Eleven years ago we made this trip and mistakenly tried to cross the lower deck of the George Washington Bridge with hazardous materials. Upon arriving at the toll gate the toll taker asked if we knew we weren’t supposed to be on the lower deck with our RV propane bottles. We’d noticed the Hazmat signs, but had no idea they pertained to us. Eight lanes of the bridge were shut down as we were escorted across the lanes, through the bridge corp yard and onto the upper deck. I kept my eyes averted from the glares of New York rush hour commuters and tried to ignore the cacophony of blaring car horns as Bob negotiated his way to the upper deck.
Experience is the best teacher so of course we would not make the same mistake this time. We left Woodbridge, VA at 9:30 in the morning with hopes of making the 400 mile drive to Newport, RI before nightfall. Suddenly I see the hazmat sign for a bridge ahead. We get off at the last exit before the bridge, pull into a service area and spend an hour – Vonnie on the phone with AAA and Bob roaming the parking lot asking truckers, delivery men and police officers for advice. We put all this info together and managed to negotiate our way across an alternate bridge. We are also reminded to stay in the lanes that direct us across the top of the George Washington Bridge when we get to NY. We know that!!!
The AAA lady also gave some info on a route that would avoid the NY traffic and take us across the Tappan Bridge rather than the George Washington Bridge. We later spent another hour researching this option with our GPS, truckers and local delivery men. We opted not to take it. With all these hours of research and the traffic, we finally gave up at about 8:30PM and stopped for the night in Connecticut. Both of us were suffering from the stress of it all. Newport, we’ll see you tomorrow.
Now, about the turnpikes - I know turnpikes are supposed to move the traffic along, but I’m not sure why the taxpaying drivers are required to ante up at the toll booth. We paid nearly $40.00 in tolls from DC to Newport. If the tolls are for maintenance, someone needed to get busy a while ago. There is a significant amount of road work going on now, probably as a result of the Stimulus Package, but boy does it slow the traffic down. Can we get a smile from those toll takers as they take our money, please?