Starting October 1st, I spent nine days driving.
It began at Logan Airport and Greater Boston here in Massachusetts. Then there was a trip back and forth to Rhode Island for a funeral. Then Brookline, Massachusetts to New Jersey, driving back and forth to New York City, wrapping up at JFK airport.
I’m a mediocre passenger and a middlin’ navigator for another driver - even with a GPS unit to assist. So for nearly 1,000 miles I was at the wheel, Chuck served as navigator and his sister Carol was the passenger. With Carol being from the land of very polite drivers, along with the very well signed and very well marked roads of Greater Seattle, she was sometimes “unsettled” by the driving in Greater Boston. (Yeah, we’ll go with “unsettled”!) But with this being Carol’s first visit east in seventeen years there was much to see and do, along with family to visit and catch up with.
In advance of the trip, I had been concerned about finding parking when needed in any of our city destinations and especially about driving in New York City. But it was all perfectly fine. Well, there was a certain amount of swearing, mostly by me (with occasional echoes from my companions) at a a few drivers who had apparently escaped from a NASCAR track or were perhaps fleeing the police. And there was one close call on the Lenny Zakim Bridge in Boston, in a torrential downpour, when a Subaru Forrester spluttered to a crawl right in front of us while in the passing lane. The parking in New York City, specifically in The Bronx, was easy peasy - except for that pesky $115.00 parking ticket we found on the windshield upon our return from visiting a family friend. (I thought “No Standing” meant no loitering. Lesson learned, sigh...)
But I was never worried about the driving. Maybe it was my two season foray into Autocross racing in a previous lifetime, which, while not wheel-to-wheel racing, does sharpens one’s skills on and off the track. Or perhaps it was just that driving was what needed to be done. The nice thing was that while I was enjoying my stint behind the wheel, my traveling cohorts were happy as well. Carol paid me great compliments, repeatedly using the word “guts” - and she assured me that she needed neither dramamine nor tranquilizers.
So at the end of nine days and nearly 1,000 miles I managed to get us and the car home safe and sound. But I have to tell you that the best driving moment of the trip came on day nine. I overshot the turn for the Midtown Tunnel which I needed to take in order to get Carol to her flight out of JFK. I evaluated the relatively quiet Sunday morning traffic conditions, paying no heed to the line of police vehicles parked curbside to my right, and pulled a U-turn on E 34th Street in New York City. It was just a couple of blocks down from the Empire State Building. It wasn’t like a scene out of “Sleepless In Seattle” nor “An Affair To Remember”. It was just ridiculously empowering and a whole lot of fun!