Sunday, May 31, 2015

Croton-on-Hudson, NY - $24.95? Just to Cross a Bridge?

And here we are, north of New York City, in one of the closest parks to the city that we could find. I thought it would be nice to park in Central Park but it’s not that kind of park. There is a park that is closer, on the New Jersey side and we spoke with a couple from Oregon who were actually going to stay there. It is near a marina and looks more like a parking lot from the air, though the views across the water to the Statue of Liberty must be pretty cool. On the other hand, the view across the parking lot to the junk yard must not be so cool. They can have that spot, we’ll camp here in Croton-on-Hudson.

And, speaking of the Statue of Liberty. Here’s my hint: If you know you will be in this area, get tickets for the ‘Crown’ of the Statue as soon as you can. I didn’t try to get tickets for this until last week and, because it’s summer, they are booked until September, after school starts. We still get out to the island and to Ellis Island also but we won’t be able to climb up into the crown. Ah, next time. I actually climbed up into it in the 80’s and - it is spectacular.

We took the chicken way around New York today. There are many ways to get to our next destination. We could take the 30-minute, frantic, stressful way through NYC or the 55- minute lively but manageable route around the city. My choice: simple - the lively, manageable route Interstate 287 which is goes out around the city - way out. It was busy but manageable - just what I thought. Then we hit the accident and the inevitable slowdown. Actually, it was the STOP - since we weren’t moving at all for a while. Then there are those who get antsy and think they are special - the ones who decided to pass us all by driving in the break-down lane. Oops, then they have to get back into the traffic lanes and try to nudge their way in. Today one of these jerks played chicken with us - thinking that the old grey haired people in the RV would stop and let him through. Cripes we almost hit him - he was nudging in so close. But, we were the chickens - we let him in.

The Tappan Zee Bridge soared high over the Hudson River buy no big deal - until we hit the toll booth at the end. We kept seeing ‘$5.00 for car’ signs along the way - how bad can it be for us - a motorhome towing a car? But the toll taker told us $24.95 - only cash. Holy Cow. Luckily I had it but need to hit the ATM now. (We talked with a guy in the campground who says that he’s taken that route before and there is no way to avoid that $24.95.)

We had started early to avoid the inevitable rain and we only ran into during the last 1/2 hour of our trip.
I mentioned the rain earlier but it continued through the afternoon. Gary found enough time between sprinkles to hook up the electricity and the water and, then, after dinner, he got the sewer hooked up. Since it was still not spitting, we decided to circle the campground and try for our daily walk. When we drove in around this large grassy hump in the land, ‘landfill?’ Gary speculated. Sure enough, the map said ‘landfill’ but over it and circling it was a trail. So we headed up to become King and Queen of the Landfill Hill and then down and around. As we were returning to the park, we felt some sprinkles and, instead of continuing our walk, came back to the RV. Good thing because it began to rain heavier and didn’t stop until well into the wee hours of the morning.
As we headed to bed, the rain was pretty steady and, on the roof of the RV sounded like I was under a waterfall. Gary found a single pair of earplugs and gave me one and then found two cotton balls. I tried them but couldn’t get them to fit inside my ears. Gary got them fitted just right and slept like a lamb. Me, I lay there and fell asleep, slept all night and woke in the morning. Whew.

We saw this sign recently. ‘Went?’ How about ‘gone?’ Maybe CBS had it wrong, but that doesn’t mean that the Wild West Casino has to have it wrong, too. Maybe this is just the old teacher speaking. 
Don’t drive your RV on anything that says ‘Parkway’ we were advised but we took the Garden State Parkway from Atlantic City to the jct with 287 and it was fine. I’m not sure about some of the others with their low bridges and we won’t take any more.

“I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places”

                                                                                        Henny Youngman

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Port Republic, NJ - Down on the Boardwalk

Ah, I’m singing the Drifters today.

