her two princesses, cut the elastic string, saying, “You can poke your eye with that!”  (This is the same lady who took the light bulb out of the Suzy Homemaker Oven to prevent her girls from getting burned as they pulled their mini cakes out.  To know Grandma was to love her).   Soon it was time to head to Marlin’s (, a local Point Pleasant bar and grill, to hear Michael and his band play.   Shade Tree Mechanics ( has an excellent repertoire, combining rock, soul, blues, jazz, even some Zydeco.  Michael and the boys are a talented lot.  They really rocked the house!  And for a local bar/grill, Marlin’s has some tasty food.  Dad’s portobello sandwich was delicious and Mom’s beef fajita was piping hot, with the beef cooked to perfection—medium rare.  It was a wonderful day, but alas a long one, especially when we incurred a 30-minute delay on the train ride home.

Only in NJ:  For most NJ beaches, you must pay a ransom to gain access!

The crowds on the beach at Pt. Pleasant.

Pretty soon NJ will charge the seagulls to get on the beach!

The hydroponic garden at The Urban Kitchen.  Mom wants one for our RV!

The swans enjoying Lake of the Lilies in Point Pleasant

Mission Impossible:  Yours truly on the left trying my luck at ring toss to save my fellow stuffed toys from a life of hanging from a hook!

Dad, Mike from Shade Tree Mechanics, and Cecilia.  (Mom mysteriously missing from another picture).

Shade Tree Mechanics doing what they do best!  These guys rock!

I do believe that God puts us places for a reason.  In addition to Uncle Ted getting sick this summer, Aunt Laurie had a life-threatening emergency.   We decided that Dad would stay in the RV in NJ, caring for our fish and tabby cat and fulfilling our commitment to the Refuge.  Mom would head to Central NY to be with Aunt Laurie, which would require renting a car.  Enterprise Car Rental was right down the street from the Refuge in Basking Ridge, but unfortunately, they had no vehicles available.  So we needed to go to their Morristown office to pick up the car.  Dad entered the address into Gretchen, our Garmin 770 GPS.  First she tries to take us to Flemington, NJ, then she brings us to a residence with the same street address as Enterprise Car Rental, but in another town.  What an idiot!  I can get us lost just as well as Gretchen can!  Anyway, we get Mom situated, but she is panicked.  This is the first time she is driving a “normal” sized vehicle in 5 years, let alone driving by herself for over 5 hours among NJ/NY roadways late at night.  PoPo, the Rambling RV Rat to the rescue!  I decided I would go along to offer moral support to Mom and deliver get well wishes to my Aunt Laurie in the hospital.  But it turned out to be my worst road trip ever!  We hit fog, torrential rain, and crazy drivers, all in the darkness of night.  Plus the stupid “smart car” constantly dinging, beeping, or flashing every 5 minutes.  Cross the shoulder to avoid a pothole, drive too many hours straight through, go over the speed limit—ding, beep, flash!  Talk about distracted driving!  But we arrived in one piece and spent a week going from hospital to hotel room and back.  I’m happy to say Aunt Laurie recovered and got released from the hospital (I knew she was feeling better because she was arguing with Mom again).  We got her settled into her home, made sure she got her prescriptions filled and that she had adequate groceries. But we were anxious to get back home to Dad.  Not to mention I wanted to see what he brought me from the Yankee game he attended (I was pretty bummed that Mom and I didn’t get to go to the game with him as planned).  But I’m happy with my new Yankee hat  (Dad and I are wearing our new matching hats in the beach photo)!

Dad sent me a photo from Yankee Stadium

We visited Snyder's Farm in Middlebush, NJ ( to do more blueberry picking.  We only picked 2 pounds since Snyder’s charged $4/pound (more than double what we paid at DiMeo Farms in South Jersey) and they were quite tart.  We stopped at Philip Farm in Milford, NJ, but did no picking at all.  Their prices made no sense--$3.50/pound to buy berries at their farmstand, but $5/pound to pick-your-own from their patch.  (I'm paying more and I'm doing all the work!)  Not to mention Big Boomer would have had a hard time accessing their field, which was up a steep hill along a muddy dirt road.  Instead, we  stopped at  a local Subway Shop for some Veggie Delite sandwiches and headed for a picnic lunch at Hunterdon County's Hoffman Park located in Union Township, NJ.   The Park grounds once belonged to the Hoffman Beverage Company.  There was a lake, bogs, a few hiking trails, and a great view of Spruce Run Reservoir.  A sign at the Park entrance stated that a mama bear and her 2 cubs were seen in the area just a week prior to our visit.  Oh boy! I got excited for a while, but alas, our hiking included no bear sightings.  What we did encounter was a young doe and her 2 fawns.  But just as I got ready to snap a photo, this trio was spooked by a dog with an irresponsible owner who had the dog off-leash despite the signs throughout the Park indicating leashes were required.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  I love doggies and consider them a part of people's families.   So to me, if the signs say dogs must be on a leash, a responsible pet owner complies, protecting their pooch from getting in a pickle.   Just this Rambling RV Rat’s opinion…

A new friend at Snyder's Farm!

