In honor of the recent end of production of the Beetle, I’m going to take a break from my COAL and regale you with the road trip story of driving a 2000 New Beetle from New England to Los Angeles, CA in the summer of 2018.
Among my friends, I am known for my reputation for taking road trips. In the last decade, I’ve taken several cross country trips (both East to West and North to South), and I often take shorter vacations from my home in RI in one of my cars. I’ve also honed my skills of a fly-drive-camp road trip as well, packing all the necessary camping gear in one suitcase, flying out to a West Coast city, renting a car and spending a week wandering around.
So in early Summer 2018, my friend J. asked me if I would be willing to drive his brother’s car from Boston to Los Angeles. The brother and his partner were both moving out to LA for jobs, but they didn’t have time to drive their car out. Shipping was considered, but I quickly quoted them a price that was much cheaper than any transport company. I couldn’t say yes fast enough – a free road trip? As luck would have it, I had already secured the time off from my new job for another road trip that fell through.
The details were quickly ironed out, and I was soon meeting with B. just outside of New Haven, CT to pick up the New Beetle. The VW was a 2000 1.8L turbo 5-speed with around 120,000k on the odometer. It was in decent shape both cosmetically and mechanically. J.’s brother had a thorough mechanical check of the car before I picked it up, so I was confident that this 20-year-old VW wouldn’t leave me stranded in the middle of Nowheresville, USA. I consoled myself with the thought that by this time the best-built VAG products must be the only ones remaining on the road.
After spending the day on Friday, June 29th with my son in New Haven I headed out into Friday night rush hour traffic on the Merritt Parkway in CT. My first night would find me in Philadelphia with one of my best friends on her couch. The trip through NYC wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and I made it down to PHL in just over 5 hours. I always find getting out (and returning to) the Northeast one of the most boring and frustrating parts of any cross country road trip. The first few and last few hours of the trip are driving on roads that I have driven many times and it just doesn’t feel like I’m going anyplace special. By the time I hit western NY or PA, I am starting to feel like I’m actually on a trip and I can settle into a road trip routine.
Saturday morning started off with a plate of scrapple and a warning from the meteorologists that I would be heading into a July heatwave across the country. No matter, the AC was functioning in the VW. The rolling hills of I-76 throughout PA gave me a chance to assess my home on wheels for the next 7 days. The seats were fairly comfortable, the AC, cruise and radio/tape deck worked as advertised – the basic necessities were in good order. The engine was strong and the shifter worked without any fuss. There were no untoward wobbles or shakes from the front suspension, and air noise around the greenhouse was minimal. All in all, for a nearly 20-year-old car the VW was a decent ride.
As I was heading to my sister’s house in Lexington, KY for my second night, I veered south into Maryland and WV. In Huntington WV I stopped at one of my favorite road-side food stands, Frostop Drive-In. I found this place by accident on a previous road trip, and now I make an effort to go out of my way to stop there whenever possible. Their hotdogs and homemade rootbeer floats are wonderful and the epitome of summertime road trip food.
I made it to Lexington in time to venture out to a street festival in downtown Lexington and enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with her and her husband (and their myriad of pets). The next morning as I was loading the VW, I went to check the oil and air pressure in the tires. It was then that I noticed something rather alarming: the tires looked pretty badly weather-checked. I took a few photos and sent them to my mechanically inclined friends back in New England. The assessment was “Yeah, those don’t look great, but you should be okay.” A vote of confidence it wasn’t, but we have a saying in our group: “The Triumph of Hope Over Experience” (TOHOE).
I said my goodbyes and headed out to another of my favorite road-trip meals: Waffle House. This would be my only chance to enjoy Waffle House so I didn’t want to miss the chance. I wandered around the countryside for a few minutes hoping to get a photo of the VW out in horse-country and then quickly got back on the road. I was excited to be heading into new territory – my goal for the evening was a state park just west of Kansas City, KS and my first night of camping.
