Our final day on the road had finally arrived. We only had 3 more states to go and I was anxious to get on the road so we could get through New York City before rush hour started. Rush hours back home were always pretty bad, so I could only imagine how bad rush hour in a city of 8.3 million would be. Hell, just the thought of it made me extremely anxious… having to sit in traffic while navigating our way amongst the various unknown bridges, freeways, and side roads all while trying not to lose each other… my stomach still churns at the thought of it.
So even though we were tired from getting in fairly late the night before, we made ourselves get up, shower, and pack everything up. We tried to go get breakfast, but after learning that it 1) wasn’t included in our room and 2) was sit down and therefore would take up even more time, we opted to skip breakfast and get on the road instead.
Today’s journey would take us the final 350 miles from Clarion, PA, through New Jersey, and finally to our hotel in Bethpage, NY. It was by far our shortest day of the whole trip, but it was also the most stressful – for me anyways.
We got the harps, cats, pigs, luggage and us all loaded into the cars, topped off our gas and got on the I-80 to continue heading east. Mr. Envoy and I were pretty sick of driving after having done it almost non-stop for 6 days, and just wanted to get to the hotel; but we weren’t the only ones sick of the drive. When we got on the interstate Arthas decided it was a fantastic time to freak out and let me know how sick of the drive he was. He meowed and cried, stuck his paws out of the door of the crate reaching for things he could sink his claws into, and scratched feverishly at the door and top of the crate where the handle is. I kept baby talking to him, trying to explain to him that he wasn’t the only one who was so totally and completely done with being confined in the car, but alas he couldn’t understand me. Sindragosa kept looking at him and was probably thinking how she wished he just stop since he wasn’t the only one trapped in the crate too. Eventually though he fell asleep to the soothing motion of the car movement, much like a baby would, which was great because I really hadn’t wanted to pull out their meds to knock them out. I had them just in case, but I really didn’t want to have to drug them.
Since we had decided to skip breakfast at the hotel we kept an eye out for signs indicating somewhere we could make a quick breakfast stop, and not too far out of Clarion we found a sign for DunkinDonut and quickly hopped off the interstate to grab food. I had never had Dunkin before, and hadn’t had donuts in a while too, so I was excited to try them out. They really didn’t come off as anything special to me, just a place that you could get coffee and donuts from, but hey I suppose you can’t really complain about that when they seem to be even more frequent than Starbucks are back home lol
After our donut and coffee fix was complete we got back in the cars and back onto the interstate, just in time for Arthas to have woken up from the lack of car movement and start his meowing and scratching tirade all over again. This happened every time we got off the interstate for gas, food, or potty breaks… but thankfully each time he’d eventually fall back asleep.
So, have I mentioned how gorgeous Pennsylvania is? If not, let me reiterate it. It is SO gorgeous. If you haven’t been there before, you really should! Granted, I’ve only driven through it on the interstate, but from what I got to see of it it was stunning! The weather was really neat to drive through to, because it would be sunny for a few minutes and then it would start to get overcast and all of a sudden it would start raining. It would start off lightly sprinkling, but as we drove it would get harder and harder and then slowly fade off back into sun. This happened 5 or 6 times, and it was really neat! We were surrounded by hills/mountains covered thickly in dark green trees, and then it would just start raining for a little bit out of nowhere. As someone who loves the rain, this made Pennsylvania even more endearing to me!
New Jersey though… not so much. I had been warned by one of my Facebook friends to be careful when we crossed into northern New Jersey because as he said “North Jersey drivers are insane”. I had warned Mr. Envoy, but the only thing we noticed about the drivers was that we felt like we were back in California! They’d cut you off, ride your ass if they thought you weren’t going fast enough, and just drive fast in general – just like back home! At least there wasn’t anything to worry about there lol As we got closer to our first bridge to cross into New York City we stopped for one last gas fill up because I could just imagine how bad it would be if we ended up getting stuck in awful traffic and running out of gas. Murphy’s Law is my BFF, so I try to avoid things that could cause him to come and say hi lol
I wish we wouldn’t have stopped at this stupid, awful, disgusting, nasty-ass gas station in Jersey though… We got gas which was fine, but then I went to find a bathroom… It turned out that their bathrooms were being fixed so all they had was a port-o-potty. A nasty, disgusting, hadn’t been cleaned in I don’t know how long, port-o-potty that was out in the sun, in the sticky humidity. But I was desperate, there was no way I was going to be able to hold it all the way to the hotel, so I had to suck it up. I wish I could have stopped breathing while I was in there. It had pee and poop on the floor, and flies and just… *shudders* it was awful. Let’s just say that was the fastest I had gotten in and out of a bathroom in my entire life.
