I am parked at the Saratoga Springs Raceway in Saratoga Springs, New York, just north of Albany off of I-87.
I was awake ludicrously early this morning (5:45!) because I went to sleep by 10:15 and actually slept straight through. I wasn’t ready to be up, though, so I spent about 40 minutes cuddling with Tabitha. I took the time to make a nice breakfast, then headed into the Walmart to withdraw some cash.
It was misty in St. Clair this morning:
But the mist started to clear up as I got ready to pull out:
The drive back up to I-81 was much easier than the drive down. I knew I was going to hit construction immediately and that I was in for a long, hard haul to just past Albany. I actually have blisters forming on my hands from all that white knuckling!
At Hazleton, I took everyone’s advice about the state of the hill between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and veered east onto I-80. My GPS was much smarter today and quickly adapted to my new route, especially since I remembered to change the settings to allow routing on toll roads.
I had a very frustrating experience getting gas. There was only one pump I could access and there was someone ahead of me in line for it. The old codger got out, saw me, and went back into his vehicle. His wife tottered into the store and came out about five minutes later. The man got back out of his truck, pumped his fuel, then tottered over to the store. He came out, looked my way, and got back into the truck while his wife adjusted some things in the truck bed. She got back into the truck and they sat there another five minutes before moving on.
I got the fuel, which took almost 20 minutes since I had to authorize the pump twice, and did a check around the rig before moving on. I found a sporty red car in my blind spot. It sat there for a full five minutes before the owner came out of the store. She spent several minutes cleaning trash out of her car, then started pumping her fuel. When that was done, she sat in her car and dialed her phone. By this point, I was so angry I decided to not even attempt to get out and ask her politely to move. Sum total, I lost almost a full half hour waiting for her to clear out! I should have cut my losses at the old codger and gone to the next station down the road. I couldn’t believe that I wasted a whole hour to get fuel!
I’d spent some time last night trying to figure out how the NY Thruway works and what my toll would be, but gave up. I did cobble together, correctly, that I would encounter a toll booth upon entering the Thruway and would be given a ticket that would determine what I would have to pay at the toll booth on the exit.
This is what the ticket looked like:
Each line indicates the exit number and applicable toll. So it was easy to compare the ticket to my GPS instructions and determine that I would be exiting at 24, for a nice even toll of $11.
It was getting on lunchtime by this point, so I decided to stop at the first service area on the Thruway. I bought a nice loaf of French bread last night and planned on peanut butter sandwiches and coffee for lunch. This plan was cemented by the fact that there was a Starbucks at this first service area. Paying the Thruway surcharge on an espresso was more appealing than cleaning the French press and making my own, plus an espresso has less caffeine. Needless to say, I was surprised that a tall Americano was $2.22, just seven cents more than in Smithfield, VA, and still cheaper than a short Americano in Canada! The fast food options also seemed reasonably priced, but gas was almost $4 a gallon!
My exit was just past Albany, and let me tell you that I never thought I would be so grateful to see New York’s capital city! I knew that, from then on, it would be smooth sailing in increasingly rural landscapes all the way to my mother’s.
The exit toll booth felt very chaotic:
From Albany, I entered one of my favourite parts of the US, remembering fondly summers spent at Lakes Champlain and George and random excursions into Plattburgh with my dad just to eat dinner in another country. My detour to the raceway notwithstanding, I didn’t need a GPS anymore and felt the weight of my travels fall from my shoulders. All the signs pointed to Montreal; I was on the home stretch!
I was really tempted to continue to Montreal, but the rig was in no way ready for the border. Instead, I got to Saratoga fairly early, will have a relaxing evening, and will set out at a leisurely pace tomorrow. I was going to arrive for lunch, but failed at finding propane and a dump station today, so I need to do that tomorrow. I know there’s a state campground a couple of exits up and it should have a dump station for me to use. As for propane, wish me luck. That stuff is elusive! I had thought I’d pass a campground today and would be able to dump there and ask for directions to propane, but campgrounds would have required huge detours. Crazy!
When I got in, sat down at the computer and noticed a weird smell. What was that? Rubbing alcohol? No… Oh, acetone! I opened the medicine cabinet and discovered that a bottle of nail polish had overturned. There was very little to mop up compared to the stench that is still lingering.
Now, it’s time to figure out what I’m doing for dinner. I’m sure beer will be involved. It’s hot here!
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