Observations from the Road, Part Deux

When I told an old friend that I must learn to tolerate I-95, he quipped that the I-95 corridor is intolerable.  He's right.  But here are my recent observations to help along the way to tolerance.
  • If you notice the beautiful stars as you drive along, look again.  They're airplanes.  The light pollution makes seeing stars impossible.
  • If you fondly remember the Burger King onion rings from when you were a kid, don't order them at the service areas.  There's more breading on the onion rings than actual onion in the rings.
  • Speaking of fast food, McDonald's appears to be the crème de la crème of fast food.  At least it's consistent in its awfulness.
  • If you're travelling non-stop between Washington, DC, and Boston, Mass, you're going to hit rush hour at some point during your drive.  Books-on-tape or shuffle mode on the iPod helps with the slow traffic.
  • If you have a fender bender because some doofus didn't stop in time to avoid smashing into your rear bumper, for God's sake, do NOT get out of your car.  (I observed this happen in the middle lane.  At night!)
  • Connecticut State Troopers drive black Ford Taurus unmarked cars.  And they can haul ass.
  • Speaking of hauling ass, there are two type of motorcyclists on I-95.  Cruisers who wear half-helmets and jean jackets but generally follow the speed limits; and squids who wear tinted-visor full face helmets and leather jackets but delight in going in the triple digits or popping wheelies at 80 miles per hour.
  • To cut down on the stress associated with I-95, opt for the Merritt and Cross Parkways in Connecticut if at all possible.
  • If you happen to find yourself in New York City and need to head northeast towards Boston and points in between, do NOT take the Cross Bronx Expressway.  Head west on 57th to the Hudson Parkway and follow it north.  You won't believe you're still in New York City.  In fact at points you'll swear you're in upstate New York.
  • There is no good food to be found at any of the service areas anywhere along the I-95 corridor.  This may sound radical.  But . . . Print out a coupon for discount parking (Icon parking has good specials) in New York City, drive into the city, and eat a decent meal while you wait for the traffic to let up.  I know this is contrary to my last blog about the I-95 corridor when I said to avoid New York City at all costs.  (So I must be a radical because driving in New York City traffic doesn't bother me.)
  • Not all Starbucks are created equal.  The one on East Putnam Avenue in Riverside, CT, may not be the easiest on-off or even have a drive-thru, but it's a pleasant break if you can figure out how to get into the parking lot of the strip center.  Hint: from the I-95 off-ramp, go straight through the traffic light and bear right into the parking lot.  The Starbucks is towards the far end of the strip center.
  • Most non-service center Starbucks have the best restrooms because most of them have seat protectors in the restrooms.
  • Not all GPS's are created equal.  Make sure your Bitching Betty has the most up-to-date maps loaded or else you might be in the left lanes when you should be in the right lanes. 
  • If there's no blinking yellow light for your EZ-Pass lane and you planned to use your EZ-Pass because you don't have any cash, you're SOL.  Because it wasn't an EZ-Pass lane after all, but a Cash-Only lane.
  • Toll booth attendants have no sense of humor.  If you ever find one who does, be nice to him or her.
  • When you're at the last service center in New Jersey to fill up with the cheap gas, go for the lane with no cars.  People either don't realize the hoses are long enough to reach to the other side of their cars or they don't want the hoses draped over their vehicles even if it means not waiting in line for gas.
  • Believe it or not, there are lots of deer within grazing range of the guard rails.  There was one nibbling on the grass just on the other side of the guard rail in Massachusetts while 18-wheelers and sports cars went roaring past her.  Be careful.  Especially in southern New Jersey at night.  There were herds of them.  Let's talk about re-introducing the grey wolf to southern New Jersey to help control the deer population.  But that's a blog for another day.


  1. I used to take the Merrit Parkway in the old days. It is a beautiful scenic road (as are roads like the Taconic parkway) but the theory fails when the weather is bad or if there is snow. At that point they are significantly more dangerous than the 95 corridor.

  2. There hasn't been a pilgrimmage during the winter months yet. I'll keep your advice in mind.