Oh when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof
And your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fire proof
Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah
On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be

(Under the boardwalk) out of the sun
(Under the boardwalk) we'll be havin' some fun
(Under the boardwalk) people walking above
(Under the boardwalk) we'll be falling in love
Under the boardwalk, boardwalk!
What’s a visit to the Jersey coast without a stroll down the boardwalk in Atlantic City? And, you know, you’d better stroll down the boardwalk here soon before it all disappears. Nah, it won’t disappear but it’s not what it used to be. Here’s a picture of what is happening to the aura of Atlantic City.
Looks pretty special, doesn’t it? New, shiny, great views of the ocean - it’s gonna be packed - right? I’ll bet it costs a pretty penny to stay here, right? Well, think again. This casino, the Revel, never opened and probably never will open. It was built to capitalize upon New Jersey’s gambling monopoly. Then, while it was being built, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania all legalized gambling in their states. 4 casinos were built in Philadelphia, the town that probably provided the most day to day gamblers in Atlantic City. And last year 4 casinos closed - the windows have been papered over, the doors are turning rusty, the canopies are falling down. Casinos with the names of Trump and Hilton on top of the. Oh, yeah, those names have been taken off since Trump and Hilton wouldn’t want anyone to think they had failures on their balance sheets. But, look, the names can still be seen.

My question is: how many tax breaks were given to these two, How much money was spent to get these two to build casinos here? How much money did they rake in while their casinos were open? And, the best question - who’s going to pay to tear these derelict buildings down? Of course, Hilton and Trump did all right but what about all the employees that have been laid off? What about all the small shopkeepers whose shops now have few shoppers, the small restaurants looking for customers, the bartenders, the maids and all the others who have lost their jobs?

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now but it is so sad to see things like this.

But there are still things to see from the heyday of Atlantic City and we had a good time walking the boardwalk. The beaches were a bit empty but then it was a bit chilly and those who actually got into the water here were pretty brave.
We enjoyed watching the kites swooping down, sailing up and twirling in the skies.
WalkingtheAtlanticCityBoardwalk-36-2015-05-27-17-36.jpg WalkingtheAtlanticCityBoardwalk-34-2015-05-27-17-36.jpg
Here is a shot of some of the shops lining the boardwalk - the guy with this sign telling everyone that he would vote for Tsongas probably needs to take it down - who remembers Tsongas now?
You look one direction and can see people walking the boardwalk, but the other direction, towards the south end looks pretty bare.

And, then we hit the piece de resistance: the Miss America Beauty Pageant memorial - and here I am getting crowned. Did you miss this on TV?
It was fun seeing all the Monopoly streets in reality. There was boardwalk, Indiana Avenue, Baltic Place, Connecticut Avenue. But, here is the symbol of it all: Park Place on a Rusty pole.


Are you ready for a little history? Haven’t you always wondered who invented the game of Monopoly? Don’t you want to know why it was invented? Sure, you do. I knew it. Well, it was 1903 and Lizzie Magie wanted to help people understand how rents enriched landlords and impoverished renters. (obviously, ownership, not renting, was the solution) Hey, how about a game? Yep, just the ticket. She got a patent for the game in 1904. Eventually she sold it to Parker Brothers for - probably she should have driven a harder bargain.

I went online to see where all the streets were in Atlantic City and found this cool map.
There, the answer to all your questions.

We had lots of fun in Atlantic City. We talked with people who got married here 50 or more years ago and were now reliving their adventure. We talked with ‘hosts’ of the city who were happy to talk with anyone about how much they loved the city. We talked with a young college student on her summer job who was never going back to Nebraska. And, interestingly, we talked with a ‘genius’ in the Apple Store, which is on the Boardwalk, who says that this store is the #1 in the United States. Cool place, I wish I had seen it in its heyday.

‘Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals like chocolate.’

                                                                        Sandra Boynton

Monday, May 25, 2015

Port Republic, NJ - How Much Excitement Can We Endure?

Today the goal was to wash and wax the RV. But, we washed & waxed the side on the west, away from the sun, planning to do the east side in the afternoon. Ah, a break in the middle - and that’s when my Sweet Hugga Bunch said, ‘I suppose you want to do the Jeep, too.’ Well, no, I had planned to take it through the car wash in town. But, we got the Jeep done today too. Just too much excitement.

On the other hand, we’re here in Port Republic to get some things done that we’ve been putting off for a while and this qualifies.

Our friends who are traveling to Alaska this summer mentioned that the prices for food are much higher in Alaska than in the lower 48 states - obviously, it takes much more gas to get the food up there. As proof of this they sent us this picture. Should this be ‘Buck and a Quarter Tree’?
They stocked up while they were still in the states and now they are ‘rolling’ down the road.

