A Tale of Two Newarks

March 11, 2008

Yesterday around 10am I got into my car and headed out. Got gas at the nearby station, stopped by the Starbucks near it and got me a blueberry muffin and a venti white mocha (I flipped off the Dunkin Donuts in the same shopping center while walking back to my car with it). Realized I needed cash, so drove a bit to my credit union. Finally, around 10:45am, got on the damn road!

Good ride up I-95. Got to around Baltimore, following my Google Maps directions. At first thought I was going the wrong way since I’ve been by Baltimore zillions of times but the road seemed different. Well, I was still on course anyway, just got caught in a small backup. Went under Fort McHenry tunnel and paid a toll. Five dollars! Grrr.

Drove and drove, almost an hour from home at this point, and soon crossed the Susquehanna River. Sweet. Almost to Delaware! Into Cecil County for a short while, and at last crossed into the First State. Took the first exit into Newark, DE. There was something I just had to see.

I pulled into Corporate Boulevard, and a short way in, there it was! The Delmar Thermo Fisher Scientific distribution center! You see, at work, my main job is ordering lab supplies, and most supplies come from the gigantic distributor of lab stuff known as Fisher. After nearly two years at this job and seeing so many orders shipped to us from the local warehouse in Newark, DE, I just had to see this place! Basically, a couple of enormous buildings. I just took a couple pictures to show my coworkers later, but I wonder what kind of strange looks I’d have gotten if I had gone inside all excited about seeing the place and asked for a tour or something. Hehe. *imagines Willy Wonka-esque adventure* Everlasting cell culture flask, ZOMG!

Er, Corning makes those actually, Fisher just sells them. Meh.

So I got back onto 95 and continued on my way, and it was about 12:30pm at this point. Went to I-295 and crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey. Turnpike! Got the silly little ticket. Then pretty much rocketed north at like 85 mph, hahaha. Worried about a NJ state trooper stopping me or something, but I was slow compared to everyone else. Sweet.

Oh, have I mentioned I hate trucks? So many of them and they’re so big and scary to drive near. They block your view of important signs. They drive along all like “hey, look at me, I’m a truck, I’m like big and stuff and bearing signs saying America would stop without me, I’m so cool!” Fail.

Reached Exit 13 after lots of zooming along, then got stuck in a little backup getting onto the Goethals Bridge (how the HELL is that pronounced?!). Paid expensive toll and got onto bridge and onto Staten Island and into New York City!

Although, Staten Island looks more like “New Jersey Continued” than NYC, but whatever.

Sped along that to the Verrazano Bridge, playing Collective Soul’s “The World I Know” on a loop from my CD player, and then got into Brooklyn and caught in a little construction backup on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Exit 24 came finally, I drove down some streets according to my printed directions, and at last I reached the place I visited six months ago, the home of Jason, Ana, Rob, and Pam.

Parked on a nearby street, went up to their place, and Alex arrived like a minute later (I totally bragged that I got there first, me > Alex). Watched semi-creepy Obama video and then a demonstration of 20th century wars featuring food, and then we headed out and went to Manhattan.

Went into the Whole Foods on Bowery and claimed ourselves a table and a lot of cubes to hold the meeting. For me, it kind of sucked because I had a really bad headache so I just wasn’t with it. Worried me since I hated to be so out of commission for the NYRA meeting! Finally, I was given an aspirin so kindly, so things became fine again slowly, heh.

And I felt stupid since everyone else was wearing a black or otherwise dark shirt while I was wearing my stupid little light blue sweater thingy, heh.

Met a few new people, like Ben and Oren, and saw some I’d seen before. We sat there for like three hours debating and chatting and eating fries. Awesome. Totally worth the long drive and taking off work. 🙂

After that, Jason, Ana, Rob, Pam, Alex, and I all walked around in the cold until we reached a Turkish restaurant where Rob works, and we ate some Turkish food. Mmmm. Sitting with five awesome NYRA people in NYC and eating Mediterranean food. I’m still puzzled as to why I wasn’t like leaping for joy!

Food was lots of stuff I’ve had before, or at least had similar versions of before. Lamb was amazing!

Got done with dinner around 11pm and returned to their place near midnight. Crap! I still had to drive home! Oy. I already knew I was going to get home late, but shit! No matter. I didn’t mind because the time was very enjoyable.

The others were playing the new Smash Bros. game on the Wii went I decided it was time to go, around 12:15am, and I hated to leave! Wanted to stay and have fun! Oh, well.

Went back out to my car, carefully got out of the parallel parking spot, and went to a nearby gas station for some gas to get me all the way home. Following the Google Map instructions again, worked my way out of Brooklyn slowly.

