Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You can't get there from here - TRULY!

I had to drive to a client's yesterday - Suffern, NY - MapQuest indicated it was 91.4 miles and estimated 1 hours and 40 minutes drive time.  Not easy to turn that into a 5 hour drive, but I managed!

All went well until at a certain point I glanced down at the written directions (hard to do when cars are pushing you to go 70 mph) and saw this I-875 towards NYC/Albany.

So I followed the sign that said NYC/Albany and all of a sudden was faced with “North” or “South.”  (Not until about 20 minutes later did I realize that my directions said I-87S not I-875.   I chose “north” simply because I didn’t think I wanted to head into the City.

As I said, about 20 minutes later I realized the folly of my decision but thought “no big deal,” I’ll get off at the next exit and get myself headed south.  No real harm done.

Well, the next exit was about 30 miles away.  So, when I finally got there, I went through the toll heading in one direction, did a U-turn and went back through the toll heading the other way.  Shoulda been easy, right?  Well, after a few minutes I realized I was going NORTH again.

Next exit was Kingston.  Lots of silent cursing in the car, but no tears.  Turned around there and successfully got myself heading south.

So far, not a real crisis.  So I lose an hour, big deal.  Hannity was off the air and I could get some of Mark Levin’s harangue for a while (but unfortunately there was a guest host.)

Anyway, I’m traveling south and all directions are being followed to a tee – I get to exit 14B, Suffern,
Airmont Road and happily get off the highway.  My hotel is on Airmont Road
I see the huge diner that is a landmark for me as it is what I use as a landmark to get from the hotel to the client's office.  I know the hotel is only about three blocks from the diner, so I’m home free.

Not quite ……………

I continue on Airmont Road and I realize I’ve gone too far, so I take the first left in order to simply turn around and backtrack.  Nope.  I'ts just turned onto a HIGHWAY.  And off I go to the first possible exit which is about 15 miles away.  I take that first exit, still thinking “this still isn’t too bad,” just get yourself turned around and go back and get back on Airmont Road
Well, the first exit I take gets me onto ANOTHER HIGHWAY.  Take first exist off that and now I am in NJ in a residential area with no people, no stores, no gas stations.

At that point, the tears have begun.  I pull into a driveway and try to get the GPS working.  It’s clear I need help, even tho I have no real expectations that a GPS will give it to me.  Doesn’t matter what I think, however, because I can’t get it to show me any directions that relate in any way to where I am and where I’m going.

I sob for a few minutes – give my self a “stiff upper lip” lecture and step into the street to stop a car – nice man tells me to go straight and at the bottom of the hill turn left on to 202.

I go straight and there is the first bottom of a hill and nowhere to turn – so I keep going.  There is after a few miles another bottom of the hill which has what looks to be a decent enough road to be called 202, so I turn left.  Go a few blocks and see nothing but homes and start to think this might not be 202.

I stop and ask someone.  I turned off one bottom of the hill too soon.

Go back and finally get myself onto something I can confirm is 202.

After a few miles I pull into a gas station to make sure I’m on the right track.

Woman says “Stay on 202 until you can’t go any further.  Then take a left and an immediate right.  That’s 59 and will take you right into Airmont.”  (Interesting that the first man who told me to take 202 said nothing about finding 59, but I digress).

For 10 miles I’m chanting “When you can’t go any further take a left, then an immediate right.” 

Abruptly, the road ends – but not because the road doesn’t go any further and I should be taking a left, followed by an immediate right.

It ends because it’s been shut down due to flooding.

So I’m forced to take a right (the only choice) which is again totally residential.

I wander for a while trying to make educated guesses about which way I should turn.

Finally – A GAS STATION.

Turn around – go back one light – turn onto Airmont Avenue – when Airmont Avenue ends take a left onto
Airmont Road
I do as I’m told and in about 20 minutes I see the DINER.  Home free again, right?  WRONG.

Due to the fact that's where all the trouble began the last time, I ask someone how to get to the Howard Johnson motel.  Not taking any chances.

“Go over the highway, go through three lights, after the third light take a left.”

I’m so happy – I do what he says but exactly where he told me he wanted me to take a left is where this all went horribly wrong about an hour and a half ago (when all I wanted to do was turn around)..

Hah, says I.  I’m not falling for that.

So I do another illegal U-turn (at this point hoping a cop will appear).

At a light I get out of my car and go to the car behind me.  Light is still red, but cars are already beginning to honk at me.  I don’t care.

Man says go back over highway and at the first light make a left.  (Just about opposite of what the first guy said.)

But I’m told to look for a Baskin Robbins as you can’t see the motel from Airmont Road , it’s right behind the Baskin Robbins.

At this point I’m thinking the hell with the motel I’m going to Baskin Robbins and eat everything I can pay for.

But I don’t and lo and behold behind all those forbidden calories is the HoJo motel.  Pretty much a dump – but it looked like the Taj Mahal to me.

And, that, my friends is how a 9l.3 mile trip turns into a nightmare. 

The only true blessing about the whole thing is that I didn't run out of gas somewhere in the middle of this hell.  Had that happened I don't think the people guarding the little rubber room would let me be making this post.


  1. At least you have the excuse that you were driving in 70mph traffic. I've been the map navigator when Al is driving and STILL managed to get us totally lost.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you are staying at home!