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Left Lane Closed Ahead

July 13, 2015

Yesterday we spent most of the day driving. This was not planned.

Since I am the only one keeping the official record of our journey I choose to tell the story as follows.

The morning started well with some of the Aged King‘s famous pancakes, but we weren’t allowed to leave until all the bacon and pancakes were consumed. This meant we got on the road a little later than we had planned. I like to think that in some alternate timeline there is a family of Donnelly’s that ate faster and left in time to make it to the next stop on the farewell tour. Of course their early departure means they took a wrong turn and ended up eaten by a grue, but at least they were on time.

After our late start and the playing suitcase Tetris for 10-15 minutes we finally started our drive and we made good time for at least 20 minutes or so before we saw a huge ball of flame erupt from the road ahead of us. There must have been authorities close by to the accident (or terrorist attack – I mean those guys are everywhere), because the road was shut down almost immediately. Some very clever government employee realized that if you closed all the toll gates except for one you could bottle up the five lanes of traffic and keep everyone safely away from the semi-truck that had become a raging inferno. During our more than ninety minutes sitting in traffic we got to experience the duality of human nature by comparing the gentleman in the SUV who rolled down his window and asked if we need to get over in front of him to the Jersey Shore wannabe who honked his horn because there was an entire 10 empty feet in front of us. I suppose it could have been worse. The air conditioning could have gone out or perhaps a tidal wave could have washed us all into Boston. (FYI Given the choice I would probably choose the tidal wave.)

After we made it through the toll booth, paying two dollars and thirty cents in pennies, we then crept past the blackened husk of the semi truck surrounded by people in hazmat suits. The traffic opened up and we started making good time. However after waiting one hundred and twenty minutes in traffic we needed to make a pit stop. Some of the people in the car had three cups of coffee with their pancakes. The line of cars at the first toll plaza was almost as long as the line for the toll booth so we had to keep going. The next available stop was a Picnic Spot. I want to go on the record as saying that the fine folks in Massachusetts DOT do not have a good sense for what makes a good picnic spot. Also they have decided to save money by not investing in plumbing. Facilities were available, but they were not maintained very well. Some were quoted as saying that it was the “grossest thing I have ever seen.”

We did not linger for a picnic because we had plans for dinner in the suburbs of Philadelphia. We made good time on the tree tunnels that they call hi-ways out here in the East. After I observed the local drivers long enough I realized that 55mph really meant 75mph. We cruised along for several hours until we got to The Bridge. Before getting to The Bridge we realized that we were going to need to stop for gas before getting to our final destination. The plan was to make it to New Jersey where not only do they pump the gas for you, but it is about $1 less per gallon. This was a very fine plan. A thrifty plan.

Spoiler alert – there is a close alternate dimension where a family of Donnelly’s ran out of gas on The Bridge. We forgot to account for sitting in traffic again when we looked at our out-of-gas mile range. For some reason we continue to build 5 lane hi-ways that filter into 2 lane bridges in this country. As we inched along towards The Bridge the computer in our van told us we had 16 miles left until we needed gas.

Inch..inch..inch..14 miles..Left Lane Closed Ahead…inch..inch..9 miles…Right Lane Closed Ahead…inch…5 miles.

It is a good thing that bridges tend to be arcs because by the time we got to the apogee of The Bridge the computer was telling us to pull over and get some gas. We coasted down the other side of The Bridge and pulled in to the first gas station we could find. We had not made it into New Jersey yet so we paid over $1 MORE per gallon that we usually do. On the plus side their bathroom was slightly nicer than the Picnic Spot.

Except for the odd abundance of fake horses the rest of the drive went quickly and we arrived at my Aunt Patty’s house a mere three hours late. This meant we had to have a very brief reunion, but we got a nice picture where everyone was smiling and there was still some pizza left for us so I’m going to call it a success.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Janet Koplos permalink
    July 13, 2015 1:38 pm

    This was great!! Not the experience, but the telling.

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