Yesterday I gave you a very brief look at our last day on the road, so I thought I would do an addendum to that post, and give you a better idea of how our last day on the road shaped out.
We awoke on our last morning at the Homewood Suites, just outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was still raining, as it had been all night, just re-enforcing that we’d made the correct decision by not trying to push on home last night. We’ve stayed in 3 other Homewood Suites on our travels, and all others have had good breakfasts, with the one of San Antonio, Texas providing the absolute best “free” breakfast we’d had on the trip! Well, perhaps as another indication that it was time for this trip to end, this was perhaps one of the worst breakfasts we have had! Yucky eggs, rubber potatoes, and sausage that Susie described as , “cadaver flesh! Yes indeed, it was time for us to go home!
Shortly after “eating” breakfast, we packed the car, in the rain, for the last time, and headed out on Interstate 78. It wasn’t long till we’d passed into yet another state, our neighbor, and future home state, New Jersey. Fall colors were much more obvious here, than they’d been just a day before in Virginia, as we were just hours away from home, and very soon, we were joining the New Jersey Turnpike. Our GPS friend wanted us to head towards the Holland Tunnel, but we like the Lincoln better, so we overruled her.
Luckily, we switched to NYC Traffic on Sirius and then went to our source for traffic on the 8s, WCBS, and realized that this was one of those stupid weekends, when one side of the Midtown Tunnel is closed, due to continuing Sandy repairs. Having been trapped in Manhattan twice on weekends when this was happening, we decided that the George Washington Bridge was going to be our new target. Almost as soon as we made this decision, we got to the toll booths on the NJ Turnpike at exit 16W, which is the Lincoln Tunnel exit. I was fortunate enough to be far enough left that I was able to shoot up north to the GWB, because the 495 Viaduct into the Lincoln Tunnel was backed up almost to the toll booths! We’ve done that, and know for a fact that’s a 45 minute trip to the NJ side of the tunnel! Luck was still with us!!!
The rain was still falling, the nutty drivers were still running amok, but our trip over the GWB and across the Cross Bronx Expressway was as good as it can be, and soon we were crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge, and we were back on Long Island. A short trip down the LIE, and we were getting off at Willis Avenue and almost home! At precisely 1:37 in the afternoon, we pulled into the driveway of 40 Fairfield Avenue, exactly 9 weeks since we left on Our Big Adventure, having traveled a grand total of 9,773.0 miles!
Everything looked great at the house, and the lawn guys were obviously still cutting the grass, even though they haven’t been paid for the past 9 weeks, because they’ve never emailed me a bill, as they agreed they would. The mail is still being held at the Post Office, so a huge pile hadn’t come through the door slot, and getting the front door open was an easy task. The humidifier was still working in the basement, so all was dry, and the rest of the inside of the house looked fine – good job Susie, leaving with a nice clean house. The only issue we found was in flushing the toilet in the downstairs bathroom, water runs out of the bottom of the tank. Oh well, a call to the plumber Monday, and that will be taken care of!
As the rain seemed to be letting up, we decided that rather than make ourselves comfortable, we’d best unpack the car. We really had no idea what was in some of the dark recesses of the trunk, but we launched into it and in less than 10 minutes had the trunk and the inside pretty empty. After spending 7 weeks in the car (taking out the 14 days on the Liberty), the interior had seen some living, so it will take a little more effort and a professional car wash to erase all traces of our travels!
Now, the dining room became our staging area, as Susie began to go through the suitcases, canvas bags, and paper bags we’d brought in. One big pile for the cleaners (we will be floating a loan before picking up the completed order), half the room for washing (which will take several days to complete), and the table full of items that were not part of our original packing, but we now own! All in all, not too bad, considering that we’d just returned from 9 weeks on the road!
Then, we decided to check out the DVR and found that it was at 99%! Lots of new shows we’d wanted to take a look at, and returning shows, as we are fully 3 weeks into the new TV season! So we decided that for the rest of the weekend, our primary task, between going up and down for the wash, and other trip ending tasks, will be to watch some TV and garner some couch time!
