Headed back to Maine this morning, a trip that will take between 10 and 12 hours depending on traffic, weather, and how many times I stop. It's a long trip to make alone, but bearable; I've done it so often that I am used to it by now. (I've driven from Gardiner to Virginia Beach in a single day, too, and will not be doing that again.)
When I tell people I'm headed north, those who have made the trip ask one question: "Do you take the George Washington or the Tappan Zee?" These are the two main bridges that get you from one side of southern New York to the other; the GW takes you through Manhattan, the Tappan Zee swings you around Manhattan and up through Westchester County. The Tappan Zee adds mileage, but unless you hit the GW in precisely the right circumstances, it can take an hour just to cross it.
I usually take the Tappan Zee; it's prettier, and traffic usually moves more quickly. Not always, though. The Tappan Zee requires a long stretch of driving on the Garden State Parkway, where traffic can be terrible. The Garden State Parkway also has toll booths every five to ten miles, and I am still holding out against the damn EZ Pass (a topic for a future post).
But the leaves are turning, and the sun is out, and even if the Tappan Zee takes a little longer, it will be prettier than the grime and traffic on the George Washington Bridge. And one advantage of driving alone with Dizzy is that Dizzy will never second-guess my route.
Dizzy will miss the Beas, who have taken such good care of him for the last six weeks; he'll miss Clancy, their big yellow Lab, and he'll even miss Patches, their cat. In his perfect world, I'd just move down here, and we'd all hang out together.