2015 USA Road Trip Day 2: Atlantic City NJ to Bedford PA
Slept well but nowhere near long enough. I woke up at 2.30am and then 3am and got up about 3.30am to catch up on emails and sorting photos out. It's not too bad as I got to chat with a few people back home who were also waking up.
Had a look outside the window - snowing, -12 C. When we were on the plane just 18 hours ago they announced the outside temperature as 0C, but things have plummeted since then - there are two winter storms, Neptune and Octavia, starting to bash the north east of the USA. The worst of it is in Boston, 250 miles to my north east, where they were getting another 3 feet of snow today! I am heading away from that but there's still 2-3 inches of snow expected in Washington DC with the lowest wind chill ratings of the winter. Wish I hadn't left my hat and gloves at home now.
These temperatures are in Fahrenheit of course - and it got quite a bit colder
Filled up with a decent breakfast, at least, including hot food. Although I think people are still having problems with my accent. When I asked if it was self service, the woman laughed. No, you have to get it yourself! Deciding to talk to people as little as possible from now on ...
I decided to do something really stupid this morning and drive to the Atlantic coast to paddle my feet in the ocean. I couldn't really see the point of staying in Atlantic City if I wasn't going to do the coast to coast thing properly, after all.
I drove down to the end of Rhode Island Avenue as far as I could, and then got out. It was about a 100 yard dash to the ocean and it took me about 2 minutes - it's really hard to walk on very fine sand when gusts are going up to 60 miles an hour. I managed to get there, take my shoes and socks off and put my feet in for about 15 seconds - then ran back to the car, putting my shoes on, getting completely knocked off my feet by the wind in the process (and that's no mean feat). It was a little bit cloudy but I got a sunrise of sorts - the sun rising over where the UK would be across the Atlantic.
The best part of this was that putting my feet in the ocean actually warmed me up - quite a bit.
Driving back was only 15 minutes but the car was skidding all over the road and this attracted the attention of two bored police officers who kept asking me what I was doing in Atlantic City at 7am - I think they really hoped I didn't have a reason for being there as they seemed really fed up with being out in the cold. I think I was out for the minimum amount of time - if I'd spent another 5 or 10 minutes I might have been too badly frostbitten to continue for the day.
Managed to get a few more photos of Atlantic City before I left. It looks just like Southend, really.
I was expecting a treacherous day's driving but as I headed out of Atlantic City onto the interstate, it improved quite a bit. There was still a lot of snow around but I've never seen so many ploughs and gritters and after an hour everyone was comfortably doing speeds of 60 or 70 mph with only the occasional side wind.
I stopped at a smart service station in Delaware for a cup of tea (which is only $2 in Starbucks, and not that bad). I was wrestling with the idea of avoiding Washington DC because it was so cold to walk around in, but I decided to go in regardless. Parking near the White House isn't the easiest thing to do and I had to scrub my plan of walking around the parks between the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, which was my original plan. My satnav got confused too as there were a number of roads above roads, so in the end I stopped the car in a car park near an ice rink on the banks of the Potomac, about a mile and a half west of where I wanted to be. I walked around and took a few photos and had another cup of tea, then headed back in the car.
I didn't quite make it into Virginia - I followed the Clara Barton parkway up the banks of the river and then onto the interstate through Maryland. The scenery improved and I started to move up into the Appalachian mountains. I filled the car up for the first time at the Exxon in Urbana, Maryland - 51 litres for just under £20, and with a steady 25mpg it's going to cost me less than £300 in petrol to get to California. Stopped at a designer retail outlet mall in Frederick to buy some new shoes at the Rockport shop, as my early morning beach trip had just about killed the ones I came up in!
I then headed north another hour to stop in Bedford, back in Pennsylvania. I chose this town because the map had indicated 6 or 7 hotels even though the town had a population of 2,000, so I guessed it must have a lot of travellers passing through. Maybe not in February though. I was quite happy with the Comfort Inn last night so I decided to try something called "Americas Best Value Inn" - I should have realised that the lack of apostrophe in "America's" was a bad sign. I walked into the lobby, where there was a guy just staring and smiling at me. I think it was the manager's son. I didn't ask if there were any rooms available, because my car was the only one in the car park. They asked for $90 which I think was a bit more than I was expecting to pay - considering there was only a continental breakfast. However, it was next door to a steakhouse and I think that sealed the deal for me.
The room itself was freezing but it had a heater - the same type as the malfunctioning one from last night, but I left it on for an hour and when I came back the room was nice and warm so at least it did its job. The bed didn't look very good but I slept for 8 hours in it so that was a marked improvement on the previous night.
The manager herself was pretty unhelpful. The SD card cover has jammed inside my laptop so I need to get a SD card reader from an electrical or computer shop - not hard to find. So I asked if she had a computer with a card reader? "No". Are there any shops I could get one? "Not in Bedford". How about further west, any computer shops at all? "Try Pittsburgh." (It's over 100 miles away). Then she gave me a look which said "Can I go back to watching my TV now?"
The weather was -12C when I left Atlantic City this morning, and it crept up to -7C around Washington but fell to -15C as I drove up to the Appalachian mountains. Bedford was -13C. Richmond IN, my next destination, looks even colder, -18C tonight!
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Last updated 20 February 2015 14:06
I think I'm meant to do an "About" here but I think you'd be more interested in seeing a random seagull.