I know it's been a month since I was on the East Coast, but I've been meaning to write some more thoughts on my travel to New England and some of the oddities I've found.
- Tollroads (excuse me, "turnpikes") suck. In California, we use the word "Freeway" so much, it doesn't really occur to us how profound that word truly is. Granted, we are starting to have more tollroads, particularly in Southern California. However, when there is a tollroad in California, it is usually of the optional variety. For instance, if you want to drive from San Juan Capistrano to Costa Mesa, you have the option of going the "normal" way (the 5 to the 405), taking about a half hour to an hour depending on time of day, or you could take the tollroad, pay $4 or $5, and get there in 15 minutes. On the east coast, your only option besides the tollroad is to take surface streets, which go through towns and add substantial miles and time. The really annoying thing is that you have to pay multiple times. I understand that different states charge separately, but I had to pay to get on in Portland, then to get out of Maine, then once in New Hampshire and, if I hadn't gotten off the road, again in Massachusetts. And each time it's 60 cents, 45 cents, a dollar ten. Why not just make me give you pennies? That would be about as annoying.
-How can you be a sports fan on the east coast? When I was visiting, the Red Sox were in Seattle and the Indians were in Anaheim. It was nice for me because when I was making a long drive in the middle of the night, I was able to pick up a sports station from Cleveland (not quite sure how the geography worked out on the one) and listen to the game. But if I were an actual Indians fan, that would truly suck. Sure, we miss the first hour of a game when it starts at 4:00, but that's usually not as vital as missing the last two hours would be. I'm assuming Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Football, and playoff game in any sport have got to absolutely suck. If I were on the east coast, I think I'd petition to have the workday start at 10:00. On the flip side, I think I now know why the west coast is generally less religious than the east coast - football. Y'all can still go to church Sunday morning's and then go home and watch the pre-game show. We can't. Our pregame shows start at 9:00 AM (8:30 on ESPN). We barely have enough time to go buy a six-pack. We're usually still drinking coffee during the first quarter.
- Directions are weird. Somehow I kept messing up on east and west. I never thought it was so internalized, but in my subconscious, west means "toward the ocean." Odd since I haven't lived near the ocean in 16 years. And often times on the east coast I was nowhere near the ocean, but for some reason every time I wanted to go east, I found myself looking for the exit for west. Normally I caught myself, but one time I completely missed the turnoff when travelling from Hartford to Manchester. Again, no ocean is visible from either of those cities, yet for some reason I drove right past the "I 84 East) turnoff.
-Manchester, NH is a beautiful city. Too bad the economy sucks.
-I stopped by Daddy Bush's house in Kennebunkport, ME. At first I thought "I wonder if I can find it. It seems like a small town. Then I got a map that clearly showed where it was. As I approached it, there were signs that said "no stopping, pullout ahead." And sure enough, right across from the house, there's a little turnout and signs that say 15 minute parking and no RVs or busses. At first I was thinking "God, what a horrible, celebrity obsessed society we live in where people (like myself) pull over just to take a picture of somebody's house." Then I realized, it's not like this guy made a movie or anything. He was the leader of the free world, a job only 43 people have had in history and a job that only 4 living people have had. So it's really not that bad of a thing that people stop to see his house. I highly doubt his son's house will be so accessible to the public when his term is over.
-Northeast weather sucks. There's no reason three baseball games in late July should be delayed or cancelled due to torrential downpours. Absolutely no reason.
-Delta Airlines also sucks. I think it's their official policy to treat customers like crap. The sad thing is when a few of them try to be helpful. I bet they get beaten afterward. So to the one lady that helped me when the rest shrugged their shoulders and told me I'd be spending the night in JFK, thank you. Please go work for United or something.