We have found several places to walk around Port Republic. One day we walked in PR it self and found this solar array around the cemetery. Now, I’m not sure how a cemetery needs solar panels. What are they doing at night?
We drove by an LPGA tournament on our way to breakfast but this is the closest we ever got. They were shuttling fans in from all of the school, city park, library, and city hall parking lots from all the small towns around -
On the other hand, this breakfast was delicious. Because we travel and want good places to eat, I always use Yelp as my resource. Shea’s turned up as the best in the area and, judging by the line and the wait at 10:00 on a Tuesday morning, they must be right. Now, I know - they are the best. All of this for the amazing price of $4.95. Spiced home fries, huge home-made biscuits, scrambled eggs and then they even put some orange slices and parsley on the plate to add that little extra oomph.
I wear a fitness gadget on my wrist called a Misfit Shine. Clever little gadget, measures my footsteps, mileage, elevation, calories used and matches it all against a goal that I have pre-set. It coordinates with an app on our IPhone and then keeps records for each day, week and month. On top of that it also measures my sleep patterns. When I wake I sync with the IPhone and can tell how much ‘restful’ sleep I’ve had for the night. That’s probably just interesting information since I really can’t do much to change that but the activity monitoring is quite useful.

Of course, when the activity monitor says just a bit under my goal, I’m off trying to get up to the goal - sometimes I take the trash out, sometimes I make another circle of the campground. Gary and I walk every day, usually 4+miles but sometimes we might not walk. Now, I’ve got to get to my goal and that gets us walking every day. If I’m close to my daily goal and it’s dark out, you can find me walking the 12 paces from the front of out RV to the real of the RV and back again, to get up to my goal.

Then, a real surprise, I got this e-mail from Misfit, the company:

‘This is Percy from Misfit. Our records indicate that the battery of your Misfit device is currently at a very low level. 
We want you to have an uninterrupted experience of using our product, so allow us to send you a battery and a battery replacement tool, both free of charge. If you are interested, please take a moment to fill out this Google form to confirm your mailing address.

We will ship your replacement battery within a few days once the form is submitted.’

Are you kidding? Actually, we had just changed the battery but - what service this is. Of course,they get the info when I sync every day.

‘I got rid of my husband. The cat was allergic.’


Port Republic, NJ - Memorial Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae May 1915

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Port Republic, NJ - Frappe' la Rue, Jack

Time to move on - from the Philadelphia area to the Atlantic City area, near the Jersey shore. Oh, cripes, it’s Memorial Day weekend - a 3-day weekend. Who in the world would move on the Saturday of a 3-day weekend? Who would move to a campground on the Jersey shore on a 3-day weekend? Some stupid retired ‘full-timer’ who wasn’t watching the calendar. I’m retired, everything is a holiday to me, not just 3 days. When I put the schedule together for this trip and made my reservations, I didn’t even notice Memorial Day on the calendar. Well, the saving grace is that we’ve got reservations. Whew!!
We have a GPS and I plugged in our destination and got a route. Then I went to Google and did the same thing - different route. Finally, I went to the campground website and asked their directions. They asked me to plug in our starting location and then went to Google and I got - you guessed it - a third route. Now, how can Google choose two different routes, given the same beginning and end? Beats me. Sometimes our GPS chooses one route to go to a place and another route to return home. I don’t get it. Meanwhile, I looked at all the choices and they all took us through Camden, on several Interstates and around and about: busy roads, fast cars and stress. I looked at the map and decided to choose the country route, no Interstates, just back roads. And, what a pleasant trip that was. No stress. Oh, shucks I missed the donuts. I thought they were further down the road but, as I was trying to find them on the GPS so we’d know exactly where they were (it’s nice when you’re in an RV to know ‘exactly’ because often there’s no easy U-turns), I found them - but we had already passed them about a mile. Oh, well. Another day will bring more donuts. Looks like spice drops for our travel treat.

Look at the forests we’re traveling through. Who knew that New Jersey had such a beautiful drive for us. Well, I’m sure that many know about the forests - after all NJ is called the Garden State. However, my trips through NJ have always been along Interstate 95 which takes you through the junkyards, the industry, the warehouses and not much else.
Oops, this picture is way out of place, we saw this on the way from Gettysburg to New Jersey. We drove through the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish territory. This was quite a common sight.
We did take a toll road for a bit and met the happiest toll taker - ‘I’m too blessed to be stressed’ she told us. Made our day.

