My first date with my most recent companion/mate was on a bus. Yes, that was the date. We took the Fifth Avenue bus from Greenwich Village all the way to Washington Heights, an hour a half ride. We then got really wild and transferred to another bus to go all the way to the Cloisters in Inwood Park) or possibly that was on our second date).
So of course it was a natural progression for us to get our Kadey Krogen. How so?
Sitting on a bus, not driving, gives you the opportunity to see the world go by. When we moved to the Bronx two years ago, I had the chance to take the MTA Express Bus to Midtown or the Upper East Side. Even after having driven on the same exact route for 5 years commuting to my school in the Bronx, taking the bus was a revelation. I saw all sorts of interesting sights that had eluded me as a driver.
When one takes the train, more often than not, the track is in a sunken grade. So the most one sees are concrete walls with occasional level crossings and stations.
An airplane, if you are sitting in a window seat, as you crane your neck to peer out of the 5-inch window, you may see tops of clouds, or the ground from 38,000 feet. Not a very interesting panorama. Besides, if you are in a window seat, your biggest concern is timing your bathroom breaks to minimize disruption of the row-mates (not to be confused with inmates).
So Planes, Trains and Automobiles are not the best vehicles for watching the world go by.
That leaves Busses and Boats.
Another Krogen owner once remarked that the KK affords us the opportunity to watch the world pass by from our living room.
So true and certainly one of the main reasons when we first saw the KK42, we knew it was the boat for us.
This morning I was in the bus station in Lisbon seeing my nephew off on his way to France for a week before he flies back to Alaska. As I watched the people, I realized that the airlines, especially the discount airlines in Europe, have really given a large boost to bus transportation. When you are being charged $2 per pound for checked baggage and your carry-on bag is the size of a large wallet, what family can afford to travel my plane?
Thus families with kids and the baggage train they entail can travel affordably by bus.
And best of all, they get to actually see the world they are both leaving and coming to.
But it was a quick trip, 5-days, to New York to tie up some loose ends.
Some lines always need a good whipping.
I also got to spend some time with some good friends, both new and old.
And best of all, I ate Korean food 3x, Japanese 2x, pizza 2x and lastly French once; best of all, I ate so well and gained no weight. Lekker.
When I get back to Dauntless tomorrow, I’ll be doing the preparing to head south to France, Spain and Portugal for the next 5 months.
Such a short trip may seem pointless, but I leave NY today feeling much better than on arrival. Being able to articulate my goals and reflecting on them with friends makes a big difference.
During June, having my friends Brian, Dan and Robin on Dauntless, really helped me put a focus on my goals for the coming years. It is great to have people around as enthusiastic as I.
Then, coming to NYC, talking with friends, facilitated the final touches on the plan. As articulated in my last post, by adding 10 months in S.E. Alaska, everything finally feels like it’s coming together.
Not having to spend all of 2017 rushing someplace will allow me to pause and smell the roses.
Having Dauntless staying put for 6 to 8 months, allows me to visit friends in Europe and probably take a trip to reconnoiter Asia.
I feel unburdened and that’s a good feeling.
So now I can concentrate on the important stuff: What’s with these cats. Here we have a billion-dollar company and they must Photoshop the cover for all their kitty liter bags.
Do these people even have cats? One would think someone in this company would think they should show some indication that they understand cats.
Must be dog people.
So, I’ll end on this poster. It fit my two cats perfectly at least in their first year as kittens.
A link to the site for T-shirt Bad Kitties T-Shirt
Well actually 19,000 miles in 878 days, but who’s counting? Also 900 Days has a sad ring to it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read a book, though I’m sure the history channel has an hour documentary which is sure to have a few facts straight.
I’m packing the “large” suitcase. So far, it’s most full of those items that are hard to find in Europe and expendables that I use a lot of and are hard to find.
The orange line is 3/16” Amsteel Blue. I am modifying the lines on the paravanes birds.
Next week, I will be leaving NYC to return to Dauntless. I’m looking forward to it, as I am forward looking, though it is accompanied with a bit of melancholy, as it signifies change, trading my home in NYC for a home on Dauntless, thus having the life of a Traveller.
An ex-girlfriend once told me I was a gypsy, as I had just told her I was leaving Germany for California. Like most of my ex’s, they see the forest far better than I. Maybe if I just cut down those trees, I’ll be able to see better.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.
