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In GPS we trust

Up early to finish packing our things, stripping beds, washing up. On the road by 9.45am with the girls wired up to their Zen music/video players and our faith placed blindly in TomTom to get us across to our next stay (we have no atlas or road map).

Stage one was fine other than a slight unplanned tour round Providence back streets (what is it with me, large towns and Sat Nav?), and otherwise we stuck to pine-lined highways (boulevards coniferiques?) which precluded any view of the surrounding countryside.

We reached the outskirts of Mystic in time for lunch (Old Mystick Village) and ate at the Equinox Diner. And did we order pizza? No, that would have been too cheesy… Anyway, it is our considered opinion that all portions here are twice as big as necessary (just one salad was enough to leave us stuffed), and any Americans visiting the UK must be aghast at the small servings and peremptory service they receive.
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(Incidentally, they have Real Men’s urinals in Mystic; none of your effete streamlined oval receptacles – these are rugged, square, over-engineered monsters.)

Four hours of this sort of view from the car (okay, they were running out of pines by now) and the girls got a bit restless by the end.
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Occasionally the car would beep thrice at us and we got a bit worried: low fuel? overheating? door open? Eventually we worked out it was the TomTom telling us that we were going too fast – even when we were the slowest vehicle on the road. But we have seen police cars stopping speeding motorists just about every day and we can do without a fine.

We drove past signs to Willimantic, which of course famously features in The Meaning of Liff by John Lloyd and Douglas Adams – I think it is defined as “one whose heart is in the wrong place, i.e. between his legs”.

We got as far as Danbury a little before 4pm and made use of a coupon we picked up in the Mystic Tourist Information centre to get a discounted room at a Motel (Quality Inn & Suites). It’s a little down at heel – looks good on paper (free breakfast, free internet access, coffee machine, microwave, fridge and TV in all rooms, indoor swimming pool) – but there’s a broken window lock, holes in the counterpane and the carpet, vending machines out of order, a rusty mirror, a safe that won’t open, the pool is too cool (we tried it out before supper), and a fusty, musty fug throughout the building. [I have since found out that this place is rated no. 14 out of 17 on TripAdvisor – not promising.]

We could have ended up spending entire weeks in places like this; so glad we booked self-catering accommodation instead. But the internet access does work…
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