Category Archives: New York

Today Was A Driving Day

July 28, 2007

Today was a driving day. Even though I am trying to break the habit of having a schedule, I just have to get out of NY state. Continued my drive thru the Adirondack Mountains over to Watertown near Lake Ontario. Thru a fluke I ended up in the small historic town of Sackets Harbor, right on Lake Ontario. Very nice, little sail boat harbor, Main Street with a handful of stores and restaurants. I had the best lunch in a week at Good Fellos, linguini with artichoke, sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts! Yummy.

Marina at Lake Ontario

Marina at Lake Ontario

After a sufficient break I continued thru upstate New York farmland. Very green and beautiful. I was hoping to get a good shot of a grain silo with the sun reflecting on the sliver roof, didn’t happen. It has been very hazy and the light has not been ideal.

I managed to make it to Rochester, where I am spending the night at the Wellesley Inn. Finally, a hotel that accepted the coupon from the Room Saver brochure, $29 + tax.

Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving for the Niagara Falls and thru Canada to Michigan. I think I am ready to pitch my tent. I called the KOA campsite just across the boarder in Michigan, and they do have space available. If I like it and I continue to camp, you will be getting fewer updates due to the lack of internet connection. Not all campsites offer wi-fi.

Until the next time.

Travel Companion

July 27, 2007

Ok, my new travel companion is very cute, not very tall, light brown complexion, big brown eyes, cute ears and just a little on the hairy side. No, not to worry, I did not pick-up some strange mountain creature. I past the Vermont Teddy Bear

Buddy guarding the car.

Buddy guarding the car.

Company and I just couldn’t resist. Better talking to a bear than to a truck.

By the way, the jury is still out on a name for the truck. Betty, Betsy and Priscilla are in the race. I thought maybe Dodge, it is a Dodge truck and it sounds kind of fun to say “let’s get out of Dodge, Dodge.” Don’t have settled on a name for the bear either, Pooh is an obvious one, or just Buddy.

Anyway, back to the traveling. Decided to take a ferry across Lake Champlain to Essex, NY. What better way to relax than on a little boat ride. Caught the

12:30 PM ferry, just missed the 12 o’clock ferry, but didn’t mind one bit to wait 30 minutes for the next one. Sitting on the dock in the sun, writing in my journal (still trying to catch up to present time), looking out onto the lake, what bliss.

Once on the NY side I had to get the truck inspected, it didn’t have an inspection sticker and I did not want to run the risk of getting a ticket. I had researched a Mobile station which does inspections in Westport, close to the ferry landing spot and on my way to the Niagara Falls. As it turns out, there was no Mobile station. Luckily, the woman at the grocery store pointed me in the direction of a Dodge and GM dealership which perform inspections. Unfortunately, both would only do inspections by appointment, crap. Thanks to a wrong turn I ended up at a Ford dealership down the road and they did it right away, only 10 bucks.

Cranberry Lake

Cranberry Lake

It had started to rain and a couple of big thunderstorms had moved thru the area as well. All this created this neat mist/fog in the mountains. Sorry, no photos couldn’t pull over. The drive thru the mountains, the Adirondack, was really nice. There was a stretch of road which was lined by two rows of birch trees in front of pine trees, the white against the green was amazing. Again, no photos. Went thru Lake Placid, cool to see the old Olympic installations. One hour later, I stopped and got

Jesus is coming along highway 3 near Wanakena

Jesus is coming along highway 3 near Wanakena

a motel room. It was only 5 PM, put I had zero energy. The town is called Tupper Lake. So much for making it to the Niagara Falls, still over 300 miles away. As the saying goes, it is not the destination, but the journey that takes you there, or something like that.

Sorry, I am rambling; I tend to do that when I am tiered.

Good night.

Home – full circle

After living for two years, 23 months to be precise, in my little camper I have moved back into my apartment in Manhattan.

As with most things in life there are pros and cons.  It is great to be back in the middle of things; no train schedules and long commutes.  Everything is right at my fingertips.  I very much enjoy the convenience of the city.

I have shed the layers of clothing I wore while I lived in my camper and traded them for shorts and t-shirts thanks to a notoriously overheated New York City apartment. 

