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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

DC, Patterson, Wallkill and High Falls

The day started in DC. The time we woke up was just offensive,
Check out the offensive time the alarm went off at the top of the picture - 3:30AM. We sometimes dont go to bed until after that when we get caught up with movies, or working or chatting (not often, but sometimes). So, it just seemed wrong to get UP at that time. Added to the wrongness was that I remember that we were going to Bethel that day and I needed to shave. Note to self (and anyone else reading this) - shaving is not something that you want to do when you are sleepy. 

When I was in the shower, I thought to myself 'I wonder if we need an international license to drive (or even in fact rent a car) in the US? Secretly, I was freaking out. So, upon exiting the shower, I walked to my iPad and googled 'Do I need an international license to drive in the USA?' I wasnt too happy with what I found. So, Kylie noticed that I was 'playing' on the iPad and asked what I was doing. I told her and she said 'I didnt even bring my Australian license!' Oh dear. We may be in strife. She googled something else and came across some discussion boards that seemed to indicate that an international license is not necessary for australians. So, we were hopeful. But, not confident. Our getting a hire car was pivotal for visiting Wallkill, Paterson and our accommodation for the next two nights. 

We pre-ordered our cab for 4:30 - what an offensive time. Poor cab driver had to get up early for us. lol. It was a short 15 minute ride to the airport. I was watching the meter like a hawk. I hate catching cabs. I just feel like they are ripping me off. It was going well. But, then I noticed that he pressed some button five times and every time he pressed the button, the price went up by a dollar. I quizzed him about this and he told me that it was related to ordering a cab carrying a fee and extra costs for luggage. Then, he turned on the light (it was still pitch black outside) and pointed to the terms on conditions that were stuck on the window of the cab. So, for an $11 fare, it ended up costing more than $20. I was not happy. I'm particularly loathed to give tips. Not because I'm cheap. But, I tip people when they do a good job, or are nice or actually deserve a tip. I hate tipping out of obligation. And, 18-20% forget it!!!!!

So, when we stepped out of the cab, it was 4:50 for our 6:05 departure. Kylie was making fun of me for being so OCD by leaving so early. We checked in our bags, grabbed a coffee and then waited in line for more than 30 minutes in security. Domestic travel in the US has the same security as international travel in Australia. There are still restrictions on liquid. You have to take your shoes off every time. There are full body scanners in use at every airport. It's FULL ON. We arrived at our gate and sat down for literally three minutes and then we were called. It was a small plane.

This is a seating layout I came across (thanks GOogle).

It was well an truly the smallest plane that we have flied on (excluding the helicopter). It was just three seats across and I could barely stand up straight without my head touching the roof of the plane. We had a valet luggage service. Most bags were too big to fit in the overhead lockers and so they tagged them all and put them under the plane and then as we were walking on the aerobridge, they were there for us to pick up. It was cool.

So, we arrive in JFK, and went to the Hertz counter. We had made a reservation, but I had been looking for one-way rentals for months and had not been sucessful. But, during dinner the night before, I did a search on the iPhone app, found a one way rental and made a reservation. I was not confident that it would be honored as it seemed cheaper than all the others I had seen. Grant in Montreal was also searching for me and found a few that were cheaper by looking on the Australian site, not the US site. So, I gave it a go. I confidently walked up to the counter and handed my credit card and AUSTRALIAN license and ........ they gave me the keys. It was so cool. Everything I worried about was a non-issue. And, as it turns out, Kylie DID bring her license which was handy as she is doing all the driving.  
The master driver. She is so good. The funniest thing was as soon as you drive out of the airport, you are on a freeway. We typed in the address of Patterson Bethel and hoped it was taking us in the right direction. I vowed to use that as an illustration in an upcoming talk - you have ABSOLUTELY no clue where you are going, so you have to trust the instruments provided.

Question - how can you spot an international tourist?
Answer - they take photos of the 'projects' in the Bronx. 

So, we drove for about an hour and a half and arrived in Patterson at about 10am. It was funny since our day started in Washington DC at 3:30am.
Patterson is just a beautiful setting and a beautiful set of buildings.

We went on a tour - here is a sprinkling of the things we saw;
This is where the family has their WT study every week. Its also the site of the Gilead graduations. 

Beautiful artwork.

Awesome displays. 

Cool photo ops.

An ENORMOUS dining room. 

Yay! Someone took a great pic of us. 

And, another. This is the money shot of the trip so far. Thanks Mark!

Have you been to Patterson? If not, you have got to go. The support services for us in the field that are done at Patterson are just amazing.

Then, off to lunch at.....
McDonalds!!!!! We had to try LARGE, despite what we were taught by Morgan Spurlock in Supersize Me. The chips and the drink do not appear larger than they are - they are actual size. Looks bigger than Kylies head!!!! Closeby, we found a place that was similar to The Warehouse, though the receipts said it was called 'Super Drugs?????????'


Then, we checked into our accommodation in High Falls. Another place found on airbnb. I LOVE this place!!!
The garden outside.

The pond outside.

The main house.

This was a beautiful place to stay. It is about an hour from Patterson and about half an hour from Wallkill so if you are ever visiting, you should stay here. 

That night, we booked into dinner at a neighbours house. Here name is Jeanette. She cooked a Moroccan feast for us.
The beautiful setting for dinner.

Panoramic view of dinner.

I LOVE all things Moroccan.

It got even nicer as the sun went down.

Then, sleep. Well earned, considering our day started at 3:30.

Next day, Wallkill.
Lobby at Walkill.

Cool photo op.

Here is a sampling of pics from the tour.
Softcover insight volume made specially for prison inmates.

Rolls of paper for bibles. And, before you ask, English bibles are out of stock worldwide. There is no word when they will be available.

Beautiful gardens at Walkill

Yes, another money shot.

Ready to be delivered to tables for lunch.

Expanded dining room.

Our tour group.

This cool  kid in the lobby. Look at his badge. He is deaf. There are deaf bethelites that care for sign language translation.

So, the brother that took this pic was walking from across the road at the meat processing plant. He invited us to return in the afternoon for a behind the scenes tour of the meat processing plant.

It was interesting????? Made we want to be a vegetarian. Lol. Jk.

Mac who gave us the tour of the meat facility. Born in 1994, which was the last year of high school for me. Oh, man. I'm old. Walkill was amazing to see. If you haven't been - you've GOT to go.

Then we drove home and promptly fell asleep for about three hours. Woke up starving. Found a place still open at 9 and had some pasta.

And, that's the end of our Walkill / Patterson tours. Thanks for reading. Next stop - Niagara Falls,


  1. You've found some amazing accommodation on AirBnB - how gorgeous is that garden.

  2. Loving your posts and pictures Bruno and Kylie. So great. Continue to enjoy your travels and stay safe.

  3. Great to see what a good time your having. Maid of the mist, here you come...

  4. Loved your tour of Walkill and Patterson. I was able to do both also - amazing places! We stayed overnight at the Patterson Inn. Funnily enough I got crook from dinner at Walkill (that corn chowder was just too rich for me) and the drive btw Walkill to our accomm at Patterson was spent worrying about where the next loo stop was! Lunch at Patterson was beautiful, I still remember that homemade boysenberry ice-cream - Yum! I soooo wanted seconds of that! - Liz P.

  5. One of my favourite posts so far!!! Can't wait to hear more soon when we catchup (Netski)


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