Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Miles' Birthday Trip - Part ONE, NJ

School is finally done for the semester and it is almost Miles' birthday so we gassed up the Rallye Girl and headed out of town again.  We had been planning on this trip ever since we bought the rig, as I had asked Miles first thing where he'd like to go for his birthday.  He chose Boston.  I can honestly say I was surprised by the answer although I shouldn't have been.  To be more specific he wanted to go to a clothing store in Boston.  The name of the store is Johnny Cupcakes and the reason this shouldn't have surprised me is because years ago when I took him to NYC for his first visit he wanted to visit a clothing store there as well (Bape).  My child is a clothes horse, what can I say?

By the time we got out of Strasburg it was almost time for Joseph's online class so we got off 66 at Front Royal and parked at the Cracker Barrel.  CB is one of those places that welcomes RV's and you can actually park there overnight if you like.  We were just there for dinner and class though, no overnights yet.  Miles and I amused ourselves on our computers while Joseph took his class.  We had the generator running and the AC on so we were quite comfortable.  

Now you may be wondering how we were all three online at the same time in a parking lot.  Well I am very happy to announce that we are the proud owners of our own little MiFi hotspot!!!  We had gotten so frustrated with searching for free WiFi and with trying to connect at campgrounds that advertised free Wifi but then had such a weak signal that we couldn't even check our email.  We are very pleased with our purchase and so far it is working like a charm!  

When class and dinner were done we hit the road again.  I assured Joseph that he didn't have to drive through the night.  We were headed to Asbury Park, NJ first, but we didn't have a reservation at a campground that night so there was no rush or exact destination.  Once we got north of Baltimore he started showing fatigue and was ready to find a place to plug in for the night.  

Now another aside about our other favorite gadget on the rig.  Our GPS.  We originally bought a GPS on our trip to Myrtle Beach before we even bought the rig, because we had gotten lost on that trip and didn't want to repeat our mistake.  We called that first unit Jill because that was the name of the voice we chose.  Although the unit was supposed to have all sorts of cool features, like traffic notices and exit ramp notifications we never really saw those features work.  I thought I just hadn't found the right commands and didn't really worry about it much.  Several times we would change roads without Jill's permission and she would do everything in her power to MAKE us go back and do what she said, but for the most part we were satisfied with her work.  One day though she simply stopped working altogether.  When we tried to turn her on she just blinked at us.  We weren't sure what was wrong, but the next time we went by a Best Buy we stopped in to see what could be done and the girl immediately took it back and gave us a new one.  Needless to say we were thrilled, it was less than 2 months old and I now know that it never worked correctly because as soon as we plugged the new unit in things were MUCH better.  We changed the accent on our new unit to Australian female, her name is Karen and we like her much better.  She doesn't seem as bitchy when we ignore her instructions for one thing.  ;)  For another thing, she tells us our exit before we get there.  I tell you all this in order to tell you that one of our favorite features of the GPS is the ability to find us a campground.  If you'll recall, on the way home from SML she found us the Shenandoah Valley KOA near Staunton, which was a fabulous place!  This time we weren't so lucky, but it wasn't Karen's fault.  She found us what looked to be a lovely campground near Elkton, MD but when we got there (after midnight) it was dark and locked and there was a gate with a code lock, so we couldn't even find a spot on our own and pay in the morning.  Luckily we had passed a Walmart so we back tracked a few miles and hunkered in there for the night.

In the morning we breakfasted at Waffle House and then headed on to our first destination of this trip, Asbury Park, NJ.  I had just seen a friend on Facebook mention the Silverball Pinball Museum and Arcade and knew immediately that I wanted to find it.  Of course Asbury Park was familiar to me as it is to any Bruce Springsteen fan and as it turns out the Stone Pony is diagonally across the street from the Silverball.  The deal at the Silverball is that it is a museum AND an arcade.  They have rows and rows of old pinball machines and arcade games, including skeeball in working order.  You pay $10 to get in and you can play all the games for free for an hour (you can also pay $15 for the whole day and go in and out all day long, but since we weren't staying we didn't need that option).  We plunked down our $30 for the three of us and got our armbands and headed inside.  I have never been good at pinball and today was no different, I suck at it.  

However, they also had Galaga which was my FAVORITE arcade game back in the day!  I rock Galaga, I even beat Joseph's high score, although I came nowhere close to the high score for the machine which they post on a little placard on every machine there!  When our hour was done (which felt like three minutes later) we went out onto the boardwalk and were planning to walk down to the water's edge and get our feet wet, but the "beach cops" had different plans for us.  Turns out that you have to pay to walk out on the beach there!  I didn't need wet toes that badly, so we turned around and headed to the rig, for some reason though the cops gave us the stinkeye until we were out of siight.  I'm not sure why they were so anxious about our presense, maybe they thought we were gonna turn around and bum rush our way onto the sand?

Our next destination was Hillside, NJ.  In order to tell you why I would be headed to Hillside, I have an embarrassing confession to make.   My guilty pleasure in life is the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo TV.  I have never watched the Atlanta version and I have yet to see the DC version but I love, love, love the OC, NY and NJ versions.  One of the Real Housewives of NJ, Teresa, just opened a pizzarria with her husband Joe.  On her blog one day (yes, I read the blogs too) she mentioned the address of the pizza place and said "If you are ever in the area stop by, Joe will probably be there and I might be there."  Well seeing as Hillside is very close to Jersey City where we were staying, how could I resist.  We found the restaurant with no trouble whatsoever, and even found a nice parking spot for the rig, not too far down the street.  When we entered we were greeted by a sweet man who was very enthusiastic about his menu and making sure we enjoyed whatever we ordered.  We could see Teresa's husband Joe sitting a table talking to some people, so he really does run his business in person.  We placed our order and sat down to wait.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated and a poster of Teresa and a copy of her book were prominently displayed.  When our food came they were HUGE helpings and totally delish!  Joseph got a steak and cheese wrap, Miles got paninini and I got veal parmesan.  The sauce on mine was amazing.  When we were done the cashier asked if we had come because of the tv show and we told him yes and described our rig parked down the street.  He asked if we had seen Joe which of course we had.  He asked if I wanted to meet Joe, which I did also, but I didn't want to bust in on his conversation, he was actually on the phone at this moment, so I really didn't want to disturb him, but the employee assured me that it was fine and called Joe over.  Joe was very sweet asked us questions about our rig and such.

If you’re in Hillside, New Jersey, stop by Giuseppe’s Homestyle Pizzeria at 1576 Maple Avenue!

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