Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 88- August 8

New York to New Jersey to Pennsylvania

By Al

Today was our day to head off to Philadelphia.  The back story is that last year I bought a Groupon to race a car at the Brainard Raceway.  Not in a real race, but a chance to drive a race car around the track.  I was half way to Brainard when I got a call that it was raining too hard and the experience was cancelled.  The company that does this thing does not give refunds.  They just say you can book another opportunity.  Unfortunately, the day at Brainard was the last day in Minnesota for the season.  So, now I am living in New York.  The same company runs this opportunity at the New Jersey Motorsports track in Millville, NJ.  So I had arranged to drive a race car on August 9.  We decided to visit Philadelphia at the same time, since it is not far from Millville.

We researched renting cars and found that we could save about $300 by renting the car in New Jersey over renting it in New York.  I found a good deal in Jersey City at the Newport shopping mall.  this involved taking a PATH train from the World Trade Center Station.  PATH trains are not part of the New York subway system.  They are nice, but we have found that they are confusing and there is almost no information available at stations on what to do.  You kind of have to figure it out yourself.  Also, our transit passes do not cover a PATH train, so it is an additional expense.  Still, it was worth it to save the money. 

The shopping center is very big and it took us a while to find the rental desk.  It is actually in the middle of the mall.  Once you get your key, you go to the parking lot to find your car.  The employee at the Avis desk was very helpful.  It was a really easy time getting the car, once we found the desk. I didn't see the Avis sign at first and thought it was just an information desk.  I went up to him and asked him if he could tell me where Avis was.  He said, "Right here."  I was confused.  Then I noticed the sign.  A little embarrassing.

Anyway, we had reserved a compact but they ended up upgrading us for no cost to a very nice Nissan Altima. 

I had done a mapquest to get to Philadelphia.  It was a good thing that we had a map app. on my cell phone, because the road signage in  New Jersey and Pennsylvania is ridiculous.  It was very difficult to know when to turn or go straight because the roads where either not signed, or the signs were obstructed.  We found places where signs had been put in front of other signs, so that they could not be seen.  There was one freeway split where the sign telling you which way to go was at the split.  So, if you were in the wrong lane, you had no opportunity to get over.  I hate Pennsylvania roads. 

Nevertheless we made the two hour trip in three hours and got to our hotel.  It was a very nice hotel.  The Chestnut Hill Hotel.  The room was large and well appointed.   There was a very good restaurant in the hotel.  We had a very good dinner.

We saw this older lady on the bus as we were going to the subway.  She had a walker, which she had decorated with angels- it was completely covered.  She consented to having her picture taken.  If I need to use a walker someday, she will inspire me to make my walker into a fashion accessory.

Here's our room.  I would like to bring the bed back here. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to get it into our apartment, much less into our bedroom.  Our room and bath were 2/3 the area of our apartment. 


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