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14th November - Intercourse and beyond

Happy ladies
Happy ladies

We have it to our Philadelphia hotel prior to our flight to Las Vegas early tomorrow morning.

Having started the day in Ronks near Lancaster, we spent a few hours in Bird in Hand and Intercourse. The first shop, Log Cabin Quilts had the ladies beaming, that was a big success. Ryan and I spent time at a bakery.

Another quilt shop took us to an Amish homestead, beautiful setting. Lovely day and location, a very friendly German Shepherd dog who took quite a shine to Ryan (and vice versa).

All of us have enjoyed the Amish community, such a peaceful area.

Around 1.30pm we started out for Philadelphia with a stop at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. All the ladies have enjoyed the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain far and away the most.

Now the ladies are doing another show and tell before they start to figure out how they are going to get all their 'stuff' into their limited bag space.

13th November - DC

Ryan, Rayls and Lincoln
Ryan, Rayls and Lincoln

We are quickly coming to an end of the east coast portion of the bash.

Today we started in the rain in Towson, just out of Baltimore and headed south to Washington DC around 100 K's away. Rained most of the way but fined up just as we arrived - it was still cold but at least dry.

I dropped the gang off at the Lincoln Memorial and went to find a parking spot which I did easy enough so joined the rest of them.

We all looked around the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool and both the Vietnam and Korea War Memorials.

The gang then walked alog the reflecting pool to the World War II memorial. I got the van and picked them up between the WWII Memorial and the National Monument.

Then to the White House where the gang had a look whilst I did a couple of laps of the block. We managed to check out a couple of street vendors for Tee Shirts before heading for the Hawk and Dove for lunch. 

No luck at the Hawk and Dove, under new ownership and closed for renovations.

A short drive the Smithsonian, Air and Space. Ryan had a look around us, the rest of us looked less and had lunch.

Around 3:00pm we drove across the Potomac River into Virginia and checked the Pentagon. We saw the area where the plane crashed on 9/11. 

From here we headed back towards Lancaster, where we started our east coast drive 8 days ago. The ladies want a bit more of a look around. I didn't think we would make it all the way back, but traffic was OK so we have made it to the Days Inn in Ronks, PA

12th November - On the Road South

All packed up and on the road by 9:00am this morning, our aim is to get close to Washington DC.

It was slow going to start with, lots of traffic and fog but eventually both cleared as we headed south.

We stopped first at Burlington, New Jersey - Olde City Quilts. Lovely town and the ladies seemed to enjoy the Quilt Shop and somehow had their photo taken for a web site.

Onwards with a stop for lunch at a diner.

Eventually we made it to Towson a suburb of Baltimore in Maryland, we stopped at the Bears Paw Quilt Shop, then a Post Office, a Marshalls, a Wal-Mart and whilst the ladies checked out a Michaels (over 2 hours there), Ryan and I checked in to a Days Inn. Not the greatest place but eh!

Dinner at a Bob Evans Restaurant before the ladies had a long show and tell in their room.

We are around 100 K's from DC where we will spend tomorrow.

11th November - New York City

Ryan and I enjoying the cruise
Ryan and I enjoying the cruise

Today Rayls and I started the day by finishing the drying of the clothes we washed yesterday.

Breakfast in the hotel and then caught the 10.10am 163 bus to NYC. $51 return for the 6 of us.

We alighted the bus at the Port Authority terminus and went down to the 42nd Street station and caught the subway train to the World Trading Centre. That cost $27 return fare for 6 of us.

We arrived at the World Trade Centre just a few minutes after 11.00am on 11/11.There was a long line to enter the 9/11 Memorial. Due to the recent storm there has been problem with on-line ticketing and it is suppose to be a ticket only area. Preference was to Military and Emergency Service personnel (including retired), and then people with tickets and then those without tickets. I provided my retired police ID and the six of us were allowed into the VIP line. We still had to line for 20 minutes or so but that was fine and it was wonderful to pay our respects at the memorial. Two pools with the largest manmade waterfalls in the United States cascading down their sides are located within the footprints of the Twin Towers. Each pool is 4,000 m2, and together they are intended to symbolize the loss of life and the physical void left by the terrorist attacks. The sound of the water falling is supposed to drown out the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary. Almost 400 sweet gum and swamp white oak trees fill the remaining area of the Memorial Plaza, furthering the reflective nature of the site.

