The Interstate Experience

Baltimore Travel Blog

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A bridge on Highway 95 near New York

Early start this morning as I had to get all the way down to Virginia by the evening.

After a brief breakfast, thankyous and goodbyes to my find host C, I headed out. Fuel stop first (or 'gas' as I will undoubtedly be corrected). Refueling the car has been somewhat of a challenge for me on this continent. Back in the UK you can just wander up to a pump choose the hose for the desired flavour (raspberry is mine but no one ever stocks it) and away you go.

In the states you have a number of strange lateral thinking puzzles to overcome before any gas is dispensed. For starters, you have to pay first if you're paying with cash. This I now think is quite logical as it stops people scarpering after filling up without paying. Next is the magic of the start button, without which you will be left scratching your cranium and looking like a wally (the latter I am now a past master at).

PoD and I discuss the film 'Being John Malcovich' at the New Jersey Turnpike rest stop
Lastly, and this is the big one, akin to the cognitive hurdle that brought us the solar powered torch and the underwater shower, it is my great pleasure to bring you the gas hose receptical in-use switch. The magic of this is that you don't even know its there. Even after performing all other actions as required you have to lift the receptical switch before anything can happen. Since when did gas pumps require operations manuals?

Finally I fuelded up and drove off to find route 95 which would take me most of the way to Richmond. Nobody warned me that there would be toll booths! A long list of factors complicated every approach to a toll plaza. After about the 5th I had the order of events sussed, but then the next one greeted me with a broken down van caught inside the yellow zone and the car infront of me motioning me to back up.

a brief absence of traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike
Now the thing I've learned about toll booths is that they don't like you to drive through the EZpass booths without actually having purchased an EZpass (so you need a cash booth instead). I had carefully chosen a cach booth when I encountered the breakdown. Upon reversing (despite big signs that say no reversing) I then discovered that the booths either side of mine were all EZpass. I reversed still further, found a small break in a line of traffic cones and swept couragiously into traffic emerging from some other junction. admist the looks of confusion from passing cars I made it through a fresh cash booth and headed onward.

Next was the joys of the New Jersey Turnpike. I pulled off and called my Friend E (a different but just as important E as the other E to which I keep refering) as she used to live in the area. She agreed to meet me in Baltimore (meeting me in St. Louis wasn't going to work as we didn't know the lyrics).

Back on the '95 the traffic slowed to a grind and eventually filtered past two cars that had fender bendered. The cars were in the middle of the highway, perfectly drivable but the owners were swapping driving tips while the queue around them started to fume.

I got into Baltimore and entered a Stepford wives style gated community where a BBQ was going on. It was to this BBQ I was headed to meet up with E (you know which one)(no not that one, the other one). A couple of beers and some tiramisu later found me challenging all and sundry on the pool table. A sound thrashing from a guy from Rochdale sent me packing and we retreated to an apartment across town. I had the whole sofa to myself, unfortunately it was a might too short so I had to leave my legs outside. Thankyou to P for the use of his sofa despite its length. After a restless night I headed on to Richmond...

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A bridge on Highway 95 near New Yo…
A bridge on Highway 95 near New Y…
PoD and I discuss the film Being …
PoD and I discuss the film 'Being…
a brief absence of traffic on the …
a brief absence of traffic on the…
photo by: freak0ut