We made decent time from southern New Jersey until just over the GW Bridge, hitting the Hudson River a little after noon. We then spent the next hour and 45 minutes trapped behind various accidents while crawling through the Bronx. At New Rochelle, we exited I-95 to switch over to the Hutchinson River Parkway (which was also slow and congested, but at least moving). We passed a McDonald’s and I was suddenly overwhelmed by thinking how delicious McNuggets sounded and then just as suddenly revolted by that thought. This is also when The Toddler woke up from his nap and we knew we would have to stop soon for food (me), peeing (The Husband), and running around like a crazy person (The Toddler). We called my aunt who lived just over the NY/CT border and told her we’d be there, fate-willing, in an hour. Miraculously, after that call the road opened up and we made it in just over 30 minutes. This trip was looking up!
We stayed at her house about three-quarters of an hour, checked the traffic channel on the TV, got the all-clear, and then headed back on the road. We called my parents and said to expect us in a little over an hour. An hour later, we were only three miles away from where we’d started. A massive, 9-mile-long backup on the Merritt Parkway that showed no signs of clearing. We attempted to wend our way on back roads back over to I-95, but made little progress as every one else in Fairfield County had the exact same idea. Additionally, the nor’easter that had dumped 2 feet of snow on the Midwest had just blown in and the sleety snow was freezing onto the roadways. We headed back to my aunt’s house.
Foiled again. It hurt to be so close and not have the journey over. Still, it was nice to see my aunt a while longer and know we were not sleeping in a cheap motel just off the New Jersey Turnpike. (Response from everybody we called to tell we were at a motel in Jersey: “Are you safe?” What has MTV and The Sopranos done to everybody’s perception of New Jersey?) Just as we sat down to dinner, the power went out. We called my dad and according to the CL&P website, my aunt’s street was the only one in the entire state without power. We began to wonder if our bad luck was as contagious as our “colds.”
The next morning, we got into the car and drove the last 80 miles to my parents’ house in 1 hour, 15 minutes. It was very anti-climactic.