Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Ferry Ride And New Jersey On The Stop And Go

You must’ve thought I’d been landing in a ditch somewhere or the bus had broken down.
Rest assured neither happened. I got home today safe and sound.

But let’s start the story where I had left off.

After a night in a low-standard motel room I was back on the road at around 6:30a. It’s still Virginia but then halfway down the peninsula it’s “Mary has a little land” Maryland. The #13 road is winding through many little towns, and I can imagine those places will be crawling with summer visitors 6-8 weeks later.
imageThen  I crossed into Delaware. It’s one the few states I had never been in before. It’s a small state but an important one as it offers very favorable laws for incorporation.
Its License plate design is the oldest running in the U.S. It was created in 1959.

My immediate goal was the ferry from Lewes to Cape May. My GPS had been programmed with a destination in New Jersey. Assuming it would take me to the ferry landing, as it was the shortest distance I followed the announcements as to where to go. When the City of Dover was looking in front of me I understood something was wrong. I stopped and consulted Mc.Nally’s Auto Atlas. I understood at once that this stupid GPS-thingy had thought of getting me into trouble in the Wilmington/Philly area. I quickly changed the programming and off I went 35minutes over Hwy 1 directly up to Lewes. Friends and neighbors had recommended this for me entirely new way of traveling north. And wasn’t it all a nice surprise?
The fare for the vehicle and myself was 36 Bucks – not too bad if one considers the 85minutes long ride across the Delaware Bay. Now, it was a very windy morning and I’d had a battle on my hand keeping the van from slouching into a ditch. I was thinking of what kind of ferry ride this would turn out to be.
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Big lounges on the ship

The ferry appeared behind the terminal building and after discharging all cars it was our turn. The whole loading process was over in a heartbeat.
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Beautiful decorations onboard

I had gone upstairs exploring the ship. It wasn’t a big ferry at least if one compares to the size of ferries running from the continent to Scandinavia, which I have taken more than a hundred times. So with these thoughts I watched the land disappear behind us.
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It didn’t take long and I saw passengers taking on a funny walk when they came across the floor. The ship had started rolling from one side to the other. As we got farther and farther out onto the bay, the sea got more violent. I was sitting about in the middle of a lounge and could look in either direction. Some times I could only see water through the large windows other times I just saw the blue sky! I was outright afraid that boat could capsize any moment.
When I went to take pictures I had to hold onto something even if it was the bare wall I would lean to.
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Astonishingly I saw nobody get seasick. But all eating activity had ceased and I bet coffee sales were down with 100%.
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About 15 minutes before landing I went down to the car deck. My GPS was still on and I saw the car icon “out in the water”. It even gave me the speed of the vessel.
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Our car out in the water?      
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I was now in the state of New Jersey and the first thing I noticed were the low gasoline prices they sport. Lowest price I saw was 3.15/gal. How it is possible that some stations in Florida were charging 3.85/gal is less than understandable.

It was the “Garden State Parkway” I was approaching. All was well until I was in Newark where traffic became all but chaotic. One of the reasons for that was easy enough to see. It was the steady stopping at all toll stations were the backups reached incredible dimensions. Behind the toll stations the same pandemonium had developed. At one point everybody just stood and nobody could move ANYWHERE. It sure didn’t help that the road forked and a new contributing road joined the Parkway.  I was thinking of how terrible this would be if one had to get through this every and one day for commuting.
My destination was set to Newburgh, NY. Arriving there, the sun was about to go down. I got a fill of gas and after consulting my GPS girl found out that I could reach home the very same night, or say next morning. Instead of looking for a motel I found myself a restaurant, the
I-84 Diner. It is indeed a very special place as the entire facade is made up of shiny chrome or highly polished  stainless steel. Looking at it, one has to think of  a chrome laden car from the fifties, and that was precisely the owners intention as he loves old cars. Several times a year he arranges meets for car-lovers on his property. Their dessert counter was screaming “Stay here, try me” but I just strode by out the door after enjoying a giant Italian-style sandwich.

I will save the last day of this journey for tomorrow.


  1. When we spend the summer in DE at our beach cottage, we often use the Lewes-Cape May Ferry for a day trip esp. when company visits. We park our car at Lewes, hop on the ferry, spend the day in Cape May - a fun day, walking the streets looking at the Victorian homes, lots of shops, lots of restaurants, lots to do - love it! Glad you found the ferry to your liking to continue your journey home.

  2. Glad you're home. But all that traffic just makes me really nervous. And to think I used to drive in DC all the time.

  3. They ferry ride is a nice rest from driving and still moving along. The 84 Diner looks like a fun place.

  4. I love the ferries. On our trip north of Seattle this weekend we just rode two of them. When the weather is nice there is nothing more beautiful than sitting and watching the water go by.


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