2017 Trip East to see the Colors travel blog

The view up the Hudson River from West Point

The West Point skyline

Front of FDR home

The West Point Cadet Chapel

A statue at FDR Library made from Berlin Wall

West Point Military Academy

I have to tell you a couple of stories about the trip to West Point. We needed gas so we stopped at the turnpike service area. The pump we were heading for turned out to be a “full service” pump and the price was higher than we thought was reasonable just on principle. Tom thought we could just go around and select another pump. NOT SO!!!!!!! We ended up in the semi-truck area with no way out except to backup/turn around and exit the service area. Tom got it done but I was not really able to help because the space was tight and we could not keep eye contact – I must have looked like the proverbial chicken, without a head, running around trying to help. I’m sure the truckers enjoyed the show. When we got within striking distance of West Point, I made a navigation mistake in Yorktown, NY. I determined that I just needed to follow the Google Maps fix. OMG!! Tom did not throw me out of the truck but I know he was glad to see a commercial thoroughfare. We got out and made it to the West Point RV Park at Round Pond. Rio the cat was very happy to get here – so was Tom.

Our original plan was to do 8 nights at West Point on the way to Rhode Island and then go to Fort Drum, NY (up near the Canadian border) after New England. Health issues and weather made us skip the West Point stop on the way to RI so we decided to skip Fort Drum and backtrack a little bit to West Point even though we only have 4 nights here. So New York City will get added to our itinerary for our next trip in this direction.

Thursday we took a great tour of West Point. The whole place is just beautiful. The guide shared lots of history and told us the story of the hats being tossed in the air at graduation. The hats are not recovered by the individual cadets. Each cadet puts his name and home address on a piece of paper and puts it in the hat. After the ceremony the children (age 6-10) in the crowd are encouraged to go pick up a hat and send a note to the person that left the paper in the hat. Apparently there are some long term pen pals that develop out of this tradition. That is too special and speaks to the good of people.

The Cadet Chapel is beautiful. Italian stone construction workers were brought to this country to build it because of the required skills to execute the plans. They had 5 years to get it done and if they finished in that time they would be granted US citizenship. They finished in 2 years. The organ has 23,236 pipes - amazing.

On Friday we went to the home, museum and library of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, NY. The house was minuscule compared to the Vanderbilt mansion up the road. FDR’s home only has 35 rooms and most of them are very cozy even though large. He was a collector of editorial cartoons and he displayed them on the walls. The museum was very well done and there was a great exhibit covering Eleanor Roosevelt’s work before, during and after her life as First Lady. She was a remarkable woman and worked tirelessly for the good and betterment of people in this country and the world. I could go on and on about the contributions and accomplishments of FDR and Eleanor but you should just do some reading – you can read faster than I can type. If you go to Washington DC be sure to see the FDR Memorial – it is incredible. Google Maps and I had a few issues on our return to West Point but we got back in due course.

I have an observation about presidential museum/libraries. FDR designed his library and had it built as his 2nd term was ending because he wanted to be sure that details of the mechanics of recovery from the depression were preserved in case history repeated itself. His library is quite modest. He had the depression and WW II to maneuver this country through. This is not a monument to FDR. He built a library and a museum has been incorporated in the library. Of course we could not see the actual library contents but this was a building of purpose. The dollars that are put into the magnificence of presidential libraries could be better spent.

Saturday there was a football game at West Pont and the traffic was bad – lots of added security and the weather was wet so we stayed at Round Pond and did chores and just enjoyed the scenery here at the RV park. We are off to Ithaca, NY to spend time with Tom’s sister and her husband and our niece and her boys.

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