Monday, October 3, 2011

Four States+OneDay=Craziness

Today was dedicated largely to making our way from Cape Code to our campground just across the Hudson from Manhattan Island, New York. We'd considered camping in Rhode Island, but with our early departure we hit our campground at 10 a.m. The girls weren't ready to stop, particularly since we didn't have plans to see a site or play. I'm sure we would have found SOMETHING to do (it's not so hard, really). But we went with our gut(s) and continued south through Rhode Island, lunched in Old Saybrook, CT (with a cold creamy treat at the James Soda Fountain - mmm...old fashioned chocolate soda for me).

In New Jersey, I missed the exit for our campground and instead found myself on George Washington Bridge with nowhere to turnaround. Trailer in tow, the toll booth attendant was happy to take my $22 toll (OUCH!) and send us on our merry way onto the Island Manhattan. Initially, I figured I'd just get across, turn around and return across (toll-free in the opposite direction), but the route wasn't so simple. Instead, I opted to follow Henry Hudson Parkway, a freeway-like roadway that may promise good travel on a typical drive time, but today allowed us 54 blocks in 2 hours. I decided to call it quits at 125th Avenue and just head for surface streets. Turns out that's precisely where the NYPD also decided to close the parkway entirely (there must have been an accident ahead...or some such), thus directing EVERY vehicle off the parkway and onto surface streets at that point. (For the record, as I turned off the freeway, a nice officer let me know that trailers aren't allowed on the Hudson Parkway and that "next time" I drive to New York from California, I shouldn't take that route.)

Once on surface streets, things actually went quite smoothly. We followed Riverside Drive past General Grant Memorial and along beautiful Riverside Park before turning inland to further get away from the crowd diverted there. We found ourselves traveling south on 9th Avenue where countless folks also caught up in the rush hour traffic asked about our trip, whether we'd really driven all the way from California, where we were going next. We were adopted by a service van ("Hey, Buddy! Did you really drive that all the way from California?") which directed us to Holland Tunnel ("Hey, Buddy! You have to get in the left lane for the tunnel. No! Don't cross all the lanes at once. You'll get a ticket. Go around the block and get in this lane.") which, in turn, led us to our camp site just across the river in time for sunset.

So, for the record, my first New Yorker experience? Fantastic! Even in rush-hour traffic. People were friendly, curious, helpful, nice. So glad we decided to carry on with our plans to NYC. Looking forward to tomorrow!

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