Notes From the Road
A jack-knifed tractor trailer created a traffic jam for several miles just north of Fredericksburg. We heard this important piece of news just before shutting off the TV in our hotel room. A woman at the front desk gave us an alternate route but warned, “When there’s traffic on 95 there’s usually traffic on Route One, too.” She was right. Welcome to the Northeast Corridor.
We were very familiar with the territory we were driving through. Several summer vacations were spent traveling through the mid-Atlantic attending high school lacrosse tournaments in places like Princeton, Annapolis, Cherry Hill, and Philadelphia. We stayed in Fairfield Inns with lacrosse team discounts, racked up Marriott points, and always included a visit to D.C. where we stayed at my cousin’s house in Chevy Chase. This time we only catch the Jefferson and Washington Memorials from the highway. Sorry D.C., no time for you on this trip.
We’ve driven the Beltway, the NJ Turnpike, and crossed the Tappan Zee many times over the years so the driver was tense and cranky. Rich knew what he was in for so I started the morning with some Mozart sonatas. We traveled 59 miles in an hour and 24 minutes.
Construction was everywhere along the route. We understand it needs to be done in the summertime. We grin and bear it, grateful for the Interstate Highway system brought to us by Dwight D. Eisenhower and now in woeful need of necessary infrastructure repairs. However, that doesn’t make the drive any easier. I switched the tunes to Dave Matthews as we serendipitously passed a girl with the DMB fire dancer on her back window. I gave her a thumbs up.
I read from Wikipedia again. This time I looked up Eisenhower and discovered the construction of Route 95 began in 1957, the year we were born. I told Rich about the summer I was sixteen, driving to Disney World in Orlando with my family in a green Chevy station wagon with no air conditioning, the four kids stretched out in the back singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall over and over again until my parents couldn’t take it anymore.
I also read from Wikipedia the story of the Hoover Dam and Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act as we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge into Maryland.
“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
I usually write the blogs in the car, but not today. I have to keep my eyes on the road. In D.C. we hopped from 95 to 495 to 395 to 695 to 295 and back to 95. After this dance around the nation’s capital Rich made an executive decision to avoid the insanity of Mapquest and just stay on 95. Mapquest wanted us to take 895 to the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel.
“Screw that,” he said.
We got there just fine on 95. Outside of Beltsville, an appropriate name if ever there was one, we started to pass the small brick houses of the mid-Atlantic where Archie Bunker and King of Queens live.
Jason Mraz was singing from Live in Chicago, followed by Moby’s Play. We liked that one so much we decided to take it from the top once again and rewound the tape as we crossed the Verrazano Bridge.
On Long Island we found a soccer match on the radio just as Germany scored three rapid fire goals in two minutes against the home team Brazil. I love these soccer announcers. This one had a thick Irish brogue and said things like:
“It is an embarrassment to the entire nation.”
“Another Goal! They haven’t a clue what they’re doing out there.”
“I’ve been saying it all along, if only anyone would listen to me.”
“Brazil has been woeful throughout the entire first half.”
We drove past the Rockaways, Coney Island, and Brooklyn. Beach sand and grass lined the right side of the winding, curvy road where two guys in sports cars crisscrossed in front of us doing 85 and almost caused a major accident.
At six o’clock we safely arrived at our motel, immediately found a liquor store, and had drinks out by the pool. Too tired to get back in the truck and explore the lovely town of Southampton, we opted to walk to the Columbian restaurant next door where we ordered whole chickens with hot sauce on the side for only $9.95 and soaked up the ambiance.
If you’re ever in the area, check out La Enrameda at 450 County Road Southampton. The food is delicious and authentic as evidenced by the fact we were the only native English speakers in the restaurant that night.
Back at our motel room we slept like the dead.