View of Spruce Run from Hoffman Park

One of the bogs on the property

The armada is coming!

Daisies exude simplicity and happiness

We toured Chester Township, NJ,  Though not chartered until 1790, its earliest settlers dated back to 1640!  We stopped at Nathan Cooper Gristmill to learn how grain was milled back in 1826, then we hiked along the Black River Trail.  The trail was well maintained with good signage, and most of the trail was in the shade, which made things much more comfortable.   As we walked along another trail that led to a butterfly garden and conservancy, we once again were warned of a recent bear sighting, this time just the prior day!  I must say I got a bit spooked because we heard quite of bit of rustling along the Yellow Route, not far from where the sign was posted.    Nope, no bear.  It was a mature doe that came darting out of the nearby woods!  We must have awakened her from her afternoon siesta!  After hiking, we returned to the motorcycles.  There is some great riding in these parts of NJ, especially along Schooley Mountain Road, which lead us to lunch and our first outstanding meal at Mama’s Café Baci.

Nathan Cooper Mill

The Mill's water wheel

This is like Highlights Magazine:  Can you find the egret in this picture?

A monarch butterfly feasting at the conservancy garden

The bees were enjoying this bloom!

Our lunch entrees at Mama's Cafe Baci...

...were soooooo good, they inspired us to entertain friends there for dinner!

Since it is located only about a mile down the road from the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, we walked over to the Raptor Trust in Millington, NJ (, a non-profit organization devoted to rehabilitating injured wild birds and providing a permanent home to those that cannot be released back to their natural habitats.  A very cool place to visit, though some of the birds were looking at me a bit funny. Probably envisioning me as their Thanksgiving dinner!

Was this guy looking at me funny?

A touching and apropos 9/11 memorial near a recovering bald eagle

I said my goodbyes to Grandma and Grandpa at the cemetery, lovingly placing artificial flowers on their graves.  It will be a long time before I get back to NJ, so it was important for me to remind them of how much I love and miss them.

While it was a rewarding experience to volunteer at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and great fun to tour cool new places and see close friends, we were ready to get out of the State of NJ, the homeland of the popular HBO show, The Sopranos.  For one thing, the bicyclists are a major nuisance.  They insist on riding on narrow, curvy roads with blind spots and no shoulders, and then try to ride next to each other!    And although one of the original 13 colonies determined to fight tyranny and government overreach, NJ has become one of the most restrictive, law-crazy states.  Did you know from January to June 1992 it was against NJ law to order eggs sunny side up?  Purchasing sparklers for your personal use for Independence Day celebrations was outlawed in NJ until 2018.  And beware, it is unlawful in NJ to pump your own gas at filling stations!  Not to mention that NJ was ranked recently #46 out of 50 as "friendliest state".  

Recognize this guy?  He is the lumberjack beneath the Pulaski Skyway as seen on "The Sopranos". 

Message to Tourists from NJ Drivers:   Welcome to NJ.  Now get the hell out of the way!

Well, we left NJ just like we arrived—in torrential rain!  We were heading back to Central NY to check up on Aunt Laurie.  As we traveled along Interstate 80, I saw the waters of the Delaware River were raging.  Fortunately, we did not encounter any road flooding and arrived safely at The Villages at Turning Stone RV Park ( in Verona, NY.  This is a lovely park operated by the Oneida Nation, conveniently located right off Interstate 90/NY State Thruway.  This is where we would have stayed for our April visit with Aunt Laurie had it not been closed yet for winter.  The Park allows a maximum of 14 consecutive days, but it is very difficult to get a site on a weekend during peak season.  There are ponds, hiking trails, a huge pool, and 24 hour/7 day a week complimentary shuttle service to the Turning Stone Casino.  The Park offered free Wi-Fi, but the signal was spotty.  The laundry room was clean and inexpensive.  We were assigned the largest pull-through site within the Park (#401).  It was plenty long enough, but a bit of a pain for getting in/out with Big Boomer after we were set-up, especially since the Park was booked solid.  You see, each row allowed only one-way traffic.  We were at the very end of a row.  So in order to park Big Boomer in front of our RV or even to hook up, we had to back all the way down a row.  There were no alternate ways to access our site.

