The drive from Bangor, Maine to Jersey City, New Jersey was by far the worst drive I have experienced during this trip. The longer you drive, the further away your ETA gets. One of the reasons for this is that the GPS directs you through New York City in order to reach Jersey City. The problem is, I was trying to avoid New York City (AT ALL COSTS) because I absolutely did not want to drive in New York. I hope to one day take a trip to the city, but with someone else and without my car. So instead, I tried to avoid the city traffic by taking the back roads through the neighborhoods in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The backroads that I took were absolutely beautiful. There was so much greenery and the houses in all of the neighborhoods were incredibly breath taking. I wanted to pull to the side of the road several times to take pictures, but the roads did not allow that. They were mostly single lane roads with limited visibility and nowhere to pull over. I honestly have no idea where I was, but I got to see a lot of beautiful homes and random bodies of water.
Another issue that made this drive longer was the rain! East coast rainstorms are no joke. The rain is extremely heavy and dense allowing for limited visibility. Additionally, there was the occasional lightning strike and thunder. The thunder was loud because the lightning was so close, but honestly the lightning was more frightening, it would illuminate the sky which would cause me to shriek, and then proceed to laugh at myself.
Before my cross country trip, I took my car in to get an oil change, tire rotation, and overall examination of the car to make sure that everything was sturdy enough for the road trip I was about to embark on. I took my car into University Automotive. They gave me a long list of items that needed to be repaired on my car (which ended up being a HUGE expense before the adventures even started) including the replacement of my windshield wipers. Because my car is parked outside in the Sacramento heat, the windshield wipers deteriorate quite quickly so I agreed to the replacement. Unfortunately, the technician did not properly install my wipers and the wiper on the driver side was sliding further and further off. I pulled over several times to try to fix the blade, but it would again slide out of placement. Because of this issue, the blade was not properly wiping my line of vision on the windshield. It was quite stressful and a safety hazard. It also made me concerned that if the technician messed up on such a simple task, that the rest of the car might not be in the best condition.
I ended up making it to Jersey City (after about 9-10 hours of driving) and for the rest of the evening the weather was perfect. I am so glad it was because Jersey City has the absolute best view of the New York City skyline with way less people.
Here was the view from my room:
Jersey City has a river walk across the entire city, so I enjoyed walking around after the super stressful drive I endured:
I was so exhausted from the drive that I didn't plan on anything super adventurous. I did hear about a restaurant/bar that was on the roof top of a nearby hotel, but I could not figure out how to get there. Instead, I found City Diner which was one of the few restaurants that was open in the area (I am assuming due to Covid?):
I ordered the "Adult Mac and Cheese" which had blue cheese in it and a side salad! The food was better than the drink that I ordered. After dinner, I walked back to my hotel along the river walk and went to bed early. I did capture this gem before heading back to my room, though:
The one thing that I wanted to do in New Jersey I didn't do due to the weather. I am a big fan of The Sopranos and was hoping to visit Tony's house from the show. It is in North Caldwell, New Jersey and I would have otherwise stopped by on my way to Jersey City. Even though the show started over 20 years ago and is extremely problematic at times, I highly appreciate that a big theme of the show focused on mental health. Today, talking about mental health is becoming more mainstream (as it should!), but the storyline involving family and mental health is still very much relatable to what many of us deal with today.