The next leg of our trip was about family, specifically the Gordon men. May 4-10, 2015
We arrived at David's (son #2) in E Windsor to find out that where we'd hoped we could park was not going to be possible. Despite the fact that he believed parking in his driveway might be against the community's rules we set up with plans to move the following day. We were literally on blocks.
When one parks a Class A there are "levelers" that extend from under the chassis to level and stabilize it. We always put a heavy rubber pad under the metal plate at the base of these levelers and then, if the site is not completely level, add 1 or more leveling pads. Yeah, well, pads, wood AND cement blocks and much backing up and driving onto them and we were done. As it would turn out we would not be able to find another place nearby and stayed there for 3 more nights. The day we left David got a call saying someone had reported our being there. Lucky we were leaving.
Our visit though was fun. First of all, in addition to David and wife, Ley, Don and I got to spend time with his youngest grandchild without it being an event or party. She was in her last weeks of kindergarten so we went to pick her up each day and see the place she'd soon be leaving for first grade at her local school. But the first night we all went to an early dinner in nearby Princeton.
My newly discovered taste for beer lead us to the Triumph Brewing Co. which had another nice sampler and good food. And this sampler, although I would ultimately prefer the amber ale, had a delicious light and citrusy beer as well as a heavier one with coffee over (under?)tones. It was good. Dinner was followed with a walk around town and window shopping.
Taking time to smell the flowers
The very cool list of benefactors of the Princeton Public Library's Annual Fund (I think)
Staying with David was the first time we really sort of slowed down and sat around and rested. But that doesn't last long with us so we decided that we'd all go for a bike ride along the Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail while their daughter was in school the next day. Everything was fine, we dropped her off and continued to Princeton and the the phone call came that she didn't "feel well" and Don and I did the ride by ourselves. It was lovely riding along the footpath and past Carnegie Lake up to Kingston and Lock #38 and the Lock Tender's house and where we turned around. We saw mallard ducks, Canadian Geese, a beaver and a snake or two and turtles. Did you know that geese eat poison ivy?
|Canadian Goose a bit perturbed at my picture taking and a pair of mallard males|
<- snake and ^ turtles
Lock Tender's House and Lock #38 at Kingston, NJ
yummy poison ivy!
On the morning of May 8th it was time for us to leave for Son #1's house in West Orange and just in time. Someone had reported our parking in a driveway and David received a notice. Since it was a Friday and the kids would be at school and Don3 and Kiana, his wife, at work we took the chance to stop for propane (it fuels our refrigerator when we are driving or not plugged in to electricity) and then to go visit an old friend of my mom's who was for many years, My Other Mother.
So, after determining through the West Orange Police Department that we could park in Don3 driveway and they had permission to park their cars in the street overnight and finding a bulk propane seller we said our goodbyes and hit the road. The propane place was nearby but we had to disconnect the car in order to get in. While I paid, Don reset the tow setup and hooked up the brake. And we took off. And after about 1/2 mile I asked What is that awful smell? as we pulled up to a red light and a passing car pulled alongside to say our car was smoking! Oh No! Only a month on the road and we have major problems!!! Well, it wasn't major. Since I normally hook up the brake while Don does the tow bar and because this car has been mine for 10 years, he was unaware that the steering wheel locks when the car is shut off and when setting the brake I have to be sure that it is operational, the gear is in Neutral, the hand brake off AND the steering wheel has free play. The front wheels had locked and we were literally pulling the car as it skidded along the road! You can bet we checked and rechecked the condition of our "toad" all the way to West Orange.
We arrived in West Orange and immediately drove up to Englewood to see Joan and Ron.
Joan and my mom met just after they had each graduated from high school in 1944. They became fast friends and through the years kept in touch. It was to Joan's sister Ellen's that I came the year I moved to the states from Ireland and Joan would become my "other mother" It was Joan who would tell Don that I was living back on St Croix in 1994 and that she thought I'd like to hear from him which started our reunification and eventual marriage. We had a nice lunch and great conversation and before long it was time to leave and go greet the older two grandchildren.
Both of the kids were filled with stories and reports of what they have been doing and our grandson was looking forward to our attending his soccer game the following day. We barbecued hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner and then it was off to bed for everyone.
The next morning early, it was Mother's Day, I got up and drove to shop at Trader Joe's in South Orange. On the way, I realized I would be driving very near to the house my grandfather built and that my mom grew up in. When they moved into it from further down in the village people teased my grandfather that there were still bears in the hills. I called my mom to get the exact address and then took pictures of the house as well as the Lawn and Tennis Club that her grandfather had helped start and to which she went everyday during her summers and which I had visited as a 13 year old visitor to my grandmother one summer. Then it was back to the house, on to the game and then an early birthday lunch celebration for our grandson before we said goodbye and left for Ulster Park, NY in the Hudson Valley.