Planning and the road out

We started planning our New York City trip for June in early February. Maybe the cold still had our brains half frozen, because the first mistake was our choice of motels.

Not sure how it happened, but when we checked the address, we realized the Rodeway Inn was much further away from the Hudson than we thought. Since we had used Karen’s union discount, we had prepaid and it was non-refundable. So we decided to do the best we could.

It took us two and a half months to figure out how to get from the motel to downtown NYC.

The week before we were to hit the road, one of the strangest phenomena ever hit the east coast and NYC specifically. The wildfires from Canada and elsewhere had decided to deposit all of their smoke in downtown Manhattan. Photos from the city that week looked like they were coming from the surface of mars. And the forecast just a few days out didn’t look good. So we bought N-95 masks for the trip just in case.

Luckily that smoke cleared a few days later and the forecast got better, with a few exceptions.

Monday on the road

It had started raining long before we started loading the suitcases in the car. And it would continue to rain until just after we crossed the New Jersey state line. It was some of the toughest driving I’ve ever done.

Halfway through Pennsylvania, we had predetermined our lunch spot would be Perkins in Danville, because Karen wanted Perkins and we did a restaurant search for about four hours into the trip.

It was already pretty crowded by the time we pulled in so we had a bit of a wait. While we were waiting, three young men were exiting the restaurant, one of them dropped a $20 bill. I quickly scooped it up and followed him out the door. After I had handed it back to him and turned around to walk back in, he said, “here…you can have it.” After a couple of denials he talked me into taking it. An extra 20 bucks could come in handy in NYC.

Back on the road and into the rain for the remainder of the seven and half hour journey to our motel. That was when we met the trucker from hell that would dog our every move for many miles well into New Jersey.

It was a bright blue large dump truck…number 113, from what we thought said USA Equipment on the door. On a three-lane highway, with everyone slowing down because it had started raining harder, he came barrelling through traffic, tailgating, and cutting people off. But every time he would put a little distance between us he would eventually get slowed back down.

This guy was a huge menace and we don’t know how he didn’t cause an accident. Karen tried to call the company, but we were connected to a tractor supply company in Louisiana. And by the time I checked the video on my piece of crap dashcam, that video had already been deleted to make room for newer content.

So, even as the sun was starting to break through the clouds, we had really been put in a bad mood. But hey, more adventures to come.

As we came closer to the motel, we realized we were in the wrong lane to turn left. Silly us thought you should be in the left lane to turn left, not the right one. The detour took us down narrow streets and back to the motel. This time we had to make the worst left hand turn we would continue to encounter during our trip.

As we got closer to vacation time, we kept having second thoughts about the motel we had picked, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it now. The only redeeming thing about it was there was a Dunkin Donuts next door.

It looked like a crack house, mostly because of what looked like a couple of crackheads smoking cigarettes on the balcony overlooking the parking lot.

Karen and I were greeted by wet carpeting and flies in our room. The floor wouldn’t completely dry until we were checking out on Friday. Sofia seemed to have gotten lucky except for a flickering light that would eventually quit flickering.

After showers all around, it was time to try our luck getting to Times Square. Journal Square Path station was about a mile away, and the hike wasn’t too bad. We ended up walking from there to the hotel and back several times during the week.

Then it was time for Karen and Sofia to experience their first subway rides. The Path was our main way to get in and out of the city. For the most part, it wasn’t too crowded and we felt safe while riding.

Once we exited the 33rd street Path station there were a few buildings we wanted to see. Penn Station was under a lot of construction and I couldn’t find the food court I had eaten during my 2015 trip to the city. We went into the lobby of the Empire State Building. Then it was time to head to our first dinner reservation of the week, the obligatory visit to a city’s Hard Rock Café.

The first Hard Rock Café I was ever at was in 1985 at the NYC’s original West 57th Street location. It’s in Times Square now. It’s a good thing we used OpenTable back in April to make sure we had seats. The place was crowded. We didn’t even really get to walk around and look at the walls, it was so crowded.

As we were picking up shirts in the gift shop to head out to see Times Square it started raining again. Luckily we had umbrellas and were able to stay somewhat dry as we headed to the subway to make our way from 42nd street back to 33rd street Path. This was the trip’s first experience with the NYC subway system. It was a piece of cake…this time anyway.

Then it was back to the motel to try to get some sleep. Good thing for earplugs.

We walked just under 7 miles for the day. A day we were in the car for over eight hours.

You can read the experiences of the rest of our trip below.


Just how far did we walk? It was a beautiful day for a walk. With lots of walking before lunch. And more walking after. My teenage daughter didn’t like it. Oh well. She was warned…in February. One of the few things we bought timed tickets for was to get into the...


Lady Liberty and Family History In my previous trips to NYC, I had never gone out to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This time we did. We had pre-purchased tickets a couple of months before to take the first ferry out from the New Jersey side. But not before we experienced...


From a river view to 850 feet To make sure we got to the dock in time, we took a Lyft from the motel to the Circle Line Tours. This was something I had done with the band on that 1979 trip and was really looking forward to sharing it with Karen and Sofia. We thought...

Friday and Trip Home

Bridge Walk and the Ride Home We woke up about an hour later than we wanted to, but we didn’t have anything scheduled so we weren’t missing anything. But it did get us going a little later than we wanted to, which would cause issues later. It was mostly cloudy with a...