Fortunately, Aunt Laurie is doing well.  She was back in full swing with her work and play (including her regular visitations to Turning Stone Casino).  We celebrated her good health by treating her and our mutual good friend, Rosemary, to dinner at Symeon’s Greek Restaurant in Yorkville, NY, which offered vegan/vegetarian options for Dad as well as classic Greek cuisine.  We all ordered different entrees, and each was nicely portioned and quite tasty.  Mom and I had the special, which combined kabobs, gyros, and Thracian chicken over rice pilaf.  Good fare, nice atmosphere, and reasonable prices always make this Rat a satisfied customer.  4-cheeses for Symeon’s!

We caught up with fellow Montana fifth wheel owners John and Shirley over breakfast at Miss Batavia’s, a cute, old-fashioned home-town diner in Batavia, NY.    John was the very first RV friend we made after going full-time, so he holds a special place in our hearts.  And he and Shirley have an adogable canine addition to their family—Aussie!

We traveled up to Six Flags Darien Lake to reconnect with Nancy and Jerry, another wonderful couple that we met while working at Amazon.  The have returned to Darien Lake for another summer of work-camping.  Nancy is like my Aunt Maureen, an animal lover with a heart of gold, and Jerry is like my Uncle Ted, a supportive and understanding husband.  We haven’t been to an amusement park in eons (for several years when my parents were young and carefree, we had season passes to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ), so it was fun to take a spin on the Ferris wheel.  Dad and Jerry backed out of the Roaring Rapids ride, but the gals and I braved getting soaking wet.  It was quite refreshing since it was such a hot, sizzling summer day.

The view from the Ferris Wheel

My favorite ride!

What a cutie!  I think I'm in love!

We enjoyed a day or two of just relaxing at Turning Stone RV Park and were rewarded with some pretty sunsets.  Tomorrow we depart NY to go to our next volunteer gig:  Button Bay State Park near Lake Champlain in Vergennes, VT.  I’ll tell ya all about that adventure in my next post!

Talk to ya soon!

We would like to thank the following organizations for all the great service and support they offer to the RVing community:

Escapees RV Club


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RV Dreams

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Friday, July 12, 2019

An Emotional Journey Down Memory Lane

Hi, there!  Long time no speak with!  We were busy, busy, busy, maximizing our time in the Metro NY area while volunteering at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Basking Ridge, NJ.

We took the train back into New York City to visit the National September 11 Memorial Museum (  We were blessed to have visited the World Trade Center multiple times prior to 9/11.  Mom first visited during a high school trip back in its early days of opening.  She also attended several work-related parties at Windows of the World, the restaurant that was located at the top of the original World Trade Center.  Back in the day, Dad even worked on the Trade Center, overseeing the installation of the customized bus canopies at the main entrances. Fittingly, the company he retired from installed the interior and exterior glass, glazing and stainless steel panels of the Memorial Museum.

The tragedy of 9/11 affected all of us personally in the Metro NY area, for each of us had some connection to a lost life. For us it was the loss of a grammar school classmate, a neighbor, a work associate’s family member, and a schoolmate’s spouse. (We learned from a monument at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge that a former staff member was also a victim of the travesty.)  It was important to us to pay our respects and say a prayer for the innocent souls killed at the hands of terrorists.

The attack of September 11, 2001, was our Pearl Harbor, our Holocaust, our generation’s senseless loss of life at the hands of evil.  To think these were everyday people just like my parents, going about their everyday lives, performing everyday tasks.  No one could ever have known that gorgeous, cloudless, true blue-sky day would be the darkest of our lives.  Those who read this blog regularly know that this Rambling RV Rat is not political or controversial.  I do not promote hate and violence, nor do I have any prejudices against any religion.  But much violence has been done through history because of or in the name of religion, from persecution of the Jews, to burning Christians on crosses, to Crusaders raping and pillaging non-Christian sects, to radical Muslims deep hatred of the infidel who do not follow the tenets of Islam.  It is wrong, it is evil.  Those who perished on September 11, 2001, represented the very fabric of our country.  They were from all races, religions, and cultures.  They were of all ages, with all different professions, from custodians to CEOs.   They were just like US!  So it is important never to fall prey to those who undermine what happened.  We must never forget the inhumanity—it was terrorism, pure evil—and it changed our lives forever.  I only wish that people today would remember how we bonded AFTER the tragedy.  We didn’t see color or race or religion, but we saw brothers, sisters, moms, dads, wives, husbands, and children grieving—and we grieved with them.  We did prayer vigils, lined up for blood drives, and donated money to help the surviving families.  We were Americans, honoring our flag, respecting our first responders, and loving our Country.  I wish we could be as strong, united, and vigilant now as we were then. Anyway…