But back to Dauntless. There is still a lot of work to finish on the boat, but hopefully we shall be back in the water by early May, ready to start an odyssey that will not end until arrival in South Korea 850 days later.
We’ll start out slowly for the rest of this year and into next winter and spring, but as 2017 ends, it will be busy.
Oh, by the way, $20/day for 900 days, $18,000 for fuel alone. I have to start watching my pennies.
Be patient, in less than two weeks, I will be back on Dauntless and my blogs will revert to its focus on boats, cruising and travel.
But in the meantime, I find myself with a lot of time; maybe too much time, thinking and reflecting, reflecting and thinking and the continuous circle that entails.
Meeting an old friend in the middle Brooklyn yesterday, driving from the Bronx; one is reminded that the transportation networks of NYC, roads and public transportation, as outstanding as they are, were never meant for doing what I was doing, going from the Bronx to Brooklyn and return.
New York City was put together in the “Consolidation of the City of Greater New York” in 1898. Before 1898, NYC consisted of Manhattan and the Bronx. The towns of the Bronx having been incorporated into NYC during the preceding 25 years.
So until 1898, the City of Brooklyn, (then one of the largest cities in the U.S.) was incorporated into the City of Greater New York. At the same time, all the little villages/towns of Staten Island and Queens were included. Thus even to this day, the addresses in Queens, refer to the village, e.g. Flushing, Long Island City, but Brooklyn is all Brooklyn, while Manhattan is of course New York.
So the “City”, “New York”, Manhattan to the rest of you, is where most of the commerce takes place and thus our transportation system, public and highways, was developed to get people from the boonies to New York. But driving across the boroughs, let’s say from Bronx to Brooklyn, is a pain in the ass.
But it gives one time to see how the places I lived in Brooklyn, 16 years ago have changed or in some respects have stayed the same and that’s for the better.
Driving through Brownsville, the clean streets, single women walking alone, are all signs of the changes that took place in the last 30 years, as well as the dedication of Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. Giuliani in particular gets no credit for making NYC clean and safe. Before his time, Manhattan was difficult, but livable. The ghettos of Brownsville, East New York, Bedford Stuyvesant were littered with burned out cars on every block, walking was impossible, driving was perilous.
Giuliani proceeded to make every NYC employee do their job. Garbage was picked up, crooks were arrested, rules were enforced.
So, a few days earlier, I had gotten the idea to go the Sands Casino, in Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, then pick Julie up at Newark Airport on the way home Saturday night. The Sands is a little less than 2 hours driving in normal traffic, though I have made it in 1.5 hours in the wee hours of the morning.
With the Storm, flights were cancelled and therefore I had nothing to do.
Well, I did have a plan, so I figured, I’d just modify the plan.
As I brush the more than one foot of snow off the car at 9 a.m., I thought about not going, but once the car was clean, how could I not go. In fact, I was more worried about getting back and finding no parking, but turned out not to be a problem.
Having watched the storm prognosis for the last 5 days, I knew exactly what to expect, with the worst conditions being south and east of the City; therefore, I would head north, then west, then southwest and finally west on I-78. Now, the only problem was I knew I-78 to be in the bullseye of the heaviest snow, but I figured if everyone stayed off the road…
I also expected the heaviest snowfall, at the rate of about 2” per hour, to hit during mid-day, so that would just keep things interesting.
There were a few cars about, more than I expected, what with the dire warnings and all. The plan was to go north on the Bronx River Parkway, then west across the Hudson on the Tappan Zee bridge, I-87. Then as the Thruway turns north to Albany, I head South southwest on I-287 for 30 miles to I-78 west to Pennsylvania. The Sands is only 10 miles into Pennsylvania.
As I got on the Bronx River, traffic was running about 40 mph and the road was pretty good condition. I discovered why within minutes as I came up on 2 NYC snow plows that were doing a good job in keeping two lanes clear.
Once they got off, there was more snow on the road, but less snow had fallen. Once on the Thruway, going west, traffic continued at a moderate pace until I got to I-287. Then it got interesting.
Much more snow on the highway, heavier snow falls, though reduced traffic, made the next few hours stressful.
