Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

Answer: 9W

Question: Which motel are we staying in tonight? (Sorry, Herr Weill, to pinch your Kurt response…) [Please see the end of this entry if you are baffled!]

And why the terse name? Because we are heading north on Route 9W, of course. As you can see, it’s off the budget end of the spectrum, but it has air conditioning, a TV and wi-fi internet. It’s not pretending to be ‘quality’, it’s just over half the price ($60 cash) of our last stop-over, and it’ll do for one night. The Chinese owner assured me ‘it’s the cheapest in town’.

We arrived just before 6pm after a long, hot day; the first motel we stopped at wouldn’t accept young children – ‘people drink alcohol here and I don’t want them to see that’ was the proffered explanation; perhaps there are some local licensing regulations we don’t know about. However, the owner was most helpful and recommended Kingston, 20 miles further on – which is where we are now.

After checking in, we turned left down Route 9W to find a nearby eatery. Friendly’s looked promising with special meal deals for $9.99 (adults) and $5.99 (children) – main course, drink and ice cream dessert included. For this bargain price (about £20 all in) we got  a manageable portion of X and fries (where X=chicken fingers, hot dog, chicken wrap or turkey club sandwich) but too much ice cream (with a choice of topping plus sweetened cream and a cherry on the top) for the ladies to finish.

Then we retreated to Room 7 where the girls caught up with Hannah Montana before attempting to get some sleep (although Ellen has a bit of a cough that she has picked up recently).

But now to the rest of the day… We were awake before 7am so we had an early breakfast before sending the girls outside to see the goats and to have a last cycle around the drive. Meanwhile we got on with the bulk of our packing, and we were all loaded up and ready to go by 10.20am.

The SatNav took us unexpectedly west to Harrisburg (our destination was north-east) but the faster roads probably made sense overall. But sadly, this was a poor day for TomTom, and our trust in GPS is severely shaken.

First of all we had the ‘keep right’ fiasco where we should have curved off to the left instead; this required an extra 10-mile there-and-back loop to put right. (The screen display was correct but the spoken instructions totally wrong; a bug, basically.)

Then as we neared our half-way destination of Ellenville, just south of the Catskills (it was on the way from Lancaster to Vermont so we thought it merited a visit), we found ourselves directed up increasingly narrow, twisty and rutted tracks until – a mere 1.5 miles short of our journey’s end – we encountered the end of the road. We were at Sam’s Point, a popular trail-head complete with checking-in and -out book. No way to continue by car, certainly.

I asked at the information desk and we retraced our tyre tracks, sticking with bigger and bigger downhill roads until we came to Route 52, the correct way to Ellenville. But the SatNav said we were seven miles away, even once we had arrived! (Google Maps also has Ellenville marked in the wrong place, up in the middle of the hills. Does anyone know about this? Who do we tell?)

Was it worth the hassle? Well, Ellenville is in a very pretty area and we drove through pleasant leafy residential neighbourhoods that few tourists ever explore. It was far too hot to get out and explore, sadly, though I did the necessaries of filling the car with petrol and finding an ATM/cashpoint. Kirsten snapped a few pictures from inside the car, just for the record (we’ll stay in Hannah’s Bay in New Zealand to balance things out…)





[Explanation: “Herr Weill, do you spell your name with a V?”  “9W” – from some joke compendium I owned in my youth.]


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