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The highway to New York City

US Highway 1

Motel

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” - Charles Kuralt, radio and TV journalist

Motel bed

Interstate 95

October 24, 2003

Plans were in place to spend the weekend in New York. Bonnie was hesitant to go at first. I had ordered two hotel rooms for the five of us through United.com. Because I reserved the rooms through United.com, if I canceled the reservation, I would lose my money. Hotel rooms near New York City are expensive, starting at just over $100, which is about what I paid for each room. After giving it some thought, Bonnie decided she would go, along with Duran and Nathan.

We started to New York reasonably early, but our trip was delayed by a bird show. So we made our way east on East High Street through Pottstown to the Sunnybrook Ballroom where it was happening. My parents, my siblings and my nephews, especially Duran, are all bird lovers. My dad has had pet birds almost as long as I can remember. I’ve had a few cockatiels over the years. They can be a best friend, like dogs, due to their talkative, inquisitive and social nature. At this bird show, you could buy and learn all you could want about pet birds. The highlight of the show was seeing Ken Globus, also known as The Bird Whisperer, demonstrate his techniques about training birds. He brought to mind that much of a bird’s behavior is related to instinct and self preservation, so the idea was to get the bird comfortable with us so that the bird wouldn’t see the need for flight. While the others continued taking in the show, I gassed up the car. I came back and Duran had a bird on his shoulder, he did not want to leave. But leave we must, as we had a weekend ahead of us in the big city of New York and Saturday was just starting in to the afternoon.

Map of Pottstown JFK area

BirdsBirdsBirds

Cockatiel, my favorite bird


If one has time, the best way to explore a city or town is to take the US Highways. They often go right through the city or town, making it easy to take in the character of the location, perhaps stop to eat, shop or rest, contemplate the scenery and then go on your way. I wanted to take in more of the Philadelphia area and points north to New York City. So we got on US Highway 422 from Pottstown, hopped on to Interstate 76, then exited to US Highway 1 shortly before arriving at downtown Philadelphia. US Highway 1 travels north from Key West, Florida, to Fort Kent, Maine, with stops in cities such as Miami, FL, Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, MA, Portland, ME and of course, Philadelphia, PA. Much of the route hugs the Atlantic Coast, although various parts hitch a ride inland. It is also the longest north-south highway in the country. I dream that someday I will take this highway all the way from start to finish from Key West, FL, to Fort Kent, Maine, but for now I would have to settle for Philadelphia to perhaps New York City.

On US Highway 1, we fought heavy traffic to the area of downtown Philadelphia, meandered through the northeast suburbs of Philadelphia, then crossed the Trenton-Morrisville Toll Bridge over the Delaware River in to Trenton, New Jersey. After traveling through New Jersey for a while, we needed to stop for a food and bathroom break. We got off the highway, navigated a few side roads to find a place to rest and shortly found ourselves at the Little Acres Too Farm Market in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, located at 3501 Princeton Pike. The owner of the business was kind enough to let us use the bathroom and to picnic outside. We showed our appreciation for this by purchasing snacks and drinks. We ate hoagies that we had purchased in Pottstown. By this point, we had lost enough time that we decided to jump on Interstate 95, which was close by, so that we could get my rental car back by 5:00 pm. Exploration of the rest of US Highway 1 would have to come at another time.

Little Acres Two

Little Acres Two


The rental car was returned in the nick of time at 5:00 pm. We had hoped to get to New York City sooner. That is what can happen when one tries to pack too much into one day. So we would make the best of the rest of the time that we had.

Rental car

We checked in to our hotel, Howard and Johnson. They did not have us in the system. Teresa had planned to pay for her room when we checked in. Although the hotel clerk would have been willing to accommodate this, we could not do this as it turned out that our reservation was prepaid through United.com. I’ve made many motel and hotel reservations online before and had never prepaid until this time. Normally one can make the reservation and even cancel up to the day of the reservation, as long as it is before evening, and then pay at the hotel or motel. This allows for much flexibility with room reservations. One could even decide to stay with a friend or relative at the last minute and cancel the reservation before evening without any financial consequences. This would be the last time I would prepay motel and hotel reservations or make room reservations through United.com.

The helpful clerk also provided directions to the nearby New York Subway at JFK Airport and got us a ride on an airport shuttle. The shuttle driver was kind enough to go out of his way to take us to the subway entrance. By this time it was about 6:00 pm.

Motel bed

Unhappy

New York City Subway


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