Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Two Southern Folks Go North of the Mason-Dixon: Part Three

This is the third and final post about our trip to New York (and back); check out the previous two posts for the first part of our trip.

After spending the night in beautiful Pennsylvania, we headed south again.  All along the road home, we had gorgeous views of the Appalachian Mountains.  It made the drive SO much better to have such wonderful sights surrounding us.

It took us a whopping 11 minutes to drive through Maryland (where you can't talk on the phone and drive); Approximately 20 minutes later, we'd passed through West Virginia as well.  In Virginia, we decided to try checking out the caverns that were advertised along the interstate.  When we realized they wanted $24 to "walk in a hole in the ground" (as Davis said), we quickly headed on our way.  We have been informed that we are cheapskates, but I reassure myself that while we can be a bit frugal, we also hadn't planned on spending much money anytime soon, especially considering that we've been working on giving our new place a face-lift.

This creepy statue welcomed us to Shenandoah Caverns

Saturday afternoon we rolled into Tennessee - the 10th state on our 4-day adventure! We had planned to drive the Tail of the Dragon on Sunday and then head home.  The Tail of the Dragon has an 11 mile stretch of road with 316 curves.  Driving this road is something Davis has wanted to do for a long time, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity.  Check out the video below to see part of the drive.  It shows the beautiful scenery as well as all the curves. This one is about 8 minutes long (less than 1/3 of the trip). While it looks like we're going pretty slow, the speed limit of 30mph was plenty fast enough for this road.  It actually made me a bit motion sick to film and watch the road at the same time, so we had to pull over for a few minutes after this particular video.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Two Southern Folks Go North of the Mason-Dixon: Part Two

To read about the first part of our trip, please see the previous post!

After a disastrous morning in the Hamptons, we headed to Coney Island; After all, we figured it was an iconic New York activity, so we should experience it.  And experience it we did...

We paid $10 for parking - the incredibly nice toll attendant trusted us to park, get cash from an ATM, and then come back and pay her. She was one of the nicest people we met in New York! After paying for parking, we headed up to the Boardwalk and down to the Atlantic Ocean. It was shady. The sketchy kind of shady, but no one else seemed to realize it.  There were people all over in the sand and the water (which was an icky brown, at best). As we were debating whether to stick our feet in, our attention was caught by the dirty diaper laying right at the edge of the water; we decided that we'd rather not catch some terrible disease and hurried back to the Boardwalk.  We each had a slice of pizza as we watched a storm roll in. 

The storm rolling in over Coney Island

While debating whether or not we should try riding one of the cheesy, fair-like rides at the Coney Island amusement park, thunder and lightning started popping up. At that point Davis said, "I don't want to ride anything. I was already anxious about a roller coaster, but the lightning makes it a no-go." We opted for over-priced ice cream, and then we started our walk back to the car.  At this point, everyone else was headed for cover (accompanied with shrieks and running).  Davis and I ignored it all and continued strolling back to the car. Huge raindrops started plopping down (and had the gall to splash in my ice cream cone!) By the time we made it to the parking lot, the sky let loose; once we were halfway across the lot, we were completely soaked, and the lightning was striking quite close.  I'm sure the sight of us sprinting to the truck (me covered in mint-green ice cream literally from head to toe) was amusing.  Thankfully, I thought ahead and brought an extra change of clothes, which I quickly changed into once we made it to the car. I did not relish the thought of driving 4+ hours in wet clothing.

As we sat in traffic for an hour trying to get across the Verrazano Bridge, I prayed that we would make it out of New York alive and without any damage to the truck. I should mention that when we came across the Verrazano Bridge into New York on Thursday, then wanted $12 for the toll. $12!?!?! Needless to say, we did not have that much in cash because we had banked on spending about $4 for the toll.  The booth operator told us to "Just mail it." Hah. Yeah right. But here's the kicker....To get back across the Verrazano Bridge and out of New York, then wanted $13!!! 