And, here were are in a new campground in a new city. When we got here we were told that one section had 50A electricity, water but no sewer. Another section had 30A electricity, water and sewer. We looked around, chose a place but as I was walking on over to the office to check in, I almost tripped over a sewer pipe hidden among some long grasses, you know the kind that the mower mows around. Hmm. I asked the office and finally the manager and the maintenance guy confirmed that it really was a sewer - in the 50A section. So we have it all: 50A electricity, water and sewer.

Family campground, lots of young kids on bikes, lots of teens trying to look cool, lots of happy parents. What a happy campground - everyone’s having a good 3-day weekend: the pool was full even tho’ the temp was in the in the low 70’s. When asked, one young girl admitted, ‘I’m freezing but everyone else is here.’ Families playing miniature golf, kayaks out on the lake, shuffleboards full. I really like the family campgrounds, more than the ‘over 50’ campgrounds. Lots more activity.

I took this picture on a weekday - after every else had left. When we got here, the whole campground was filled.

‘I’m too blessed to be stressed.’

                toll taker on ACE (Atlantic City Expressway)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Clarksboro, NJ - Penn's Landing

We love to walk through the streets of the cities that we visit and today we walked through the streets of Philadelphia. We started by heading on down to Penn’s Landing, an area on the river that they have fixed up in the last few years to bring people down to the water front. We first found this amazing monument, Leacht Cuimhneachain Na Ngael, dedicated to the Irish immigrants who were victims of the potato famine and came to America with very little to their names. On the right you can see a family digging up their potatoes and finding that they have rotted in the ground. To the left of them are grave stones of those who starved to death. Further left are families with all their worldly possessions in suitcases ready for the trip and finally on the far left they have arrived in America. Surrounding this monument are benches and gardens but also plaques with the story of their life in Ireland during the famine. It is heart wrenching and if you want to read it all please go to: It is an amazing story but oh, so sad.
The waterfront area has a skating rink where people just skate around and some actually practice their moves.
Then there’s the free entertainment: like the hula hoopers and the trapeze artist.
Oh, yeah, they’ve got lots of hammocks. This young man is probably texting in his. I wanted to take a picture of Gary in one but I’d probably never get him out.
On another street, we saw a community garden and a marvelous 2-story tall mosaic on the side of the building on the north side of the garden. As I was struggling to get a picture, a woman named Carolyn came out of the garden and asked us if we wanted to come in to get a better picture. Sure. Inside she told us that this was the Queen Village community garden with a waiting list of 5 years. It was the idea of a woman named Libby Goldstein and in 1996, to celebrate the garden’s 20th anniversary, Isaiah Zagar completed the mural with the line ‘Libby’s Dream Realized’ embedded in the mosaics.
Carolyn also told us to visit Philadelphia’s Magic Garden created by Zagar on South Avenue. We did find South Avenue and enjoyed the city flavor of the small shops and restaurants. And, hey, here are two of Zagar’s works on this wall.

Now, about the Magic Garden: we decided that we had walked enough today and it was time to head back to the train station. Dumb, dumb, dumb. We were within 4 blocks of the Magic Garden and we didn’t see it. We looked on line and there are are 3-dimensional mosaics. We’re now kicking ourselves. Don’t you forget to put the Magic Garden on your list when you visit Philly. We certainly have it on our for the next time we’re here.

We did stop by Washington Square on our way back. Here we saw the tomb of the unknown Revolutionary War soldier with a statue of George Washington. When the British held Philadelphia and Washington was in Valley Forge, the British took many Americans prisoner and many died in their prisons. In most cases they were buried in mass graves.
Across the street was the old Curtis Publishing Company, founded in 1891, which housed such venerable magazines as Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal and Jack & Jill. Inside were an imaginative fountain and a huge mural in mosaics by designed by Maxwell Parrish and constructed by the Tiffany studios. There are more than 100,000 pieces of glass in 260 colors. 30 artisans worked 1 year to make it and 6 months to install. The glass pieces range from translucent, transparent and opaque and are exquisitely designed.
Here’s bit of the detail.
I’m thinkin’ it’s time to head home. Back on the train for our trip to the other side of the river over this bridge.

