Boston here we come....
Trip Start Aug 24, 2011
37Trip End Sep 30, 2011
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Where I stayed
I ended sleeping for all of about 2.5 hours and we had a 17+ hour drive ahead of us. Perfect! The alarm went off at 5:30am and I pushed Chris out of bed for the first shower since he’d had such a restful night. Even if it was only an extra 10 minutes of relaxation I was going to get I’d take it.
We got ourselves organised, finished off packing our bags and head down to the breakfast room for the first time this trip
We threw down a bowl of cereal and got going because we were due to pick up the car a few blocks away at 7am. We also wanted to get out of the city centre before peak hour traffic hit because it’s so confusing driving a car on the other side of the road. We needed time to get used to it. We already had our plan in place. We would take the drive in two hour shifts stopping to change so we could get out, stretch and refresh. I was on duty first because a) I’m a much better aggressive driver than Chris when I need to be and b) I can’t navigate so we would have driven in circles trying to get out of Chicago.
It took a bit of stuffing around to get the car but we got it. FINALLY….we’re on the road to Boston! We have that Red Sox game in sight and we won’t be missing a minute of it. So much time and preparation has gone into getting the best tickets possible, making sure we’d be in Boston the day these two particular teams we’re playing and now to getting a car after our flight was cancelled and planning the best possible routes to get there
As we’d imagined the city streets were a little difficult to navigate and about a block away from the rental place we realised they’d left the car with no petrol in it. For the love of GOD! Can nothing be simple about getting to Boston? Nothing?! I’d had no sleep, no coffee, and I could not be arsed trying to find a petrol station to fill up the car but it had to be done. Luckily we recalled seeing one on a walk through town and knew that wasn’t far from where we were. We located it easily enough, filled up and head out into the traffic again. We live right near the centre of Sydney so I’m a good driver in heavy traffic and that came in handy here. With my best ‘piss off ya’ bastard’ kind of attitude, I made my way through the streets, paying no attention to whomever was honking and keeping the goal in mind…The Boston Red Sox game.
The route from Chicago to Boston would see us driving the interstates 94, 80, 90 and 84 and will take us through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York State and finally into Massachusetts. The i90 alone would have been a much simpler route to take but given all the issues with flooding after the hurricane, lots of sections of the road were closed and we thought there’d be too many delays
It took me no time at all to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road and car. I got into the groove quite easily and we were both enjoying some excellent road trip tunes. Chris’ younger sister Claire and her boyfriend Mick have road tripped the States before and told us it’s not often easy to get your ipod connected in cars so Claire made us a whole heap of mixed CDs. We had songs like Johnny Cash’s ‘Burning ring of fire’ (hilarious for two people who love potty humour!), U2’s ‘Beautiful day’ and the Proclaimer’s ‘500 miles’ pumping through the stereo. Hours worth of awesome entertainment! She even threw in Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls just wanna have fun’ for me! And best of all….watching Chris cruise the freeways singing it. Bwahahahaha!! We did a road trip around Southern Ireland many years back and had ‘I’m every woman’ blasting through the stereo back then. Chris was singing that at the top of his voice, actions included, with the window open when we were passed by a truck driver who slowed down just to look. He was somewhat bemused…but mostly amused. I still laugh about that, a big tough red head singing ‘I’m every woman’ or ‘girls just wanna have fun’ is something you’d pay to see.
My two hour shift was up in no time so we pulled into a service stop, had a stretch and swapped positions. Chris was up next. He started out well enough but when we had to change lanes, he put the windscreen wipers on. ‘Chris, the indicators are on the other side’. ‘Ohhhhh’. And we kept driving. From there on in whether the indicators got used or not was dependant on whether I had my eye on Chris and what he was doing. Whenever we’d go to change lanes I’d just have to say ‘Chris!’ and he knew he had to swap hands over to hit the indicator. I was too busy taking photos a few times and he’d get them going but not often.
Our next stop we pulled into another of the roadside service areas for lunch. They’re well sign-posted so you know what restaurants are available to you when you pull off, what accommodation is close by and what types of petrol you can buy. Very organised.
We spied an Italian restaurant name on one of the service centre signs and hoping I might be able to get a decent coffee from them, we chose to pull into that over the other three available. We pulled in and found ourselves beside a very funky older chap and his wife who were riding the interstates on a motorbike, that was really like a three wheeled, open top car
After our chat we head in to try out Samuel Mancino’s. They had no espresso coffee to speak of and what to say about road-side food….it’s certainly not made to keep your figure in check, but it will keep you awake that’s for sure. I got myself a chicken salad and just the salad dressing alone had 22g of fat in it, which didn’t come from a healthy fat like olive oil I can assure you. It was also full of sugar. We’re just talking about a vinaigrette here, it wasn’t even a creamy dressing. And as to the ‘soda’ you get with your meal, it comes with free refills almost everywhere
I’m still unsure as to what I think of the food industry in general in America. Food advertising here can be so conflicting. On the one hand they promote healthy eating, dieting and active lifestyles, but on the other they have every kind of junk food advertised and it’s sold at incredibly cheap prices so very easily accessible.
The junk food industry is absolutely enormous but they also have some wonderful Regional cuisines steeped in history and made from fresh wholesome foods that you rarely hear about. Take the hot dogs at Hot Doug’s as an example, I would put these down in the Regional cuisine category and not junk food. Why? Because American’s love their hot dogs and Hot Doug has consciously made his a fresh and healthy choice. Yes you can get your dog fried with a side of chips, but that’s your choice. You can also have it steamed or grilled, it’s made from fresh meats (or veggies) and served with fresh toppings.
I’d have to say in my opinion, American’s are known mostly for their junk food and little else which is why I’m such a big fan of Anthony Bourdain's. He’s on the travel channel on Fox but I think his show should go mainstream
Meh, anyway, needless to say I did a bit of picking at the salad but mostly ate the lettuce and threw the rest away. Chris had ordered a pizza but you couldn’t see any of the ingredients under the kilo of melted cheese they’d put on it so he had a couple of pieces and threw that away too. Time to hit the road again.
We kept driving and swapping every couple of hours to make sure each of us was well rested and wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel. We wanted to make it as far as possible today because we thought there may be some trouble getting in to Boston with road closures. If we were stuck sitting in traffic for hours we’d miss that bloody game!
We both noticed whilst driving how aggressive the drivers are here and they seem to follow a policy of ‘look after you change lanes, not before’
Come 11pm we decided it was time to call it a day. We’d been on the road for 15.5hours and could both have done with a nap. We pulled into a little town called Newburgh in New York State and after one unsuccessful attempt trying to get a room at the Marriott, we found one at the Comfort Inn just across the road. We were lucky to get one actually because all the traffic seemed to be pulling in at the same time as us.
We lugged ourselves and our bags up to our room and that was it for me. Chris said he was going to grab some beers and come back to read his book but I barely heard the last few words he said, I just passed out from exhaustion. That damn baseball game better be worth it!
Some of our road tripping music for photo viewing. 'Asshole' by Dennis Leary…dedicated to all those that we came across on the Interstate’s! The song is actually called 'No cure for cancer' but it's not about that at all. I suspect he couldn't get it released with the title I gave it :-)
Warning - This song is somewhat crass so if you’re easily offended don’t play it. I, on the other hand find it hilarious! Dennis Leary is one of my favourite comedians, he makes some cracking observations about life in general.