Everything goes well until we're within a mile of JR's and hit a huge traffic
jam. I'm in agony, I can almost see the store, but we're still 15 minutes
away. But the agony turns to anticipation and finally to accomplishment
as I reach the parking lot. The combination of the traffic jam, car trouble,
little sleep and close quarters, let the rest of my family unenthusiastic
at my joy. I was told to keep it brief, we had to make up some time.
JR's in Whippany is different than what I'm accustomed to. They sell only
cigars, perfumes and spirits, but they sell a lot of them at good prices.
The only problem with the prices is the New Jersey 24% wholesale cigar
tax (12% retail) that get tacked onto the final tab. Regardless, I've got
to pick up some cigars. I find a box of JR Alternative to La Gloria Cubana
Churchills and snap it up. If you happen to come across a box of Alternatives
that you like, I've found that it's better to buy them when you can find
them. If you wait till you need them, they'll surely be out of stock. Since
they are a good value, I use them on the golf course and I go through a
lot of them. Also picked up a box of JR Ultimate No. 1 Double Maduro. There
are a lot of people out there paying much more money for less of a cigar.
Wanting to avoid a family crisis, I quickly paid for my cigars and left.
I took one fond look back at JR's as I re-entered the traffic jam to continue
As evening approaches, we reach our destination of North Hudson, NY and
the home/camp of George and Janette Trumbull. Since everyone had already
eaten, we unpacked and I decided I was way overdue for a fine cigar. It
had been nearly two days since my last one, the JR Ultimate Toro I had
while assembling the car-top carrier. George had added a screen-in gazebo
with an impressive view of the Adirondack Mountains to replace the old
traditional smoking porch. I was ready to sample one of the JR Ultimates
No. 1 Double Maduros. I want to make sure that I start off George with
a good cigar to start the weekend; the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Signature
fit the bill perfectly. George and I enjoyed out cigars, the sunset and
planned tomorrow's golf outing.
We rose early, grabbed my clubs and golf course cigars and headed toward
the Lake Placid Mountain Course. When we arrived we were told that no would
be wait for the carts as goalie for the NY Rangers was getting married
and his wedding party had all the carts for a tournament on the Links course.
While waiting, one of the Rangers (no, not Gretsky) asked where I got my
cigars. I told him I brought them with me and offered him one. He declined
saying he would check inside the see if he could find one. Later I ran
into him again and asked if he found a cigar and he still had not. This
time I had to nearly forced him to take one of my cigars, but he finally
relented and accepted with great thanks. We finish our round and a couple
of cigars. And when you're strolling along the beautiful mountain course
with good company, who cares about the score. In the parking lot while
loading up the club and changing shoes, the "cigar ranger" came up and
gave me a high-five telling me that he won the wedding party golf tournament
and thanking me again for his victory cigar.
We return home to meet Steph and Ken Smith, my wife's sister and her husband.
After dinner I'm finally ready to break out the Cubans. Ken and George
know that I've Cubans, but are not sure what I've brought. I figure I'll
start big and lead off with the Montecristo No. 2. Their eyes are wide
as I pass around the cutter and blazer for everyone to light up their legendary
smoke. Since I'm no longer a novice Havana smoker, I knew what to expect:
Ken, who likes a little stronger cigar would love this cigar all the way
through, but since George likes a little more of a mellow smoke, he'd like
the beginning, but grow weary of it near the end. Of course, I'm taking
mine down till my fingers can't stand to hold the butt anymore, then I'll
take one last puff to finish it off. Steph decided to join us , so I gifted
her with a Havana La Gloria Cubana Medialle d'or No. 3. We add a couple
of good single malt scotches to the mix and the evening is complete and
turns out exactly as I imagined it would.
After a good night's sleep, it's time for more golf. George and I bring
clubs and cigars to Westport Country Club for another 18 holes. The day
is a little overcast, but the mid 70 degree temperature proved to be excellent
weather for golf. Again we break out JR Alternatives and use our "Little
Judy" combination divot repair tool and cigar stand. One again good company,
atmosphere, golf and cigars, but not in any particular order. After golf
we head home for dinner then, of course, the next evening's cigars. Tonight
the single malt scotch will flow again and we will enjoy Bolivar Royal
Coronas as the sun sets. On this evening as I say goodnight to my daughter
she sets on my lap as I smoke the Bolivar and together we watch the sun
go down. I wonder if when she's older, she'll be attracted to a cigar smoker
because of the times like these that we spend together.
The next day, we head into Lake Placid to do a little shopping. Of course,
I'm looking for the cigar shops. I run into a fine one called "With Pipe
& Book" on main street. In addition to pipe tobacco and fine cigars
they also have old, rare books and prints. I picked up a few Don Carlos
Robustos and Saint Luis Rey Torps at a reasonable price. We all meet back
at the van and head back home. I light up a El Rey de Mundo Robustos Suprema
and help my daughter paint a keepsake box (to me it looks like a little
humidor) that she had just picked up in Lake Placid. The two hour plus
cigar leaves plenty of time to finish the first step of the project. That
evening after dinner we enjoy our last cigars together for this trip. The
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Robusto seems to fit the moment, so I pass them
around. Everyone enjoys their cigars, but there is a hint of sadness as
we realize that the "micro-crawl" is coming to an end.
On The Road Home
We pack up the kids and the van to begin the long journey home. I've already
been told that there is no way that we will stop at JR's on the way back.
But the magic of Lew's store somehow pulled us in again. This was not because
I want to get a few more cigars. As fate had it, my daughter had to go
the bathroom about 3 miles from the Whippany store, so, conveniently we
stopped at JR's for my family's comfort and not just my love of cigars.
I did, however, manage to pick up a box of Las Villas Rosado Torps, that
proved to be very tasty. Then we're back on the road after a quick overnight
stop in a cheap motel. The last few hours of this trip, become painful
as my son's ear infection flares up. He always let's us know that if he's
not having a good time, nobody is going to have any fun.
We survive the tears and as the sights become more and more familiar, we
know we're home. Soon I'll unload all the cargo and kids, and life will
settle down to a comfortable routine again. When that's done, we'll get
the kids to bed and have a little quiet time for ourselves. We'll go out
by the pool and have a drink. I'll bring my cigar, we'll talk about what
a good time we had, but most importantly how good it feels to be home again.