Monday, August 25, 2014

Travelogue – the mad dash

I saw this t-shirt this morning: “Vermont – what happens here stays here … but nothing happens here.”

My first event of the day was a drive up Mt. Equinox. The 3.5 mile drive was steep – I was in second gear much of the way up and first gear much of the way down. The signs at the top said on a clear day (and this was close to it) one could see into New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. Here is a sample, though it might not look all that much different from the top of Mt. Cannon.

The mountain and its scenic drive is owned by an organization associated with the Catholic Church. The drive and the viewing building at the top is in honor of St. Bruno. I'm sure this as a way for them to raise money. Because of that I felt a bit ambivalent about the entrance fee. I debated skipping it and rather hoped the early morning fog would solve the issue for me. But I went.

Then it was the mad dash for home, or at least the dash across New York. I took two-lane roads north of Albany before joining up with the New York Thruway. Google Maps said this would be only six minutes longer and several miles shorter than picking up the highway at Albany. I'm not sure their numbers are correct.

There was one big problem with this route – not a lot of restaurants, especially if one refuses places like Dunkin Donuts. This route joined the highway in the town of Amsterdam and the route into town had no restaurants. There was one right at the interchange – that had been closed long enough for weeds to surround it. Though I was hungry, I got on the highway.

A couple miles later I saw a sign for a “Text Stop” with a reminder that texting must wait until the car is not in motion. Perhaps food there? An exit came first. New York must have a billboard ban, as they have signs saying what attractions are at an exit. They also have signs listing the hotels and sometimes there is also a list of gas stations. Oh, by the way, there's also food. But we won't tell you which restaurants.

I got off at the exit. Just on the other side of the toll booth was … a Dunkin Donuts. Not far away was a McDonalds (also not known for the healthiness of their food). The third choice was a truck stop with a 24 hour restaurant. I went for that. Inside I saw the restaurant had been cordoned off, apparently not used for a good long time. Instead, there was a deli counter. The attendant made up a ham & cheese sandwich for me and I took it out to my car to eat. It was actually decent food, but not enough.

Back on the highway I found the “Text Stop” was not a service plaza. I don't think there were bathrooms. I'm glad I hadn't waited.

The next several service areas were dominated by McDonald's. I stopped at one for the rest room, but forged on. Near Rochester at 4:00 the service area featured Tim Horton's, which had chili, so I got some.

I got off the highway in Batavia for gas. Around that time the traffic info signs listed wait times at the three bridges into Canada. The one at Niagara Falls listed a wait time of 30-60 minutes. I had seen the Falls before and wasn't in the mood to sit for more than a half hour. Reluctantly, I took the northern crossing, right next to the Niagara Escarpment. There I waited only 10 minutes.

I'm now in a little motel in St. Catherines, Ontario. Through TripAdvisor I knew it would be good quality, reasonably priced, and had a room available.

I left the base of Mt. Equinox at 10:30 this morning. I got to the hotel about 6:45. Pretty good for about 370 miles.

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