Sunday, April 22, 2007

Day One: New York City to Du Bois, Pennsylvania - 287 miles

Well, that wasn't so bad. : )

I am exhausted, so I'll try to be brief. You know, brief by *my* standards.

Picking up the car went fine; the van has lots of room and is easy to drive, though I've accidentally set off the alarm about five times. The drive up to my apartment was much easier than I thought it would be; I went up Third Avenue and went left on 57th Street to Eighth Avenue, then through the vortex at Columbus Circle (eep, that keeps you on your toes) and the plan was to go up Broadway all the way to Washington Heights, but naturally there was a street fair beginning at 96th Street. I detoured over to West End Avenue and drove up to where it ends at 106th...and the street fair was still going! So I went another block and turned left on Amsterdam, then back to Broadway at 120th, so that hjhhhhhhhhjjjjjjjj -- ha! sorry, Starbuck jumped on the laptop -- I could wave at my alma mater on 122nd, then north to 168th and the rest of the way on Fort Washington Avenue.

There was a parking space directly in front of my apartment building. I took that as a sign. Four friends generously volunteered to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon hauling garbage out of my apartment and putting up with my perhaps overly well-planned van-packing directions. (Sometimes I am ruthlessly efficient.) So, a big debt of gratitude to him and him, and also two non-blogger guys. It took a little longer than I'd hoped, but we got everything in the van, and I can even see out the back. I left the city around 4:00.

Honestly, as soon as I picked up the rental car and successfully navigated Manhattan traffic, I started to feel better about this. The first leg couldn't have been easier: just turn right on 179th and keep going for five hours. I stopped briefly at the Borders in Rockaway, New Jersey and bought one of those FM radio thingies for my iPod. It works well until you come over a hill and suddenly there's a station on your station. Next I stopped in Mifflinville, Pennsylvania to grab a quick bite and stretch my legs.

The last 20 miles or so into DuBois (pronounced "Do Boys," which sounds promising, rather than "Do Bwa") were hard because I am so tired. But I'm here and now I'm going to crash and just wake up when I wake up. Tomorrow I hope to be somewhere in Illinois, the longest stretch of the journey to compensate for only going about five hours today.

The cats are fine. Starbuck fell asleep right away even though she didn't have any sedatives, and she seems perfectly content in the hotel room. She's curious, but doesn't seem bothered by any of it. Rocky is hiding behind the toilet and looks very unhappy, but he too slept soundly most of the trip. He had half a cat valium this afternoon just because I was concerned about his freak-out on Wednesday. He doesn't seem angry at all now, just weirded out. I can't say I blame him.


Anthony said...

Seems I missed blast-off, for want of a better term. A belated bon voyage nonetheless!

I will admit to one rather selfish regret: should I make it back to the States at some stage, I won't be seeing you in Noo Yawk.

Silus Grok said...

One day at a time, Andy!

You can do it...

: )

Jarred said...

Having friends to help out with things like that is always a plus. It sounds like you did a pretty good job traveling your first day. And I wouldn't knock five hours if I were you. Especially if you didn't get a particularly early start. After all, you're making the journey alone, right? That means you have to do all the driving, which isn't exactly easy.

Good luck with the next leg of your journey!

Jade said...

It's good to hear the cats did so well with all the chaos.

I have one of those FM transmitters for my iPod too... usually works best on either the highest or lowest channel you can get - it'll be wonderful on those long stretches between cities where there are no stations. If you get bored on your drive let me know, I'll dig out my travel book and send you the 25 games you can play with a bag of marshmellows.

DJRainDog said...

In a strange way, I feel a little choked-up at the thought that you're gone. Farewells have always been weird for me, and I avoid them. As I see it, there are two options: One is to bid someone adieu at the time when they're leaving, in which case someone watches someone recede into the distance, one way or the other; the other is to do it in advance or belatedly, in which case, there's just an empty feeling accompanied by knowledge of an absence. Empty apartments look lonely to me; memories continue to float around in midair like the tiny particles of dust one sees in a shaft of sunlight, bouncing against walls and windows, until they eventually settle to the floor. In a way, I used to feel your presence, too; it was a comfort knowing that even though we didn't spend that much time together, and when we did, I was half the time in poor spirits, you were there, just a few blocks away. Anyway, thank Al Gore for the intarwebs! ;-) And drive safely, friend. And for God's sake, sing!