The one where we watch fireworks from 212 feet in the air

Where are you going?

That’s what everyone asked before we left on our grand motorhome experiment.


Patricia Richard and Charley at the IronGirl, by Bill Richard.

People who are staying put want to hear that you’re taking some grand tour as full time RVers. First to the Grand Canyon, then Bryce and Zion, over to Yellowstone and Yosemite. Or maybe you’ve set your sights on going to every stop on the Dave Matthews tour, or hitting all of the major league ball parks. Or in our case every Penn State football game home and away.

Nope, we spent our first weeks on the road less than a day from Auburn.

So that’s why on the Fourth of July, Joe and I were sitting in lawn chairs on an old railroad bridge 212 feet above the Hudson River.  We hadn’t planned it. But long about July 2nd, Joe and I began to wonder where we would watch fireworks this year.

Had we stayed in Auburn, we would have parked the car in the driveway on July 3rd, moseyed down to Emerson Park on Owasco Lake with our lawn chairs to listen to a symphony play the “1812 Overture” and watch a fireworks display that never disappoints.

Joe wanted to watch fireworks from the Palisades in New Jersey across from New York City But it was so hot. So where to go?

That’s the big question, where are we going.

Since Joe retired: I’ve run the IronGirl Sprint Triathlon at Oneida Shores in Onondaga County, we’ve hiked along Lake Ontario at Robert Wehle State Park in the 1000 Islands, skipped down the grand staircase of Boldt Castle while I hummed the theme to Masterpiece Theater, and visited every brown-signed park in Hyde Park. (We’re a little addicted to history.)

Before we left town, I’d look for hiking trails in the Mid-Hudson area and that’s when Google showed me the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park. A 1.2 mile-long former railroad bridge that has been converted into a walking, running, biking trail 212 feet above the Hudson River. The bridge connects to a rail-bike trail on either side of the river that runs for miles.

The best thing about the Walkway is the fireworks. For a fee, you can watch the City of Poughkeepsie’s fireworks shot off from a barge in the middle of the river. Locals come early bringing lawn chairs  and dinner. The adults next to us played cards and discussed national politics. Kids played games and blew bubbles that floated over the river.

We watched boats and kayaks maneuver for the best viewing spot on the Hudson, including Pete Seeger’s sloop  the Clearwater.


As dusk drifted to twilight,  the sheriff’s boat escorted a small tugboat to center stage and the first of the fireworks began popping up over the hills in towns up and down the river.

A little boy yelled out “C’mon Dad we’ve got to go there. We’ve got to go there,” pointing to a distant display.

Our heads were on swivels. Joe, at one point, counted 15 communities with fireworks going off all at the same time.

The main act took it’s time giving the smaller displays their moments in the night.

With a loud BOOM! Poughkeepsie’s fireworks announced its presence  and put on one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen in person. The flashes of red ribbons and hearts, bright blue flowers, gold stars burst in a seemingly endless display with a grand finale that couldn’t be beat.

There is joy in a journey that stops to watch fireworks, no matter where they’re found.

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