September 14, 2007: Driving to America’s Heartland

It’s Friday! I get to sleep in on Fridays (sleep in until seven in the morning!) I had to get up right at seven so that I could pack up the SunFire V100 and load it along with all of our luggage and my CPAP into the BMW so that Dominica and Oreo can leave from work in Nutley and come straight out to Warren to pick me up after work tonight. We are driving to Alliance, Ohio immediately from work tonight. To save time, perhaps hours, Dominica and Oreo are meeting me at my office in Warren and we are leaving the Mazda here over the weekend. Leaving the moment that I wrap up with work here saves all of the time of my drive back to Newark, packing the car after I arrive and all of the time pretty much driving right back past the office again. We might shave as much as two hours off of the trip compared to not meeting me at the office!

I got the car all packed and saw Min off to work. Then I had to get ready for work myself and do a little cleaning around the apartment like making sure that the trash was all taken out before leaving the house for a few days.

Dad called from Ohio to let us know that he had arrived in Alliance and had checked into the hotel there.  He got room 409 (sixties surf music plays in my head) and set us up to have the room across the hall.

Work was slow as it often is on Fridays.  Dominica left work at five and did her best to get out to Warren as quickly as she could.  No travel from Nutley to Warren can be done quickly during rush hour on a Friday evening, however, and it took her about an hour and a half to make it to Warren.  That time includes picking Oreo up from daycare, of course.

I was actually done with work a bit before Dominica arrived to meet me at work and I was walking from the office to the road to make things quicker when she drove up the office driveway to get me.  It was about a quarter to seven in the evening when we headed out from Warren towards Alliance, Ohio.

Dominica drove the first stretch starting from Nutley to Wallington to Warren and then west on interstate 78 out to PA33.  We took PA33 the one mile north to the first exit at Freemansburg Avenue where we got off and stopped at the Panera Bread to get some dinner.  Dinner was delicious.  We really wish that we could have a Panera Bread near us in Newark.  They have great coffee, interesting food, vegetarian selections and free WiFi.  We used to have one across the highway from us when we lived in North Brunswick, New Jersey and we did use it occasionally but being on the other side of Route 1 from us made it too difficult to get to to use casually like we would have liked.

We switched drivers and continued on our way after about forty-five minutes at Panera Bread.  So far we have managed to make good time and our only real delays occurred prior to Dominica picking me up from work.  Traffic is light and moving briskly.

The trip westward on Interstate 80 went very quickly considering just how long and boring it really is.  Traffic moved very quickly.  At one point we had to deal with a severly drunk driver who attempted to push us and probably a dozen other vehicles off of the road.  We called him in to the state troopers and did our best to get information for them and to watch him as long as we could.  He caught on and started driving extremely slowly to make sure that we would have to pass him and leave him far behind.  Hopefully he didn’t kill anyone but the chances are quite good that someone was hurt by him.  I tried searching the news for Pennsylvania but it is difficult to discover something like that when it could have happened over an area that is quite large.

It was two in the morning when Dominica and I rolled into Alliance, Ohio and checked in to the Comfort Inn there in the Carnation Mall.  It took us probably half an hour or more before we were all moved in to the hotel room and were settling in to get some sleep.  We have stayed at this Comfort Inn before and we like it a lot.  This time we are staying for free on my preferred customer points.  The Alliance Comfort Inn takes pets so Oreo is able to stay with us.  We got room 408 – right across the hall from where dad is staying.

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