My wife, child and myself recently made the move from Dallas, Texas to Albany, NY. With one of our cars on a hauler, we only thought it was logical for us to get in our 2009 Altima and drive the cross-country route. There’s a lot to be told from this trip!
Several opinions were given on the three day trip that we should take. Thanks to my buddy R.J. Choppy in Dallas (a former New York native / University of Tennessee graduate), we decided to go from Dallas to Little Rock, through Knoxville and then up through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland briefly and then through Pennsylvania into New York.
The HOV Lane
Texas, take note of how the state of Tennessee operates their HOV lane. It’s an extra fourth lane that has dotted lines and a simple sign, “HOV Lane - Between 4p-6p”. Wait, it’s a HOV lane that can only be used as such whenever it is needed? And it’s not just wasted space for the other 22 hours in a day? What genius! I-75 in Dallas, amongst other major highways in Dallas, has large plastic barricades that permanently block off an entire lane of traffic 24 hours a day. Not smart. Go drive through Tennessee. I’ve seen this concept in Arizona as well!
What Is That Drop Of Liquid?
The weather change from Texas to New York is obviously drastic and I could see it developing on the way there. Once we hit Tennessee, it rained more than half the time for the remainder of the trip. In mid-August nonetheless?! I was wiggin’ out.
I Am A Wazer
Thanks to my boy David Blassingame of Autoflex Leasing back home, I downloaded an app called ‘Waze’. Its motto is, “Outsmarting Traffic, Together.” With self-reporting help from its other users, called ‘Wazers’, the Waze community reports wrecks, detours, police officers, and other inconveniences. On multiple occasions, I was audibly warned of delays or speed traps. The Waze app – I wouldn’t go on long trips without it.
Note: I drove this entire long journey without getting a speeding ticket or being pulled over one time. For those who know me, it can be recognized as quite the personal feat.
The Gas Prices Roller Coaster
When leaving Texas, we filled up for $3.35 a gallon. Arkansas and Tennessee had the lowest gas prices, seeing two locations as low as $3.20. Once we got into New York, I filled up my car for a hearty $3.67 per gallon. That’s a tax write-off, right?
Aerial Speed Enforcer
I’ve been pulled over by a bunch of different cops in my day, but never by an airplane. Let’s talk about the signs, “Speed limit enforced by an aircraft.” Is this the most efficient way to enforce the speed limit in the year 2013? Why is a plane in the sky enforcing our speed on the ground? And no, I’ve never seen one of those signs in Texas, hence my confused reaction.
New York Tolls Rock!
As we entered the Albany area of course we immediately were spit onto a toll road. After driving on the same highway for ten minutes, I approached the toll booth at the end, handed the guy my toll ticket, and he said, “You don’t owe me anything. Have a nice day.” After I picked my chin up off the ground, I pressed the accelerator – quickly. I don’t know how or why that happened but will simply classify that as a “Welcome to New York” gift from the Empire State!
(Editor's Note: We can't wait to take Armen to the George Washington Bridge to see how his reaction changes.)
First Impressions Are Everything
We were well into New York State before having to pull over for our first potty break. We stopped into the small town of Oneonta (population 14,000).
Upon going inside the McDonald’s, my wife ordered an “ice cream cone with minimal ice cream, please.” The rather large lady behind the counter, in a loud voice, said to my thin wife, “Girl, you need a full cone! You don’t need to be skipping out on any ice cream!”
As those around began to stare, the lady made my wife a full ice cream cone, piling it high. Welcome to New York – enjoy your ice cream, whether you want it or not!
27 hours and 45 minutes on the road took us three days and two nights (57 hours total). A grand total of 1,746 miles were driven.
If you ever have to drive this long of a distance with a ten month old child, I highly do not recommend it. We had to stop every two to four hours with a baby that was determined to remind us often that she was not digging the car seat by often screaming and ignoring my wife and I’s repetitious musical rendition of the ABC’s.
Amongst the routine stops, the 9” DVD screen that my brother bought us was a great diversion and came through in the clutch. Our sweet Abigail in tow definitely added several side stories to our excursion.
I will leave you with two self-explanatory words that will cause all parents to cringe and all single individuals to think twice before having children: Poop. Explosion.