Categorized | Personal

The long journey East

Posted on March 24, 2008 by D' MacKinnon

What a drive.
We spent my last day in Colorado doing some last minute cleaning of the house and trying to pack the car full of music gear and clothes that I hadn’t let the movers take. After jamming the car completely full except for a place for our dog Dublin and I to sit I headed out.

I was already late getting started on my drive. I had originally planned on making it to NYC within 2 days but my start time for my drive got bumped from 5am to noon on Thursday so I ended up extending the drive to three days.
It’s amazing how much North-Eastern Colorado looks like Nebraska. There are slight differences, such as seeing mountains in your rear-view but they are very similar. There were these cloud formations that seemed to stay the same for miles and miles.

I found that if I stared at them in a certain way they look very 3-D, as if I had taken some hallucigens. I dunno, I was bored and it was the same scenery for hours. Stopped by some place near “The Wagon Wheel” to gas up and walk the dog.

Finally I made it into Nebraska. For some reason I thought it wouldn’t have taken as long as it did to get out of Colorado but I guess it’s a very wide state.

As much as I was tempted to stop at “Gothenburg” Nebraska I didn’t.

I drove till about 11pm my first night, during the last stretch I had been listening to Ministry’s The Last Sucker three times in a row to try and stay awake but it was only making me more jittery with my driving. I stopped in Lincoln to find a Denny’s so I could get some food and coffee but according to the gas station attendant I talked to there aren’t any Denny’s in all of Lincoln. So I had Perkins instead and then drove for a but more until I hit Omaha. I had thought about searching for my old high school that I had gone to my freshman year but I was too exhausted, I needed to find a room. And where did I stay? The Ben Franklin hotel!
You know it’s a classy joint when they don’t want you ruining their towels by cleaning fish on em.

There were some drug dealer dudes eyeballing my shit. I could only think that the hotel was a haven for meth deals. As unmenacing as my dog is it was good that I had her with me to wake me up in case she heard anything.
Day 2
Back on the road. It’s my goal to get to Cleveland, Ohio area by the end of the day. Iowa was a little more hilly than Nebraska. I was tired of listening to the same CDs over and over so I popped on the radio but the only thing on was either country music or conservative talk radio where they debated whether or not it was justified to bomb abortion clinics (I’m not kidding).
Iowa got hit by some bad snow storms so the driving was kind of shitty. I stopped by some small town for food where there wasn’t much to do but they had plenty of lawn ornaments for sale. Snapped this photo while spending far too much time searching out for a Taco John’s that I saw a sign for.

Illinois was annoying. Highway speed limit was only 65. I said fuck it and continued to drive 85. I noticed a Ford F150 riding my ass, of course I didn’t let him pass me. All the sudden I see flashing lights in my rear-view. The guy was an unmarked police vehicle. Damn. He pulls me over and walks out. My dog Dublin is freaking out, there’s something she doesn’t like about him and I’m having to hold onto her while getting my license and registration out so she won’t bite his face off. The guy gives me the third degree for about five minutes, asking me where I’m going, why am I going to NY, what I do for a living, yadda yadda. I think he was trying to catch me up in a lie so he’d have suspicion enough to search my vehicle. In the end he lets me off with a written warning for my speeding and I’m on my way.

I could have stopped by “Milan, IL” but taking a photo of the sign was enough.

Eventually I cross over into Indiana and it’s snowing. Not only snowing but it’s now dark out. The highway through Indiana and Ohio is pretty much all toll roads with not many places to stop except for truckstops.

I get pretty far into Ohio. Day two was by far the longest day of driving so far, at about 11pm I had to call it quits and got a hotel room in a town called Elyria.

Day 3
I’m only a few hours from the Pennsylvania/Ohio border. I get on the road at about 7am, I want to get into NYC before it’s dark today. The snow is coming down and I have to drive though some mountainous areas. I-80 on through the mountains in Pennsylvania reminds me of driving on I-70 back in Colorado. Snowy and treacherous. I see a lot of accidents on the side of the road and the snow is coming down so I can’t drive as fast as I’d like. Once I get down out of the mountains it’s more rain than snow and I see my first sign for New York.

Some hope! Overall Pennsylvania was boring a shit to drive through, I was hoping to at least see some Amish towns but no such luck.
I saw this sign for “Jersey Shore” but I recall that I was still a few hours away from New Jersey. Hmm, confusing.

At about 4pm on the third day I can feel myself getting close. I stop for gas in New Jersey. Apparently all gas stations in New Jersey are full service, which is a new experience for me. I was unsure about if I was supposed to tip the guy or not, I tipped him two bucks anyway. It’s about this time I noticed people were driving differently. They’re following more closely, not signalling, cutting people off. I’m wondering “WTF is going on?” Oh wait, that’s how they drive out here. I thought I was surrounded by a bunch of assholes but that’s just the way people drive here.
Once I reach New York I need to cross over the George Washington Bridge. It’s backed up. I’m not sure what was going on that backed it up on a Saturday afternoon but I ended up waiting an hour just to get on the bridge.

Once I got over the bridge I had to drive through the city to get to my apartment in Queens. What a nightmare, driving in New York was stressing me out. But we finally made it, we were here after three days and thousands of miles. Not a fun drive to do by one’s self, if I were in a van full of people for a tour it would have probably been way more enjoyable. I tried to shortcut my Google Map directions to my apartment but that was a dumb idea, the other streets didn’t go through since they were blocked off by train tracks. After a little bit of driving and a lot of avoiding getting hit by other drivers I found the apartment. And that’s a whole other post….

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