However, I could do without some of the sounds and smells of the city; the banging sound of trucks hitting potholes, idling diesel truck engines at night and the lovely aroma of garbage.  But who can beat a front row seat to the filming of a TV show. 

Over the weekend I bid farewell to my camper.  No, I did not sell it instead I put it into storage. 

My camper at its new home

I left Westchester, just as I did almost exactly two years ago when I started my journey, and drove to Pennsylvania; same route, but much nicer weather.  The 3 ½ hour drive made me nostalgic for the open road and for about five minutes I contemplated if I should just keep on driving.  I think for now my traveling days are over.

I am beginning a new chapter.  In two weeks I am starting a new job that will keep me in the city for some time; very exciting.


I am very grateful for all the support I received from my friends since I returned to New York; my friend who let me camp on her property for six months and for her help during my job search.  I am grateful for my friends who gave me short term work and for those who gave me moral support.  Thank you, I am very lucky. 

Abandoning ship

In all my travels I never have left my camper due to bad weather, not during tornado warnings and not during hurricane Irene. It took this nasty Nor’easter to get me out of my camper and into my friend’s house. A very wet and heavy snow started to fall around 11 am and it is still coming down at 10 PM. All this snow, 5-6 inch at this point, wouldn’t be so bad if it would be December and the trees wouldn’t be bearing any leaves. Unfortunately, it is October and plenty of foliage is left on the trees. All afternoon I kept hearing the cracking and breaking of tree limbs all around the property. One big branch came down a few feet from my camper. Just walking from the house to the camper I have been doused by snow falling from the trees. Usually the snow is followed by some branches. The thudding of snow on top of the camper and just the notion that the big oak tree next to it could lose another branch was too much for me, I had to leave, I was scared. It doesn’t help that I am home alone. Lets hope that the branches remain were they belong and all will be well tomorrow morning.

First snow storm of the season

I had hoped to write a very different post today about my time at Crater Lake. Maybe tomorrow.

P.S. The camper and I survived the night. However, a branch did land on the roof, but fortunately, only damaged one of the vent covers. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, blue skies and everything was covered in snow. You just had to look past all the downed branches. By now the trees are snow free and only a slushy mess remains on the ground.

The day after the storm. A branch had landed on the roof of the camper.

Emotional rollercoaster

By now you probably have figured out that I must be back in New York, even at my slow pace.
The last stretch of my journey, I like to call it “Alternative Lifestyle”, took me through Pennsylvania from the Bald Eagle State Forest thru Lewisburg, looked like a nice small town, to Centralia. Centralia is considered a ghost town; only nine people live there at this point. Originally Centralia was a town with a population of roughly 1,100.

Centralia - deserted Railroad Street

An underground coal fire that has been burning since the 1960s! is a cause for the exodus. The fire emits unhealthy fumes; even I had difficulties breathing when I went up the hill where you can see smoke and steam coming out of the hillside. However, I had no problems breathing when I walked around the deserted streets of Centralia. In the 1980s the government bought out most of the homeowners and dismantled the homes. All that is left of the town are streets with no names going nowhere, a cemetery and a handful of homes.

Centralia - overgrown sidewalk, Railroad Street

You can only imagine what this town must have looked like judging by the wide side walks and stone walls, very sad. There are several sites online which give you more details about the local and federal governments’ failures to put out the still burning fires.

Centralia - closed hwy 54 due to buckling and cracking caused by the nearby coal fire.

