Like General Washington in days of yore, we have returned to Ft. Lee, New Jersey. We got up and on the road by about 7:30. The whole family agreed that the Ramada Inn’s breakfast didn’t measure up to the Sleep Inn’s, but it was just as good in other aspects, and the breakfast was adequate. Two men at a nearby table were practically a caricature of modern America; old, overweight, wearing camo (one’s T- shirt said ‘Army Strong’) and talking, loudly, about guns.
We cruised across the farmlands of Indiana and Ohio without incident, making occasional stops but steady progress, and through the beautiful green mountains of Pennsylvania, where the bridges span high gorges where rivers with exotic Indian names flow. Even western New Jersey is much more wooded and pretty than anyone thinks when they say the words “New Jersey.”
But, as we approached the New York urban area, the traffic got thicker and a little bit crazier, the exits and entrances proliferated, often with more than one freeway running parallel, and it got dark. Between Sam’s overly casual approach to navigation, Helena’s paranoia that we were going to get shunted onto the George Washington bridge, and my dictatorial tendencies, the situation was becoming somewhat stressful.
We exited a bit earlier than optimum, just to make sure we didn’t wind up crossing the Hudson, which would have cost $15 each way in tolls, an extra half hour at least in time, and an outrageous amount of stress.
Then, there was a surrealistic scenario where we took an exit ramp, exactly where the nice talking lady who is the personification of our GPS system told us to, and wound up in the middle of a fleet of road construction equipment, and when I say fleet I am not exaggerating, it looked like the staging area for the invasion of a 3rd world country.
But, we are here, we arrived just 15 minutes later than we said we would, and all is right with the world.