Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Day 3: New York State Is Frickin' Huge!

After getting my early morning wake up call, I readied myself, and set out on I-95, after gassing up and having an awesome sugared blueberry muffin at the Irving Mainway. I noticed something that amused me greatly at this early hour of the day (7:30am). On the pump nozzle, the warnings that were listed included this head-scratcher: Do not siphon gas from nozzle with your mouth. Ooooook, you got to be a little bit nuts to even think about doing something as stupid as that!

New Hampshire went by in an eyeblink, which then put me on the perhiphery of Boston (I-495) during the latter portion of rush hour. It was fun rather than stressful however, as it wasn't packed to the gunnels with cars, and the ones that were out there were going rather fast! I made it to I-90 by 9:00am, getting on the Masschusetts (I can't spell that name without a dictionary, sorry Bay Staters) Turnpike.

Instead of paying cash like on all the other toll roads I have been on, here you take a ticket and give it up when you get off the Mass Pike, nice system! I soon came along to what is one of the most famous trademarks of any turnpike, the rest area. This thing was ornately designed, packed with all sorts of food outlets from MacDonald's, to regional chains like Auntie Ann's Pretzels. All in all, a nice place to relax and rest, as evidenced by several more visits during mandatory rest breaks I imposed on myself.

Soon, I entered the Berkshire mountains. I still think our mountains are better looking than their mountains, but it was a nice scenic oasis to behold in a trip of mostly flat land! I managed to snap a few pictures, so hopefully they will turn out fine.

I then entered New York State. Shortly after, my stomach came a' calling, so I stopped for lunch at a pizzaeria in this town 10 miles east of Albany. I had the buffet, and a nice long conversation with this waitress called Christine. We talked alot about politics and such, and she asked quite a bit about Canada (forget what exactly). In the tip that I left her, I included a loonie for her to keep (aren't I a gentleman!).

The long drive across New York State took up the rest of the day, with endless scenes of farmland; lazy geese that were flying south for the winter only now was the only thing that peaked my interest. The cities of Syracuse, NY and Rochester, NY were situated far enough from the interstate that no urban sprawl grew out to meet the highway I was travelling on.

I stopped to eat at a Pizza Hut located in the food court of a rest area, approximately 10 miles east of Buffalo, NY. There, I plotted my course around the metropolitan area, in addition to researching prospects for where I was going to stop for the night (Michigan was 6-7 hours away, so it wasn't a viable target on this day, unforunately).

I finished dinner, then set out towards the city of Buffalo, NY. I found out in short order though, that this place is bloody huge! There was roughly 4 lanes on each side of the express lane, with a similar amount of pavement in the collector lanes (it was a cool experience, in spite of the chaos of rush hour, to be imbedded in such a complicated freeway structure).

I reached the terminus of the toll section of the New York State Throughway here; since I hadn't turned off the turnpike since Amsterdam, NY (to get gas), the toll was ginormous, $7.65 in total. That may seem like alot, but keep in mind that the Cobequid Pass back in Nova Scotia charges you $4.00 Canadian to go roughly 40km (the NY turnpike length that I drove was roughly 300 miles by comparison). That's nothing short of highway robbery!

Shortly after exiting the turnpike, I went to put my wallet back in my jeans butt pocket. I did so, but roughly scraped my knuckle in the process. I didn't feel anything unusual, so I drove on, minding my business. As I was passing through the suburbs of Buffalo, NY, I realized that I needed to fill up with some gas again. I made my way off of the interstate, and pulled into a Mobil station. I then got out of the car, and as I went to program the gas pump, I noticed, to my relative horror, that a good portion of my right hand was covered in blood! A quick examination found that had taken a good chunk of skin off the index finger of my right hand! The gas station attendant however, was generous enough to "borrow" a bandage from a box of band-aids in the gas station, and then placed the box back on the shelf, as if nothing was wrong!

As I made my way back to the car, I quickly found out the results of the lack of awareness of my injuries. Because of my pre-occupation with rush hour traffic, I inadvertently stained the dash, a pillow, and the right leg of one of my good jeans with my own lifeblood. What a mess it was!

After that little episode, I was ready to call it a night. At dinner, I decided to check out the Super 8 Motel in North East (an actual town name), Pennsylvania. It was an OK place to crash for the night, but the room was super small (my bedroom here in Ann Arbor, MI is as big, maybe bigger than this motel room was!) As well, the strip of rooms where I was located was right across from the backside of a popular pub in this town ( I was tempted to drop in for a pint, but I told myself no, as I was trying to save money, and wanted to get away at a decent time the next morning). When I was trying to fall asleep, people would be pulling up to the bar in their cars/trucks/cabs/hummers. It didn't stop until 2 am, so I didn't get as good a sleep this night as I hoped I would get...


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