So, I am still not quite sure what I did wrong. I asked my google maps to route me from New Jersey to Mahopac, NY and avoid tolls in the process. It produced an option that appeared to go just a bit north of NYC before crossing the Hudson River. Lacking local knowledge, I went with it, and cruised up 9 and then 440, then truck route 1 and 9, and truck route detour 1 and 9, only white knuckled in a few places, though increasingly concerned about the number of signs indicating we were headed to a vaguely familiar sounding bridge or tunnel that really seemed like it would have a toll.
Sure enough, we hit the George Washington Bridge toll booth an hour into the trip. The small sign on the booth indicated that cars were $15 and trucks started at $15. Outrageous, they were going to charge us $30 just to cross through NYC! I was wrong, of course. The condescending toll monitor informed me that it would be $84. The size of our truck warranted $21 per axle, and she then helpfully pointed out that $21 x 4 did, in fact, result in a product of $84. It didn’t matter that two of those axles were on a tiny car which unconnected would have passed for $15. It was not disconnected, and therefor would be an additional $42.
This is one of those reasons that non-New Yorkers have, shall we say, strong feelings about New York, or at least the city. Heck, its one of the reasons New Yorkers often feel the same, other than when they are aggressively defending the state and city to outsiders. It ruined my mood for the rest of the trip. The absurdity of having to pay that much money to cross a damn bridge is just nonsense.
Fortunately, the rest of the day went much better. We arrived at Star and Michael’s house around three, and just as promised they had a huge and accessible driveway that easily accommodated Serenity. Our hosts pulled out the stops for our one day visit, preparing a delicious stromboli as a late lunch and later a wonderful steak and baked potato dinner. They invited Pad Kee Meow into their impeccable home for the evening as well.
In addition to the free flow of wine and beer they also opened their liquor cabinet, commenting that they collect a lot of stuff, mostly purchased in vacation duty frees, that they simply don’t drink and that we should have at it. And that is how Rose and I reluctantly agreed to have a very small pour of Johnny Walker Blue before switching to something affordable. Michael wouldn’t hear of it, and insisted that we top off with the good stuff. We managed to stop short of emptying the bottle.
After dinner they had an unusual power outage, apparently the result of a blown transformer that took out the lights all over town, so we all got to pretend we were drycamping somewhere, and Michael and I started his generator to provide a bit of power to critical items. The rest of the night was filled with catching up, stories, and laughter until at least 2 AM. We crashed and slept late until Star made us yet another big meal. We parted a bit hung over, bellies stuffed, in the early afternoon bound for Rhode Island. I am still not sure what i did wrong with my google maps routing. Maybe the “avoid tolls” option on my phone only included road tolls and not bridges? No idea, more research required before I ever cross through coastal New York again.