I saw four or five groups of snow plows consisting of 6 to
12 trucks cleaning the three lanes of northbound I-287. What 12 trucks can do at once, that 4 could not do, is something, probably only someone in New Jersey can explain.
Not being able to judge how deep the snow is in the less travelled lanes is one of the most difficult and dangerous aspects of driving in snow. The cause of many off road excursions.
This happens because the tires on one side of the car have increased resistance, thus pulling the car into the deeper snow, slowing, but surely. It must be countered quickly, but delicately. Cars like going the direction they are going. Any big changes will cause upset. In this case, many immediately turn the wheels in the direction where they want to go, let’s say back to the middle of the road.
The problem is, buy turning the wheel, it increases the slip
angle, as the slip angle increase, tires have less traction. So, the two tires that were keeping the car going relatively straight, now have less traction. The car will usually spin off the highway, into the ditch. Sometimes though, it’s worse, in that the car tries to turn, can’t, but as it slows, the tires all of sudden gain traction, but the driver has the car aimed at the center guard rail and within seconds the car does a header into that guard rail. That’s why one sees so many cars, that initially drifted off to the right
shoulder, the driver over corrects, and the car makes a left turn, nose first into the center median.
I-287 was reduced to one useable lane, as the left lane had snow at an unknown depth. Presently, I see a semi-tractor trailer gaining on me and I am happy to have him pass. Now, he will put a lot of snow in the air, my wipers
will ice up more rapidly, but he solves the unknown depth for me.
I follow in in his tracks for about 20 minutes. If he goes in the left lane, I go in the left lane. Trucks are so heavy, they can deal with a lot of snow, as long as they are moving. But I must stay exactly in his tracks. This lasts for about 25 minutes until I peel off to I-78.
There was much less traffic on I-78, thus the snow was deeper. I had to stop twice to knock the ice of the wipers.
As I got deeper into Jersey, virtually every exit was blocked by a truck. I’m glad I did not have to stop.
OK I’ve talked enough.
Let the pictures tell the story. They are in chronological
The weather forecast, at least for the NYC area, has been on track for at least 5 days.
In the old days, we would spend that time preparing for it, proud to be able keep business as usual.
Nowadays, it’s constant fear mongering, hunkering down and buying groceries like we will never be able to buy food again.
It’s the 372nd Storm of the Century. Which for those of you paying attention, means we get one about every three years.
The constant refrain: It’s dangerous, Watch us, We’re keeping you safe.
But never-fear, with thousands of reporters and even the Governor, risking their lives to tell us how dangerous it is, but don’t worry, they are out there protecting us. Even worse, they attack anyone on the streets, people who actually feel they should go to work.
If I hear “we’re keeping you safe” one more time…
You wonder, why do I care? How can it hurt?
Because it dilutes the term, keeping us safe. We lose all sense of reality and perspective.
There are those who are truly keeping us safe, those men and women, deployed around the world, whether on some mountain top or watching remotely in a command post, continue to do so, without fanfare or even notice.
These last weeks in NYC have been the quietest I have ever seen; maybe in my life.
I have virtually nothing to do. Oh, I must get my tasty donut and coffee in the morning at the Lydig Diner and talk to the owner, George a bit. Then, wave at the Korean couple at their dry cleaning business, as well as the Russian shoe making couple.
And on the really strenuous days, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, I must even move our parked car from one side of the street to the other at the bewitching hour, which in this neighborhood is 10:00 a.m.
Yes, living under the threat of Alternate Side Parking (ASP) helps me understand repression in much of the world. Where is the ACLU when you need them? What stopping the City from adding Wednesday to ASP? What’s next? Waterboarding?? Or, horrors of horrors, forced to eat day old donuts!!!
I still remember vividly every mistake I made during my first winter in Fairbanks, Alaska: having to change a tire at 50° below zero (-45°C), because I had not put enough air in it when it was warmer, and now, at minus 50°, the tire was so flat it had a flat spot, that would not allow the car to move. Even with thick gloves on, I froze the end of my index finger.
That same winter, same car, I spent a week not being able to start it. One night, walking the 5 miles to work at my first weather forecasting job, I almost froze to death. I was so cold, when I finally got to the get at Ft. Wainwright, the gate guard took pity on me and called for a car to take me the last mile.
You have heard enough about our first Atlantic crossing and what we would do differently.
