Tuesday, May 19, 2009

National Stationery Show Saga, Part 1

Our trip to NYC began at midnight on Friday.  Our original plan of leaving at 4 on Saturday morning was scrapped and replaced with a plan of leaving at 7 on Friday night.  I guess midnight was just the compromise.

Our border crossing experience involved one tunnel crossing, one denial of entry into the United States, an armed escort by two border patrol officers carrying stop strips, a bridge crossing and two discussions with customs officers that an ottoman from our living room and a breakfast table from our sunroom shouldn't really count as "commercial goods".  Thank god the second guy bought our argument.

Time Spent: 3 hours.  

The lightning began just as we breathed our sigh of relief at having made it through customs.  Then the deluge came.  The kind that makes you use the double time setting on your wipers, but it still does no good.  

Detroit highways are currently a mess of construction and detours and bad signage.  I think about how we sometimes give very important jobs to the lowest man on the totem pole.  I think detour signage falls into this realm.  With the rain and the lightning and the disorientation combined with the passing of the same area 4 times, the night started to take on a strange "Blairwitchy" kind of feel.

Then there were the accidents.  The first one happened directly in front of us.  One Explorer travelling at a pretty good clip and changing lanes, rear ends another Explorer who is already probably doing about 50 mph.   Hard enough for the back tires to come off the ground.  After we shake off the initial "that could have been us", we creep around the scene just slow enough to see that everyone is alright and exchanging information.

As we continue on, a transport next to us slams on his brakes and starts to swerve into our lane.  Carol slows down as we come up on another accident.  Four cars, bad damage, two spun around.  None have their lights on and none have their hazards flashing.  Just four random cars crashed and stopped in the middle of the night on the interstate.  In all, the next forty minutes has 24 cars involved in various accidents and leaves us paranoid and shaky.

We finally travel about 45 minutes out of our way to catch another southerly highway and get back on track.

Time Spent: 2 hours  - a total of five hours have passed and we're still only about 45 minutes from home.

The rest of the trip is fairly uneventful.  We roll in front of the Javits Centre at about 4 pm.  

Time Spent: 11 hours  Total Time for trip: 16 hours.  Total time since "head on pillow" sleep: 34 hours.

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