So after the awful port-o-potty nightmare of a gas stop we worked our way back to the interstate. We knew we needed to take the George Washington Bridge into NYC, so we followed the signs and our GPS, however the GPS ended up taking us this round-about way to get to the lower part of the bridge. We ended up on these narrow, packed side streets, trying to figure out where it wanted us to go because it kept changing it’s damn mind. Our nightmare had begun…
After getting through the toll and waiting for each other so we could be together, we finally we managed to get onto the lower part of the George Washington Bridge; but there were so many cars that it was impossible for Mr. Envoy and I to stay together at that point. But that wasn’t the worst part, oh no. The worst part was when my GPS couldn’t find a signal and not only did I not know where I was going I couldn’t see Mr. Envoy’s car because there were so many cars wedged in between us. I’ve never had a panic attack in my life, but the thought of being lost in NYC traffic just about gave me one. I had to keep telling myself to breathe and that I could do it. I was a big girl and I had driven in LA, so I could totally drive in NYC. But that didn’t stop me from crying a little in the car, packed on that bridge like a sardine.
Thankfully Mr. Envoy’s GPS was working and I managed to use what I affectionately call my ‘California-driving skills’ to navigate where he wanted all while staying in range of our walkie-talkies. We made it across the George Washington Bridge and onto the Cross Bronx Expressway. Once we got onto normal-ish freeway we were able to be together again, but before that it was nerve-wracking trying to follow signs and what he was telling me to do while going on round-abouts that I hoped were taking me to the correct place and trying to figure out where lanes were because for some reason there weren’t lanes marked on the road. *deep breath*
The next step was making it across the Throggs Neck Bridge. After we made it through another set of tolls and waiting for each other so we could be together, we got across it. This one wasn’t as bad for mas the George Washington Bridge had been, but that might partially be due to the fact that my GPS had finally figured out where the hell I was >_<
Our final freeway we headed to was the Long Island Expressway. Try as we might, we didn’t quite beat rush hour. It took us an hour after getting through the tolls at the Throggs Neck Bridge to get to our hotel because the LIE was bumper to bumper. I was still stressed, but not nearly as much. It was just really overwhelming to be in all this traffic on unknown roads so far from home.
After a little over 90 minutes from when we first got through the tolls on the George Washington Bridge, we made it to the Extended Stay America in Bethpage. When we first stepped out of the cars I about died. It was so hot and steamy out, my glasses even fogged up! What even is that crap?! Humidity + Kate = not friends.
Once our glasses were cleaned so we could properly see in the sauna that was Long Island, we headed into the hotel to check in, added a few more days to our reservation, and unloaded our cars. I don’t even know how many trips we ended up making, but we got the cats, pigs, my pedal harp, my lever harp, our luggage, the computers and the pots and pans so we could cook all inside our room.
We took some time to unpack and get our computers set up before we decided to head out for some food. I volunteered Mr. Envoy to drive for the rest of the day because I was still recovering from the trek through the city, so thankfully he didn’t mind lol
We weren’t sure what the names of the grocery stores were out here, so when we saw a Trader Joes we made a bee-line for it. We had those back home so we knew it was a place to get food lol After we picked up some eggs, milk, cheese and oatmeal (yay breakfast foods!) we googled a place to pick up some take-out, and found a Chinese place not far from the hotel. So off we went to pick up our order. We also decided that with the stress of the last day we needed something to celebrate, so we went to a wine and liquor store and picked up a bottle of merlot to take back to the hotel.
Before we headed back to the hotel we saw dark storm clouds overhead. It looked like it wanted to pour! So we hurried back to the hotel so we could enjoy the storm.
And enjoy it we did! It poured, and there was tons of thunder and lightning! The TV in the hotel was satellite so the storm kept knocking it in out, but we didn’t mind, we could relax and visit now that the trip was finally behind us, so we didn’t need TV. The cats had never seen a storm like this before, so Arthas had a great time looking out the window at it all. He even tried pawing at the rain drops as they would slide down the window :P
Phew, what a trip! 7 total days on the road with 6 days of driving, for a total of 3,022 miles from southern California to Long Island.
I can’t believe that Mr. Envoy and I made that trip, and I also can’t believe that we finished it 2 1/2 months ago! It feels like we’ve been out here for at least 6 months already, but that probably has a lot to do with both of our crazy schedules…
Anyways, thanks for sticking it out with me as I shared my road trip across the country to my new home for the next 3 years! I hope you all enjoyed it, and stay tuned for future updates about my new life in New York.
<3 and harp strings,