Big Apple

We’ve been making pretty good time on our trip north to Nova Scotia:

Day 1 (Thursday) – Florida, Georgia, stopped north of Savannah, 561 miles with rain about half the time;

Day 2 (Friday) – South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, stopped north of Richmond, 475 miles, a few small showers;

Day 3 (Saturday) – Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, stopped in Milford, 411 miles, sunny all day.

As we’ve made our way north, the roads have become more congested, shortening our daily progress (561, 475, 411 miles).

It’s been interesting experiencing the “feel” of the Interstate as we’ve driven along. The road, itself, has been a delight to drive on, with the exception of South Carolina and New York where the pavement was rough and poorly maintained.

South Florida from Miami to north of Palm Beach is, of course, congested and urbanized, but north of Palm Beach, all the way to northern Virginia, the drive was rural with relatively sparse traffic, the highway lined with pines in Florida, sawgrass and flood plains in Georgia and South Carolina, and woods through North Carolina and Virginia.

Nearing Washington, D.C., everything changed. It felt like being back in South Florida with traffic accidents, crazy drivers and constant congestion as we made our way around the Beltway that separates the real world from the lunatic asylum we call our Capitol.

Entering Maryland, and continuing all the way through New York, Big Brother had his hand out, collecting tolls all along the Interstate, a surprise to me since I thought the Interstate Highway System was supposed to be toll-free. We spent well over $100 in tolls on Saturday driving I-95.

As we drove along the west bank of the Hudson River, catching our first glimpse of the Big Apple, we were glad we had timed our trip to make it through New York City on a Saturday.

We crossed the Hudson over the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan around 4:00 p.m. The bridge toll: $52!

There was a beautiful view of the city from the bridge.

I really like this picture that Dale took from the bridge. The camera zoom, blurred by our movement over the bridge, made the photo look surreal, almost like a watercolor painting.

But then, upon reaching Manhattan at the terminus of the bridge, we were brought back to reality. New York City traffic at a dead stop.

It took us a little over an hour to get through the stop-and-go traffic of Manhattan and the surrounding Connecticut suburbs, but once through the City, we looked for the first exit with a Walmart so we could get dinner and stop for the night. We found it in Milford, Connecticut.

You might wonder why we “camp” at Walmart when we do our long-distance days in the RV. We used to stop at normal campgrounds when we were driving cross-country; they cost around $30 per night and have full hook-ups for electricity, water and sewer. But they are congested, close early, and, being adjacent to the highway, aren’t all that attractive and usually have lots of highway noise. And, more often than not, they’re remote, so we have to unhook the Jeep and travel into town for dinner and supplies.

Walmarts, on the other hand, with their huge, excess parking lots, can be quite the opposite: they’re free and secure, convenient to supplies and restaurants, off the highway and usually quiet (where we park, away from the store) and we can pull in any time of day or night. And because we’re self-sufficient and can live off the grid, we don’t need the electricity, water or sewer hookups (nor the hassle of connecting and disconnecting them). Plus, we don’t have to unhook the Jeep because everything we need is within walking distance.

Here’s our Walmart “campsite” in Milford so you can see what I’m talking about:

And now it’s time to get on our way through New England.

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