WILDWOOD STATE PARK (NY)

Wildwood State Park is the largest state park on Long Island. In the middle of May the campground was nearly empty during the week but was nearly full each of the two weekends we were here. The sites are decently spaced apart and most are pull throughs but there isn't any privacy. There is a sepatate tenting section so we were surrounded by trailers, fifth wheels and a few Class A motorhomes.

There is a beach/picnic area in the park but it is still much too cold for any swimming. I imagine later this year when temperatures are higher and school is on summer break this place is packed all week long, at least judging by the size of the parking lot.



THURSDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #2 - STOP #28

"The Empire State"
is our 15th visited state

I know I've said this before, but today was our worst travel day experience to date! I was already a little stressed about towing our home through the congested highways of Staten Island and Long Island, NY but to add to that stress our trusted GPS kept giving us warnings that EVERY bridge we approached was to low for us to pass under.

A few days ago while working in the library I updated the software on our GPS because well, there was an update available? I suspect there was a problem with the new software because after we arrived here I checked and lo and behold, there is now another update available, probably to fix the last update they issued. I checked their website and there is no mention of the issue I experienced. We bought this specific GPS unit because it allows you to program in your vehicle's length and height so that you can avoid the exact situation it kept warning us about.

So we cautiously traveled along with all the New York traffic and as long as I could see an 18-wheeler up ahead of us on the road I pretty much just ignored all the warnings coming from our GPS unit. Those big trucks are at least 2 or 3 feet taller than our home on wheels so I felt fairly safe, but still kept one eye watching for the clearance heights posted on each bridge.



FRIDAY

SIGHTSEEING DAY
107 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today we are visiting our seventh, out of ten, National Seashores. Fire Island National Seashore encompasses a sizable portion of the southern shoreline of Long Island, NY. It's still early in the season for anyone to be visiting the beach but we notice the parking lots were capable of holding thousands of cars, even though there were only a dozen or so there today.

There is a lighthouse on Fire Island that you can climb for a small fee, so we decided to focus our visit there. You have to park your car in the easternmost parking lot (Field #5) and walk along a 3/4 mile long boardwalk through the sand dunes and marshes to reach the lighthouse station. Once there you'll find a gift shop and a museum that explains the significance of the location and the life saving station that used to be located here. We found out that a life saving station was the early version of the U.S. Coast Guard we all know of today.

I was a little disappointed because the weather today was foggy, cloudy and misting rain, so we elected not to climb the lighthouse. Instead we spent a little extra time examining the museum pieces and talking with the volunteers and the ranger that was there to collect the fees from the people who did climb the lighthouse.

Parking Lot
The 3/4 of a mile view from the parking lot

The boardwalk begins
The beginning of the boardwalk leading to the lighthouse

Halfway
About half way there now

Finally
Museum on the left and the Gift Shop is located in the Light Keeper House at the base of the lighthouse

Fresnel lens
The original First Order Fresnel Lens now on display in the museum


Yesterday when we arrived at our new campsite we were nearly the only ones in the park. Right after setting up we left to go get something to eat and stock up on groceries for the week and a half we would be staying here. We weren't gone more than two hours and when we got back there were campers setting up all over the park. The campsite right next to us was now being occupied by a guy setting up his travel trailer.

Being the kind of guy I am I went over and introduced myself and found out that he was setting up his trailer for the weekend when his wife, kids and inlaws would be coming out for a visit. We've seen this strategy before, set up on Thursday afternoon and leave the trailer behind, go to work on Friday and then return Friday afternoon to enjoy the weekend. By Friday afternnon the entire campground was nearly full!

On Friday afternoon our neighbor Bill returned to his trailer after work with his wife Erika, they are both school teachers, he teaches history and she teaches music. I casually went next door and asked the most convenient way to get into New York City from the campground and they both agreed that we should take the Long Island Railroad from the Ronkonkama Station straight into Penn Station which is located beneath Madison Square Garden. Ronkonkama Station has a five story parking garage for $5 a day and is at the end of the line, so when we board the train there will be plenty of open seats for the hour long ride into the city. Penn Station is at the other end of the line so it made it simple, get on the train and ride it until they kick us off. Coming home late at night was the same situation, ride the train until they kick us off.

In addition to the transportation advice Erika took the time to write up three pages full of must see sights in the city and here on Long Island. She also wrote a page full of western New York State Parks we should consider visiting. I got the impression she and Bill are both lifelong Long Islanders. We have quickly learned than when a local is willing to share information with you it nearly always turns out great. We'll see how many of her suggestions we can squeeze into our time here.



SATURDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
52 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Tricia is going to be working all day today, and tomorrow, so we can take a few days off during the week to go explore "The City That Never Sleeps", New York City!


