Saturday, October 12, 2002

We had a great roadtrip!!

Last Saturday morning, we woke up early and hit the highway. We crossed the border into the States at Lansdowne and we got on the New York State Thruway at Syracuse at 10:38 a.m. We weren't entirely sure where would end up, hang a left at Albany and it's Boston, take a right and we'd end up in NYC...Eventually, we decided to hop on the Garden State Parkway and head for Atlantic City. It was an unbelievably warm on Saturday. When we left home, it was about 20 degrees and by the time we got to AC, the temperature was around 32. There was a fabulous breeze blowing off of the ocean and it felt like the middle of July.

I think everyone else from Philadelphia to Boston had the same idea though, it was NUTS with people. We hadn’t been to Atlantic City since ’99 so we noticed a big change since our last visit. Maybe it had to do with the weather or possibly being there on a Saturday night instead of a Wednesday night but the crowds everywhere were outrageous. Everyone was super friendly though, everywhere we went. We hadn’t made any reservations (never do, we like to sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants when we’re on a road trip) and couldn’t find a room. We tried the Tropicana, the Showboat, Harrah’s…everyone was either full or way overpriced. It was still neat to wander around and see the sites. Eventually, we hopped back into the car and headed back up toward NYC for the night.

Fort Lee was where we thought that we wanted to stay but we never did end up there. It was dark by the time we left Atlantic City and by the time we got to Nutley, NJ it was around 9:30 and we were getting hungry and wanting to stop driving. We pulled into the parking look of this really cool looking diner and started looking through our handy-dandy CAA travel guide. I have to say, I can’t say enough about those books. When we were in the Maritimes in June, we used the Quebec/Atlantic Provinces booklet to find restaurants and accommodation and they never steered us wrong. Every place we stayed at, which was recommended in the book, was really nice.

I found a Quality Inn listed in the book that sounded nice and it was supposedly near Meadowlands. It was actually Lyndhurst, NJ, right across the street from Giant’s Stadium. It was a great little motel (really clean, great service, good prices) and we were able to get a room for that night and then again for the next night too. On Sunday morning, we slept in. We’re ordinarily up at 5 a.m. so to sleep in until 8:30 a.m. was pretty decadent for us.

Eventually, we wandered outside into the sunshine. It was another fabulous day. It definitely did not feel like October weather and I was glad that we were wearing shorts and t-shirts.

Once we left the motel, we released that we were incredibly close to the Lincoln Tunnel. We needed gas though so we made this right turn into a little gas station to fill up before heading into Manhattan. The gas was cheap but we couldn’t figure out how to get back up to the Tunnel from where were so we ended up crossing at the Holland Tunnel. Traffic was light though and we drove around a little bit, looking for a parking spot. We found a terrific spot in Soho and began our search for breakfast. We had a great brunch in a rib place called Tennessee Mountain. What drew us to this restaurant was a giant picture of a pig in the window. The pig was surrounded by pink neon. Mark collects pigs and we both love neon so we thought that this must be a good omen. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We had a delicious brunch and then wandered around the neighbourhood for a bit.

We even saw a bit of a huge Polish Pride parade. It was mostly fire engines and marching bands. There were a few big red and silver sparkly floats, with young girls riding on them. The girls were wearing what looked like either wedding dresses or white prom dresses and rhinestone tiaras.

For dinner, we ended up in Chinatown. If you can believe it, Mark actually got us a parking spot, on Mott Street! It was amazing! The people were incredible too. I noticed a huge difference this trip, from other times I’ve been in New York. Cab drivers were nicer, folks you meet in traffic jams were good humoured, and everyone just seemed friendlier. It was very cool.

We got up early on Monday and drove home. It rained a little bit but the traffic was light so the trip was very smooth all the way home. Even the border was a breeze. There was a smidge of a line up but it didn't take too long to get through it.

It was really nice to get away and see some different sites for a change. I took a bunch of pictures and have posted some already on my web page. I'll probably put some more up in the next few days.

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