Hudson River Valley, New York (2 days ago)
I started the day out touring West Point. My grandfather briefly attended here until it was determined he had cheated on the vision test by memorizing the eye chart, and he got kicked out. The military requires excellent vision. West Point is a self-contained community with its own post office, shopping, grocery and the like. The tour was fantastic. We first stopped at the chapel where we could get a glimpse of the back of the barracks where the cadets enjoy fun events in the courtyard as well as walking off their demerits. Obviously, with very little free time, walking off demerits for five hours at a time is not the most enjoyable for them. If the cadets rack up over 100 demerits, they join the century club of which two of our presidents were members, Grant and Eisenhower.
The chapel, technically a cathedral, but called a chapel in the military, is home to the largest pipe organ in a religious building in the world. The pipes all range in size anywhere between a pencil and over 30 feet. Inside the chapel, the hymnals are placed in measured alignment and flags from different times of the United States hang overhead. In addition, a row, marked with a candle always sits empty no matter how many church goers are in attendance as it honors those missing in action.
After visiting the chapel, we stopped at the most photographed place at West Point, the point with the view of the Hudson River. Next to this point, a statue inscribed with civil war leaders’ names stands in the middle of a ring of granite balls sided by canons inscribed with the names of the significant civil war battles. Another ring of cannons surrounding the monument are buried downward into the ground as a symbol to never fight among ourselves again as graduates of West Point were fighting each other in the war.
One item at West Point that I have never seen was solar power trash compacting trash cans…our government dollars at work?!? I had to take a picture of it just because I was so surprised by it. For anyone interested in weaponry, the museum at the visitor’s center is worth a visit…full of all sorts of spears, knifes, guns, all the way up to cases for atomic bombs and small tanks.
After my tour of West Point, the dogs and I took a walk at Bear Mountain State Park along with what seemed like a Japanese photography class. We walked around a lake and up the Appalachian Trail about half way to the summit to which we had previously driven. Fall foliage surrounded the sometimes steep, rocky trail, while geese floated peacefully in the lake. Soon I headed toward Long Island.
My cousin Danny and his wife Allison hooked me up for an evening at their house in Long Island. I met Liam here, an Irish Merchant Ship Captain who just got his European Flying License. He is looking to meet the US FAA regulations as well. He went into the City for the night while Danny, Allison, and I went to an Irish Pub in the neighborhood to watch the Rangers beat the Yankees! That was fun in a New York Bar. After the Rangers win, we stopped to check on their daughter Claire’s Sophomore class float they were working on for homecoming tomorrow. The theme was Wizard of Oz and the float was great. I’m curious to know if they won. ETB