After the many impressions of the last days Micha and I needed a little rest. And not just for the sake of our feet – as IT guys and motorcyclists, we’re just not used to walking so many miles. 😀 It was tempting to do nothing for a day or two and give our heads a break. So it came in handy that our next stopover was in a more remote area of Connecticut.
How are we going to do it with this toll?
But getting there was not that easy. If you don’t have a toll transponder, you have to find a way to cross the Hudson River toll-free. At this point you have to know that the Americans have abolished the cash payment of tolls; furthermore, it is not so easy to find out which roads or road sections are subject to tolls. This does not make it easy for vacationers who want to travel around the country (and sometimes, to be honest, makes them a bit desperate).
Side note: In our eyes, this example shows very well what we have to deal with every day in our profession: An automation that is not well elaborated and for which no overall concept exists, can not work.
Since the only alternative was to drive up to Albany and then back down to the coast (a drive of more than 8 hours), we decided to try our luck with the app Uproad. After creating an account and registering your vehicle or its license plate – yes, rental cars can be registered as well – all you have to do is enter a payment method and wait for the license plate to be activated (which worked pretty quickly). From then on, the app is supposed to automatically detect the toll roads you’re on and automatically bill you for the corresponding fees via your account. However, according to the website, this can take 7 to 10 days. Let’s see …
So we drove toll-free (at least we hope so) from Kenilworth in New Jersey up to South Nyack in New York state. There we took the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which costs tolls, to cross the Hudson River and drive back to the coast. Via New Haven, we continued on the Interstate (hopefully still toll-free) to our Connecticut lodging, the Hyatt Place in Uncasville.
A short trip to the sea (that was the plan …)
Well rested and with new energy, we made a mini-trip here. This was to go to Ocean Beach in the south of New London to get some fresh (sea) air and laze on the beach. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we found out that all access points to the beach are privately owned and the only parking lot you can use – otherwise parking is prohibited everywhere – costs an astounding $30. And that, as we were told by other visitors, although all restaurants and other attractions at the entrance to Ocean Beach Park were closed. Disappointed, we made our way back to the hotel. 😔
After two nights we then resumed our journey and drove via Providence in the state of Rhode Island to Boston, Massachusetts – the destination of our tour with Gary; after all, this is where Gernot & Gisi are finally to join us. Compared to our previous route, this one was much more scenic. Especially Connecticut and Rhode Island made a nice impression on us due to many forests, numerous bodies of water, large properties with beautiful mansion-style houses and not to forget good and well-kept roads.
Boston or it’s time to say goodbye
The good impression was confirmed when we arrived in Boston. Crossing the city to our accommodation, the Red Roof Plus+ in Saugus, we drove along beautiful green spaces, neatly maintained streets and beautiful rows of houses. Our arrival at the hotel, on the other hand, was anything but good … Have you ever needed two hours for a check-in?
It all started when the lady at the front desk couldn’t find our reservation that we made the day before via Hotels.com. She also couldn’t do anything with our email confirmation. We were told to call Hotels.com – which we did when, after what felt like an eternity, we were finally able to locate a working phone number. It’s perfectly clear that you have to call Expedia if you booked with Hotels.com, isn’t it? After explaining my issue to the friendly gentleman from support on the phone, I was told to tell him to call her from the hotel receptionist. So I stayed on the line while he did this. The two of them talked and I heard (I was only a few feet from the receptionist) her put him on hold.
There I was: facing the receptionist, who had the gentleman from support on “on hold”, with whom I was on “on hold”… nothing could go wrong. In the end, Hotels.com cancelled our reservation and the lady at the front desk created a new reservation with the same conditions. Why not just do it that way? Well, at least we learned something: From today on we will avoid the payment method “on site” when reserving a room on our trip! 😉
After we could finally move into our room, which was quite alright, we had three days of Boston ahead of us. One of them was already reserved for the arrival of Gernot & Gisi; another for the preparation of our upcoming tour. So we decided to visit the sights of the city in one day. The easiest way to do that is to follow the so-called Freedom Trail – or Red Line Walk. This 2.5-mile-long trail, marked by a line paved with red bricks, starts at Boston Common park and takes you to 16 historic sites of the American Revolution. Of course, like us, you can also park at the Constitution Center and start the trail at the end. 😉 Unfortunately, the route does not take you to the site of the legendary Boston Tea Party; you’ll have to plan this stop between downtown and Fort Point separately. Without visiting any museums, we were on the road for a total of about 4 hours, so we think one day is quite enough for Boston. We definitely recommend a visit to Quincy Market, where everyone will find something delicious to try, in addition to various arts and crafts stalls.
With that, our time with Gary was coming to an end. Full of excitement we awaited the arrival of Gernot & Gisi, about which we will report in our next post. On the whole, these 3 weeks were a very nice time for us – we saw a lot, had great weather & spent a lot of money (we needed over 60% of our expenses for accommodations & rental cars). However, at the moment it still feels like a very “normal” vacation …
But now it’s time to say goodbye: Thank you Gary for your company in the last three weeks! 👋