Thanks for joining us this week!! When we last left off, Jerry was recapping our time in Maine.
We ended our weekend with a fun Saturday spent with Linda and Scott touring the Orono Fire Station, where their son, Aaron, is the Captain. I had never toured a fire station before so I was completely enthralled with the day to day life of firemen. Jerry loved the big fire trucks! He’s such a boy!
After the fire station tour we went to a very fun and beautiful area for a civil war reenactment event. There were beautiful horse and buggy rides, people making apple cider, biscuits, baked beans, showing how to make pottery, wood cutting, and on, and on. People were really into their roles and costumes. We truly enjoyed ourselves. Check out this week’s YouTube video to see what I’m talking about!!!
Needless to say, it was very difficult leaving Scott and Linda. Yes, there were tears and many promises to keep in touch, and that we will be back! We are hoping they will be spontaneous this winter and come visit us in Florida. You just never know.
Time to move on as they say. We left on Monday heading to Massachusetts for one night. We stayed in Sturbridge, where we stayed on our way into New England way back in June. We had dinner with our friends Ron and Carol who live not too far from our campground.
It was pretty darn cold that night! When we left Maine, they had a freeze warning and it went down to 28 degrees. Thank goodness we use electric heaters. Yes, we have central air/heating, but the electric heaters really do the trick. We were quite bundled up at dinner as the restaurant was very cold inside as well. We had a great evening with Ron and Carol as usual. Just never enough time together.
Now comes the fun part… We left for New Jersey at 8:00 am after looking at the route the night before. I think I have mentioned that I use 2 different RV GPS apps, as we cannot trust just one any longer. The night prior to our departures, we always check the route to confirm we are comfortable. We were told by numerous people to NOT cross over the GW (George Washington) Bridge by ANY means possible.
We have heard horror stories of big rigs crossing with all the traffic and just the narrow lanes, etc. I actually heard of someone pulling off after crossing and throwing up. It’s that nerve wracking. So, of course, we made sure the GPS was taking us over the Mario Cuomo Bridge instead. We were set and ready to embark on this adventure to New Jersey. (Do you feel the tension?)
We were having a great trip. All was good. The two GPS’s were in sync and then we hit New York State. One of the GPS’s decided it was going to take us to the GW bridge and the other one said take highway 117 to the Mario Cuomo. Of course, we wanted the Mario Cuomo Bridge so we started to turn on 117 and Jerry saw the sign saying, NO TRUCKS, PASSENGER CARS ONLY! (now this is where it gets confusing!) I thought it also said NO RV’S. He pulled off the highway and we looked at the GPS’s and were completely unsettled as to what to do. We didn’t want to go to the GW, but it looked like we had no choice. I was starting to freak out as he continued back on the parkway. Notice, I said PARKWAY (more on this in a minute) As he’s driving on the parkway we see another sign saying “passenger cars only”. By this time we are both completely stressed out and we come to an overpass that says 12’9”. We are 13’7”. I’m completely freaking the hell out by this time.
Jerry pulls over at the entrance of the overpass blocking an off ramp!!!!!!!!! We are stuck! (this happened to us in Dallas because of the GPS). Needless to say I am in complete breakdown mode!!! I’m having a meltdown while my poor husband is trying to figure out what the hell we are going to do. He’s trying to calm me down while trying to see if we can get through. He’s in and out of the truck in the oncoming traffic, which also freaks me out even more. I’m yelling that we have to call 911 to help us. He’s telling me I’m going to have to drive very slowly as he watches to make sure we don’t hit anything!! Yes, you read that right!! I have never driven while towing the RV all this time. I completely lose my “you know what” and tell him there is no freaking way I’m going to do that as tears are streaming down my face as I am completely breaking down. For those of you who know me, you understand what that means. It’s not pretty!!!
To make a horrifying story short, my husband is the hero. He realized that if he drove in the middle of the overpass we would make it. This is after many minutes of him walking around the oncoming traffic, climbing on mounds of dirt to get a better look, etc. Slowly he drives while I have my head in my lap crying and not looking. WE MADE IT THROUGH!!
As we get off the parkway we see a construction worker. Jerry stops and asks him how to get to the Mario Cuomo Bridge. His name was Goose with a very strong NY accent. The nicest guy. He was very kind and told us that GPS’s are worthless around this area and he has seen truckers get stuck all the time. He also said to avoid all parkways as they are for passenger cars only!
Needless to say, he directed us to the bridge and we crossed over only to get on the Garden State Parkway. We started freaking out again as a sign came up saying, “last stop for truckers, get off now” ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? We get off and call the campground. Mike, the owner, said, “You aren’t a truck, you are a RV”. We look at each other and realize they meant commercial truckers. Yep, we were having PTSD at this point. So, back on the Garden State Parkway we went and sure enough the overpasses posted signs that were very low!! At one point Jerry yells, “We are going to hit”. We didn’t, thank goodness.
What we did find out was that they have upgraded the overpasses and parkways, but NEVER took the NO TRUCKS signs off, and the signs with the height of the overpass are for the sides and not the middle. WTH???
This was the absolute worst travel day we have had in 15 months. We are still dealing with the after effects of this day. These are the things that make people STOP RVing!! I can’t express how incredibly frightening this experience was. I know we will look back and say we survived it and nothing was broken. But, it will take time.
What we learned? Moving forward we are going to, not only look at the two GPS’s, but look at a Trucker GPS (if they can go on the road, so can we) and also get out an actual atlas of the area and highlight the route and have it in the truck with us at all times. (just like in the old days when you went to AAA and they highlighted a trip tic. (For those of you old enough to remember that)
We are excited to be in New Jersey as we are spending time with two families, Dana and her mom Joycee, that I met on Zoom while working for Weight Watchers. They were members of mine and I promised them when we started this adventure we would come visit. How incredible to meet people on Zoom and then to be able to give them a hug in person! More about that next week!!
We need to decompress and go walk on the beach.
Just One More…..Overpass that I never want to see again!!