My first year of teaching was unreal. Swimming across the Atlantic may have been easier.
Dauntless still has the dent in the swim platform from the first time I tried to back into a slip.
So, I find myself relishing the thought of the coming winter.
Because it’s the second winter for Dauntless in Europe and Ireland. I know what to expect; I know what to worry about and what I don’t have to worry about.
It doesn’t get simpler or easier than that.
I know that with Dauntless secure in Waterford, I can spend a bit more time in the U.S.; not only with Julie in N.Y., but also visiting other friends throughout the country and Europe.
A “Real Life of Reilly” A TV show that that as a young kid I found fascinating, why? It was about this foreign place called Brooklyn. Reilly worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; which also says a lot about New Yorkers in that we are a city of neighborhoods. Also, since I lived on the west side of Manhattan, it was out of sight.
Literally, my sight.
Had I perhaps lived in the Lower East Side (from which the Brooklyn Navy Yard is quite visible) maybe I would not have thought Brooklyn so foreign. It did have Coney Island, which I was a frequent visitor. But again, in those days, the train to Coney Island took the tunnel under the East River; so again, I missed my opportunity to the Navy Yard. (Nowadays, it takes the Manhattan Bridge, giving a wonderful view of New York (Manhattan), Brooklyn and even the Statue of Liberty.
OK, so back to the story.
I can also spend a bit more time on the continent, taking advantage of Ryan Air’s cheap flights, while I scope out some possible places for winter over next year.
Yes, the second time is great.
So while my second winter in Fairbanks, didn’t come for another 10 years, I knew to put 60 lbs. of air in the tires (double the normal amount) before winter started and the gas station air pumps all froze.
I also knew contrary to local wisdom, to start the car engine with no choke initially, otherwise it would instantly flood and I’d be walking for a week.
And in our second year on Dauntless, I know when someone asks me to back the boat into a slip to make it more convenient for them, I kindly decline.
So, I’m really looking forward to my upcoming second winter and second summer in Europe.
But after two, three starts looking the same as one and two.
So it’ll be time to reset the clock again.
Better to have a new first time; than a boring third time.
As I walked to the car, crossing Pelham Parkway, I really was struck by how pretty the Bronx is.
Now, I have been told by some about the Bronx, and working here for five years, and now living here, if only part time, I can certainly appreciate it, but still I’ve always had my doubts.
My friend Sam, a big Bronx booster and the only person I know who was born, raised and still living in the Bronx, would periodically rant and rave about its attributes. But like most New Yorkers, I attributed it to a passing delusion.
But I always liked her enthusiasm and she was more right than I. Sometimes I should listen better also.
As I got in the car, connected my IPod, that had been “lost” for the previous week, I also realized that that last night’s funk was as much about having to listen to NY radio for a few yours. How such a big city can have so little choice in radio listening is simply pathetic. We are such a big city, so there are no real “local” stations, but instead virtually every station is owned by some big corporation, run by the bean counters.
Sad to think that the place where playing rock albums on WNEW-NY actually started in the ‘60’s has now reverted to the planned world of a Disney Land.
So here is a song or two that works well on a sunny day.
I’m returning to Dauntless in a few days. I have spent my time in NYC getting the final pieces for the heater installation, but I’m leaving with a little cloud over me.
Why? A number of reasons:
It started with my visit to our roof top apartment in Manhattan. It’s been rented since August and the renter has been great, but the plants did far more poorly this winter than the winter before, which was just as cold, if not even worse. I think it was that the plants suffered last summer, and therefore did not start the winter in the condition they should have.
Then it was on to the next project, the upgrade of our home computer.
Well, I could cross the Atlantic, but even after a week of trying, I still have not been able to get my 7 year old desktop computer to run Windows 7. It had been running XP. I spent three days trying to get it to run XP again. No luck. Then finally, yesterday, I bowed to the inevitable and put Vista on it.
Yes, I got Vista to work, but at the cost of having to reinstall all my old programs, etc.
Stupid. I should have left it alone and in another year or two replaced it.
I also would like to start our summer cruise in three weeks, yet there seems so much to still do.
Lastly, I would have liked to see a few more friends while here; but it was not to be, hopefully in the fall.
So, I’m left with this sense of not having accomplished much of what I had wanted for this trip. Like having a pebble in your shoe; irritating, but not deadly.