SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER

Tunnels and Traffic and Bins, oh my!

We were in no particular hurry to leave on Thursday, September 1st. Ryan’s off-campus housing was being professionally cleaned, so he didn’t want to start moving his stuff in until late in the afternoon. We took our time packing up Thursday morning, and were on the road at 2:30 p.m. Our first mistake was taking the Saw Mill Parkway to Route 684. There are several low-clearance (8’8″) arched tunnels—fortunately, Karl reacted quickly and moved to the left hand lane where the arch was at maximum height—but we were holding our breath as we went through. I guess the “No Trucks” sign should have been a clue!

Then, when we got to Route 84 we were in stop and go traffic for several hours throughout Connecticut. We should have been in Boston by 7:00 p.m., but we were still an hour away, so we stopped at our favorite Cracker Barrel in Sturbridge, MA. We called ahead for takeout, which we ate comfortably in the E-trek while the dogs had their dinner. Karl had recently constructed a new tabletop, so we were able to try that out. As anyone with an E-trek knows, the tables that come with the unit are very cumbersome. We had hoped to make the egg-shaped table, but we could not find anyone with a jigsaw, so we improvised with a laminated wooden shelf we found at our local hardware store. It works.

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We finally made it to Ryan’s new place at 9:15 p.m. Sending him up early on the train turned out to be a great plan—usually there is a lot of yelling (Karl), crying (me), and attitude (Ryan) as he procrastinates packing until the last minute. He overloads the bins so the unsecured lids open and contents spill when carried, and he throws in random clothing and other belongings at the last minute that slide around the back of the E-trek.

Before he left on Tuesday, August 30th, he laid out his clothes on the bed, so I could pack them neatly. We had time to bubble-wrap the other electronics. He brought his duffel with clothes and necessities plus his backpack, so he could survive for a few days. Plus the unload was painless, since his new housemates were more than happy to lug in the bins. Last year, Ryan’s dorm room was on the fourth floor with no elevator and he had twice as much stuff!

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After a brief tour of his off-campus house and neighborhood, complete with loud music and college students everywhere, we were back on the road a little before 10:00 p.m. and back in Sturbridge by 11:00, where we settled in for the night. Daisy and I slept on the new mattress, which was quite comfortable, while Karl and Topper enjoyed the sofa bed. We didn’t need the air conditioner–in fact, we even put the heat on when we woke up to a chilly Friday morning.

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Our drive to Saratoga Friday morning was much more pleasant. We had considered a scenic route through Vermont; however, decided to take Route 90 all the way to the NY Thruway. We wanted to maximize our time at Saratoga and still avoid the Friday afternoon Labor Day Weekend traffic on the trip home. The scenic route would have added close to an hour and after sitting in traffic the previous day we decided to save that route for another time. There are several Vermont State Parks along that route that I noted that would be nice to visit if we had more time–perhaps on the way up to Boston for Parents’ Weekend next month!

I am using a new app called Trello to organize my ever growing collection of trip notes. By setting up various boards, I can attach PDF files, links to websites (such as National and State Parks), as well as create checklists. I can easily view the Trello boards on my iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Air, so I don’t have to worry about printing out a lot of paperwork or trying to write things down while riding. I also use the Trello boards to make route notes such as rest stops, RV dump stations, places to visit, as well as places to avoid (such as Route 84 and the Saw Mill Parkway)!

Follow the Google Maps Route!

Since we were without our Becker Navigation System (see previous post), we were running Apple Maps on the iPad we have mounted between our seats , Google Maps on my iPhone, plus I had printed out instructions from Google Maps before we left the house.  I noticed that both the time to destination and miles to destination on my iPhone (Google Maps) instructions were longer than those on the Karl’s iPad (Apple Maps). The destination address was the same, so I concluded that the shorter route on the iPad (Apple Maps) was the better route. However, even though the address appeared to be the same, this route did not take us to Saratoga National Park–just some random old building in the middle of Stillwater. Fortunately, I had my alternative Google Maps route on my iPhone,  which showed we still had four miles to go, and sure enough, about ten minutes later we were turning into the park.

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At the very nice Visitor Center, I reported the problem with the address and she told me they were well aware and had been working on it for years. Searching for Saratoga National Battlefield Park on Google Maps works, and she also provided the GPS coordinates if we are using a navigation system that allows input of latitude and longitude. I believe our Becker System does, but we will have to wait until it is working to test it out!

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I was not able to join Karl for a bicycle ride this time, because we had to deliver Ryan’s bicycle to Boston, there was not room for my bicycle on the rack. So I just enjoyed a nice walk with Topper and Daisy while Karl went on the eleven mile ride around the park. The weather was perfect! After he got back, we drove around the tour route a bit before heading home Friday afternoon. The ride home was smooth, and we were happy to be done with our pre-Labor Day weekend travels!

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