Day 1: July 1, 2008
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This panel is preamble. The first three pictures are of I-80 on which I spent a lot of time. It's a rather nice interstate with green colored views, an occasional curve, and plenty of hills. Pictures 2 & 3 are from an overlook near Allamuchy, New Jersey. The first looks west; The second east. The last photo shows where I ate Monday night. Not only did my contact at the job site know all about his gear, he knew the local eateries, too. Thanks, Mike. Nice suggestion.

The official start of the Lincoln Highway was Times Square and my "plans" for reaching it involved getting there very early in the morning. I talked myself out of doing that today so I could check out a couple of places first. I guessed I'd spend another night in New Jersey then dash through Manhattan at sunup Wednesday.

So I made a leisurely start and drive and reached my first stop a bit before 11:00 AM. Last week, a coworker told me about a show he had seen on hot-dog places. One was the Cozy Dog in Springfield, Illinois, where I had eaten a week or so before. Another that really caught his attention was this place in Clifton, New Jersey, that deep fries its dogs. Knowing I'd soon be in Jersey, I checked out the location and put it on the "maybe" list. It fit right into today's schedule. Michael Stern can tell you about the place better than I can. I had two "rippers" and ate one with the vaunted relish and one straight. Both were quite tasty although eating a "crisp" hot dog is a bit unusual. I also enjoyed the onion rings. I called my recent patty melt and beer morning meal the "Breakfast of Champions" but this is at least a tie and would be the undisputed champ if I'd included a Budweiser like the fellows at the next table. I'll probably always regret ordering the Pepsi.

The Lincoln Highway originally crossed the Hudson River on a ferry that landed at Weehawken, New Jersey, and it was reading about that that led me to this park. There is room for houses between the park and the river so folks who can deal in high priced real estate can get a view of higher priced real estate.

Just south of the park is this monument to the days when New Yorkers left town to shoot each other and United States Vice Presidents were even more dangerous with a gun than now. It was near this spot that Aaron Burr dispatched Alexander Hamilton in 1804. The mortally wounded Hamilton is said to have laid with his head on this rock and at one time the bust was affixed to the rock. A 2004 rework placed it on the pedestal which almost seems to be trying to hide the rock. All the gates were locked so the only way to photograph the rock is over and through the fence.

It was now decision time. If I was going to hang around for an early morning assault on the city, I'd need to find a place to hang. It was just past noon so check-in would likely be a few hours off. I thought of finding a "park and ride" and taking a ferry or bus over the river for some exploring on foot. Passing the afternoon away could get complicated and staying at any place in the area would surely make it expensive. But that's what was called for if I was to cross the river with minimum traffic.

Should anyone ever ask me if I have experienced coating myself with molasses and lying on an ant hill, I'll have my answer ready. "No," I'll have to say, "but I have driven a stick shift Corvette through Times Square in the middle of the day. They're much the same." I eventually decided that avoiding Manhattan traffic was not worth the effort and cost and headed to the nearby Lincoln Tunnel where a traffic jam was in full swing.

Despite the name, the Lincoln Tunnel was never part of the Lincoln Highway. The ferry that carried the LH docked at 42nd Street so that's the street I headed up to pass through the traditional start point at 42nd & Broadway. I eventually managed a left on Park Avenue and another on 55th Street. I took 55th back to Broadway past a Ferrari dealer (Test drives?) and a rat as big as a Ferrari. At Broadway, it was another left and another pass by the Lincoln Highway start point.

ADDENDUM: Jul 27, 2008 - I tried keeping a camera sitting on the dash and recording video for parts of the Manhattan cruise with rather shabby results. Nonetheless, I've put together my first video - a one minute clip of the second pass through Times Square. It's bigger at YouTube.

The Lincoln Highway was never signed in New York but the Holland Tunnel was part of its final 1928 alignment. The route between Times Square and the tunnel was probably Broadway that is now one way north bound. I followed 7th Avenue.

I was starting to feel pretty good about surviving the Square in the 'Vette when I noticed a big silver shape in front of me. It wasn't, as I first assumed, a towed trailer, but an Airstream motor home. I wonder what that guy had for breakfast.

ADDENDUM: Jul 9, 2008 - I think I may have learned something about the Airstream. By coincidence, a thread was started over at the American Road Forum about an upcoming Peter Fonda road trip film. A linked article talks about filming in New Jersey but IMDB also lists New York City as a location. With filming known to be active in New Jersey during the first days of July, it seems reasonable to think that this was the movie crew in NYC. I can't think of any other reason to be driving an RV through Manhattan. (But, then, who am I to talk?)

I've often dreamed of following Captain America on an American road trip but those dreams never involved either an Airstream RV or 7th Avenue.

I had done a little homework and read that both the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels have $8 tolls and had two little correct-change rolls stuck into my dashboard. It turns out that only east bound traffic pays the tolls so I used the Holland Tunnel for free. They actually left some money on the table today. I thought eight bucks was a little high for getting into Manhattan but I'd have paid just about anything to get out.

I didn't do enough homework and missed the Lincoln statue in Jersey City and only got drive by snapshots of the Loew's Jersey Theater and the White Diamond Diner in Linden. I think I was still celebrating my escape from New York.

The site of Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory has seen better days. The museum may be open on Saturdays but it was closed today. The medallion is missing from a marker and the crumbling tower is fenced off. I saw no roaming buffalo and no antelope at all but it does seem to be a place where at least the deer play. Perhaps it's going back to nature. For the present, however, the big bulb is still there. Shine on, dude.

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