Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Police Escort

Okay, I am woefully behind. Where do I start? Do I start with my shortened stay in Washington? My time in Charlottesville with APT? The three black bears that I saw (one with APT and 2 others on the Blue Ridge Parkway)? Gettysburg, Manasas, or any of the other Civil War battlefields? OR... should I jump right into my trip through New Jersey with a police escort? I think I'll begin with the most recent and work backwards - that is the most peculiar.

So there I was, stuck in rush hour traffic trying to get through the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan when a motorcycle cop rides up next to me and starts chattering away. Fortunately, he had a half-face helmet and I could read some of what he was saying and reply while trying to pause my IPOD. With earplugs in it was a strain to hear precisely what he was saying. We road on for a few miles talking about where I had come from, where I was going, what hotel I was staying in, and all of a sudden he motions for me to follow him while he turned on his lights and siren to part the sea of rolling steel, plastic and rubber. We rode side by side in perfect tandem, me wrestling with my taller-gear-laden bike, and him effortlessly keeping his line in the pavement. Every time we came to an intersection he would chirp is siren to stop the cars so we could make a left hand turn or to part the cars that were in our way. We would come to a red light and talk a little about his trip with his two children (9 and 7, boy and girl respectively) to Florida later this summer and their trip through Shenandoah  National Park or how the fishing is in Maine right now.

After I told him where I planned to stay he laughed and asked if I was serious. Apparently I had chosen a place in one of the worst neighborhoods as well as an "hourly rate" (if you know what I mean). That is not the place I want to be for 5 days in NYC. When I told him where I was staying he took charge and guided me to a hotel right on the river overlooking Midtown Manhattan (see pic taken from room) and close to the Lincoln Tunnel which doesn't ever seem to be without traffic.(note to self... check to see where the All-Star Game is being held before trying to stay in that city)
He convinced me that I didn't need to make my way to the island at that time of day and that I should check into a hotel first. When I explained that the rooms were probably sold out, he just continued on anyway and took me to the hotel and left to go do other good deeds. It was a very nice welcome to Jersey and the Big Apple. I am still amazed by this.

My intention was to stay upscale when I got to NYC and stay in Manhattan. This was not meant to be, but I am not all that concerned. I spent all of one night trying to find a hotel in New York, but there was ABSOLUTELY no rooms at any hotel on the island. That includes B&B's, fleabags, 1 star, 4 stars and anything else with a website. Little did I know that when baseball went on strike 8 years ago, (Might be 10, might be 2 for all I care) and I quit watching/caring about baseball, that I would regret not following the men in pinstripes. I had no idea that I was coming here during All-Star Week and that the hotels would be sold out. 

So, even though I had checked this hotel out online the night before and it was sold out, I pulled in anyway. After all, I couldn't just ride in a different direction after all the effort that went into getting me here by the Jersey motorcycle police.

Immediately after inquiring about rooms I found out that they were booked for the time I wanted. This wasn't much of a surprise, but I had to try anyway. I asked the front desk clerk (a trainee) if he had any insight about hotels with vacancies, and while he was in the back checking, another front desk clerk and I started talking. She has the typical Jersey accent and talks a thousand miles a minute, but for all that she is very into motorcycles. We start talking about all the bikes she has owned and what I am riding and where I am going and, and, and... All of a sudden, there is a room that is available for me. It is a smoking room and overlooks the Hudson and the skyline. Is that okay with me? Of course it was okay! I was about to go rent a room for the next 96 hours in a sketchy part of Hoboken (is there any other kind?). 

I don't know if Newton's Third Law (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) applies in these situations, but if so... I will just have to accept the horrible situation that is bound to occur later in this trip. If you break that down it doesn't work that way. Perhaps it is karma and all the good I have done manifested itself in the physical form of a hotel room. 


Toby Z. said...

Bret, since Eric sadly did not follow thru on his oh-so-funny april fool's promise to marry a random hottie on his recent world trip, and let all of us down (well..ok, maybe just me), I think you owe it to all of us (me) to follow thru on Tommy's comment from back in April (see below). But please..please..for the love of god, ditch the freakin' police escort before attempting this.
Tommy wrote: "However, we fully expect Bret to marry a 17 year old Swedish bikini model after a night of drinking on his RTW motorbike trip."

BAJ said...

I do seem to recall him saying that, but I don't know if I am up for a baby-sitting gig.

Rach said...

that's what she said.