October 05, 2003

On the road in CT, NY, NJ, and PA

We're continuing in head-back-to-the-barn mode here at the tail end of the trip. That coupled with the fact that we didn't have a whole lot of destinations in mind between Connecticut and Pittsburgh means we're spending more time on the road these last few days.

Today, from Cheshire, CT, we took 70 to I-84 into NY and across the Hudson all the way to Port Jervis on the other side of the state (the lower part of it anyway. Getting across the whole state of NY in its midsection is more than a few hours). Port Jervis is right at the corner of NJ, PA, and NY. We had breakfast there at Arlene and Tom's Diner where the food and service were quite acceptable, but the music was simply dreadful (muzak versions of pop classics. Ugh.)

We crossed the Delaware on 209 south to Milford, PA, then crossed the Delaware again into New Jersey on 206. 206 took us all the way down to I-80 at Stanhope, NJ then I-80 across the Delaware again into Pennsylvania, then south on 33 from Stroudsburg down to I-78.

New Jersey was a new state for both of us. Not that just driving through it really counts as a visit. We pulled off at a couple of scenic overlooks off the freeway. The first wasn't very scenic as the trees seemed to have grown up since they created it. NE New Jersey sceneryThe second had a nice view of an interesting geologic formation. The highway went right through that gap when we continued. I think that was on I-80.

The landscape of central Pennsylvania is extremely dramatic. You can tell this even looking at a map. There are all these sharp ridges in parallel curves across the state like ripples. I-76 cuts across the ridges and has several mile-long tunnels to get through the ones that don't have convenient breaks. It's beautiful country, but it's hard to get a picture of it that tells its story.

Our destination in PE was the town of Hershey, home of the chocolate company. We got in pretty early and got situated in the Cocoa Motel just south of town. While driving we'd heard a review of the movie School of Rock on Fresh Air along with an interview with its star, Jack Black. The theatre in Hershey was playing the movie so we went to dinner (at Froggie's, a sports bar and grill that makes a pretty good burger (and showed signs of being a chain, but since we'd never seen one and weren't sure it was a chain we decided it didn't violate our no-chains pact)) and saw the flick (at the Cocoaplex on Cocoa Avenue just a long block from our motel). The movie wasn't quite as good as the gushing review we heard, but it was cute and fun. It was also fun watching all the fidgety teenagers who shared the theatre with us. It was actually one of the better-behaved movie audiences we've encountered recently.

The other thing we did on the road was to finish listening to the audio book of The Bad Beginning, the first volume in Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events". This first book is read (or rather performed) by Tim Curry and his voicing of these characters is a hoot. I'll write a separate review of the book (School of Rock too), but suffice it to say that the doom and gloom of the title is entirely accurate. The book starts off with dire warnings about the fact that it details extremely unpleasant events in the lives of three small children and is not redeemed by a happy ending. This is no joke. (Kate, don't even think about reading this book!) I haven't decided yet whether the witty presentation, great characters, and page-turner-ness of the book is enough for me to want to read about further disasters in the continuing volumes.

Posted by jeffy at October 5, 2003 11:06 PM
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