YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE!
I was looking forward to the next ten days. My two good friends from the U.K, Alan and Maggie, were arriving at Newark Airport at 6:40 p.m. I had planned out our hotel, places to visit and transportation down to the last detail. I was feeling smug as I drove to our hotel so that I would check-in early for all of us and save time on that chore. I decided to book a hotel on the New Jersey side of the Hudson that I had heard good things about……great location, services and inexpensive….the travelers Trifecta!
The drive was a long two and a half hours from Albany, but traffic was light this Sunday and I found the Hotel easily. I spent the next few hours before I had to leave to pick them up at the airport getting bus schedules, and ferry schedules. Weather for the trip into New York City the next day was promising to be perfect. Smugness ratcheted up a notch.
Armed with directions to the airport which was an easy 12 miles away I got to the Arrivals Terminal just in time to see that the flight was already on the ground and I smiled in anticipation of once again seeing my friends. They soon appeared, looking like the dazed casualties of all long flight veterans. Hugs, kisses and exclamations of glee were followed by a short walk to the car for the short trip to the hotel. Could things be going better? I thought NOT!
The trap was sprung and I rode right into it. When exiting the NJ Turnpike at the designated spot all proper signage disappeared. But I wasn't worried….I knew from my trip TO the airport that the hotel was very close by. Apparrantley not close enough as I once again found myself heading back to the airport on the NJ Turnpike. Not to worry…just take the next exit and head north once again to find the hotel. Ticket, toll and once again at the exit for the hotel. But no hotel!!!Was the hotel in Brigadoon? Appearing for 24 hours then disappearing for another 100 years???Once again South on the turnpike. Ticket, toll.
Alan admires a bridge as we go by , once again heading North and asks which is it? Being a "Joisey Girl" I can instantly identify it as the Pulaski Skyway. Alan expresses a vague interest in actually riding on it. Little did I know that somewhere into the odyssey he would have that wish granted.
After running a rut in the NJ Turnpike North/ South several times , I decide to telephone the hotel for directions. They send me off in a new direction. The hotel is on Patterson Plank Road in Carlstadt. Along the way I discover that there are in fact TWO Patterson Plank Roads, one in Carlstadt, the other in Hoboken. After several miles I know way too much about Hoboken. More calls to the hotel with the same results. I begin to fear for British-American relations in the future.
Finally, after a brief, hair-raising wrong way ride up a one-way street I gave up and called the hotel and told them they needed to come and lead us in.
Three and a half hours after I had packed them into the car at the airport we finally arrived at the hotel. The flight had taken them seven hours…London to Newark, NJ. They could have been half way home in the time it took for me to get them to the hotel and I wondered if they weren't already thinking about it.
Thank God for friends with good senses of humor!They laughed it off and forgave me. I couldn't help but wonder what their reaction would have been if they knew that the next day I would get them on the wrong ferry back from New York City and later into their visit with Manchester Vermont the destination wind up in New Hampshire!