Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The New York Experience: Day 12 - Roadtrip to Boston! For Whom The Road Tolls

Well, today was another long day. My Mom and I took off at 8AM for a roadtrip to Boston. She has friends just outside of the city in Leominster and since was a Navy buddy of my Dad and our families became close, the roadtrip was important. The 160 drive from Albany to Boston was pretty uneventful except for the one thing they seem to have out here that we don't in California except for a few places. And that's Toll Roads. Roads that you pay to drive on, still have to avoid speeding tickets and have pretty huge rest areas.

NY State seems to have the highest prices in toll roads while Massachusetts isn't all that bad. But if your don't have money, or lose your ticket, you're screwed. You pay the maximum toll. And here you are, flying at 65 miles per hour (Okay, 71...they use radar here) and up pops this big roadblock with red lights, green lights, speed pass signs, cash lanes, and cash and credit lanes. It's like being on a Scrambler (remember that ride?) in trying to get to the lane that you actually are either going to pay the toll or pick up the ticket. And one you get through the toll booth, the scramble is on on the other side to get up to speed, and either pick up and continue your journey or exit. How's that for excitement with an 81 year old woman at your side!

But we made it with very little cursing. In Leominster, we met up with Sandy (very Italian) and Marie Annette along with 2 other friends from my Dad's Navy reunion group. Sandy is a kick and he and I can talk and laugh at almost anything. He was glad to see that my Mom was doing so well and related to me the fact that since their last Navy Reunion only 2 years ago, 18 of the guys have died! That includes my Dad and others. These guys were close and even though my Dad is no longer with them, they continue to include my Mom in all the reunion based events. It's a really nice thing for these people. Well, we hung out a bit and I? decided to leave my Mom with them and head into Downtown Boston while they went to a local joint to have Lobster and Steamers! I figured I could grab a lobster in Boston, but I was soon to find out that it's pretty cold in hell!

You see, I went to Boston to see a friend who has just transplanted from La Crescenta, California. He's working for a hospital there doing a psych internship that is as grueling as it could get. He has 7 of the most difficult autistic patients...these are kids that can't be placed anywhere in the USA! They are working him to death and Ben is enjoying it and was happy to see a friendly face. It took me 2-1/2 hours to get to where he was at near Boston University...mostly becuase he takes the train everywhere and had no clue what roads go what way. And in Boston, one wrong turn can put you 45 minutes into hell. And I got to visit there! I finally caught up with Ben and we went to a local chicken wing place and scarfed down 2 pounds of boneless wings, a pound of waffle fries, and a couple of waters. After that we hit the Starbuck's next door (how convenient) and had some coffee and a Frappuchino. In all, I got to spend 45 minutes with him before I had to head back and pick up my Mom to head home. But it was great to see him and seeing him doing so well. His parents should (and will) be proud!

Getting back to Leominster to pick up my co-pilot was a quick 1 hour trip. We chatted again with her friends and headed off back to NY. About halfway, after battling rain for a lot of the way, we hit one of the rest stops to stretch our legs, grab a drink and unwind from the hectic pace of the Mass Turnpike. These rest areas are huge and have got the cleanest bathrooms you have ever seen. They've got a convenience store with more freakin' snacks than you could ever want, a full on gas station, and usually 2 or more restaurants like McDonald's or Boston Market. Quite impressive for a rest area. I guess that's where all that toll money goes and I thank god they didn't make me pay a toll to pee in the super clean bathroom!

All in all, we had a good roadtrip. Mom had fun and I'm glad she got to spend this time with her friends. I got to curse at the city of Boston and the fact that there is no street signs anywhere. Boston needs to take a lesson from California. We call them 4 -way intersections with turn lanes and lighted street signs. Because in the City of Boston, if you hit a rotary and don't know where you're going, you might as well kiss your dreams of Lobster goodbye. You're truly in hell now!

Discover Insanity's "The New York Experience" series is a continual recap of the previous day's adventures in the country wilderness of Upstate, New York. We will return with our daily topical blog posts on November 17th