Oh, and I loved all the signs that we saw right around the Bridge area.
"Air Action Day is Thursday and Friday: Use Mass Transit!"
"Fireworks are ILLEGAL! To report illegal fireworks, call 311."
"Use of Cameras Prohibited: Strictly Enforced" (Notice how I blatantly disregarded that message. Come on, they asked for it!)

We finished Friday by having dinner with Jenny Z (one of my incredible Sicilian roommates!) near Harrisburg, PA.  And I have to say that it was lovely catching up with her and doing some reminiscing about our adventures around Sicily. (I'm still hoping that all the Sicilian roommates will be able to get together at some point in the next year or two!)

For the rest of our trip home, see the next post!

Two Southern Folks Go North of the Mason-Dixon

Last Tuesday Davis got a call from his boss - boss (the one out in California) about two recirculation units that had been ordered a few weeks ago; the lady who purchased them needed them "yesterday". (Here are the Recirculation Units in case you've got a couple thousand dollars just laying around...) Wednesday morning, Davis called me (woke me up) and asked me if I wanted to go to New York. Groggily I mumbled something about What? When? Why? Are we flying? He said that we'd be leaving the next morning (Thursday) and delivering the units Friday morning in Southampton. "Sure, why not!" was my answer (Ahh...the benefits of teaching and having the summers off!). Davis told me to go back to sleep and that he'd let me know when he was positive that he would be making the trip. Yeah right. Like I was going back to sleep after THAT news.

Around 4:00 that afternoon, I was in the middle of sitting at Meineke waiting for Davis's oil to be changed in his truck when he called to let me know that we were going to New York.  It turns out that Ms. Goldstein (the woman who purchased the units) was more willing to pay $1500 to have Davis deliver them to her horticulturist than $3000 to ship them overnight. By the way, I should mention that she wanted these units to have at the party where she was showing off her house. (In case you're counting, that's $3400 for the units, $1500 for delivery by Davis, and probably $300 more for the plants/horticulturist for a grand total around $5200.)

We left bright and early Thursday morning - on the road by 6:45am. We drove through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York before stopping for the night at 10:45pm; We still had another 45 minutes to drive on Friday morning into Southampton. Dinner consisted of some Lean Pockets from the hotel "market". (If you think Lean Pockets are pretty much like Hot Pockets, you'd be right except for the complete lack of taste in Lean Pockets.)  Before bed I did some research on seeing a Broadway play Friday afternoon on our way out of town. However, I quickly determined that nearly $200 for a Friday night show just wasn't in the time or money budget.  I told Davis that I'd settle for a Broadway show that comes to Atlanta.

Friday morning we were up bright and early again, and we reached the horticulturist's by 7:45am.  The drop-off went smoothly, and Steve (the horticulturist) recommended The Golden Pear on Southampton's Main Street for breakfast.  Davis and I both opted for the Cinnamon Infused Belgian Waffle.  We were sitting outside at a table waiting for breakfast (which took quite a long time considering we ordered 2 waffles) when the Manager walks out the door and directly over to us. The conversation went a bit like this:

Manager: Are you eating breakfast here?
Us: Yes, Sir.
Manager: Have you ordered?
Us: Yes, Sir.
Manager walks off.

In case you can't tell, that was the Manager hustling us for our seats because we didn't look like we belonged there. I considered telling him to please refund our $29 and we would be happy to find some other place to eat, but I held my tongue like a good Southern lady.  By the way, the waffle was the densest, blandest, most expensive waffle I've ever eaten; the fruit on top wasn't so great either. After many disdainful glances from the others at the cafe who could tell we didn't belong, we decided to drive around and see "The Estates" in Southampton. These "Estates" consisted of decent houses surrounded by hedges; So, basically, we saw a bunch of hedges. Pretty hedges, but only hedges nonetheless.  We finally give up on the Hamptons, and decide to head to Coney Island...the tale of while you will have to read my next post for!

Hedges in the Hamptons