Hey, ever watched a movie at your local drive-in. I sure have. I might have watched ‘Psycho’ on the Fort Dodge, IA screen. It was a light horror movie because I remember the person in the back seat raising the sound level on our speaker just as the scary part was starting. Ooh. I ducked my head under the dashboard.

Our train back to Jersey passes through Camden, NJ where the drive in theater was invented. Yep, right here in Camden, NJ. Seems that the mother of Richard Hollingshead couldn’t sit in regular movie seats so he rigged up a sheet over their garage door, put a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of the car and she could sit in comfort in her own car and watch a movie at home. Well, of course, it wasn’t that simple: he tried various kinds of speakers, put blocks of varying thicknesses under the tires, and tried different car configurations to get the right spacing but in the end, he had the drive-in experience. Of course the neighbors were curious and wanted to get in on the action so Hollingshead decided that this was something that could sell. His first drive-in opened in 1933 and had 400 spaces for cars. He advertised his theater with this slogan: ‘The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.’

And, there you have it. The drive-in theater start, in Camden, NJ. The sound might have been scratchy but at least you didn’t have to walk on those sticky theater floors.

“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”

                                                 Phyllis Diller

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Clarksboro, NJ - Meet Me at the Eagle

Today we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city. We began by taking the Jersey train into Philadelphia, we heard one of the largest organs in the world, we saw where American coins are minted and we ate at Reading Terminal Marketplace. Can you get any more Philadelphia than that?

I love public transit: it’s cheaper than driving a car into town, it relieves the stress and we didn’t have to find any parking. Did it take a bit longer to get to our destination? Yep, but it was all worth it. 2 days ago we drove into town on 3 different Interstates, across 20 different lanes of cars, faced rush hour traffic in downtown Philadelphia and paid $20 for an underground parking spot. Today we drove about 5 miles, parked the car and took the train into town for $6.00 each round trip. Whew. Tomorrow we’ll do the same thing. Do I look like I’m dressed for a cold windy day in the city?
We started with fresh warm donuts from Bieler’s Bakery in the Reading Terminal Market. Reading Terminal Market is every office worker’s dream: a place with a plethora of food, lots of activity and places to eat quickly with friends. Two days ago, I had made sandwiches at home for our lunch and we had wandered through the market marveling at all the choices. It’s one of those places that you wander around, everything looks so good but your stomach is only so large, you have only so much time and your budget is only so large. How to choose? It begs the question: if you had only one meal to eat, which of the food stalls in Reading Terminal would you eat at? Hint: I’m not eating at this booth.
On one corner is an Amish meat market with fresh ground beef and t-bones 2” thick, on another is a deli serving premium meats and cheeses and homemade bread, on the third corner is a Louisiana emigrant selling muffelettas and po-boys while the fourth corner has jerk chicken with Bob Marley softly playing in the background. Every aisle has an Amish bakery with young hands frosting the freshly made donuts while old hands are manning the counter. Ice cream, fudge, assorted candies and cookies lining counter tops.

And, oh, my the fish markets. Red snapper staring up at us from their bed of ice, lobsters swimming in their pool, on top of the counter was a tray of crabs on their backs - live and obviously unable to move. You can choose your own live crab for lunch.

I always wanted a ‘glutten-free’ treat. Ain’t gonna to eat no gluttens.

Several of these places are institutions: Dimics with its roast beef and pork sandwiches. Later in the day, when we were eating a late lunch, we saw them put the ‘Sold Out’ sign up covering their menu board. Bielers, an Amish bakery still had their lines for the fresh warm donuts but some of their bread was on sale since they closed at 5:00.

Finally, Gary and I had chosen what we wanted for lunch. Gary had the turkey dinner 1/2 plate special: turkey, gravy and two sides - he chose dressing and corn. I chose the 1/2 turkey sandwich with honey mustard, pickles, lettuce, onion and tomato on rye, the softest moistest rye I’ve had in a long time. (Don’t think for a moment that I got that much meat - I had a lot but this sandwich is false advertising.)

There are several areas to eat; the tables are long and narrow and the people watching is excellent. On our left was a young Gonzaga college student originally from Philadelphia showing her boyfriend from Seattle around Philly. When they left we visited with a father and his 17-month old son eating salmon and rice.

