Since the only reason we went to Jackson NJ was to visit Six Flags, we stayed for just three nights and headed out on Friday morning to try our hand at driving Rover onto Long Island NY. Since many of New York’s bridges are not tall enough for trucks, Mike had to be absolutely positive our route would allow vehicles of at least 12′ 10″ in height. After checking with our GPS, online sources, and forums, he mapped out a route that would take about four hours from NJ to NY, including a rest stop to change drivers and eat lunch.
We started our drive on the scenic NJ Turnpike which cost us a whopping $30 in tolls. My jaw hit the ground but that was nothing compared to the George Washington Bridge entering NY. The bridge costs $13 for a car so we figured maybe $26 for us. When we pulled up to the booth, the lady said: “$68”. Mike chuckled a bit and stared at her, expecting that she was making a joke. When she didn’t say anything else, Mike said, “Seriously, $68?”. She responded with an affirmative so Mike asked if they take credit cards. She told us cash only which left me scrambling through the coach to find spare cash. Apparently we’re considered a truck towing a trailer which costs a lot more than a car. I think we drove in shocked silence for a while after that. The Throgs Neck Bridge only cost us $7.50 (same price as a car) so that helped but it was a very expensive trip to Long Island.
Luckily we were staying with Bob and Amy—Mike’s brother and sister-in-law—so we didn’t have to pay for a campground in NY. They have a really long driveway but it’s quite narrow with an even narrower gate to pass through. We also remembered to look up, and saw a TV cable from a pole to their house that was only about 10 feet off the ground. Bob held the TV cable up with a ladder and a rake, and Mike slowly pulled Rover into the driveway and through the gate with a couple of inches to spare.
We plugged Rover into a standard 120V extension cord just keep his batteries charged with the refrigerator and ceiling fans running, and gladly accepted Bob and Amy’s offer of their spare bedroom. They are a cat family, and their cats seemed fascinated by the dogs (two of them have never seen dogs before). While Max would have been happy to make friends with them (Max and one of their cats met in the hallway and touched noses before the cat casually sauntered off), Opie barked like a lunatic every time he caught sight of any of the cats. We had to keep Opie on a leash when we moved him from the guest room to the backyard.
The weather had cooled off considerably so we spent almost all our time in their backyard working on Rover. Since the backyard is fenced in, that meant Opie and Max could also spend time outside and the cats had some peace. Opie loved being back in a yard: the freedom to sniff everywhere, chase the squirrels, bark at the birds, play ball till he dropped, and just snooze when he was tired. Max enjoyed being able to wander without hitting anything and snooze in the sun for long periods of time. They both got baths outside too, and smelled citrus-fresh when finished!
When we picked up the rest of our things from Jen’s, we put it wherever we could find space in the coach, and we hadn’t had a chance to do an inventory or organize everything properly. When we weighed Rover in NJ we realized he had too much weight in the back so we wanted to shift some of the weight forward. We removed everything out of Rover’s basement bays (how can we have so much stuff?!?) and spent some time reorganizing our containers, taking inventory and finding the best spots for everything. We felt lighter and cleaner when we finally finished. Our next step is to go through the inside of Rover and reorganize our cabinets and drawers but I think that may be pushed off for a little while.
Mike’s thoughts: It was great seeing Bob and Amy and getting to spend some time catching up for longer than just a phone call or dinner. Bob, being quite handy, helped out with a few RV fixes including rewiring our battery bank so it’ll be easier for us to check the battery water levels in the future. Amy cooked us an excellent vegetarian dinner and saw to our every need. We enjoyed a swim in the pool, fast Internet access (a real luxury!), and two ply toilet paper (sometimes you miss the little things). All in all, an excellent weekend. We even managed to back Rover out of the driveway again, although this time we needed to remove one of the fence gate posts to give us an extra two inches. The drive off Long Island was easier since it was Sunday instead of a weekday.Mike