Meanwhile yesterday while we were at the lighthouse, I was a little surprised when they said the National Parks Passport Cancellation Station was at the Visitor Center, some 20 miles up the coast at the other end of the park, fortunately it was in the same direction as our campsite. We drove there only to find out that until late next month they are only open on weekends and holidays. So today I basically drove 40 miles round trip across Long Island just to get my passport book stamped. Oh yeah I almost forgot, while we were here yesterday we collected our vial full of sand to add to our National Seashore Sand Collection.

Now that all that is taken care of I'm heading to a nearby library to once again update the software on our GPS. You may be wondering why I can't just do this at home? We only get 15GB of data each month and I don't want to use up a good portion of that doing software updates. I need to save enough data to be able to upload photos and blog posts so you all have something to see and read don't I?


When the weather briefly cleared up this afternoon I saw someone flying a quadcopter in a nearby empty baseball field. I purchased one 18 months ago and today I decided to get mine up in the air for the first time. First I had to charge the batteries, next I had to go online to register and activate it, then I had to update the firmware, twice, then I had to calibrate it and pair it up to my iPhone. Finally after two hours I was ready to fly!

I called Tricia away from her work to witness the big event and after about three minutes of flying it around the baseball field a low battery warning started to beep. I guess that all that updating and pairing took away a lot of battery power! Anyway it's starting to rain again so maybe tomorrow I can try again.

After I get a little more adept at flying the Mavic Air Quadcopter you should start seeing some aerial photos and short videos on the blog in the very near future. So stay tuned in!



SUNDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



MONDAY

SIGHTSEEING DAY
NEW YORK CITY - DAY 1

LOOK FOR A SEPARATE POST
THAT WILL BE COMING SOON!

DAY 1 - HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

The "Downtown" Big Bus Tour • The "NYC by Night" Big Bus Tour
The 86th Floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building
The 102nd Floor Observatory of the One World Trade Center Building



TUESDAY

SIGHTSEEING DAY
NEW YORK CITY - DAY 2

LOOK FOR A SEPARATE POST
THAT WILL BE COMING SOON!

DAY 2 - HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

The "Uptown" Big Bus Tour
The "Brooklyn" Big Bus Tour
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum • Times Square



WEDNESDAY

SIGHTSEEING DAY
NEW YORK CITY - DAY 3

LOOK FOR A SEPARATE POST
THAT WILL BE COMING SOON!

DAY 3 - HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

The "Harlem" Big Bus Tour
Lunch in Central Park
The Staten Island Ferry



THURSDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



FRIDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



SATURDAY

ERRANDS DAY
68 MILES DRIVEN TODAY

Today we have some errands to run. First up is to take our two weeks worth of dirty clothes to the laundromat, always a fun time! Now that the laundry is done it's time for a quick lunch next door at the Chipotle's Mexican Grill, a favorite of ours when we lived in South Florida.

With the necessities all taken care of we now have some free time to go exploring Long Island. This is where Erika's gracious list of must see places will become invaluable.


First up is kind of quirky, but we like quirky! The Big Duck was built in the 1931 and has since been moved four times, but is now back in it's original location. In 1997 it is was added to the National Register of Historic Places, a rather large honor for a duck don't you think? The entire inside of the duck is now dedicated to a small museum/gift shop, where we enjoyed speaking with the volunteer who working there.

The Big Duck
Looking pretty good for an 88 year old duck!


Next up is selecting one of the nearly one hundred combined vineyards and wineries located on Long Island to visit. Question is how to choose just one? Answer, Erika's list! She narrowed it down to just four, we chose Pindar Vineyards. Not only is it Long Island's largest vineyard, it's the most well known, according to their website. We chose bottles of their Merlot and Summer Blush to take home.

Pindar Vineyards
Their tasting room was packed during our Saturday visit.


Another item on Erika's list just says Amazing Pie! And yes, on her handwriten list it was big, bold and underlined with an exclamation point. How could we ignore that? However Briermere Farms is not just amazing pies, there are all kinds of baked goods, jams and jellies, fresh produce and juices. We wanted it all, but showed a little restraint by purchasing only one Cherry/Raspberry pie, a dozen Peanut Butter cookies and a dozen Chocolate Brownie cookies. For the ride home we also picked up a bottle of Cherry Juice to drink and it wasn't until we read the empty bottle that we found out we were supposed to mix it with water, I thought it was awfully sweet!

We arrived 15 minutes before closing time and there was a line at the cash register of about a dozen people gladly waiting to pay for their delicious pies and baked goods. That definitely made us feel we were in the right place.

Brieremere Farms
This is what our stash looked like when we got it home.

Brieremere Farms
This is what it looked like ten minutes later!


Bill and Erika I hope you're reading this, thank you once again for pointing out the wonderful highlights of your beautiful home, Long Island, NY!



SUNDAY

WORK DAY FROM THE POD
0 MILES DRIVEN TODAY



• • • 100 MILE • • •
HIKING CHALLENGE

16.75 MILES
UNDER OUR BOOTS

A mile and a half boardwalk hike at the National Seashore
brings our annual total up to 16.75 miles.



Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?
• • • PLEASE USE THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW TO MAKE YOUR GUESS! • • •




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