June 22, 2008: In Ithaca for a Change

I was up at four thirty this morning. That is pretty early for me.  I got ready to go quickly but got paged from the office at ten after five in the morning.  Not a great way to get started for the day.  That delayed me from leaving until well after six.  Then I discovered that our regular overnight valet has left us and so it ended up taking an additional half an hour or more to get the car brought around.  I had been hoping to have used that time to go out and find some breakfast but I had forgotten that today is Sunday and there is no way to eat in downtown Newark on a Sunday morning.  So I was stuck.

It was almost seven when I finally got out onto the road towards Binghamton.  I couldn’t got the “fast” route through Scranton because the highway has been “closed” indefinitely due to extremely inefficient road work that has lasted nearly a year now.  So I drove up the Garden State Parkway (GSP) to US 17 and took that on the slow and winding, but scenic, route through northern New Jersey up through Rockland and Orange counties out to Sullivan and into Binghamton from the east.  It adds roughly forty minutes to the trip compared to the supposed time that it takes to go through Scranton if Interstate 80 was open.

I picked up John Stephens, a.k.a. The Surfing IT Wizard, and we drove up to Ithaca.  It was just after ten when I got to Binghamton and almost eleven when we pulled into Varna on the east side of Ithaca.  Almost four hours of car time!  The GPS was great and took us on some crazy backroads between Owego and Varna which shaved a few miles, minutes and gallons off of the route that I used to know.  I have known a good route through that area for a long time now but this taught both John (an Owego native) and I a few new tricks that even we didn’t know collectively.

This was John’s first ever time riding in a convertible!  Hard to believe.  We left the top down all day as the weather was very nice.  I had hit some severe rain coming through the western Catskills that slowed me down earlier but everything was bright and clear heading north.

We worked for an hour or so kicking off some long running tasks and getting ourselves settled in for a long day then ran up the street to the Nice ‘n’ Easy to pick up some snacks.  We got chips and energy drinks and ordered a pizza and went back to work.

Today was a very productive day and quite a successful one.  We got loads of good work done and didn’t leave Ithaca until well after eight at night.  A very long day but the work had to be done at some point.

I dropped John off around nine at his apartment and then headed to the local McDonald’s to get myself some dinner as it was going to be very late as I headed down the highway.  It was probably nine thirty or so when I got back on to US 17 and started the long, lonely drive home.  I hooked up the iPod that I had thought to take with me and finished listening to Scott Adam’s latest book “Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!” which I recently got from Audible.com.  That kept me awake until I got home around one thirty in the morning.  Boy was I tired.

I got to bed around two.  I have to be “at work” at six thirty tomorrow morning a I am covering the early morning shift just for that one day.  Then Tuesday I have a class that I will be taking in Manhattan up at Madison Square Garden which will make for an interesting change of pace.  I will be in Warren on Wednesday which is, supposedly, my new schedule.

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