An obligatory stop in St. Louis for a few photos of the Arch gave me a much-needed break in the afternoon, but the temperature soared to well above 110 that afternoon. A massive thunderstorm slowed down traffic near Florence, MO to a standstill, but the rain brought a much-needed drop in temperature down to a reasonable 88 degrees. At 7:21 that night I crossed into Kansas, which was a milestone for me. Kansas was one of four remaining states that I have never been to (Alaska, Hawaii, and Louisana are the others) and I was excited to be marking it off my list. As I noted in my journal, “I’m more excited about being in Kansas than I think any non-Kansas person ha ever been, ever”. I had changed time-zones somewhere during the day which allowed me to drive later into the evening. I ended up stopping at Clinton State Park, about 35 miles into Kansas. I quickly made camp and cooked myself some sausages and potatoes over the campfire. The park was a lovely Army Corp of Engineers designed place built in conjunction with a large dam and reservoir.
Monday, July 2nd dawned bright and early, and after a camp breakfast of eggs and sausages, I packed up my gear and headed off to drive across Kansas. I was still pretty psyched, as it would be a new experience. In all of my previous trips I have either driven a more southern route (OK-TX) or northern (SD) so cutting through the middle route would provide me with many new places to see. The first stop was in Topeka, the capital of Kansas. Next to highway rest areas, visiting the state capitals and seeing the architecture of the seat of state government is one of the things I enjoy most about road trips. Topeka didn’t disappoint, the capital building was perched on top of a hill, surrounded by gardens and other state buildings. It was not particularly busy and had a small-town vibe to it that I very much enjoyed. Unfortunately, I had to press on, as my destination for the night was a campground in the Rocky Mountains and I had a long day of driving ahead of me.
After Topeka, I continued west on I-70, including on the first 8-mile length of the US Interstate System that opened. As Kansas is the home state of President Dwight Eisenhower, and the Interstate system is inexorably linked to him, I’m guessing the first stretch of interstate was built to honor him. The land started to flatten out, I had originally thought that all of Kansas would be as fat as a board, but the eastern part of the state was gently undulating hills. I stopped at a rest area and wandered around the grounds, stumbling upon this vista. Views like this remind me why I take road trips and why I like rest-areas so much.
The next stop on the trip for the day was Ellis, Kansas. Part of the reason I had decided to finally tick this state off of my list was so I could go to this city. What is so special about Ellis, KS? It’s my son’s name, and I wanted to take a bunch of photos of a place named after him. It’s also the birthplace of Walter P. Chrysler.
I drove around and took a bunch of photos of things adorned with the city name, and even stopped by the Chamber of Commerce to see if they had any postcards. The woman at the counter was exceedingly pleased that I had stopped and was chuffed that my son shared the name of their city. It was a pleasant little community that felt like it was thriving, a stark contrast to many other small towns and cities I have seen on my travels.
I pressed westward after this stop as I still had a long way to go, and I was going to make a deviation from the monotony of I-70. At Oakley, KS I exited the interstate and drove the rest of the way into Colorado on US 40. This gave me a chance to see a lot more interesting things, and I have found that out in the plains you can make excellent time on the US routes as you can on the highway. The speed limits are often the same (70+) and there is much less traffic. US 40 would link me back up to I-70 just east of Denver so I wouldn’t have to deal with stop-and-go traffic throughout the city. I took the opportunity to stop and take some photos of the VW out in the farmland near McCallister, KS. The temperature were in the low 90’s and there was a steady dry wind that caused dehydration in me and higher fuel consumption in the VW.
As we crossed over into Colorado, near Kit Carson, I saw a sign indicating that the elevation was 4900 feet. I didn’t realize that I had slowly been heading uphill the entire day, but it made sense. Denver itself is a mile high, but it is perched on the edge of the flatlands of the prairie with the Rockies hard on to the West. I know these things may be common knowledge for many people, but growing up in NY and living in RI, the wide open spaces and wildly different topographies always astound and please me. This is why I love road trips!
I made it to Denver by 6:30 PM and passed through without any difficulties. I would be coming back to Denver tomorrow after camping as I was getting a traveling companion for the remainder of the trip. My partner M. was flying out to meet me tomorrow, and I was terribly excited. The original plan was for her to make the entire trip with me, but the logistics of her job didn’t allow that to happen, so this was the next best thing.
After a quick stop at a grocery store for supplies, I headed further up into the Rockies to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Heading up into the hills, I was enjoying the winding drive and the scent of the trees and the cooler air were wonderful. I finally got to the turn off for my campground (Aspen Meadows) and a sign cautioned me that the grade ahead was 19%. They weren’t kidding, and occasionally I had to drop all the way down to 1st gear just to maintain momentum.
