As we pulled out of our driveway at 9:07 am eastern standard time on Friday the 1st of July, 2016, our friendly Mapquest girl informed us that our ETA at the Hoomwood Suites hotel in Hartford Conneticut was 4:21 in the afternoon. I was skeptical. This is 95 north we're talking about...on the Friday before July 4th. I thought I was prepared for the worse. Uh...negative.
Actually things went quite well while we were in Virginia. Lucy settled down nicely, the weather was perfect and the traffic was manageable, even around DC. Then the clouds began to roll in and thicken. Around Baltimore traffic began to get sketchy. Still, we made it across the Delaware Memorial Bridge and into New Jersey in reasonably good time. Our first stop was for lunch and gas at one of those travel plazas in the garden state. Think, Honey Boo Boo meets the Walking Dead. As we were eating our tuna sandwiches at a picnic table we heard the first rumble of thunder.
It's been 6 years since we have actually driven to Maine, so I decided that my father in law's old hand typed, pre-GPS era spreadsheet of directions we used to use was probably outdated. For this trip I would trust modern technology and depend on Ursula, the female computer generated voice of Mapquest to navigate for us. As the rain began to come down, instead of asking us to take the Garden State Parkway exit off of the New Jersey Turnpike, she sent us onto the George Washington bridge...directly into the rush hour traffic of freaking New York City!! Did I mention that it was raining? By the time we made it through that dystopian nightmare, our ETA was now 6:00 and a tornado watch had been added to the weather forecast.
The entire time this was all happening, the coolest cucumber in the car was Miss Lucy. There she was, sleeping soundly in a tight ball on her bed in the back seat, oblivious.
At the eight and a half hour mark, everything I had was either cramping up or tingling. Having a white knuckle grip on a steering wheel in bumper to bumper traffic while peering through a rain soaked windshield for five hours will do that. The last hour was the best! Torrential rain. Stop and go traffic. And I really had to pee!! Finally, mercifully, we pulled into our hotel parking lot at 7:37 pm.
The key numbers of our first day are as follows...10 and a half, and 438. It took us 10 and a half hours to drive 438 miles. If my memories from Mrs. Winston's 5th grade math class don't deceive me, that works out to an average speed of 42 miles per hour. For a little perspective, it takes us 9 hours to drive to Nashville, a 600 mile trip. Ugh....
But today is a new day. Ursula cheerfully informs me that our lake house is 293 miles away and we will arrive in 4 hours and 48 minutes. If I was a betting man, I would take the over!
Of course, the worst part about yesterday wasn't the horrendous traffic or the Noahesk storms. No no...its having to admit to my father in law that I should have used his old school directions!!