Day 1 – Saturday, February 19th, 2011 – ROAD TRIP
The day was finally here! I got in the car at about 4:30am to head to Nia’s house, my mind racing the whole 1 hour drive there trying to figure out what I forgot, because surely I forgot something. Or maybe it was just the few 3 hours of sleep I got during the night that made me feel anxious. Or the fact that I was leaving Nala and Reina for a week and a half. Or maybe that we (read: ME) were about to drive 14 hours up to Boston.
I pulled up to Nia’s house a little after 5:30am, still pitch black outside. We loaded up my car with all of our luggage, Nia’s mom loaded us up with coffee, and Nia said her goodbyes to her fiancé. And then I almost wrecked us while still on Old Mill Farm Road – those curves just come so unexpectedly in the dark! No worries, I’m an expert driver and just wanted to test out how fast we could take those curves in preparation for the long drive ahead. And I needed to make sure Nia had her Dramamine.
Nia tried to get some sleep while I drove, but between Kacie calling and me waking her up to tell her something, she didn’t get much rest. I think her favorite time was when I woke her up to tell her to look at the giant flock of birds flying over us and wondering how they were flying in these heavy winds. Every state we drove through had traffic alert signs warning of high winds. Once we arrived in Boston, we realized just how much wind they really meant. I drove for nearly 6 hours until we stopped for gas and Subway. [side story – as some of you may know, Nia and I won a $250 Subway gift card at the state fair this past fall after competing in “Subway’s Great Fair-a-thon Challenge” scavenger hunt] And then Nia drove for a few hours while I napped and after a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts in ski town USA it was back to me driving. We hit our first toll booth after driving over the Hudson River and past the Poconos (who hasn’t heard of the Poconos??) and into New York, and I shelled out a big $1 bill.
The second toll booth. I can’t remember which state it was in, as Nia called it – BFE. I’ve never done one of these things before, and
neither has Nia correction: Nia HAS been through toll booths, it was just on a totally different highway. We slow down as all the other cars are but realize there is no person in the little both, so I keep on going through without stopping because no one else did. Fast forward about 20 miles when we get off the highway to get some gas. Now there’s the little man in the toll booth! I roll down my window and wait for him to say how much. He doesn’t say anything. I ask, “How much?” He says, “Where is your ticket?” “What ticket?” “The ticket! (holds up a stack of tickets) The ticket!” “I don’t have a ticket.” “How did you get on the highway?” “I don’t know, we’ve been driving on this road for a really long time.” “Fine, its $2 without a ticket.” I mean I thought we weren’t going to be let off the highway! Apparently the sketchy toll booth from miles before was where you got a ticket. No signs. No warnings. You’re just apparently supposed to know, stop, press a button, get a ticket. But no one else did it! …oops, turns out I drove through the fast pass lane, they didn’t need tickets.
We stop to get gas after exiting the toll road. Screw getting back onto that road, we will re-route. Don’t worry, we were on Broadway. All roads lead to Broadway. Even if the GPS tells you to turn onto a another street, you’ll eventually make it back onto Broadway. I’m still not convinced that dern GPS didn’t drive us in circles around the state of Massachusetts.
I wanted to a take a picture of every state we drove through, but that didn’t happen. North Carolina. Virginia. West Virginia. Maryland. Pennsylvania. New York. Connecticut. Massachusetts. 8 states in one day – and a whole lotta miles on the Honda. We took 81 and 84 most of the way, which hugged the mountains and passed through a lot of cute little towns. We paid a total of $4.50 in tolls on the way there. We made it almost all the way there in two tanks of gas – thankfully this was right before gas prices sky rocketed (weren’t too happy to see that a week and a half later upon our return…) and thankfully we filled the tank up completely before leaving town so we would come back to the states to a nice full tank.
Now if you’ve never driven in Boston then I need to give you a few warnings.
- There are no lines on the road and speed limit signs are rare. People just drive where they want to, however fast they want to. So you better hope you’re not in the way. And if snow is covering half of the far right line, then you better believe those cars will just make their way on over halfway into the left lane, whether there’s cars there or not.
- If you don’t know where you are, just look to the left or to the right and there will be not one, but two, Dunkin Donuts to comfort you.
- Plan to only go to places on one side of the road. Because if you want to get to the other side of the road, you’ll have to drive approximately 5 miles to turn around and drive back down the other side.
- When in doubt, just take Broadway.
Red Roof Inn, we can see you in the distance, right next to Giggles Comedy Club. We made it. Our home for the night! Oh, hey, police cars and the news crew filling up the parking lot – man I sure picked a winner of a hotel. Half the parking lot is covered in snow and the other half is covered in scaffolding and construction debris. In the chaos, I ran over a giant plastic cigarette butt holder, which took about 15 minutes to dislodge from underneath my car. With 100 mph winds the whole time, did I mention that yet? Yeah, as if the cold wasn’t enough, there was some serious wind during our stay in Boston. And this wind conveniently blew scaffolding all over the Red Roof Inn parking lot and toppled onto cars. Greattttt, and I’m supposed to be leaving my car here for 10 days? Very comforting! So after a trip to Fuddruckers for dinner (I wanted Sbarro but then we realized it was in the mall, and we were definitely not going in the mall for dinner), we checked into the hotel and made ourselves at home. Nia talked with Caleb to make our game plan for the next day while, surprisingly, I fell asleep.