I finally made it to the campsite and set up shop. Some nice folks next to me came over and introduced themselves and we chatted for a few minutes. They gave me a packet of stuff to make the flames in my campfire different colors, explaining they always gave them to neighbors at campsites to make friends. I was pleased, even though keeping my campfire going at that elevation was a challenge, as well as breathing. The campsite was at 8800 feet, and I sure felt it. I was planning on having a steak and beer for dinner, but halfway through the beer I just started feeling cruddy so I quickly finished my steak, drank a bunch of water and crawled into my tent for the night.
Stay tuned for part 2!
Thanks for this excellent write up about one of my favorite activities. Lots of folks think cross-country driving is an insane activity, but I think true insanity is making your way through airport security. I love the rush of a Jet Airliner during the takeoff roll, but that’s the only pleasure available in the modern Greyhound bus. In contrast, I can spend 14 hours a day driving through open country with nary a care in the world.
I’m glad you got to visit Golden Gate State Park- Back in 1979 a family friend took my Senior Class pictures up there, and the scenery was fantastic. It’s hard to believe 40 years have passed since that photo session- Thanks for the memories!
“… I had slowly been heading uphill the entire day, …”
In my work oriented Pan Am (long since closed) travels to the West Coast I never noticed the upward slant of fly over country, but many years ago a friend and I flew cross country in a 1969 Beech V35A (Beech discontinued the V-Tail Bonanza years ago). We started out VFR at a reasonable altitude but had to occasionally climb to keep a comfortable distance between us and the ground which kept creeping up towards us. Our destination was Stapleton Airport in Denver (also long since closed). The whole center of the USA is a ramp building up from sea level to the Rockies.
Those tires are not confidence building. They kind of look like unraveling retreads.
I most certainly did not know about that ramp effect.
And it’s stuff like this, here in a comment under this excellent piece, that makes CC such a pleasure.
Justy, you got me curious. Google says the elevation at Kansas City, Kansas, on the eastern edge of the state, is 758 feet. At Weskan, on the very western edge of Kansas, the elevation is 3,852 feet. Both are on I-70, the route he drove.
The climb really gets going for the 60 miles on west to Kit Carson where the mentioned elevation is 4,900 feet.
You’ve caught the atmosphere of a road trip well here. Big places, full of life and stories, become just a passing hour or two of the journey.
I do hope those creepy tyres get you through Part two unscathed!
Perhaps the mention of tires is TJ1977s way of using that timeworn trope of writers…foreshadowing. Why else would he mention them?
Hopefully it’s not a blowout in the middle of Nevada.
The claim in Kansas about that section of I-70 being the first section of interstate got me curious because there is a similar claim on a section of I-70 at St. Charles, just on the western edge of St. Louis. You likely drove this section from the route you described.
According to wiki three states make this claim, although each have their particular caveats.
Kansas claims paving for I-70 began September 26, 1956, although work on this project had taken place prior to Eisenhower signing the legislation in June of that year.
Missouri let the first project with interstate funding on August 13, 1956. This is the location in St. Charles County on I-70.
Pennsylvania could be considered the third. A section of what is now I-70 and I-76 opened in 1940 and was renamed sometime subsequent to the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 being passed.
As a Missourian, I know into which camp I fall. Those other two claims are just so weak. 🙂
I’m looking forward to more and I agree with Plaut – those tires look awful and I anticipate hearing more about them re-entering the picture at some inopportune time.
As far as I recall, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first limited-access highway in the US, and it was made part of the Interstate Highway System pretty early, however its 1930s-era design was not up to “Interstate Highway Standards” — narrow shoulders, short entrance ramps, service stations in the medians, etc. However, the road was grandfathered.
I think I-70 (I won’t wade into the MO/KS rivalry) was probably the first major section of purpose-built Interstate highway.
Regarding the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I remember my father (a Philadelphia native) saying that when it was new, families would drive out on the Turnpike, and then stop somewhere for a picnic, just for the purpose of watching traffic go by on a highway… the concept of a highway was such a marvel back then, the Turnpike was sort of a destination by its own right.
As late as the late 90s there were still pull-offs with picnic tables along the Pennsy Turnpike. When my kids were young we made use of one of them for a lunch stop. Boy was it noisy. On my last trip out that way a year or two ago I noticed that they were all gone.
