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Dateline: Shippensburg, PA

Map of First LegWe are finally on the road to Mexico! Woo hoo!!! After what seemed like an endless set of ridiculous setbacks, we’ve finally weighed anchor and hit the road. However, true to form, it didn’t happen particularly early. Despite having planned this trip for a long time, the actual packing only came together at the last minute.

We awoke this morning at 3:00 AM, and couldn’t fall back to sleep until about 4:30. While we considered starting super early, it was only about 18°F outside, and we didn’t relish the idea of packing in the cold and dark. So we ate a little, then went back to bed and slept soundly until 7:30. After that, we got to serious packing.

Frozen Lake by MassPike - What we are leaving behind

Frozen Lake by MassPike – What we are leaving behind

We’ve never taken a road trip in a small truck before, and the luxury of so much space also led to some confusion or indecision. Should we take our beach chairs? If so, one or two? What if we make a new friend? Better to have two. Should we take the bicycle? In the end we took none of these things, but packed a lot anyway. With the luxury of extra space and no excess baggage fees, we packed three pairs of sandals, and two sets of regular shoes, ample quantities of clothes, and promised ourself that we’d buy a new set of athletic shoes somewhere along the way, probably in Houston. We also packed a cooler with milk, ½&½, coffee beans, cheese, salami, bananas, mineolas, bread, water, lemonade, and separately an electric kettle, coffee grinder, our favorite Provincetown coffee mug, purchased at the Human Rights Campaign store in P-town last summer, and various other things that will allow us to more or less eat our normal diet on the road.

Lovely Hartford. Got Insurance?

Lovely Hartford. Got Insurance?

With regard to route, we are endlessly thankful that we were able to nearly entirely bypass the whole Southern Connecticut/New York City Area. While we love New York City, we do not at all love driving along the freeways near it. So, as you can see from the map above, we took 84 from Hartford, crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge, and then headed west. Despite passing through the New York City-ish bits around 5:00 PM, we did not hit ANY traffic jams. Hurray!!! We’re also equally delighted to not be driving on either the New Jersey Turnpike nor the Garden State Parkway, both of which are ALWAYS choked with cars, badly rutted, endlessly under construction, and generally frustrating. Oh, and they charge about $30 in tolls for the pleasure of it all. Today we only paid $4 in tolls.

Zee Tappan Zee Bridge

Tappan Zee Bridge – GringoSuelto Crosses the Hudson

The truck has performed admirably. There are a couple little glitches, but nothing serious. We averaged almost 24 MPG, which is a record, and as soon as we can find some fuel injector cleaner, we’re hoping to nudge that up a smidgen more. Often times a car that is driven only in the city will see a notable improvement in fuel economy after several hundred freeway miles. Don’t ask me why, but it happened to my SLK after I drove to Raleigh and back the first time.

Mile Zero - Odometer in Our Driveway This Morning

Mile Zero – Odometer in Our Driveway This Morning

Since everything is now packed, we anticipate getting an earlier start tomorrow. Today we managed 445 miles despite the late start, and spending some time at Trader Joe’s in Newton stocking up on food. Tomorrow we’re hoping to make it to Chattanooga, TN (609 miles), at which point all threat of snow and ice should be behind us. We are very fortunate that things finally came together when they did. Yesterday there was a snowstorm in the mid-Atlantic region, and it’s supposed to rain here tomorrow afternoon. It looks like we should escape bad weather all around.

As for adventure? Well…our plan is to make a beeline to the Yucatán, assuming we can keep driving. But when we passed through some of the old steel towns around here, we really wanted to stop and look around. Pennsylvania holds a lot of important industrial history for the USA, and we find that particularly fascinating. However, our friend, “C,” has decided he wants to meet us in Mexico and drive back together, so hopefully we’ll do that on the return leg. For now, we are quite thankful that there were no mechanical nor collision adventures.

Thanks for stopping by, and please note that if you are a new reader (I sent a note to a bunch of friends who weren’t aware of my blog), that your first comment will be held up in approval, but subsequent comments will post immediately. (Assuming you don’t say anything really nasty right off the bat, LOL.) And I’ll only be able to respond to comments once a day in all likelihood.

Saludos and thanks for stopping by!

P.S. The photos aren’t up to our normal standards as they were snapped with a cell phone while driving. And Photoshop can only do so much.

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