Or, How I Got to New York City via Seven States, a Flooded Road, and the Lincoln Tunnel
I've been here a week, I figure I can write something. I have another entry stewing in my head, a few actually, but for this one just narrative; rather than lumping them all together, I'll post a few different entries.
I got to New York not by aeroplane, but rather by Uhaul. Michael and Katie Drinkwater picked me up in Phenix City, and that was the beginning of our adventure, which was pleasant for the most part. We went through Georgia first. After driving about four hours we stopped for dinner and Katie and Michael swapped who was my passenger. I was driving the Uhaul since I had the most experience with a) [aggressive] city driving and b)large vehicles (a Wesley Suburban will do that to you). And thus we continued our journey.
Katie and I had excellent conversation...and then we got really tired of being on the road. We finally said, "We're stopping at the first exit we come to in VA...or 11:30, whichever happens first." Well, the first exit in VA didn't have lodging. Nor did the second. Finally, we stopped at Fancy Gap and stayed at the Days Inn, I think. We were using my iPhone's directions to navigate us, and they were a little different from MapQuest, mostly in good ways.
We got up the next morning and got back on the road. We didn't take 95 or have to deal with DC traffic. We went through WV which had AWFUL roads that were "under construction" but really just made the Uhaul not like the road. By this point it had started to rain, too. And it kept on raining the entire drive. We called the number in the Uhaul that was on one of the ~5k stickers to get movers scheduled. As we got closer to the city we started to encounter some traffic. We called the movers to let them know we were going to be late. And then things just went off.
As I said before, we were using the iPhone. Well, let me tell you in case you ever have to do this: the iPhone assumes you are driving a car, and from what I can tell there is no way to tell it you're driving something, shall we say, more commercial. So the iPhone had us taking this GREAT route to avoid tolls and avoid a lot of traffic really. And it took us to the Holland Tunnel. I pulled up and the woman just stared at me and said, "No commercial vehicles allowed." At that point she called a police officer to get traffic stopped so we could be diverted to the Lincoln Tunnel. Michael and I are in the Uhaul and I'm trying to get excited but am really just stressed about getting the truck through traffic and unloaded, all while the clock is eeking closer to when we're supposed to meet the movers.
So we follow the signs for the Lincoln Tunnel. And in the process of having to go through a traffic light, I lost Katie. We'd been an amazing team of drivers with me leading and her letting me in...but that one intersection just didn't work out. So I became the hated Uhaul in the right lane headed toward the Lincoln Tunnel as I waited for her to catch up. And she was confused. And neither of us had directions to the other tunnel, just signs, some of which were spotty.
We finally get on this road and I take what I swore was the sign to get to the Lincoln Tunnel. It turns out it was, but for a few minutes I was unsure; the sign had shared a post with a sign for a parking lot, and there was no traffic going either direction on this road which at one point was flooded. Katie had done some wonder driving and caught up with us and then we entered Lincoln Tunnel traffic. We were almost there. Katie let a Greyhound in. Traffic was so slow that Michael was able to get out of the car and go to Katie to get money for the toll, as that neither of us had cash. At the Holland Tunnel we were in Lane 2, so just one lane over to get turned around. We got to the tollbooth, where trucks were "$8 and up" and the toll was $16. And unlike Illinois tolls that take plastic or you can pay online if you don't have the fare, no no cash only. So....
Another police officer turned us around and we got back on the high way and took the first exit. I did some quick looking with "around me" and found a Wachovia very close to us. I parked illegally and told Michael to move the truck if anyone needed to get in or out of their driveway while I ran to get cash. I got the cash and got us back on the high way. I don't know if it was the fact that we'd already sat through it once or if it really was moving better, but the time we spent waiting to get into the tunnel felt a lot less.
We went through the Tunnel and missed the correct turn. However, unlike most Southern cities, New York is planned. And yes, children, there are lots of one-way streets, but they alternate and things just make sense. We were able to get our way to the Close (we'd sent Katie on through the tunnel our first try), and the movers parked the Uhaul for us and we started to move...
To be continued...