The Epic Road Trip – New York City, Day One

Six months ago when we began planning this road trip, we discovered something.  It costs an insane amount of money to park a car in Manhattan.  And given that we were too cheap to pay for parking in Cleveland (six dollars I’m never getting back, y’all!), we decided that we would figure out a way around that ridiculous expense.  Doing so would also cut down on toll roads into Manhattan and would save me the insanity of being Wes’s navigator through Times Square or (heaven forbid) driving down there myself.  So, we found a parking garage in New Jersey, budgeted for tickets on a ferry, and congratulated ourselves on being so smart.

We were still congratulating ourselves when we set the GPS in Canada and pointed the car towards NYC… then, we had to pull over and set it again because it was in kilometers.  Here’s hoping America never joins the rest of the world on the metric system because I can only think in miles.  From that moment on, it was an easy, breezy, pleasant ride.  So much so that even as traffic was picking up in New Jersey, I told Wes, “This is nothing compared to Houston!”  The GPS heard me and directed us off the highway and into a construction zone, where we got all turned around.  Sigh.  You know, this happened to us in Hawaii last December (perhaps it’s not the GPS but us, huh?), and we were so mellow and cool about it.  “It’s all good,” I’d said.  “Let’s just enjoy the ride.”  But in New Jersey?  Yeah, not so much.  (I blame the fact that there were children in the backseat this time asking, “Are we lost?  Mommy, have you gotten Papi lost?  Are we ever going to be able to find Texas again?”  Grrr…)

After a few cross words to the GPS and to one another, Wes and I figured out how to get back on the right road.  We were once again mellow and cool… until I saw where we were heading.

“Isn’t the Lincoln Tunnel… isn’t that going to take us right into Manhattan?!” 

Sure enough, y’all.  We were pretty sure we were out of exits and resigned ourselves to the outrageous expenses ahead of us, starting with the toll plaza we were approaching, where five lanes of traffic tried to merge into one.  We’re from Houston, so we get that kind of insanity, but it seemed worse in this situation, likely because I was moaning, “Do you know how much it’s going to cost to park the car?!  I think it’s higher than our deductible!  Maybe we should just drive the car off into the Hudson River, call it a loss, and go on!”  (That probably wouldn’t have worked out so well.)

Fortunately, once we got past the toll plaza, there was one last exit in New Jersey… which happened to be the right exit!  Oh, GPS, you are a crafty, evil, little thing!  We made our way to the parking garage and walked over to the ferry, where we finally saw the NYC skyline…

The girls probably would have looked a little more excited about that had they not just had the most stressful car ride of their young lives.

It was only going to get better from that moment on, though.  We got on the ferry, made our way across, then got on a bus that took us right up to our hotel where we dropped off all of our bags then stepped out right into Times Square and all of the Saturday night craziness that was just starting. 

Emma took one look around and told me, “This is what it’s like in my head ALL THE TIME!”  Poor little ADD child… or not, because it was kind of cool, having all the sights and sounds coming at you all at once like that!

We took Wes to dinner at the Hard Rock Café (another pin!) and called it his Father’s Day treat.  Then he treated the girls to a ferris wheel ride inside Toys R Us.  Yes, inside.  The girls were in awe that such a big Toys R Us existed.  I think they could have spent our whole time in NYC at that store and been perfectly content.

We stayed out later than normal that night but did eventually make it back to the hotel where our room was spacious and roomy.  Just kidding.  We did make it back to the hotel where our room was tiny and cramped.  But we were in NEW YORK CITY, y’all, so it was all good.

Up next, we conquer the subway system, explore the Statue of Liberty, walk the Brooklyn Bridge, and have thighs of steel thanks to all of the exercise.  (Or so Ana says.)


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