Next stop, Pottstown where I visited my cousin Bill. The closer I got to larger towns the less I enjoyed driving. The streets are not build for trucks, they are too narrow and most of the time don’t have a shoulder. Drivers are getting worse too, making left hand turns right in front of me thinking that I can just stop on the spot. Never mind that they don’t let me merge even in stop and go traffic; I was cursing like a truck driver. Did I mention low clearance bridges? There have been several occasions when no bridge height was indicated and my stomach contracted and I stopped breathing as I made my way under the bridge or overpass.
My last stop was a visit to a friend in Princeton. I knew that the last stretch of the drive would not be easy. I remembered coming home after my seven week long cross-country trip. This time I was coming home to a lot of uncertainty; would I be able to hold on to the truck, would I find another job, would this be the end of my traveling days? A lot of questions with no answers. I wasn’t really thinking about any of this when I approached the Tappan Zee Bridge and I was not prepared for what was to come. About two miles before the bridge my eyes started to well-up and by the time I reached the bridge I was experiencing the worst possible anxiety attack. I pulled over into a parking strip right after the toll booth. My arms and legs started to cramp up, I couldn’t walk, my fingers were tingling, I was breezing rapidly, my body was tingling all over, leg and arm muscles were contracting, nothing felt right.
It took me an hour to recover and feel well enough to drive the remaining ten miles to my friend Bettina’s house in Westchester. I was relieved when I arrived.
I have been back for about two weeks now and I am still settling into a new routine. The first brief trip to the city was a bit overwhelming. The crowds and noise on the train were more than what I could deal with after all those months away from large cities and mass transit.
My good fortunes have not stopped since I have come back to NY. My biggest concern has been to find a way to hold onto my truck. Thanks to Bettina I might be able to do so. For the time being I am camping in her driveway. It is a very nice driveway surrounded by woods and chipmunks on a dead end road. I was able to sublet my apartment within three days for the next couple of months taking away the burden of having to come up with rent money. I am still looking for additional part-time work.

Bowery looking north, Empire State Building

I spent four days in the city and fell in love with it all over again. I walked around the Village, Midtown and the East Village. It was great to walk home in the evening up Fifth Avenue, hearing music drifting from Central Park’s Summer Stage concert out to the Avenue. I thought I might see the Alexander McQueen exhibit, a retrospective of the late British designer’s work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was the last day of the exhibit and the Met had extended opening hours until midnight. When I got to the museum the line was out the door and half down the block at 10 PM!, only in New York.
I marveled at the Empire State building from Houston Street looking up Bowery, just great and a bagel with veggie cream cheese never tasted this good. Best of all, I now have the wonderful Fairway grocery store in my neighborhood. No need to trek all the way to the Westside anymore.
There is no greater city than New York City. Granted it is nothing like the open spaces out West, but the city has so much to offer.
For the time being I will be one of those commuters traveling to the city to work.

Inching back to New York City

Much time and many miles have past since my last post. I started writing posts, but didn’t finish any. I have not been in the mood to write, the inevitable end of my journey has been looming over me. I have stayed in places longer than I usually do, hoping to avoid the return to NYC, no such luck. It is not that I hate to go back to the city, I love that place. It is more the fear that I have to sell my truck which would mean the end to any future travels. I just can’t afford the truck and rent.
Don’t get me wrong, it has not all been gloom and doom since my last entry. I had a very nice write-up in the online version of GoMagazine, including a small slide show of some of my photos. Let’s see what comes from this publicity.

Hay bales

I left Iowa crossing the Mighty Mississippi River into Wisconsin. The flat cornfields were replaced by very hilly even mountainous terrain where fields moved up the hillside, a welcome change of scenery; forests instead of just gatherings of trees. I stayed for four nights in the tiny town of Avoca, population 608, at the city park campground, adjacent to a baseball field. I treated myself to some Little League games.
A friend of mine told me that I had to visit Madison, the state capital and home to the University of Wisconsin. Madison is a vibrant and progressive college town and to me a very large city (pop. 233,000+). I street camped for two nights in a very nice residential

Madison Capitol Building and city lights reflecting in Monona Bay

neighborhood at Monona Bay with views of the State Capitol Building, stunning at night with the city lights reflecting in the water. I even caught a glimpse of the 4th of July fireworks finale from my camper, not bad for a free camp spot. I always thought that California campgrounds are expensive, but they are nothing compared to the prices charged in the East where campgrounds are only open for six to seven months. I have seen places charge $60 per night! Bet they don’t have a site with a view of the Capitol Building. Large cities are a pain to explore by car so I did the next best thing and rented a bicycle for the day. I make sure to have my own bike on my next trip. After exploring the downtown and surrounding area, I managed to go for a swim in Lake Mendota; the other big lake in Madison, unfortunately the water was full of algae. I was glad that there were showers at the beach/park. I can’t say that I really liked Madison. It’s not a bad city, I just didn’t like it.