However, I’m so taken with the Market that I’ve forgotten to tell you about our day in the city.

Here’s one of the quintessential sights in the city - any city. How long did he work to get his car into this spot? And, yes, he actually had to maneuver into this spot. We saw him make his last little jockey into the spot, get out and put his money into the pay machine. 
And, if you think that the angle skews the distances between the cars, check this out.
We’ve spent two days on the history that took place in Philadelphia. Today, we’re just going to wander. But, after our day’s donut, we wanted to visit Macy’s to hear the organ concert - from one of the largest organs in the world. But, here’s a question for you: we’re all familiar with the price tag but was the first to use it?

John Wanamaker was the first to use a price tag. I wonder how it was done before. Actually, most clothing was made at home and in small shops. Wanamakers was the first American department store (there were several in Europe) and in a large department store, price tags are necessary.

        He was also the first to have electric lights, the first store with a telephone and - get this - the first store to use pneumatic tubes to transport both cash and documents. Remember those? We had a store in Fort Dodge, IA that used those. I loved to see them whiz on their way. Wanamaker also guaranteed his clothing and allowed his customers to return their purchases for a cash refund. He also treated his employees differently than most: he offered health care, recreational facilities, profit-sharing plans and pension. No one else offered these to their employees. He also invented ‘White Sales’ and other themed sales such as ‘Founders Day’ sales.

He had a bronze eagle in his main store and customers used to say ‘Meet me at the Eagle.’ Pretty spectacular eagle, all in bronze and with amazing detail in the feathers.

        But what we went to see was the Wanamaker Organ with its 28, 604 pipes in 463 ranks. (I’m not sure what all that means but I’m thinking that it means that it’s BIG.) It has 6 separate keyboards as you can see in this picture. This particular organ was famous for its orchestra-like sound, coming from pipes that are softer than usual. I was surprised to listen. I’m sure that this organ can accelerate into that bombastic sound that often comes form organs. But the tunes we heard we much softer, almost a jazz-like quality. The sounds were softer and more melodic.

There are two concerts every day, one at noon and one at 7 pm. We wandered in a bit before noon, enough time to look the ‘concert hall’ over. 7 stories high.
Next on to the mint.

‘After the birth of their child, an Episcopal priest, wearing his clerical collar, visited his wife in the hospital. He greeted her with a hug and a kiss, and gave her another hug and kiss when he left.
Later, the wife's roommate commented: "Your pastor is sure friendlier than mine.’


Clarksboro, NJ - Flavors of the City #2

Next a visit to the Philadelphia mint which makes most of the coinage in America. Denver also makes some but the lion’s share comes from Philly. The first coins were made by hand and it took the mint 3 years to produce the first million coins. That would take 30 minutes today. Pretty fast. No wonder I couldn’t see what was going on. The tour is self-guided and you walk by windows that look down on the production floor. Every now and then I’d see a shiny glint pass by and know it was some coins. At one point they gave us a video in slo-mo and I could see what was happening. Otherwise it was a blur. Here are huge rolls of metal (if unrolled - 5 football fields long) waiting to be made into coins in even larger machines. If a coin falls on the floor - does an employee get to keep it to use at the casino? Is it given to the closest tourist? Does rain fall up? Absolutely not. It is recycled.

We also toured the Ben Franklin home - though it is not an original but build to his specs. And, speaking of specs: here’s a copy of what he did to make bi-focals - put one type of lens in the top and another in the bottom. In 1727, he also was one of the founding members of the Library Company of Philadelphia, the first subscription library where you could borrow books.

He also started one of the first fire brigades in Philadelphia. No fire hydrants at the time and the volunteers would stand in line with their own buckets filling the tank of the fire engine.

Petty clever man and the museum had lots of information about him. But the presentation was geared more towards school-age.

As we walked around, we saw a lot of murals on the buildings of the city. It was a program started to try to cut down on the graffiti in the city. Rather than negatively deface a building, how about positively improving it with art?
Many of the streets we walked had the old walk-up brownstones that are characteristic of older cities.
And, then there are the new buildings that have been built close to the old ones.

Saw a reporter from the local news station. Look where here microphone is hooked up - on her ankle hooked up to that cord. Don’t move too far, lady.

‘If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success?’
                                         Jerry Seinfeld