Of course, what would our first Saturday back at home be without our first real martinis since we left the Liberty of the Seas. There are little or no supplies in the house, and certainly nothing that could help us make a Melvin and R Bar Martini, so it was just Grey Goose with a twist! I did however serve them in well chilled Royal Caribbean glasses, and used the “professional shaker” method, as befitting a graduate of not one, but two, Martini Mixology classes on the Liberty of the Seas! Thanks Melvin!!
Then to wrap up the day, Chinese take-out! I have to say that the take-out from Mr. Chen’s in Carle Place was much better than the Chinese food we had at a converted Mexican restaurant in Moab, Utah, but then having it delivered, and eating it while sitting on our living room couch, drinking Prosecco, and watching TV shows from our DVR might have had something to do with that feeling!
So that’s it…the trip is over and we are home. As sad as the thought was that the trip was ending, we both have to admit, that it is very good to be home! Nine weeks is a long time to be gone, and after a couple of days of R&R, we will collect our thoughts about the trip, and we will put together a couple of wrap-up blogs to tie the whole thing up.
Before I end today, just a word about this blog. I started out writing this, as much for us, as for those of you who may have been riding along. In nine weeks on the road, we saw some incredible things, had some great food, met some very nice people, had lots of fun times, went to places we’d love to return to, went to some places we never want to return to, and in so many ways, had the trip of a lifetime. But 9 weeks is a long time, and even now, we have trouble remembering exactly where and when some things happened. So for us, this blog is now a permanent record that we can look back on and refresh our memory in coming days. But the blog was something else to me. One thing I have always wanted to be was a writer. I’ve dabbled here and there over the years, and many have told me that I am good at it, but what a writer needs to do is to write! For the past 9 weeks, this blog forced me to sit down in front of the computer every night and write something. If you’ve been with us for the whole ride, you know that some nights it was the last thing I wanted to do, but I did it. For 9 weeks (even on the cruise) grabbing the Macbook Air, and punching away on the keys for a half hour or more every day, has been a way of life for me. It’s become part of my routine, which was very good for me, and it’s something I hope to continue. I may not post every day, but I hope to write something every day. I know that I will be updating this blog on a pretty regular basis, because heck, now that we are both retired, Our New Adventures are just starting out! We already have a road trip to Disney World in the planning stage for early 2017 with Krissi, Kenny, and Chris, and you know that there are several road trip ideas that we’ve come up with, based on this trip, so by no means are we done traveling. Then there’s our life in Ocean City, and you know with our group of friends there, there will be lots of stories to tell! So, I hope that you’ll continue to ride along with us in the future. We’re not 100% sure where the journey will take us, but we can promise it will be interesting, and we hope we can count on your continued presence in our blog life!
Of course, this blog would have looked a lot different the last 9 weeks, had it not been for my #1 fan, and the best travel companion, soul mate, best friend, and proofreader I could ever have. Had Susie not been the step-in between writing and publishing, only God knows what gross mis-spellings, grammar errors, and just wrong words (thanks i-spell) would have appeared in this blog. Thanks babe for putting up with me for 9 weeks, for reading a map better than I ever could, for reminding me which direction is right and which is left, and for making this blog the readable thing it is. Nothing would have been possible without you!!
One last word, and that’s to those of you who have been along on this adventure with us. Over the course of the past nine weeks, we have heard from you in various ways, and I know that a number of you have been with us every day, since we started back in August. I heard from some of you when I was not in any mood to write the blog, and said so. It was your encouragement, and just knowing that you were reading the words that I was writing, that made it easier for me to sit down every night, and compile a record of what we’d done that day. It would have been very easy for me to have ended this blog in week three or four, and chalk this up as just another one of the many uncompleted writing projects I’ve done in my life, were it not for knowing that there were people waiting to see what our day on the road had been like. So to those of your who reached out to us, and let us know you were in the back seat of the Sonata, whether from start to finish, or just for a day or two here and there, thank you. As happy as I am to have this blog as a record of the trip for us, it never would have gotten completed without you. Knowing that people were reading it, were commenting own Facebook or on the WordPress site, and were enjoying our travels made all the difference.
See you soon….