Those pull-offs can still be found along US 5 in California from the top of the Grapevine north. I have used them every time we have gone south the last two years for New Years in Las Vegas at a friends house. My wife packs the fixin’s for sandwiches and we always stop on one heading down and always on one heading back.
The last time coming back they were a godsend as my son came down with diarrhea and we needed to stop at every one of them. Fun return trip as once we got home I fell out of the car and was clocking a 104 degree temp for the next 48 hours.
Thanks for bringing us along with you here — excellent write-up, and I’m glad you’re able to take the time to enjoy these long road trips. I recently returned from a 4,300 trip from our home in Virginia out to the Texas Panhandle and back, and such trips always remind me of why I love travelling. We also spent a few days in Kansas, and I really wanted to make it to Ellis to see the Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home, but it was a little bit too far north for us.
I first escaped my native East Coast when I was 16 and drove cross-country and back with my father. I remember I was awed by Kansas… those views, forever and ever. On the evening we spent in western Kansas back then, I just sat outside of our motel room and watched a storm roll by, and then the sunset. My father thought I was nuts, but for me it was mesmerizing. Kansas still holds a special place in my heart for that reason.
I’m glad the VW held up for you — especially the tires. I have a 25-year-old Thunderbird that I drive rarely, and the T-bird’s tires look like that now (they’re 10 years old).
Looking forward to reading Part 2!
I have a similar memory of watching weather that turned into tornados from a campground in Worthington, MN in the summer of 1992. It’s fascinating to just watch things come in over the flatness.
I am enjoying this trip. We have covered the eastern half of the country fairly well, but I have never driven as far west as Kansas.
If those tires held up to interstate travel in 90+ weather, I have hope that they will make it the rest of the way.
And what kind of breakfast would it be in Philly without scrapple? Yum!!!
Looks like fun so far! I haven’t done a cross country trip in many years, now that the kids are almost grown could be time for another.
And what the heck is scrapple? Sounds like a good idea for a JPC foodie post.
You do not want to know the particulars of what scrapple is or how it’s made. Just let sleeping dogs lie. Having had a PA-bred good friend while in my early teens I will however say it was absolutely delicious the way his mom made it on mornings after sleepovers.
“You do not want to know the particulars of what scrapple is or how it’s made.”
I just usually go with “meat product” 🙂
I grew up in the Philly burbs and when college friends from northern NY would visit (for the start of road trips of course) my dad would make breakfast. He’d conveniently wait until they were halfway through the scrapple before gleefully graphically descrbing what it was made of.
My father grew up there – and wouldn’t eat it. 🙂
My Parents are from Northeastern PA, not really a Pennsylvania Dutch area, but my Grandmother on my Father’s side is German, so he grew up with it. Except for a brief time 57 years ago (when we lived in Pittsburgh area) I’ve never lived in Pennsylvania myself, as my Father had a job where he moved around the country a fair amount…so my siblings and I (and my Father) consider scrapple to be a delicacy, probably enhanced by getting to eat it on rare occasions.
One time my Brother-in-Law (who’s a Vermont native) had a business trip to somewhere around Harrisburg, and described an odd accompaniment to his breakfast to my Sister…my Sister replied enviously…that sounds like you ate scrapple…to which my unappreciative Brother-in-Law replied “you mean you actually like this stuff?”
For my Dad’s funeral (in Northeastern PA) we ate in a Diner near the Church, it didn’t have Scrapple on the menu, but we talked to the waitress and sure enough, they had it…my Sisters, who hadn’t been back to Pennsylvania in years quickly went off their diets in order to partake. Nowdays you can find it far from Pennsylvania (albeit not in restaurants, but in grocery stores) so we’ve made it at home (we now live in central Texas)…and my Father coaches how it is to be cooked, you don’t turn it until it is really well done (almost burnt).
Getting back to the main subject, congratulations on your trip, I’m hoping it turned out well and look forward to the rest of the installment. My current (and only) car is also a 2000 VW, but it is a Golf, with the 2.0 litre engine and 5 speed manual. It has been coast to coast (several times to to the East Coast…including Pennsylvania several times) in its younger days…but only has about 128000 miles on it (bought it new, and most of the mileage were from trips in its younger days)…nowdays I probably only put 6000 miles per year on it as we’ve stopped our long road trips (last one was in 2011)…so I’ve probably accumulated mileage on it in an unusual way, with either very long trips (round trip of 3500 miles to Pennsylvania, probably about 3800 to Massachusetts, and maybe slightly less to Southern California) or short trips in the city (had a 4 mile roundtrip commute to work…walked or took the bus more than once). Good to get off the interstates now and again…I once took a driving trip from central Texas to western South Dakota, and figure I was on interstates for about 70 miles of the 2500 mile trip (though admittedly the most direct route doesn’t touch much interstate anyhow). Now that the car is getting up in age though I wonder what I’d do if I had a breakdown far from a place I could get parts for it).
