Road Trip

Written by BG Howard

October 27, 2023

At the point this blog entry was composed, I’d just begun recuperating from a road trip that left me with an entirely new appreciation for the benefit of commercial flight. It started out some time ago when notification of a pending wedding was received requiring me in Massachusetts on a speciied date. With several people from Jacksonville planning to go up state for the celebratory occasion, a number of us decided it would make for a nice drive as opposed to taking a flight. Needless-to-say, twenty-four hours in a confined space suggests a different meaning for the term “quality time.”

Given the fact the group of eight had planned to pull out of Jacksonville around 7:00p Thursday evening, our good friends at Map Quest estimated a total of 1,185 miles and about nineteen hours of travel. I had opted to take the first leg of the journey so it was necessary for me to try getting some sleep beginning early Thursday afternoon.

With a full agenda for that morning, it wasn’t possible for me to even lie down until after 4:00p. Even then, issues with multiple unexpected calls to my cell phone and a number of unscheduled visitors prevented any semblance of sleep. The quest for a nap was eventually aborted at 7:06p when I reasoned it a better choice to at least do something productive. Given that, I chose to undertake the process of loading the truck before picking up the other travelers.

As I’d expected, we were somewhat delayed leaving Jacksonville and missed the 7:00p departure time by more than three hours. With the luggage, snacks and other necessities finally loaded, the journey eventually began at 10:19p with me as the designated driver.

The super sized SUV required some getting used to as I’d never had the experience of piloting a fully loaded tanker. Driving the first four hours proved relatively peaceful with me having to stop for a requested “refreshment” break around 2:00a. Though only half a tank of fuel had been burned, we reasoned to refill the truck prior to the second leg of the journey. That allowed for another five hours of driving with me passing the torch to “J” around 8:00a Friday morning. He then logged the second phase of our trip which had us right outside New York early Friday afternoon.

Things really started to get interesting when I took up position behind the wheel for my second turn at the helm. Passing through New Jersey wasn’t as much of a challenge as one might think but when I came into New York City my opinion of the place quickly changed.

I realized there were a great number of differences that had occurred since my residing in the city several years ago. There are many more people and that equates a drastic increase in vehicles and, essentially, an immense difference in the amount of traffic on already narrow streets. Take into consideration the fact native New Yorkers often capitalize on the option to, illegally, double park which abruptly morphs two lane traffic flow into a one lane parking lot. What should have been a twenty to thirty minute pass through in the Bronx, after two missed turns, three near collisions and a host of sudden stops to avoid pedestrians crossing against the light, turned into an hour-long delay.

Being seriously behind schedule getting out of New York facilitated a virtual mudslide of unfortunate circumstances which had our travels held up even further after more than an hour of traffic delays. Accidents, vehicle breakdowns, and various acts of police duties executed marked additional traffic hold-ups that facilitated other lengthy slow downs. By the time I’d made the trek through two burrows of the city, I felt twenty-five years had been subtracted from my life and a company of grey hairs added to the mane.

Beyond finally emerging from the madness of New York City, the report from Mr. GPS still listed another three and-a-half hours of travel time to our final destination. At that point, I was so done with big city traffic and certainly a desire to live any place where cars seem to outnumber the residents.

We’d finally made it out of the city but it appeared that everybody was leaving and traveling the same direction as us. That represented additional hold-ups which resulted with more traffic congestion and a few other accidents.

Essentially, what was supposed to be an eighteen hour adventure turned into a twenty-three hour and forty-nine minute challenge I can honestly say won’t likely be repeated. Were it not for a pre-determined date with Avis, I’d have been better served to abandon the rental and hop a flight back to Jacksonville. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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