The Museum is very tastefully done.  Many years of discussions with surviving families ensued before building plans were finalized.  And rightfully so—the remains of approximately 40% of the victims have never been recovered.  So these grounds are sacred, respected, and treaded upon lightly.  And, out of deference, I refrained from taking pictures inside the Museum.  The Museum also honors the victims of Flight 93, Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight 77, and even those from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Because the Museum gets very crowded very quickly, we opted to purchase the Early Access Museum Guided Tour for $60 each, which begins at 8:15 a.m., before the Museum opens to the public.

Visiting the Museum and Memorial is very emotional. We saw the piece of steel that the nose of one of the planes hit.  We heard the victims voices echoing in the Museum, saw their photos on the wall, and felt the presence of their spirits.  I broke down in tears when I saw the photo exhibit of people who jumped from windows, taking matters into their own hands.  I often think I probably would have done the same in their place.  Another poignant exhibit was the Chelsea Jeans Memorial.  This retail store on Broadway near Fulton Street preserved a store display from that tragic day.  Clothing is covered in ash, debris, and dust.  A snapshot of a moment in time.  A special exhibit was dedicated to the canine rescue team members.  Sadly, they suffered from severe depression when they were not successful in rescuing an injured person.  So their handlers and first responders would sometimes hide so that the dogs could find them.  Then the canines would be happy that they were successful in their mission of finding survivors.  An emotional roller coaster, even for doggies.

We walked around the fountains outside, reading each name, letting each person know they are remembered.  To quote Virgil, as displayed in the Museum: “No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory of Time.”

Inside the World Trade Center PATH Station 

The North Tower Memorial Fountain in the foreground. You can see the "wings" of the butterfly design of the exterior of the World Trade Center PATH in the background.  The architectural design included mechanisms to make those wings move, but funding reductions prohibited this aspect from coming to fruition.


The first 20 floors of the World Trade Center are vacant.  They are just concrete and glass.


A new section at the Memorial Museum... dedicated to First Responders.

How ironic that a building designed to represent "man's belief in humanity" is destroyed by evil-doers hell-bent on destroying human life.

My Mom read a book many years ago written by a motorcycling acquaintance, Kathryn Bedard.  It is called, “Stones in my Heart Forever—9/11:  A Journey Through Courage, Strength, and Hope”.  Kathy volunteered to work at the Family Disaster Relief Assistance Center in Jersey City for many months following the World Trade Center attack.  The book is a poignant journal of the multitude of emotions evoked when dealing with families directly impacted by the attack.  It is a heart-wrenching, touching personal account of 9/11 well worth your time to read.

A visitor joined us as we sat outside the National September 11 Museum to regroup from our emotional journey. 

Well, I was a bit spent emotionally by the time we left the World Trade Center.  I needed to regroup.  So we walked Highline Park.  It is amazing to think that this beautifully-adorned garden trail was once an elevated rail line!  As we traversed the trail, we enjoyed views of the Hudson River, marveled at the multitude of restaurants, enjoyed the eclectic artwork, and reviewed the list of many activities available for participation.  From exercise, to yoga, to music in the park, there is something for everyone.  The Highline terminates at Hudson Yards, a gentrified community of high-end condos, restaurants, and retail shops.  We walked up “The Vessel”, a stairwell in the center of the community pavilion consisting of 16 stories and 2,500 stairs.  It is quite an engineering feat and provided some nice views of the West Side of the City.  Well, all that walking made me hungry.  Back for our final visit to Benjamin Steakhouse ( and another stupendous dinner with superb service from Ricky.  If I gave out higher than a 5-cheese award, Benjamin Steakhouse would receive it!

Isn't this the coolest chair!

Some cool artwork!

Some unusual architectural styles...

