Friday, June 17, 2016

Pennsylvannia Country

Yesterday I took a day trip to Bryn Mawr, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia) to see a long-time client that I used to have when we both lived in New York. Though Mini Nav and Google both agreed that the trip should be two hours, it took three hours each way. Both times the extra hour was within 6 miles of the apartment. The trip into and out of Manhattan, on paper, takes about five minutes. But the reality is that it takes about an hour. And yesterday, I was coming back in the middle of rush hour so that just the 1/2 mile loop into the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel took 45 minutes.

Today I went back to Pennsylvania, but this time it was the next stop, not just a day trip. I'm moving out of New York and today's the day my trip changes direction. I've circled all the way around the perimeter of the country, hugging the west/south/east coasts from Seattle to NYC. But now I'm headed to the middle of the country. It's westward ho from here!

Getting out of New York proved harder than expected. In the morning, I had to move my car for street cleaning, and I spent about an hour driving around the neighborhood until I could find a legal parking spot. I sure do appreciate how well protected the city is from fire with all those fire hydrants.

I drove around and around the block, but it was certainly never monotonous.  Starting about twenty minutes before the no parking time on the right side, people would move their cars from the right side of the street and double park on the left side of the street, waiting for it to become legal to go back and park on the right side. It was chaos and yet it continued to flow. And god forbid you slow down at all!

Driving in New York is kind of fun if you you're not in a hurry. It's exciting and edgy, like the city itself. I was surprised to learn that it's not as scary or dangerous as I thought it would be, like the city itself. But the parking situation is a deal-breaker in my book. I much prefer enjoying the city as a pedestrian anyway. The ease of the public transportation and the difficulties of parking and congestion make it truly ridiculous to drive through Manhattan.
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Finally, I found a parking spot good for an hour. It was only three blocks from the apartment. So I snagged it and River and I hoofed it to the pad. We took all the luggage down to the foyer of the apartment building. I travel with a lot of luggage. My fermented vegetable cooler is big and heavy with jars, River's crate and blankets are big and ungainly. I have a backpack and a full size luggage with wheels. So with Michael's help, I packed up quickly and lugged everything downstairs during the hour I had to park on Amsterdam Ave.

Michael waited with the luggage as River and I went back to get the car. I drove around and parked in front of the fire hydrant near the foyer of the apartment. Michael and I loaded the car and I was off.

Luckily, as I mentioned, it's slow-going through the city and I wasn't even fully around the block when I got a phone call from Michael. We had forgotten to load the blankets. So I circled back around to the fire hydrant to get those and then, finally took off. And once again it was a good solid hour before I was driving through the Lincoln Tunnel three miles away.

US-9, I-78, PA-655, PA-366


The drive was gorgeous.  I took a picture of this bridge near Pohatcong, NJ.

I passed through Amish country and River was excited whenever I passed a horse-drawn carriage. There were a lot of them, so he was getting pretty excited. The rolling green hills were picture perfect. And then I was driving alongside a river for a while. At one point we went over mountains and through a little bit of forest.
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We checked into the motel in Altoona and River seemed really happy to finally see some grass again. I have to admit, after being in someone else's home, in the middle of the urban jungle, it does sort of feel like going back home to be in a Motel 6 room again.

At some point on my journey today, I must've run over a sharp object. I got a warning light on my dashboard saying that I was losing air pressure in the left rear tire. I kept driving, as the tires are built to do that, but I'll fill it back up in the morning before I head west to Columbus, where I teach class in the afternoon.

I've located the nearest Mini dealer to Columbus and tried to schedule and appointment with them, but they're closed now and I had to use the website which gave me the first available appointment; next Monday at 11am.

So I'm going to be rearranging my schedule a bit in the near future to take care of Babe. I don't think it will interfere with any of my classes, though. Fortunate timing there. 

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