Friday, November 26, 2010

Yet Another Thrilling I-95 Thanksgiving Travelogue

I've been in bed most of the day, laid up with laziness and mild cold, so while I'm being singularly unambitious, thought I'd catch up.


After hearing about the horrorshow of the Delaware Toll Plaza on Wednesday night (a state whose sole purpose is extracting tolls from drivers on their 10-mile stretch of I-95 actually stopped collecting the toll because it was so jammed up), I decided to spend Wednesday night drinking at Carpool and then playing Left4Dead until I passed out.

I woke up on Thanksgiving morning with not just a hangover, but a sore throat that was the harbinger of that annoying cold. So I got a late start, not getting out the door until about 10:30am.

It was pretty smooth sailing straight around the Beltway and up past Baltimore. I still have no way to play my iPod through the stereo, so I brought a pile of CDs, occasionally scanning local radio to see who started playing Christmas music already.

Things started slowing down about 30 miles from the Maryland/Delaware border; I started getting antsy, and not wanting to put up with I-95 through Delaware, got off and took Route 40.

It's tempting to try to romanticize driving through small towns on smaller roads, but in reality, the stores and fast food joints in the shopping centers are all the same everywhere, and the places you haven't heard of are just regional franchises you don't know.

The only mom & pop stores left are the adult bookstores.

And there are traffic lights. I don't think seeing the occasional "Where's the Birth Certificate" billboard makes up for that.

I stayed on Route 40 the whole way. There were some slow spots, mostly due to traffic lights, but it moved the whole time. Getting back onto I-295 at the Delaware Memorial Bridge, though, I saw that there wasn't very much traffic, so I'm thinking my fears were overblown.

I got on the Turnpike, and saw the warnings of slowdowns at Exits 6 and 8, so I got back onto 295, then onto a really slow route 1/9, going through Princeton, New Brunswick, and the like, passing the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the notional Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, and of course, the ever-present on public radio Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Anyway, it took about four-and-a-half hours, all told, not too bad. And there was this on the other end of it:

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