– Warwick, Rhode Island to Newark, New Jersey –

Today might be a bit picture-heavy and a little light on the words, so I hope you’ll forgive me. We didn’t get too much done today, since Mark had a meeting this afternoon, so the only interesting part of the day was really this evening.

We started out at our usual 6am and drove out to Warwick City Park to go for our run. The path ended up being one-way, which I find particularly unusual. The signs said, “for safety,” but I found it inconvenient. I have to run back and find Mark on occasion, so I felt like I was breaking the rules running back down the trail the wrong way.

Our one-way running path in Warwick City Park
Our one-way running path in Warwick City Park

That being said, it was a nice enough trail, and it was decently shady, as you can see. We saw our first mosquitoes of the trip in this park today, but nobody really got bitten. As long as you keep moving, they tend to miss you while you run.

Our drive down to New Jersey took longer than expected. It maps at just over 3 hours, but the real drive took more than 4. The traffic conditions up here can change dramatically from minute to minute. It’s interesting how up-to-date the maps are in this area, as well. I would say this is the fastest I’ve ever seen Google Maps update directions. Mark says it’s like that in the San Francisco Bay Area as well.

Who puts broccoli on pizza anyway?
Who puts broccoli on pizza anyway?

The highways up here are frequently toll roads, and on a toll road, instead of exits where you would find gas and food in separate places. you come across service stations. The service stations have fast food, restrooms, fuel, and occasionally even small police stations. It’s interesting, and a bit different from the norm. It’s not like that’s completely unheard of in our area, but it’s less common.

We stopped at a service station  in Stamford, I believe, or just outside it. We were still in Connecticut, for sure. Regardless, we had to grab Sbarro pizza for lunch, since we were running a little later than we’d anticipated. We left the hotel in good time, but the traffic tried to foil us.

In any event, our pizza was pretty bad. The veggie pizza had broccoli and our slices were basically cold. The breadsticks were good, though, so that almost made up for it. I guess I shouldn’t have expected better from gas station pizza. Maybe it was cold because fewer people eat veggie pizza? I’m not sure, but I was disappointed.

Down the sidewalk in Newark
Down the sidewalk in Newark

We finally did arrive at our hotel in Newark around 12:45, and Mark had to be at his meeting at 2, so in the end, we had plenty of time. Mark took the car and drove over to Rutgers for his meeting, and I locked little Ripley in her crate in the hotel room and walked over to Target for some nail polish remover.

While Mark had his meeting, I washed Ripley again (after Brian made us terrified of ticks and Lyme Disease yesterday) and painted my nails. Did you know that the new season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. went up on Netflix recently? Well, guess what I what I did while I waited for my nails to dry?

Fresh rolls from a local Thai place for our dinner
Fresh rolls from a local Thai place for our dinner

Mark was back just after 5, so we called out to a local place called Red Basil Thai Cuisine for dinner. We drove over to pick it up and then brought it back to our hotel to eat it. Mark had a glass noodle dish with tofu, and I had a Tom Kha noodle soup. We also order fresh rolls, and they tossed in a Thai salad for free, which was very nice of them. It was way too much food with the salad, though, so we didn’t actually end up consuming our free food.

Mark futzing with his camera in front of NYC. This is a bit meta. Later we'll be able to connect this shot to the ones he's taking there.
Mark futzing with his camera in front of NYC. This is a bit meta. Later we’ll be able to connect this shot to the ones he’s taking there.

When we finished dinner, we packed Ripley into the car and made our way over towards the water because Mark was just itching to take some pretty pictures of New York City from this side of the Hudson River. We found the best spot in Liberty State Park, so we parked our Xterra and Mark loaded himself down with camera equipment like a pack mule.

Ripley looking across at NYC
Ripley looking across at NYC

Ripley and I waited on a bench while he played with his film cameras. It was right at sunset, and Mark was pretty excited about his pictures. I really hope they turn out. They should be very cool.

Since I had nothing better to do, I took silly pictures of Ripley looking across the water at the city. One of them turned out well, as you can see. I think she was more interested in the boats going by than the city itself, but she sure looks interested, right?

The Empty Sky Memorial at sunset
The Empty Sky Memorial at sunset

Liberty State Park has a 9/11 Memorial that’s meant to show where the Twin Towers are missing on the skyline. The walls are lined with the names of the dead, and a piece of one of the buildings rests in front of the memorial.

It made me feel very somber, but I guess it doesn’t have that effect on children who were born after the fact. A few minutes before we took this picture, four or five kids were running up and down the middle of it, screaming. They weren’t even alive when it happened.

Ripley balanding on a concrete post
Ripley balanding on a concrete post

Since we didn’t want to leave feeling sad, we popped Ripley up on a concrete post to take some cute pictures of her balancing. She’s really quite good, although she gets bored easily. Mark had to follow her face around to get pictures.

We saw a lot of photographers out at the park while we were there. Sunset it basically the golden hour for photography, and we saw photographers shooting a bride and groom for a wedding, a pregnancy announcement photoshoot, and a graduate running around in his cap and gown taking pictures with his family. We also saw two professional photographers taking shots of a model in a flowing dress leaping through the air.

"Yes, Daddy?"
“Yes, Daddy?”

We needed gas, so we mapped to a local gas station and drove over. All of the directions here get pretty complicated. It can never be straightforward, or so it seems. In any event, that’s when we realized that New Jersey is one of only two states in the US (the other being Oregon), where you cannot pump your own gas. It’s so bizarre. Are you supposed to tip people that pump your gas? I don’t even know.

Have you ever heard of Carvel ice cream cakes? They claim to be the original ice cream cakes, and places like Walmart and Sam’s Club sell frozen versions of them even in Texas in their larger stores. Up here, they have ice cream shops, too, so we stopped in for a bit of dessert. The ice cream was fine, but I felt like maybe it was a little overhyped. It wasn’t anything special.

La Quinta at night
La Quinta at night

It was after 9pm by the time we made it back to the hotel. It’s a good-looking La Quinta, I must say. Most of them are much more functional than attractive. It looks especially good at night.

Tomorrow Mark has a meeting in the morning, so we won’t have time to run. He finishes up at noon, and then we are off to Maryland and our days should become more interesting again.

– Trip Total : 2,435 miles

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