Thursday, July 12, 2018

New Jersey - Monroeville


We headed to Monroeville, NJ on June 7, 2018. It is a good thing we are not superstitious or the mileage on our way here may have freaked us out.
We passed this Cowboy Muffler Man just after we crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey, possibly Pennsville, NJ.

Old Cedar Campground was home for a week. This place is truly in the middle of nowhere, other than the rooster in the morning and the billy goats wrestling it was nice and quiet. The cows greeted us as we set up, the calves were quite interested in what we were doing.
Morning dog walks were down a quiet country road with fields and barns on both sides. Found a few dew covered spider webs one morning.

This was another difficult set up. The first site they put us in was extremely un-level, as the front of the site sloped down. It was impossible to level the RV, even with our tires way off the ground. So we moved across the road and it wasn't great but much better than the first one. We had full hook-ups, no issues and the site was long enough for us.
There is a pool but no chairs or tables, they have a playground, putt-putt golf, volleyball, horseshoes and corn hole. The pond is stocked with fish. WiFi was spotty, Verizon signal was okay. The laundry room is an open room, so lots of dust and dirt. We paid $29.00 a night with no discount.

We picked this spot because it put us between Philadelphia and the coast.

We spent two days in Philly. The first day we drove into the city and found a bunch a Roadside Oddities, including a few on the way there.
The Uni-Royal Girl stands outside of a tire store in Blackwood, NJ. Just down the road at a bakery in Haddon Heights, NJ you will find a whole Menagerie of Fiberglass Animals, and some tasty treats.

In Camden, NJ we found the statue of Mathew Henson (1866-1955). He was an American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic over a period of nearly 23 years. He started out as Peary's personal valet and then became his navigator and craftsman.
During their 1908-09 expedition to Greenland, Henson, one of six men, claimed to have been the first to reach the geographic North Pole. In 1989, researchers claimed that the group fell at least 60 miles short of the pole. Either way it was quite a feat. Henson published a book in 1912 titled A Negro Explorer of the North Pole. In 1927 he was the first African-American to be made a life member of The Explorer Club. He was received at the White House by both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. 

The Philly skyline greeted us as we crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge. It was a little hazy that day as rain was in the forecast.
Our first stop was at the Irish Potato Famine Memorial. The sculpture by Glenna Goodacre takes you from the devastation in Ireland to being welcomed into the U.S. We marvel at the courage our ancestors had, coming to an unknown land.
The  Bolt of Lightening is a memorial to Ben Franklin. It was created in 1984 by artist, Isamu Noguchi. Most locals call it the worst piece of art in the city.

A bronze wall called Freedom, by artist Zenos Frudakis shows a person emerging from the wall - there is an empty space where you can stand, but Nancy just jumped out of the car to snap a quick picture so we didn't get one of either of us standing there.

The Grumman Greenhouse, by artist Jordan Griska, is a sculpture that looks like a plane crash, and yes it really is a greenhouse. There are plants inside along the side windows.

The Giant Paintbrush, by artist Claes Oldenburg sits at the opposite end of the alley from the plane and leans out over the sidewalk. It is 51- feet tall and if you notice there is a glob of orange paint on the ground.  The brush tip lights up at night. Between the two sculptures are tables and benches where nearby workers enjoy lunch.

Independence National Historical Park is five city blocks long and in some sections four blocks wide. We visited here the second day, leaving Mielikki at home.

We got our 10,000 steps in that day! So many wonderful old buildings. It truly would be amazing if the walls could talk.

There are many buildings that you can tour, they limit the number of tickets for each tour and they sell out early in the day. The building that houses the Liberty Bell is free. The line to get in was rather long but it moved quickly and you are surround by information boards and pictures to help you pass the time. Once inside the building you walk in and out of little nooks that give the history of the bell.
The famous crack in the Liberty Bell, is actually from the repair job of a much smaller crack in 1846. The repair failed and actually resulted in another fissure and rendered the bell silent. No one living today has heard the bell ring with its clapper. The Liberty Bell link takes you to a page that has a computer rendering of what the bell may have sounded like.

The bell has been used as a symbol of freedom since day one.
In 1920, Suffragists used a replica of the Bell in their campaign for the right to vote. The Abolitionists saw the Bell as a symbol of the struggle to abolish slavery. Not everyone has found hope in it. Forced to choose between segregation and assimilation, that suppressed their cultural practices, Native Americans did not see the hope of fair treatment and equal rights embodied in the Bell.
People from all over the world admire the bell and what it stands for.
Independence Hall 

Independence Hall, which was called the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House, is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created and signed.
The top left picture is the home of Betsy Ross, right picture is the Bourse Building. It was a commodities and exchange building in 1891, today it houses restaurants, offices and art studios.
The bottom pictures all most look like the same building, but the one on the left is Congress Hall, where the U.S. Congress met from 1790 to 1800. The right hand picture is of the Old City Hall, which housed the U.S. Supreme Court from 1791 to 1800. These buildings bookend Independence Hall.