I’d drive it in a heartbeat! My ex-wife had a ’00 Golf, 2.0 and the five-speed. It felt like it was the slowest vehicle I have ever driven, and I am comparing that to my ’86 Escort.
The author must be a much younger man than I for that diet of his would leave me feeling rather, shall we say, uncomfortable for a road trip.
I too learned the perils of beer at high elevations. I learned it on a brewery tour of Santa Fe, which is “only” at 7200′.
And all this time I thought it was the rocky mountain waters that they brew Coors with 🙂
Let me tell you, Golden smelled to high-heaven from all the fermenting grain in the heat…
I’m going to take a road trip like this in my car next spring. Head west and either go north or go south and then east to get home to Arkansas again. Las Vegas, Hwy 50 (the loneliest highway in America) , the Eisenhower Tunnel, Pikes Peak and Monument Valley will be part of the itinerary
Great story, looking forward to part two! Having just returned from my own 5500-mile 3/4 of the US circumnavigation in figure-eight form I too love the road trip over the plane trip and an excuse such as yours is even better. And couching it at friend’s houses cannot be overstated. The second part of my trip involved 9 days on the road, only one night of which was at a hotel (Vegas), all others were fold out couches, guest beds, and blow up aerobeds at old friends’ homes. Lots of fond memories and lots of beer at lower elevations.
Great start to your story. Brings back warm memories of both my ‘00 NB TDI as well as two major road trips we made out west (both documented somewhere in the CC archives). I still see ‘Herbie’ in Peoria every so often – he’s 19 now and must have well over 300K miles on him. One of my favorite cars ever.
I continue to be amazed at how many NBs I see on the road still. For a car with such a poor reliability rap (my experience as well), they have survived like cockroaches!
In that second picture where the car is in a parking lot, it looks like another Beetle is there in the back as if to say goodbye to the NB on its trip.
When I drove into WV, VA and PA on trips, I made it a habit to stop at small mom and pop stores for lunch and shopping for gifts
I am also known for epic road trips.
On the Canada Day holiday weekend, I took my Golf to Jasper, Banff and Radium Hot Springs, and then back to Vancouver. The car was simply sublime, taking everything I threw at it. It even managed 5.5 L/100 km on the trip, with my lead foot.
Last weekend, I had to deliver a VIP to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Said VIP was not able to fly, so I rented a Chrysler 300S and drove to Saskatoon in two days. The 300 kind of drove like a 20 year old Daimler product, which it basically is. I was quite surprised by the amount of road noise. The V-6 doesn’t make any torque below 4000 RPM, either.
It was interesting to compare the EA888 to the Mopar 3.6 V-6. The EA888 is all about low end torque and available right now power, while the V-6 is all about revs. I much prefer the EA888.
Excellent road trip write-up. I used to travel in that part of the world (from East Coast to Colorado) often, and can relate, especially the part about getting out of the built up areas of the East Coast.
Yes, the sudden transition to that elevation will induce altitude sickness in many. We used to spend summers in a cabin high in the Rockies right next to the Rocky Mt. NP, at some 9,000 ft. When we would get out of the car as kids we’d make a point of running just to experience how quickly we’d be winded.
Of course climbing the peaks, some of which are over 14,000′, is another story. My father made sure we were properly acclimatized.
I used to get off the interstates too, especially when I hit Nebraska or Kansas, as the two lane highways are just as fast (even faster during the 55 mile days). And much more interesting,as on feels so much more connected to the scenery going by, and experiences the towns.
My bet is that those tires will survive the trip. I’ve seen (and driven on) worse.
I love CC Road Trip stories! Not having had too much of a chance to take many long road trips, I always live and enjoy these road trips vicariously. Stopping at out of the way attractions and eateries is sometimes the best part of a trip. The journey should always be as fun as the destination!
