austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

We'll begin with a spin

So, driving from Connecticut to New Jersey. The satellite navigator wanted us to go through New York City. I desperately didn't want to do that because I know how slow it can be. I also didn't want to take the other alternative, the Tappan Zee Bridge, because everybody in the New York City area knows the Tappan Zee is going to collapse catastrophically one of these days. But given the time constraints that seemed the better choice; the bridge just had to last, like, two more hours. I couldn't figure how to make my navigator take us to the Tappan Zee from where we were, though. I figured, well, if I just take I-84 West I'll go right over it, easy to do.

I was mistaken. The Tappan Zee is not I-84. It's I-87. This diversion too us achingly far north, although the time lost to that probably balanced a lot of time we'd have spent in traffic. And we got to take in some gorgeous views of the Hudson River valley. Michigan has abundant natural beauty, but --- at least in the lower peninsula --- it hasn't got mountains, not like this.

But the time spent on this, and on heavy traffic in North Jersey, ate away my crazy idea for a way to obliterate the taste of the Boulder Dash incident. It had struck me the night before: what if I surprised bunny_hugger by driving not to our hotel but rather to a lighthouse? The Barnegat Bay Lighthouse, for example, is near enough Seaside Heights, and it's a lovely one. But I worked out the time and even assuming we had a quick lunch and hit no traffic we couldn't visit the lighthouse before its visiting hours closed. Ah, but the Sandy Hook lighthouse? Much farther north, and more historically significant. And if everything went right we might be able to get to the visitor's center, and get the lighthouse-passport stamp, with as much as fifteen minutes to spare before it closed. That was always a slender hope, but it evaporated as we waited in a jam to get on the Parkway.

I probably couldn't have pulled off the surprise anyway. bunny_hugger may be vague on New Jersey geography but she knows the Shore edge from the Trenton area, and there'd be no hiding the surprise for its last forty minutes of driving. And to work at all we'd have to hit absolutely no Shore traffic on an August afternoon. Similar logic ate up the last chance, a visit to the Navesink lighthouses.

So, my love, I'm sorry that I couldn't surprise you with a lighthouse visit. But it would have required ditching chefmongoose, really, and the New York metropolitan area having much less traffic than it did. And my not making the I-84 mistake.

Instead, we drove to our hotel. It's the long-term-stay hotel I used last year, and that already felt homelike. The rooms are little efficiency-apartment rooms, bed and small kitchen and everything in one comfortable room. We set stuff down, and grabbed some cookies, and moved out to drive across the state again.

Because this would be bunny_hugger's only evening in New Jersey, incredibly, and we couldn't dare skip going to the Silverball Museum. This was the first time she's had the chance to visit since she became a serious player in the world of competitive pinball, and she could look to the machines with a new confidence, and expertise. She knew how FunHouse ought to work, compared to how it did.

We wouldn't have enough time at the Silverball Museum. My I-84 mistake must have cost us at minimum a net half-hour, possibly more. Traffic cost us more. But ``not enough time'' must be considered one of the themes of the New England Parks Tour. We had many fantastic experiences at parks that were all magnificent, apart from problems with three people at Lake Compounce. But we didn't really have enough time to do what we hoped to do, and the clock kept taunting us with how little we would get to do.

This makes the whole thing sound sad. The thing is, it wasn't, apart from that last hour at Lake Compounce. There was frustration, in wanting to be at Funtown Splashtown USA, or Santa's Village, longer than we were, or in wanting to have more time to do things and less time spent waiting for them. But, oh, how much happier the whole thing would have felt if I hadn't got in that fight, or if I'd been able to sneak us into a lighthouse. I just don't se how we could have done it, is all.

Trivia: The second Mighty Mouse cartoon was unveiled a month after The Mouse Of Tomorrow, the character's debut (as Super Mouse). Source: Of Mice And Magic, Leonard Maltin. (Wikipedia gives the debut dates as the 16th of October, 1942, and the 27th of November, which does seem close enough.)

Currently Reading: Media Hoaxes, Fred Fedler.

Tags: new england parks tour, silverball museum

Posts from This Journal “silverball museum” Tag

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