The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is in Washington Square. It is a memorial to thousands of unmarked graves within this square. These were unknown soldiers from Washington's army who died of wounds and sickness during the Revolutionary War.

The statue of The Signer commemorates those who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It stands where the home of artist Gilbert Stuart once stood. He painted portraits of the movers and shakers of the day.

This made us think of our
great-niece Lilly who loves sloths. 

Next door, on the lawn of the American Philosophical Society Museum is the Thomas Jefferson Sloth. This creature was named after Thomas Jefferson because of his groundbreaking work on some of the first Megalonyx fossils discovered in North America. At first he thought the fossils belonged to a large lion, but later realized they were from a giant ground sloth.

The Christ Church Burial Grounds are the final resting place for Benjamin Franklin and five signers of the Declaration of Independence. Many of the headstones are so worn that they are now unreadable.
It costs $3.00 to enter the burial grounds, but you can see Ben Franklin's grave through the fence without having to enter. The writing on the marble slab is difficult to read and the sun and shadows made it hard to get a good picture.

There were a few interesting head stones and graves. There is what some call the "walk of fame". The sidewalk from one of the gates is lined with crypts. A few have gardens planted inside the raised edging.
We found some interesting crosses and a pillar that has the shape of a party hat.
The top right pictures shows how worn many
of the headstones are

Cape May, NJ was about an hour away. Our first stop was at the Cape May Point State Park, which is where you can tour the Lighthouse. This 157-foot tower, was built in 1859 and was automated in 1946. It is the third lighthouse in this location, the first was built in 1823 and the second one in 1847. Both locations are now under water due to erosion. There is a total of 217 steps, from the ground to the top, with 199 of them on the spiral staircase. The lighthouse has two separate walls, the outside wall is cone-shaped, and is 3 feet 10 inches thick at the bottom and 1 foot 6 inches at the top. The inner wall is a cylinder with 8.5 inch thick walls which support the staircase. These walls were designed to withstand winds several times above hurricane force. The old Oil House is now a gift shop. It was built in 1893 to house the kerosene used to power the light.

There is access to the beach and a boardwalk that overlooks the marshes. This place is used for birding and tracking hawks. There is a large board with the number of hawks that have migrated here. Very active birdhouses dot the landscape.

From the lighthouse we drove into town, this is the first "tourist" beach town that we have actually liked. It is a quaint little town without all the crazy touristy stuff. There was an art show on the promenade the day we were there. The Inn at Cape May looks like it would be a wonderful place to stay. The Buoy is a  memorial to Captain Cornelius Jacobsen who founded Cape May in 1621.
We found a few Roadside Oddities to and from Cape May.
The Carousel is a sign for a horse ranch in Millville. The motel sign is one of the Doo Whop features in Wildwood. Which is also where we found the Sea Captain standing guard out side a restaurant. You pass under the Giant Martini Glass as you enter a liquor store in Vineland. These warning signs are all over southern New Jersey - "Speeders will not be tolerated". 
Our favorite Roadside find, maybe of all time, is on the campus of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ.
The Knowledge is Power is a sculpture by Zenos Frudakis. The two figures at either end are Dr. Francesca Shaughnessy and her brother Sebastian Cottone, who commissioned the piece. They were raised in South Philly and devoted their lives to the pursuit of knowledge.

It is a giant open book with portraits and quotes from 31 intellectual and inspirational icons.

One side has a large Charles Darwin and his quote. The bottom of his coat has turtles, birds, lizards and a skull on it.

The other side has a full size Elbert Einstein stepping off the pages. Nancy got to shake his hand.
Both women and men of history are included. With quotes from Abe Lincoln, Henry David Thoreau, Shakespeare and Harriet Tubman

Anne Frank, dancer Isadora Dunean and FDR.

 Margaret Sanger and Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King JR.

Quakertown, PA is the next stop.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Water in the fridge and we don't mean bottled water.
We have been fighting a water problem in our fridge for what seems like forever. There are three bins in the fridge to hold items and we kept getting water in them. Sometimes and inch or more, plus a nice puddle underneath two of them on the bottom shelf. Very frustrating as you can imagine.
There is a tray on the top shelf with a tube in it that connects to the back wall, (small hole is tube opening) supposedly to drain any water. Which obviously wasn't working.
On the outside of the RV is the cover to the area where the motor and wiring is.
Les removed this and discovered that the tube that runs to the drain bin had a crimp in the end of it, stopping water from flowing through.
After un-crimping it we no longer have swimming pools and puddles in the fridge. Yeah us!