Then it was back on the Subway to 42nd Street and we walked down to Pier 84 on the Hudson River. After some delay we boarded a water taxi, which is basically a cruise boat with commentary. We had stops at Battery Park, Wall Street and Brooklyn before stop a hundred metres or so off Liberty Island where we got sensational views of the Statue Of Liberty. Liberty Island is closed due to storm damage from Sandy.

Upon return to Pier 84 we caught a bus up 42nd Street to 6th Avenue. That was an experience; the driver was very grumpy, worse than me even. 42nd Street was a mess of traffic but we got to our destination.

We walked to Rockefeller Plaza, no Christmas tree up yet due to Sandy and so back to the Port Authority and the 6:10pm bus back to the hotel.

Dinner was at the Meadowlands Diner, very nice.

Tomorrow we head towards Washington DC.

10th November - New York

Ryan and Adam Carolla
Ryan and Adam Carolla

We have made it to our New Jersey hotel room and are about to head in, by bus, to tackle the New York City nightlife.

We started the day in Sturbridge and after brekkie we headed south with a stop in North Haven (Connecticut.... I think) at Quadrille Quilting. It was a lovely day, snow on the ground but blue skies above. The further south we went it got pretty murky. At no stage on our trip to New York City did we see any sign of damage from Cyclone Sandy. I thought we may have seen some downed tress but saw nothing unusual.

We arrived at our hotel, the Marriott Fairview, around 1:00pm and found that our rooms would not be ready for a bit so we headed out to lunch. We stopped at the Meadowlands Diner where we all enjoyed various different meals. Kerry’s BLT surely had more T than the average, 3 or 4 huge slices of tomato.

Back to the hotel where we had some difficulties with check in but managed to sort it all out. Apparently cars were broken into in the hotel car park last night so all the bags had to be hauled into our rooms.

Rayls did some needed laundry that took longer than we thought and was still not dry when we left for the big city. Rayls placed laundry all around our room and I put the room heater on full heat. Away we went.

It is about a 10K bus trip to the bus terminal in New York City, our hotel is in East Rutherford, NJ around a K from the old Meadowlands Stadium now known as MetLife Stadium. It has a capacity of 86,000 and it the home stadium of both the New York Giants and Jets. WrestleMania will be held there in April and the Superbowl in 2014.

We arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal around 4:45pm having crossed the Hudson River through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Took us a while to get our bearings and we headed for Time Square. It is dark and the lighting is just awesome and I notice it is 5:05pm, amazing how early it gets dark.

The ladies took many photos and checked out a couple of stores before us guys split from them to go to the Town Hall and see one of Ryan’s heroes, comedian Adam Carolla. I am not really a fan of stand up comedy but I did enjoy the evening. I am pleased Ryan got to meet Adam after the show.

Whilst at the show the ladies headed for the Empire State Building, Leanne and Susan went to the top. Then to Macys to check out the Christmas display.

We met up again at 9:30pm and the girls tried NYC hot dogs from a vendor and Ran and I had a slice of NYC pizza.

A stop at Walgreens for medication, then back to the Port Authority to catch the 163 bus at 10:25pm.

All good and back into NYC tomorrow – a harbour cruise, Rockefeller Centre and Ground Zero planned.

9th November - Sturbridge Mass

Another quilt stop
Another quilt shop stop

Tonight we are in Sturbridge in Massachusetts - a couple of hours out of New York City.

On our way just after 9:00am, the ladies wanted to go back to Keepsake so there we went. It was a lovely day although a little cold, probably around 6 or 7C.

We checked out the lakefront just over the road from Keepsake. It is a very pretty spot, lot of photos taken. To the store just after 10am and the ladies did their thing. Ryan and I took the opportunity to check out a Harley Davidson store in nearby Laconia. Cool store and Ryan had a chat with Steve, one of the salesmen.

Back to Keepsake by the designated time but the ladies were still shopping, even Susan.

Eventually we hit the road again heading sort of south for New York City.

A stop in Concord at the Golden Gese Quilt Shop where I had to ask the question, "why is there just one e Geese" Because the owner of the shop has the surname Gesen...... OK.

Back on the road and a 2pm sort of lunch stop at a Starbucks/Burger King/Starbucks. Kerry had to do Starbucks twice because Rayls kicked her tea over when getting into the van.