I’ve done a few road trips over the years.
Many with a buddy when single, never going to happen with Mrs. M. She can’t take more than four hours in the car. Quite a contrast when we as a family used to drive from Prince George, BC to Edmonton, Alberta to visit my parents and her siblings. Nine hours or so with a pit stop at the A&W in Jasper for lunch. Many of the trips made in test vehicles or our 87 Taurus wagon.
Nice feature, I need to look at the pics again and wonder ifI will ever see those US states I’ve missed out on over the years.
I can’t help but wonder if that bit about the tire is foreshadowing things to come in a future installment. Kind of like that scene towards the beginning of “Duel” where the gas station attendant mentioned that Mann’s car needs a radiator hose, which turns out to be important later in the film.
I guess we’ll have to wait for the rest of the installments to find out.
Also, the story starts out “So in early Summer 1999, my friend J. asked me if I would be willing to drive his brother’s car from Boston to Los Angeles.” I assume that was a mistake, since elsewhere you say the trip took place last year, and that the Beetle was nearly 20 years old (which wouldn’t have been possible in 1999). I was honestly confused at first, expecting a story about a trip 20 years ago in a nearly new New Beetle rather than one last year in a 20 year old Beetle. I’m surprised no one else mentioned it. Unless he asked you to drive the car out there 20 years ago, and you finally got around to delivering it 19 years later. 🙂
You’re also inconsistent about the year. In the italicized part at the beginning you say it was a 1999, then later on you say it was a 1998.
Thanks for catching that. I couldn’t remember what year the car was, hence the confusion about the VW, and as for the dates…that was just not paying attention. I’ve corrected everything.
Thanks for taking the time to write and post this, Tj1977. I too love road trips … in our household, “fly and drive” means my wife flies and I drive to meet her with the car and camping/biking/skiing gear. California to Connecticut, or Utah, or Oregon. My 2016 Tacoma has 65000 miles, and I’m retired and don’t commute.
When we had our 2001 Beetle, also 1.8T 5 speed, the furthest it got from central California was when we delivered it to our daughter in Oregon as a graduation gift. It turned out to be an enjoyable road trip car. By the way, though I’ve only driven across the Midwest once (well twice, since I did it both directions) I found the “ramp effect” dramatic in Nebraska, where I80 climbs imperceptibly almost 4000 feet (not a big deal in the mountain West) over almost 500 miles without ever feeling like a hill … until you notice your mpg is a bit low for a “flat” road.
Thanks for the kind words. Many of the rest of my COAL’s involve long-distance road trips, so you’ll enjoy those as well.
This was a great story, Tj. Can’t wait to read Part II.
If you like rest stops, my personal favorites are:
1) The Sideling Hill Road Cut Rest Stop (westbound is better, but there is a pedestrian bridge linking both sides). This one is on I-68 in Maryland. If you are even mildly interested in geology, this is a must see. I think the phrase “Old as the Hills” specifically applies here, as A) it’s an Appalachian phrase (I think) and that’s the right set of mountains here, and B) geologically speaking, what set this hill up is VERY OLD.
2) Northbound on the Palisades Parkway, you gotta stop off at the cliff overlook there (I think it’s the second rest stop heading north, but I can’t recall – it may be the first after you get on from northbound 9W, accessed from the top of the Jersey Turnpike). You’re in ‘Jersey on the other side of the Hudson from New York, WAY up high on a cliff. This place is also geologically interesting. If memory serves, 200 million years ago (when Pangaea broke up), this cliff was formed when two of the continental plates drifted apart. (The aforementioned Sidling Hill was where some plates drifted apart and came back together… perhaps a few times!)
The views from both of these locations are awesome. From Sidling Hill, looking back to the east, you see the foothills of the Appalachians coming up toward you. From the Palisades Parkway rest stop, you can look down on hawks and eagles BELOW YOU gliding around on thermals.
i remember many years in the early 60s, I would go with my father to visit his brother in Spring Valley. When we took the Palisades Parkway, to 9W ,there was a rest stop that overlooked the Hudson River. This was where the ‘mothball fleet’-laid up ships from WW ll were anchored. Destroyers, a few submarines, some PT boats, and mostly cargo ships and Liberty ships. We always made it a point to stop there, and use our binoculars to see the ships in close detail. Always one of the highlights of our visits-next to , seeing my uncle, of course.