Nothing like making a weekend trip to New York and getting sick while there…

22 minute read

January 26, 2024, 11:03 PM

So as discussed previously, on January 17-19, my friend Aaron Stone and I went up to New York City for a weekend trip.  We knew that it was supposed to be cold while we were there, and snow was in the forecast for the last day of our trip, but that was about it, and nothing that we couldn’t handle.

Our route up, however, was intentionally planned to be a bit unorthodox.  Normally, for a trip to New York, from where I live, you would go straight up I-95 through Baltimore and then take the Delaware Memorial Bridge just before Wilmington, and follow the New Jersey Turnpike most of the rest of the way to the city.  This time, we decided to be a bit more roadgeekish, taking US 15 up to Harrisburg, taking I-81 a short distance to I-78, and then taking I-78 all the way to New York.  The goal here was to complete all 146 miles of Interstate 78 in one shot.  It would only add about 45 minutes to the drive by going this way, and we got to complete a highway.  I had previously traveled most of I-78 in the nineties and early 2000s, but I was missing a section in New Jersey, as well as the small New York portion.  Aaron, to my knowledge, had never done any of I-78.

My memories of I-78 were never particularly pleasant, as I always associated it with family road trips in the nineties, where my father would drive.  He was always very concerned about making good time on these family trips, and that meant some very long distances in the car along some incredibly dull stretches of highway, with nothing of any note to break up the trip.  For an eight-hour trip from Stuarts Draft, Virginia to Fairfield, Connecticut, we would make maybe two stops the entire way, once around Paxtonia, and then another one somewhere in New Jersey, and those would be kept as short as possible.  In other words, the journey was viewed as a chore, a necessary evil to be knocked out quickly, and not as a part of the adventure.  And in those pre-Internet days, there was only so much that one could do to keep one’s self occupied.  We would bring all sorts of books and such to read, but those only went so far before we got tired of reading.  I-78 in Pennsylvania is largely rural, and while it does go through the Allentown area, it skirts it to the south, far enough away for there to be nothing interesting to see.  It’s what led my sister and me to start calling Pennsylvania “the forever state” because it felt like it took forever to get through, and it was incredibly boring.  About the only thing interesting on I-78 in Pennsylvania was the Delaware River toll plaza, and that was on the westbound side.  I remember, at 12 years old, wishing that the toll plaza was on our side just to help break the monotony.

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This should be a fun travel year…

6 minute read

January 15, 2024, 1:06 PM

The sense that I’m getting for this year is that it ought to be a fun one for travel.  I’ve got my three-day weekends all picked out through the end of June (our vacation year at work runs from July 1 through June 30), and so now is as good of a time as ever to plan.

Right off the bat, I’m getting together with Aaron Stone later this week, and we’re going to do a weekend trip to New York, similar to what Elyse and I did in April.  Elyse is unavailable for that trip, as she will be at MAGFest.  That’s going to be the case where we drive up, unload the car at our hotel, stash the HR-V until the last day, and then enjoy a lot of what New York has to offer.  Elyse has a pretty decent amount of experience with New York, and so she typically takes the lead when we go, since she knows where she’s going.  I don’t know New York as well, so when I’m taking the lead, it’s a bit more of a measured approach.  Recall when I went last January, my first visit completely by myself, I didn’t stray that far off of the 1 line the entire time, as all of my destinations were somewhere off of that line, seeing Tom’s Restaurant (i.e. Monk’s Cafe from Seinfeld) at my northernmost extent, and the World Trade Center shopping mall at my southernmost extent.  Not bad.  This time, we’re staying in Brooklyn again, so that will have me taking multiple subway lines out of necessity, but Aaron knows less about New York than I do, so it should be fun as we explore the city that never sleeps together.

Then in late March, Elyse and I are doing the usual quarterly Staunton trip.  Doing it in late March should be a benefit, because that means that we will be in daylight saving time again, i.e. the daylight hours line up with our typical active hours.  Let’s admit: I work late nights, typically getting off around 12:30 AM, and bedtime is usually around 4:00 AM.  As such, I usually get up around 10:00 AM, though it’s usually a little earlier when I’m traveling.  But all the same, when it gets dark around 5:00 PM, that does tend to put a pinch on my photography plans, not to mention that it gets really cold at night during that time of year.  I’m not sure what we’re doing in that trip other than seeing my parents just yet, but with my completing a bunch of activities that Elyse would have no patience for on the last trip, I got a whole bunch of things out of my system and into the processing queue, which will make room for other things.  Should be fun.

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Categories: Travel

A day in Filthadelphia…

10 minute read

January 3, 2024, 12:46 PM

On Friday, December 29, I went up to Philadelphia for the day with my friend Aaron Stone.  We each had our goals up there, and for the most part, we accomplished them.  I wanted to see the “Four Seasons”, and Aaron wanted to see the SS United States.  And then we both wanted to go to King of Prussia Mall.  Elyse, meanwhile, was unavailable, as she was on a work trip to Roanoke for bus museum business.

I feel like, for this trip, we scheduled it more or less perfectly.  We had exactly the right amount of time for what we had intended to do.  We left in the HR-V from my house, and made two quick food stops in Ellicott City and Catonsville.  Then it was straight through to Delaware House.  That was a bit more involved than I had anticipated, though, as there was a large backup just north of I-695, which slowed us down a bit.  I was regretting not looking at Google ahead of time before deciding not to bounce at White Marsh and taking Route 1 for a ways, like I did last April on the New York trip.  Route 1 is a viable alternative to I-95, and this would have been a good time to use it.

Then after Delaware House, we continued straight through into Pennsylania, taking I-95 through Wilmington.  Every time I go through Wilmington, I always say that I want to explore it, but then I never plan a trip to actually go to Wilmington.  It always gets bypassed, either by skirting it to the southeast on trips that go into New Jersey, or by never getting off of the highway while going through on the way up to Philadelphia.  I went to Christiana Mall last year, but still haven’t done Wilmington itself.  Aaron and I discussed possibly doing a quick side trip through parts of Wilmington on the way back down, time permitting, so maybe we’d do a little bit in Wilmington, but that can was kicked down the road for now.

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