If you really want to get your blood pumping early one morning, ride your motorcycle through the middle of downtown Manhattan.
Why, on earth, you might ask, would anyone do such a thing if they didn't have to do it?
Because, I would answer, I collect Indian motorcycle tee shirts and have them from all over the country and Gotham City Indian Motorcycle has one of the coolest designs I've ever seen.
From NYC I headed south on the NJ turnpike. Trucks have one set of three lanes, then there is a median, and the other three lanes are for cars and motorcycles. It was absolutely wonderful.
I stopped in Trenton, the capital of New Jersey and briefly visited the Barracks Museum there.
The Barracks Museum in Trenton.
Bay Street in Trenton.
The old Masonic Hall in Trenton.
The NEW Masonic Hall.
An ordinary looking little elm tree at the Barracks Museum
Until one looks at the plaque at its base.
Trenton is where Washington, who was beyond desperate for a victory boldly crossed the Delaware River the night after Christmas, 1776 and routed the unsuspecting Hessians camped there. The Americans lost two soldiers...both of whom died from exposure to the bitter cold.
A river crossing operation is fraught with peril. It comes with its own peculiar set of difficulties that register over and above the normal list of risks associated with combat.
I can remember doing a crossing in training once with no real enemy resistance and it was still scary. We did it at night, across the Han River in South Korea (which is like their Mississippi River) and did it over what is called an underwater bridge. It's a bridge emplaced by Army engineers in a way that the bridge is actually about a foot or two UNDER the water so as not to be readily visible from the air. It was a cold (bone chilling) night in March of 1985 or so when my map told me that we should not be where we were. That's when an engineer threw a couple of life vests in my Jeep and said "stay between the chem lights and no matter what, don't stop." It was a very uneasy feeling as we slowly drove down the river bank and into the water with only little faint green chem lights standing out in darkness blacker than Satan's riding boots to mark the edges of our path. As we entered the underwater bridge the ice cold water of the Han flooded the floor of our jeep. One little bit of deviation from our course and we would be drowned rats. I'll never forget the feeling of anxiousness as we crept along for what was about a half mile crossing. And I think it took a month for my feet to thaw out.
So, to read about Washington and his tattered, starving, barefoot army deciding to take on that kind of a mission, in the dark, in freezing cold, across a river full of ice, against some of the most highly trained mercenaries in the world at the time...well... it's kind of...hooah.
They pulled it off, surprising the hated Hessians (the Pennsylvania Germans who were a part of Washington's army called the feared Hessians "Der Teuffel" -the Devil), and managed to slip back across the river to safety. Washington got his much needed victory, which not only preserved the Army, but electrified morale throughout the colonies and with thier allies.
So I stopped at where the old barracks are and got a picture.
Then it was on to Philadelphia, "The City of Brotherly Love" as they say (my buddy Harry, who is familiar with the city often remarks that the brotherly love stuff is "a bit of a stretch.") for a day or maybe two to take in some of the history there. I'm very excited about that.
More later. Thanks for reading.