We are sometimes asked how Mr. C is when traveling. He’s perfectly fine as long as he gets to see his favorite landmarks, such as his favorite bridges. He loves trying to look over the side of the bridge from his car seat, especially if there is a river below. One of his favorites is our frequent trips in the Summer over the Bourne bridge which spans the Cape Cod canal on our way to Martha’s Vineyard. But then if you take a bridge and add in an airport, trains, and trucks you have Mr. C’s favorite scenic road trip; northern New Jersey!
A visit to southern New Jersey from southern New Hampshire requires a five to six hour drive. We travel almost entirely on highways, through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and finally into New Jersey. The majority of the route is just one highway route after another. Small towns lining the route, business parks, forested areas, and a few mid sized cities such as Hartford and New Haven. Nothing out of the ordinary, especially as far as Mr. C is concerned. But then we drive through a portion of New York City, over the George Washington Bridge, and on to the New Jersey turnpike past Newark with its airport, sea port, and vast industrial areas with factories and huge cranes. It’s not a very scenic area at all, and the traffic can be a nightmare, so as far as I’m concerned the faster we get through that area the better. For Mr. C though, this is the highlight of the trip, especially the George Washington bridge, but nine times out of ten he has fallen asleep before we get anywhere near the bridge.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the George Washington bridge, is the busiest bridge in the world. The bridge is 4,700 feet long, it’s the main southern route out of New York City crossing the Hudson River. It’s the bridge featured in the Hildegarde Swift children’s book, ‘The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge’.
Mr. C loves that bridge. We actually try to time our departure times to coincide with expected nap times. Hopefully arriving in the area before he has fallen asleep, missing the highlight of the long car ride for him. We’ll drive in the outer lane so he can see over the railing into the Hudson river to look for any boats below. He’ll call out what kind of boats he sees, what kind of trucks are going over the bridge, point out the lights on the buildings in Manhattan, or the lights on the bridge if we happen to be going over at night.
Then it’s on to New Jersey with the Newark airport so close to the highway the planes fly right over the road. ‘Here comes a plane!’, he’ll shout. ‘Here comes another one!’ ‘Look at the lights on the runway, Dada!’
Then there’s all the other bridges we pass going down the turnpike! The huge cranes at the New Jersey port! The piles of shipping containers! The freight trains! And the trains are right next to the road! And those huge mysterious factories, what are they making there anyway ?
Trains, planes, trucks, bridges, on ramps, off ramps, traffic, factories. The area really covers all of the transportation possibilities for an excited four year old boy.
It hardly ever works out though. Just about all trips we make through the area he’s sound asleep through all of it.
One very memorable return trip from New Jersey, he fell asleep about a half hour South of the bridge, and then woke up about a half hour North. As soon as he woke up he asked if we had crossed the bridge yet. Once he found out that we had in fact crossed it, about a half hour ago, he cried for the next two hours. Punctuating his crying with pleading for us to ‘Turn around, turn around, turn around, turn around!’. Not at all a pleasant trip.
This most recent trip though, we timed it perfectly on both the arrival and departure. He was very happy, falling asleep within minutes of leaving the area. Probably exhausted from all the excitement.
Ok, so we’re probably spoiling him a little bit by worrying so much about getting to Newark while he is awake. I don’t think so, spoiling would be turning around when he does miss it, and who wants to have a four year old yell ‘Turn around’ for an hour in order to get back to Newark ?