Wickford, (Friday, 9/22)
During the night the winds continued, and along with it came the rain. Mark got up at one point and had to run the battery charger for the handful of items that run only off of them. In so doing, the circuit breaker again went off and he had to reset it. Clearly our batteries were wreaking havoc on our electrical system. It was probably a good thing they will be replaced today.
Here is a little insight into “boat life”: Every morning when we first leave the boat we have to watch our steps along the docks. Like most marinas, the birds and ducks have a tendency to do their “business” all along the piers. This is no different here than in any other marina, however it seems it is worse here than anywhere we have seen. This is probably because the place is very quiet right now as it is the “off season” and the ducks can hang out undistracted in the evening hours. Naturally, we try to hose off the area around us and walk gingerly around the “land mines” that seem to appear overnight. If the dockhand shows up before we venture off the boat for the day, he usually will hose off the worst of it. Well, this morning it was really bad; probably because of the high winds. We just figured it literally scared the poop out of the ducks!
The guys from Full Keel showed up on time and in less than 45 minutes they had replaced our two old “house” batteries with new ones. Since each one weighs over 100 lbs, it really did take two people to maneuver the old ones out and install the new ones.
And it was a good thing that we decided to replace these batteries now as both of the old ones had bulges in them; a sign they were at the end of their life. We felt lucky that they had not exploded, or worse, caused a fire. Almost immediately we noticed improvement; within an “hour” they were performing as they should.
The rest of the day we spent on the boat doing work for clients and getting the latest blog posted.
In the afternoon Hertz called us and said they could bring by our rental car before close of business today. We had plans to pick it up in the morning, but since it would be no additional charge we were happy to be available. At 4:00 they dropped off the rental, enabling us to have a car for the evening as well. We then decided to go out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant about 2 miles away. “El Tapatio” had good reviews on YELP and in Google reviews so we thought we would give it a try. The place was full but we got a table right away and service was just as prompt. Mark liked his dinner, but Denise’s was not the usual Baja-style fish tacos she was used to, so she was a little disappointed. But we were still happy we came as it had been a long time since we had eaten Mexican food.
Once back on the boat we packed a duffle bag and made plans for leaving for NYC in the morning.
Wickford – side trip to New York City, (Saturday, 9/23)
As expected, we were up before the dockmaster had a chance to hose the duck poop off the docks, so Denise took on the task. After this and breakfast, we finalized our packing and secured the boat for overnight without us on board.
We then drove the 3+ hours to New York City, arriving in time to check into the hotel (Hilton – Millennium World Trade Center), and for Denise to pick up her race packet. Afterwards, we found a place to grab lunch located right near the packet pickup. At “Blue Smoke” we ate delicious home-made Bar-B-Que potato chips with bacon blue cheese, and split an order of delicious smoked wings. It was the perfect accompaniment while watching the first half of the FSU vs. NC State game. We left before the second half, and that is probably why they lost!
After lunch we walked down the street where they were setting up for the race after-party and witness the start of what would become an awesome sand sculpture.
From there we walked back to the hotel and watched FSU lose the football game.
Because of the run tomorrow morning, we knew we had to go to church this evening, or later Sunday evening back in Wickford. As luck would have it we found a church less than 2 blocks from our hotel that had a 4 pm mass. So we walked to St. Peter’s Church, which come to find out was the first Roman Catholic parish in New York; founded five years before the establishment of the present day United States government. The present church exterior was completed in 1840 and more recently the parish was combined with Our Lady of the Rosary, and St. Joseph’s Chapel. This church was also instrumental in providing refuge and used as a staging ground for recovery and relief efforts on 9/11. You can learn more about its rich history here.
After mass we walked to the WTC Memorial site which was really packed. It was a warm evening and there were lots of people out and about this area of NYC. Even though we had been to the Memorial (and museum) before, we still found it quite moving. We walked around where first where the north tower stood, and then to where the south tower used to be.
Afterwards we headed back to our hotel but stopped first at the Oculus, which is located right across the street from the hotel.
The Oculus is the modern-looking superstructure that serves as the central point to the underground mall and transportation hub to the WTC. It is truly amazing how huge this complex is and we were in awe at everything that was below us once we entered at street-level. If you every come to NYC and lower Manhattan you must come visit this place.
The other thing we noticed throughout the day was the amount of construction going on in the WTC area, and it was Saturday. There were numerous crews working on the building next to ours, as well as at site where the second tower will go, and they continued working well into the evening.
After walking all around the WTC area we grew hungry and went to O’Hara’s Pub for a hamburger. This pub became a hangout for those assisting in the rescue and recovery after 9/11 and the walls are littered with badges of police and fire companies from all over the world. We found a few that were right near our table.
After dinner we walked back through the WTC area and by the Oculus before going back to the hotel. There is just something spectacular about seeing One WTC all lit up at night, and to see the lights of NYC. There were still lots of people hanging around in the city that doesn’t sleep.
We returned to our hotel room and we were contacted by the hotel that they had a delivery for us. Shortly thereafter we were delivered a complimentary cheese tray and a bottle of wine, courtesy of Hilton. It was in recognition of Mark’s lifetime elite status and such recognition is why we always chose Hilton whenever we can. It was a great ending to a terrific day.
Side trip to New York City, (Sunday, 9/24)
Before Mark could even roll over, Denise was up and out the door to meet her Orlando running friend Jim Reed and a few others who were all participating in the “Tunnel to Towers” run. Together they all walked down to Pier 9 and took the ferry over to Brooklyn for the start of the run. (See blog post from 9/20 for details about this run).
The starting ceremonies, run through the tunnel, and post-tunnel course lined with FDNY and NYPD members were very moving for Denise and she got quite emotional. It was a run that she didn’t race, she just “experienced” it. Of course Mark was waiting for her near the finishing area, and he got to see a few celebrities who also participated, as well as all 2500 West Point Cadets at the head of the pack.
Once the race was over there was a fantastic after-party with lots of food and a very loud band. We did not stick around too long thereafter as Denise needed a shower, and we had to check out of the hotel room.
We left NYC and hit the road back to Wickford. We enjoyed the Sunday drive, happy we were not heading into the city like the thousands of southbound cars now stuck in I-95 traffic. We noticed the leaves have started to now change here and before long it will be cool, but today it was hot. Before returning back to the boat we stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few things, and then went to Gardner’s Wharf Seafood Market (again) near Wickford Cove for some fresh shrimp. Once back on the boat we cooked the shrimp for a delicious and light dinner of Shrimp Caesar salad.
After dinner, we reviewed the weather for the next day, but also for the coming days to see what was forecasted for the Long Island Sound. Based on the forecast, we agreed tomorrow would be good to leave Wickford as planned and go to Mystic, Connecticut.
Here are some other pictures from Wickford that just didn’t fit in a narrative, but were interesting sights to us: