Friday, November 14, 2008

We stared The Big Apple in the face and WON!

We picked up a load in Columbus, Ohio and headed up to Newark, New Jersey with it.  I wasn't sure just where in New Jersey we were going, but since it wasn't NYC, I wasn't really to worried.   Hah!  How naive.  AND...we weren't just going to Newark, we were actually going to THE PORT OF NEWARK!!!!!!!!!  As in, across a small bit of water is Manhattan.  
 I got out the computer mapping program, the giant atlas and bunches of stickies and sharpies and started in with our routing.  
And, oh yeah, did I mention that we were on a Con-Way load which always allows just barely enough time to make the run. 
 AND to top that off, the trailer that we picked up had a bum blinker and needed to be taken to a truckstop repair shop before hitting the road.  Would be nice if the ETA was extended to accommodate - but alas, not to be! 
Let me paint the picture for you - we are coming into Newark at 4:00 pm local time
.  Lots of traffic.  I  was driving and Tony was navigating.  
Did I mention the rain?  Continual heavy drizzle - slick road and sparkly lights coming up off the pavement because everyone had on their headlights.   
Throw in some fog for good measure.   
We were really focused on our way in and did great.  Great looming signs kept telling us how to get to the Port of Newark (and how to avoid the Lincoln Tunnel).  We coasted into what we thought was the right place with a few scant minutes to spare.  
What's this. . . dead end? 
 Where is the Con-Way Terminal?  
Thankfully, we always write the address and phone number of our customers on yet another sticky note.  I dialed while Tony jumped out and ran to the gated guard shack at the end of the dead end.  He came back with directions just as I was connecting with the terminal.  A very helpful and nice man at Con-Way actually talked me through turning around and heading back out the way we had come.  He kept asking me, "tell me what you are looking at."  "Is there a bridge over your head?"  "What does the street sign say?"  This wonderful man stayed on the phone until I turned into the terminal driveway.

Big deep breaths and sighs - we made it.  
Now all we had to do was make it out.  
Piece of cake - we would just get the folks in the terminal office to give us directions.  
We knew we were headed to Hackettstown, New Jersey and from there to Horseheads, New York and then down to Albuquerque, New Mexico - a nice 2k run.

Tony came back from the terminal with the offered directions.  We sat with the atlas and computer and made detailed notes.  We were even able to use the new satellite technology and look at the nasty snarl of roads and bridges and pick our path through it all.  
So, I'm back at the wheel and Tony is again navigating.  
Did I mention that it is now DARK and still RAINING?  
We pull out of the terminal, under the New Jersey Turnpike bridge to turn left where we had come in before.  
But wait. . .  NO LEFT TURN.  
There is even a curb in the way to further thwart us.  
AND, the only way we can go is going to take us up on the bridge and seemingly into NEW YORK CITY.  
We have no choice but to go where the road is taking us.  
So much for those carefully thought out plans and notes.  As we are heading up over this bridge, we can actually see a glittering bridge slightly ahead that must lead to the magical land of NYC.

  I basically slowed to a stop as we tried vainly to make an informed decision.  
Finally, another Big Rig squeezed around us on the right and we decided to go after him.  
The scariest thing of all when driving one of these behemoths is getting onto roads that aren't made for us.  We figured that if he was going there, we could too.  As luck would have it, we saw enough signs with enough remembered words from our prior research that we were able to squiggle around through the maze and work our way out heading in the right direction (basically AWAY from NYC).  
Did I mention that it was still DARK and RAINING?
So now, we are parked for the night in Hackettstown, New Jersey and I have Tony's trip all plotted out for him in the morning.  
When I wake up, we will be in the Pocono Mountains and the autumn leaves be lush and moist from the morning dew as I sip my coffee and gaze out serenely from my moving home.
I love this life!

1 comment:

The Daily Rant said...

Isn't this life just the best?? I love it!

Glad to see you made it through NYC. I grew up in Upstate NY and hit NYC a lot in my life and still have family in the area. It's quite a challenge in the truck, isn't it? Of course, being a New Yorker, I happen to think New Yorkers know how to drive - even though they may not use their turn signal, they get out of your way and get where they're going fast.

NY, NJ, CT, MA (especially Boston, where we are now) is really different for truck driving - pretty much this whole northeast area - I guess that's why the recruiting magazines always say "NO NYC" or "NO Northeast!". Nobody wants to come up here!

Where are you guys from - where is your home?