Good Parkway / Bad Parkway
Jun 26, 2008
|Crossing the Hudson - Thursday, June 26
Getting out of Dodge may not be hard, but getting out of Jersey City is something else again.
Since gas is half a dollar cheaper in Jersey we decided to top off before heading for New York and Connecticut. We found a station not far from Liberty Harbor, but following the station attendant’s directions to the freeway took us on a three mile wander through an old industrial area that got us lost and dependant on Lucy to get us out. She did, but not knowing we are sort of a truck she kept sending us down streets that were closed to trucks, just as she sometimes tries to send us over bridges that are not built to hold us. (We suspect she is fed up with our not following her directions, and may be trying to kill us!)
We eventually found the turnpike and got on it for the ride north to New York State. Madolyn decided the Palisades Parkway looked more scenic, so the first chance we got we exited the turnpike and moved over to the Palisades Parkway, which follows the bluffs of the Hudson River. This was a good move, and we enjoyed the drive a lot. We stopped at every turn out to take in the breathtaking views, which even in the light fog were - well - breathtaking.
A few miles past the state line we dropped down to river level and crossed a long and fairly expensive ($13.50) toll bridge. The rest of the trip across New York was ‘interstate uneventful’. We normally avoid the interstates, but in an area like this they are easier than the surface streets, and we didn’t get into trouble again until we were in Connecticut.
There were no state line signs, so we didn’t know we’d crossed into Connecticut, but we sure knew we were in trouble! In an attempt to find a ‘Welcome Center’ Madolyn had charted a course that took us onto another Parkway, this time the Merritt Parkway. It’s a beautiful road, winding through wooded hills and past lovely upscale residential estates. The only problem is the signs that say, “Passenger Cars Only”.
As I say, we’re kind of a truck, but not exactly a truck in the commercial sense. In other words, we’re neither fish nor fowl, and we sort of fall into a gray area. But one thing Merritt Parkway taught us is that we are definitely not a passenger car. Our first clue was a sign on one of the lovely arched stone bridges that said, “Clearance 9’”! Now our baby stands 10 feet tall, and this 9 foot bridge was coming at us at 45mph. We’re on a one way parkway that has no place to turn off or pull over, and there is traffic in front of us and behind us.
The sign was over the slow lane where the arch was the lowest, so I swerved into the fast lane where the bridge was the highest, and we lived to screw up another day - but the experience cured us of ever trying to pass for a passenger car again.
As luck would have it, the next thing we saw was the Welcome Center so we gratefully pulled in and parked. Inside, two nice ladies told us that we were indeed in Connecticut - but they also confirmed my fears that the sign saying ‘No vehicles over 8 feet’ meant just what it said. The really scary news was that there is no way out of the Welcome Center other than to get back on the Parkway and continue on to the next exit. Fortunately, the next bridge over the Parkway was just past the next exit, and we were able to get off the Parkway before we tore the top off our RV.
We found our way back to the interstate and discovered that there is a Welcome Center there too, and we could have avoided all the thrills and chills altogether. Oh well, live and learn.
We continued on to the town of East Lyme, and camped there for the night at the Rocky Neck State Park. It is a no frills and no hookups park, but nice and quiet despite being half full. And after our day all we wanted to do was go to bed anyway! :-)