Back on the road again trying to get within a short drive of New York City and here we are in Sturbridge, around 3 hours out of New York. The Days Inn here is a beauty and we are all tempted to stay here for the remainder of the holiday but alas.......... After I checked in I came outside to see the rest of the gang busy in a snow ball fight!

Son Scott has managed to get us into a hotel in East Rutherford, New Jersey for the next two nights. Apparently on a bus route and an easy and shortish bus ride into NYC.

We are all OK, Ryan and I on the mend and it seems at this stage none of the ladies seem to have caught what we had. All bar Susan could do with a rest day. It has been pretty much go go go. However, NYC beckons with little chance of a rest there.

8th November - Keepsake

We have a major problem looming in that I did not pre book a New York area hotel due to being able to remain a little flexble in our plans. Now with Hurricane Sandy and so many people without homes all the hotels are booked out. Have no idea where we will stay the next few nights. I guess we will try for a hotel a 100 K's or so our of town and drive in each day.

So today we started in Lee and we did 2 quilt shops as we headed further north towards Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire We made it to Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor just before 4:00pm. this is apparently the holy grail of quilt shops. All four ladies spent much time and money here. Apparently when they first walked in Susan yelled out "We're here" much to the embarrassment of the other three.

Too cold, and dark, for Ryan and I to do anything other than wait in the van. The ladies were finished just before closing time, some had their stash shipped straight home.

Each time Rayls and I have been here before the scenery is just magnificent but this time, being autumn it is very drab! Pity because the other ladies don’t get to see the beauty of this area. However, they came for a quilt shop and they did that.

Dinner at an Applebees and spent the night at a Super 8 in Tilton.


7th November - Lee

Up around 7am and packed and on the road a bit after 9am. We can't get the back seat of the van to go down, so loading is quite a chore.

First stop after 30 minutes or so was Saunders Fabrics in Denver, PA. About a 45 minute stop before heading off to 2 more shops, one closed and with the other the GPS had us going through some sort of university campus before we ended up at the back of beyond with no quilt shop in sight.

So it was back on the road, bypassing Allentown and Bethlehem as we tracked north for Albany. We left Pennsylvania and entered New Jersey for a bit before entering the state of New York.

We are promised a storm tomorrow and there was some flurries of snow in the New Jersey area. For lunch we stopped at a Maccas in Clinton, NJ.

Back on the road using our iPhone app to locate Log Cabin Fabrics, which wasn't where it was suppose to be. After a few phone calls we located it around 4:30pm. The routine at quilt shops has become the ladies go inside whilst Ryan and I usually wait in the van, it is way to cold to do anything else. After a short time Susan comes back and also waits in the van. The other three ladies come out together.

We ended up making it to the town of Lee, in Massachusetts. Four states today! We checked in to a Super 8 hotel and decided to have dinner at a Friendlys Restaurant just up the road but it was here I hit the wall. It was snowing and a combination of my cold and the cold had me shivering and unable to do any more. Ryan returned me to the hotel and I fell into the bed, The rest enjoyed their dinner,

6th November - Amish Day

The ladies spent the day with Kerry's friends Karen and Ted looking around the Amish area aroun Lancaster.

Ryan and I stayed in the hotel room, both of us coughing and spluttering the day away. Luckily TV Land gave mesome decent TV to watch.

Ryan joined the others for dinner, I stayed in the room.

The ladies seem to have had a great day but they stillneeded a Wal-Mart stop before ehading back to the hotel and their nightly Show and Tell.

Ryan and I watched the election results on CNN during the evening.

5th November - long day!

A very long day today. Two flights and a 100K drive which seemed to take forever.

We started out with brekkie at the hotel. Then the ladies took the hotel shuttle to the airport whilst us Hartmans took the car back to the rental facility. 1696 miles the car did in 7 days. The we caught the shuttle rental to the airport.

No real problems with check in and security. Boarded on time and a good flight to Nashville. Short wait and a slightly shorter flight to Philadelphia. Much colder here, around 5C. 

We caught the shuttle bus to the Avis rental facility and managed to get the bus rented ok. We have a 12 seater. Not because we need 12 seats but because we need the luggage space.

We had problems with the GPS and struggled on the 100K drive to Lancaster. We got held up by peak hour traffic, road works and an accident. Pain of a drive that took well over 2 hours.

Ended up at an Applebee's for dinner and then to the hotel around 8pm.

We are all bombed out, the ladies remain healthy, the guys not so.