Brooklyn town sign

I headed south from Madison via Brooklyn to Illinois. I stayed west of Chicago, no need to get myself into another large city. In Illinois I briefly stopped in West Brooklyn. It is fun to travel through all those namesake towns. I visited Manhattan in Kansas and in Illinois and I stayed overnight in Warsaw, Indiana.
Once I entered Illinois the towns seemed to move closer and the farms seemed smaller. Even the little roads have traffic, no more peaceful cruising through the countryside. I had returned to the East. I thought Iowa’s roads were bad, but the roads in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania were not any better. What happened to those shovel read stimulus projects? Let’s fix our roads. The roads I was on today were so bad that my camper moved a good inch within the truck bed, not good.

Hay bales

Illinois was followed by Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Indiana and Ohio are a bit of a blur. I was driving close to 200 miles a day and I only spent the night at each stop for three days. That might not seem like much to you, but I had been driving around 100 miles a day. If you haven’t followed my blog, driving my pick-up with the camper is nothing like driving a regular car or just a pick-up. My rig weighs 11,000 pounds, is top heavy and almost as wide as a lane. Driving on two lane highways with no shoulder takes my full concentration and a 200 mile drive takes six hours. Never mind narrow roads through small towns where I always fear to hit the roadside mailboxes with my huge mirrors.
Why the rush? I was trying to meet-up with my hiking buddy Ron from Nevada. He was visiting his sister in Erie, PA. He wasn’t sure how long he would stay and I didn’t want to miss him. It took Ron only four days to drive the 2,200 miles from Nevada to Erie. In contrast, it took my three and a half months and close to 7,000 miles (=NYC to L.A. to NYC and ½ way L.A.). I guess I was doing a little more “sightseeing”.

Amish farmers harvesting spelt

It was great to see Ron again and to meet his sister and his friends. We roamed the countryside and visited his Amish friends in Pennsylvania and New York. I felt very privileged when we were invited into their home to have lunch.

Amish buggies driving down the road

It takes a little bit before you realize that there are no electrical outlets, no rugs or carpets, no framed pictures or photographs. The big stove and oven are wood burning and there is only cold running water, no flush toilet; a clutter free household. The fields are still farmed the old fashioned way with horse and plow. In the barn you find the workhorses and the horses that pull the buggies. I knew about all this before I met the

Amish buggies

Amish, but it is very different when you get to experience some of this first hand. I admire that the Amish community has withstood the pressures to modernize in any way and has stuck with their “simple” way of life. I am aware that there are issues within the community, especially when it comes to leaving the Amish. You have to choose between family or the “English” world. You can’t live in both. A decision I am glad I never have to make.
I am leaving Jamestown, NY and head back into Pennsylvania. I don’t like to see all those NY state license plates, makes me feel like I am home.

Amish spelt harvest

I have two weeks left on this incredible journey. My goals when I am back in NYC are to write about all those stories I promised, to edit my photos and to find some additional part-time jobs, not necessarily in this order. Hopefully, a photo book will follow soon as well.
I dread having to empty my camper and move back into my apartment. I am just not ready for stationary life.

Your support is requested!

I am not sure if you know that, when I don’t travel, I am a volunteer for God’s Love We Deliver with over 9 years / 1,200 + hours volunteered. I used to spend every Tuesday night in their kitchen chopping vegetables for the nutritious meals they deliver every day to people too sick to provide for themselves.
God’s Love is a non-profit organization which relies on donations. All meals delivered are free of charge to the clients. Since 1985 God’s Love has delivered over 10,000,000 meals!!! For more info please go to

On Sunday, November 21st God’s Love We Deliver holds its 17th Annual Race to Deliver in Central Park. This four mile race / walk symbolizes the organization’s daily race to ensure that no person, or their dependent children, ever has to face the unthinkable combination of illness and hunger. Your tax-deductible gift will help God’s Love win that Race. This would have been my 11th race; unfortunately, I won’t be in New York to participate this year. But this is a cause dear and near to my heart and I hope to surpass my fundraising goal of raising $4,000. I will try to walk or run the four miles no matter where I’ll be that day. But I can’t do it without your help!

It’s easy to make a donation. Visit my personal webpage to make a donation online or send a check payable to God’s Love We Deliver to:

God’s Love We Deliver
166 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
Attn.: Jicky

No donation is too small!

Thank you very much for your support.