Kayaking and America’s Inventor

We spent the last two days going on a kayak trip on Lake Hopatcong and then visiting the home and laboratories of America’s foremost inventor…Thomas Edison.

After driving over to the lake yesterday; we looked around awhile hunting for a free place to launch. No sense paying 20 bucks just to drop the kayak in the water. We finally found a nice little beach with a parking area, pumped up the kayak, and launched into the lake. Since it was our first time out we took it kind of easy; total trip length was about 2 hours and maybe 2 miles…we paddled across the lake to a country club then returned to the launch point. After pulling out of the water, drying and folding the kayak we stopped by a hot dog stand for a quick lunch then headed back to the rig. Stopped on the way back at Lowes for some project stuff and got back around 1400. Connie spent a couple of hours working while Neil built a rack for the ladder to hang up wet clothes on to dry (gym stuff, air dry clothes, etc). Just a simple lever type arrangement to give them a place to air things out. They also got a piece of steel and some glue to mount on the roof to mount a magnetic mount antenna they’re ordering for their cell phone booster…as Neil suspected the fixed mount fiberglass antenna didn’t survive the first low branch we encountered. They originally ordered a mag mount antenna but the fixed one was already bolted to the side when they arrived so against his better judgement he didn’t insist on what they had ordered.

Today we went over to Thomas Edison’s laboratory and home in West Orange, NJ. He started his invention career down at Menlo Park but moved up here in 1886, married his second wife after the first one died, and spent the last 44 years of his live in the West Orange area. After building his laboratory he purchased the Glenmont mansion as a wedding present for his wife Mina and within 2 years wired it for electricity running up from the laboratory (about ½ mile away).

The mansion was pretty ornate; unfortunately no pictures were allowed inside but here is one of the outside.


Glenmont House

The lab was really pretty cool. We toured the chemistry lab


Antique Chemicals in Lab

and the music room where several early phonograph models are displayed and where the first recordings were done.


Edison Phonograph and competitors from Columbia and RCA.


Original Phonograph and Smaller version

as part of organized tours and then wandered through the rest of the lab seeing his camera, the pattern shop that made molds for the foundry to use in producing metal parts, and the machine shop with a series of large metal working machinery.


Bellows Camera


Pattern Shop


Machine Shop

Following that it was back to the rig; loading up the bikes and outside gear for tomorrow’s move, filling BAT and the car with fuel and this great chicken salad recipe Connie found for dinner. It combined chicken, peaches, onions, pecans, and cheese on a bed of lettuce with a dressing made of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, and maple syrup. Yum.

That’s about it for today…we head off to Elizaville, NY tomorrow for 2 weeks at the BrookNWood Campground. We have an Organ Symphony concert on Saturday night, laundry/haircut/nail salon on Friday, and Connie is still working on the rest of the plan while we’re there.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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