"The Vessel"

We went down to Central Jersey to the town in which we resided for 26 years to donate some historical artwork to the local library and to catch up with long-time friends Les and Nancy.  We first met them in 1987, and although we all lived in the same town, we first met them in Princeton as volunteers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  As many may remember, for more than four decades, Jerry Lewis hosted a 21-hour telethon over Labor Day weekend to raise funds for the organization.   What folks may not realize is that throughout the country, there were local centers that hosted simultaneous mini-telethons, raising money for a particular region.  These mini-telethons included local talent who donated their time, and people would come out to make a donation and enjoy a few hours of listening to a band, laughing at a comedian, or getting a balloon animal made by a clown.   Volunteers would be responsible for answering the phone calls of generous folks pledging donations, stuffing donation envelopes, and pre-sorting envelopes by zip code in stacks of 25 to assist the USPS with delivery.  Other volunteers were responsible for providing food and refreshments.    Mom had been an active volunteer at a mini-telethon since the age of 13. Once Dad took her as his betrothed, he got involved as well.  Anyway, friends Les and Nancy served as volunteer coordinators at the Princeton call center for many years.  And as we participated in other community service organizations throughout the years, we would continue to see this fine, generous couple volunteering their time and energy.

Les and Nancy

Les and Nancy's three therapy dogs.  Les and the doggies are regular visitors at local nursing homes and hospitals.  Just another example of the good works this couple does.

While back in the Central Jersey area, we just had to stop at Terhune Orchards and Winery (, 200 acres of veggies, fruits, and flowers tended by the 10th generation of family farmers!   They have a farm store, but we always opt for pick-your-own.  $4.25/pound was a bit pricey, but then again this is prestigious Princeton and you pay for the experience.  While Mom and Dad went to pick asparagus, I visited the petting zoo to see the new baby goat and reconnect with the family’s dogs.  In the past, the doggies would roam the property freely, but now must be penned up, probably due to insurance issues.  What a sad, litigious society we have become!

We then visited Hallock’s Farm ( in New Egypt, another of the u-pick farms we frequented regularly during our sticks-and-bricks life.  Hallock’s had pick-your-own strawberries for $1.99/pound!  What a bargain!  We went a bit overboard on strawberry picking, but we wanted to share them with Les and Nancy as well as our fellow RV Volunteers at Great Swamp.  Anyway, Mom insisted we bring our chest freezer on this trip East—we will be able to enjoy frozen strawberries when we get back to TX!

We couldn’t be in NJ without stopping at Pizzatown USA in Elmwood Park (check out their Facebook page).  My grandparents would take Mom and Aunt Laurie here as little girls.  This place would be perfect for an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”.  Nothing has changed since it opened in 1958—same motif, same paper cups, same low-budget operation run by the same family (the founder just died recently, but his daughters and son have been working there since young teens and run the operation in its traditional style).  But most importantly, same delectable food.  They have the absolute, hands down, bestest deep fried ham and cheese calzones!  Dad rarely cheats on his plant-based diet, but he cashed in a chip for this place.  Mom and I also polished off a dozen zeppole,—small balls of dough dropped in piping hot oil, deep fried until golden brown, then smothered in confectionery sugar!  To die for!

While Dad went into Rockland County, NY, to catch up with work associates, Mom reached out to her friend Ilona.  Though they last saw each other 30 years ago, they maintained contact with each other through cards, letters, and email.  Well, it turns out Ilona lives within a few short miles of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  She popped over for a happy reunion!

We rode Rat Patrol, our side-by-side buggy, down to the Basking Ridge Country Club.  No, not for a round of golf (although this is a public course), but to meet with friend Barbara for lunch at Delicious Heights Outpost ( an eatery at the Club.  Barb was one of a group of gal pals from Jersey City with whom Mom would do the dance club circuit back in the 80s.  In fact, Barb was there when Mom met Dad!  The Outpost had a nice menu, with plant-based options for Dad, too.  We were all pleasantly surprised with the quality, quantity and taste of our selections.  Since we had so much to catch up on, we all came back home to enjoy some of Mom's desserts.  Good times with a good friend!

Before we knew it, it was blueberry season.  Down we drove to Dimeo Farms in Hammonton, NJ.  We had never picked here before, but we would be back again!  These are the all-time-best blueberries we have EVER picked.  HUGE, tasty, organic heirloom berries in well-manicured orchards, combined with the ambiance of a newly-restored farmhouse event-center from which classical music is piped to the fields.  I felt like I was in another place and time.

There is so much more to tell you about—which I’ll do in another post.  Talk to you again soon!

We would like to thank the following organizations for all the great service and support they offer to the RVing community:

Escapees RV Club


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RV Dreams

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