In the morning we hit the road once again and after an hour or so we stopped off in Luray to visit the Luray Caverns. I had already been there last time and Mom figured she wouldn't be up for the hour long tour through the caves so Dad went in by himself while we visited some of the gift shops in the area. Dad enjoyed the tour but said that their tour guide drove him nuts, speaking with a heavy twang that made it almost impossible to understand a word she said. I've added a couple of Dad's photos here but you can also check out all the photos I took from when I was there two years before.
Most of the rest of the day was just spent driving. We stayed the night at a cheap hotel in Aberdeen, Maryland. We were all getting a little tired and the idea of getting back home was looking pretty nice. However, Dad was hoping that we might hit some other big name place on the way back and since we would be passing through New York the next day, why not go and see the Statue of Liberty...
So, up bright and early the next morning we set off once again. By noon we had made it to Liberty Park. Last time I was there I ended up getting confused and ended up having to walk for about half an hour from where I parked the car to reach the ferry. By the time I got there the ferry had already made its final run for the day so I was out of luck. Fortunately, this time we were able to park right next to the ferry terminal and after just a little waiting around (and going through security checks as if we were boarding an airplane) we were able to catch the ferry that takes you out to Ellis Island and Liberty Island.
The ferry first stopped off at Ellis Island. We were a little reluctant to get off the ferry. After waiting for perhaps 20 minutes to get on the first ferry, we really didn't want to get off it now, especially after seeing the humungous crowds waiting on Ellis Island to catch our ferry to continue their trek on to see the Statue of Liberty. We decided to get off anyways and wandered around the area for a short bit but quickly decided that we'd better just get into the line up for the next ferry or we'd be stuck here all day. After about 45 minutes of standing around in a crowd overflowing with kids on a school trip we finally got on and headed over to Liberty Island.
We got off again at Liberty Island and walked over to get a closer look at the statue and take a few pictures. By the time we got back, our ferry had just left so we had to wait around for the next one. Being a little hungry we decided to partake of the very expensive food on the island. Only $6.50 for a small reheated pizza. Yum, yum! Dad got a great shot of a couple amorous birds and then it was time to hop on the next ferry and head on back to the terminal. Grabbed a few shots of the New York skyline along the way.
Dad had hoped to check out a few other parts of the city but by the time we got back to our car it was around 4pm so we decided to try to get out of the city before the suppertime traffic got too nuts. Took a little roundabout route to avoid the bulk of Manhattan and managed to miss any major traffic jams. Then we drove and drove until we reached East Haven, Connecticut late in the evening. Dad tried to use one of the discount coupons at the Quality Inn there but he was told that it was only for two people, not three. Dad said "okay" and started to walk out when they suddenly changed their minds and said that they would honor the coupon for the three of us. What a bunch of crooks. After settling in we went to supper at the nearby "Friendly's" restaurant and stood around for about 5 minutes waiting for someone to seat us. No one seemed to even notice we were there until we walked out the door. So much for living up to their name. We went across the street to a Chili's Restaurant and received much better service.
On the road again the next morning. Around 5 1/2 hours of driving took us to Bangor, Maine. Only one day's drive away from home now but we decided to stay two nights here (at a Marriott hotel) to relax a little, enjoy the pool, do a little shopping, and maybe partake in another one of those Chinese buffets.
I should probably mention something about these Chinese buffets. After our first feed of Chinese on the trip we had decided not to eat any more Chinese food in the States. I liked the sweet and sour chicken but the egg rolls were awful and the fried rice was pretty unreliable. Compared to the place we go to back home, it was quite disappointing. On the third day of our trip we visited our first gigantic buffet and after stuffing ourselves and barely crawling away from the place we swore off buffets. But where did we end up eating at about half a dozen times during the trip? Chinese buffets! Of course it doesn't help that the bulk of the buffets we encountered seemed to be some combination of Chinese, American, and Italian. And there is something quite nice about being able to just go around and sample all the various dishes (though I am not very daring in that department) and then go back for a salad (lettuce, cucumbers, and croutons for me) and finish it off with some ice cream (two scoops of chocolate topped with six cherries was my favorite). And let's not forget the lovely breakfast buffets down in Florida. When we went to a regular restaurant we kind of missed the variety. I didn't miss the pop though, almost every place we went to in the States offered unlimited refills. I think we all gained 5 or 10 pounds on this trip. Easy to tell how.
At the pool I took notice of the foolish rules once again. They all have their typical "no diving" rule and this one was extra fussy, saying "no jumping". One of the last ones we were at was very specific about the "discharging of bodily fluids" into the pool. Another insisted that you bathe with "hot soapy water" before entering the pool, while others said bathing suits had to be freshly cleaned, never re-used. At this pool there was one sign that said "children under 18 in the hot tub must be accompanied by an adult" and another that said "no one under 18 allowed in the hot tub". Meanwhile, the maximum number of people allowed in the pool at one time was 24 AND 25. And I wonder why life confuses me so much. Oh well, at least the water was wet. I did, however, have to buy a pair of goggles because the chlorine in the pool was burning my eyeballs out.
April 28th: The final day of the trip. On the road at 9:30, we made it to the border crossing at Calais before noon and crossed over without incident. We stopped at a cool "old west" style restaurant in New Brunswick (among the old signs on the wall was one that read "Baths 5 cents, soap extra") and then after a whole lot of driving we finally made it home around 6pm.
Twenty-five days on the road. Great to finally get home and be able to relax in our own beds for a change. Still, there's no swimming pool just down the hall, no all-you-can-eat buffets down the street, and it is just a wee bit colder back here than on the beaches down in Florida. Oh well, summer is just around the corner...