Misunderstood one direction which took me from some circle onto Ocean Parkway, when I was supposed to take Fort Hamilton. Okay, ended up having to turn around and go back around the circle and get on Fort Hamilton that time. Ate up some time, but whatever. Now, going down Fort Hamilton, needed like 78th street. What was I on? Like 36th or something. Sigh.

Finally got to the end of that and up to the Verrazano Bridge and onto the Staten Island Expressway. Yay! Moving along! Might get home before 4am! Got through Staten Island and across the Goethals Bridge and went to get another silly little ticket for the New Jersey Turnpike. And here’s where everything went horribly wrong!

Past the ticket plaza, there were two signs ahead of me, one for I-95 North and one for I-95 South. I couldn’t see much beyond the signs. Very dark. Well, the South sign was toward the right so I moved toward the right. As I drove by, I noticed an exit I was passing on my right which I didn’t see at all until I was already by it. Uh oh.

I got off the ramp onto I-95. That was Exit 13 so next, if I’m going south, should be Exit 12. Went a few miles before I saw another sign for the next exit.

Exit 14! Aw, crap! I’m going the wrong way! So I got off there so I could find some way to turn around. I was at Newark Airport. I got to the toll plaza where I had to turn in the ticket I just got and pay the toll, which was only like a dollar since it was one exit from where I got it, heh. I asked the woman in the booth how I get back to I-95 South. She pointed me to a sign ahead for South 1 9 or something, and to follow that until I got to another ticket plaza to get back onto I-95, and to take the exit for South. Okay, simple enough.

I followed the 1 9 South thing for a little bit until a fork in the dark road, neither way really indicating which continues 1 9 or gets to I-95. Well, whichever one it was, I took the other one. :irked:

Not sure WHERE the hell I was now! Looked like I was heading toward a town. Elizabeth perhaps? Meh, who knows. On the road there, I turned around and went back the way I came, whichever way that was.

I ended up going into Newark Airport. Okay, fine, I’ll drive through its roads and find the exit from there, which should surely point me back to I-95. After a lot of driving through little airport roads, it did. Sort of. A sign pointed to 95, so I went. Soon I was to another ticket plaza. Great! Now let’s try this again! Can’t even describe the frustration I was feeling. Tired and frazzled and almost in tears, and this all had taken like half hour to 45 minutes!

Got my silly little turnpike ticket, and ahead of me like before were two signs for I-95. I wasn’t sure if this was the same ticket plaza as before or not. In retrospect, probably not, but it was almost 2am so everything looked the same. The two signs for I-95 in front of me? Each pointed a different direction, but with NO indication of which was for North and which was for South! Oy.

So I assumed it would be the one on the right, so I stayed to the right, watching for any exits hidden in the dark. There was one… it was closed! WTF?! So now I was following some ramp that was probably about to lead me in circles. I was so ready to stab someone in the face!

I was back on I-95 but couldn’t tell which way I was going. That late everything looks the same so couldn’t tell if it looked like earlier when I got on North by mistake to begin with. After a while, some signs for the next exit appeared.

Exit 12.

YES! I’m on I-95! Oh, thank you, God! I’m going the right way finally!

Crap, might not get home until like 5am. Going to be SO tired at work!

Forget work. I was tired now! Stupid NJ turnpike looks so austere at night, so monotonous. Just me and a lot of stupid trucks driving at like 85mph at 2:30am. In retrospect, kind of cool, but at the time was too frazzled to appreciate it. Too bad I was getting increasingly worried I’d fall asleep at the wheel! Just tried to interest myself in what I was seeing around me to keep myself alert.

At last, reached the end of the turnpike and time to pay the toll. Wow, tolls rule! The act of gathering the money and paying it is a breaking the monotony of driving on endless dark road and woke me up a bit. So the concern of whether I’d make it home without having to pull off or anything subsided. Was back in Delaware! Soon was back in Maryland!

The rest of the way was pretty uneventful. Lots of dodging around big trucks and late night construction work. Passed Baltimore and through the Fort McHenry tunnel okay, and on to the Capital Beltway. Except I was starting to get drowsy again, and it was about 4:30am at this point. Ugh.

Almost there. Capital Beltway. I-270. Win!

Pulled up to my house, left everything in the car, went in, petted my very excited dog, and went upstairs and straight into bed. It was 4:45am.

That was early this morning, and I woke up for work like three hours later. I am SO tired. Hehehe.

6 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Newarks”

  1. I recognize the necessity of truckers. Those “without trucks, America stops” signs are annoying, though.

    Also, I don’t like driving a long distance when I’ve been awake for a long time. I have problems staying awake. Talking to myself out loud sometimes helps, as does reading the signs out loud.

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