Well, I’m in New York. I could be out having fun in town right now, but I decided to return to the hotel and write an article for fear of falling asleep on the MTA. Besides, I’ll have plenty of time after the Northeast Astronomy Forum tomorrow to explore the city.
I left the Greater Pittsburgh Area around 1pm this afternoon. My route took me north on PA-28 to Interstate 80. 28 is a four lane express way until you get to Kittanning. After that, it’s a windy cow path country road. But I did get to make a stop at my favorite Sheetz, located at the I-80 junction in Bridgeville.
I jumped on I-80 East and drove for what felt like forever. There are way too many rest stops on that damn road. I consumed no less than six bottles of water on the drive, but I didn’t need to stop more than twice to use the facilities. Along certain parts of I-80, there’s a state funded rest stop every twenty minutes. If you need to pee every twenty minutes, you shouldn’t bother leaving your house without wearing depends.
As you can imagine, I was making great time. But right around 5pm, my trip came to a complete halt. Twenty-five miles of backed up traffic at a dead stop! It was right before you enter the Delaware Water Gap. I pulled out my smart phone and kept refreshing Google Maps until a traffic bulletin was posted. “Overturned tractor trailer between Exit 2 and Worthington State Park. Eastbound closed until further notice.”
Dammit! I had never been on this stretch of highway before and wasn’t sure if I should risk a detour. On one hand, I could get around the closure and get back onto I-80. On the other, I could get lost and waste more time than if I just waited the closure out. I started looking around Google Maps and found a state route that seemed to parallel I-80 named PA-611. I maneuvered my way off the highway and took my chances on 611. The first two on ramps to get back onto I-80 were still full of stopped traffic, so I continued on PA-611. When I got to the third on ramp, I-80 was empty. Finally! I was past the road block. By the time I got back onto I-80, it was nearly 6:30pm.
Shortly after, I reached I-287, which I followed until I got to my hotel. I didn’t start using GPS navigation until this point. Surprisingly, my GPS said I would arrive at my hotel by 7:30, which means I was 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I have no idea how I could have possibly been that far ahead of schedule after getting stuck in traffic for so long. I stopped at a Shell station across from the hotel and filled up my tank before checking in. Another surprise, I made it the entire way on a single tank of gas. My “miles till empty” screen still had 10 miles on it when I pulled in to the gas station.
There was a really strange and yet awesome car at the gas station. I took a picture of it. Then I realized that I was freezing! I was wearing flip flops, jeans and a t-shirt. When I left Pittsburgh, it was about 50 degrees and sunny, too warm to even wear a hoodie. When I got out of the car in New York, it was in the lower 40s and windy. I actually was shivering while I pumped my gas.