New England Road Trip 2016: Day 1 – Heading to New Jersey

Hey everyone, this is Scott or the Scottman here! If you follow me on my YouTube channel, I have been in the process of uploading my videos from my road trip to New England back in April of 2016. Now that I have started up this website, I will periodically post some blogs from that trip as well as even some of my previous trips along with any new trips I take.

(Date: April 21, 2016)

For many years, I have yearned to take a trip out to New England as I have always heard it was very beautiful. Until 2016, the only visits to New England were to the great city of Boston, Massachusetts when I attended the video game convention, PAX East, in 2012, 2013, and 2014 with my friends who I have met online. However, I never really left the Boston area, and I wanted to see more of New England. Since the beginning of 2016, I came up with an itinerary (even with a few changes as I planned).

I started off the first day by waking up at 5:00 AM in the morning at home in Michigan. About an hour later, I was ready to go. It was a good thing I had a good night sleep as I had a ten hour drive ahead of me. As I was getting into my car, it was starting to lightly rain. During the drive down to Toledo, Ohio, the rain was coming down lightly to where the drive was somewhat unpleasant. Thankfully the traffic was light; then again, very few people leave at 6:00 AM to commute to work, so it worked out in my favor. Once I entered Ohio, the rain kept falling as I entered the Ohio Turnpike to head east. The stretch of the turnpike up until the Cleveland metropolitan area is not too exciting; thankfully, I was able to listen to my SiriusXM radio along the way enjoying some great stations such as the ’60s on 6, Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind, and Lithium. As you can tell, I like a lot of different type of music from oldies to classic rock to 90s alternative rock. During the drive that morning along with normal mornings when I commute to work, I enjoy listening to the Phlash Phelps Phunny Pharm on the 60s channel as I enjoy hearing about all of Phlash’s travels which he does. For the next year, he is planning to visit all 50 states in the next year as he recently turned 50. As I am writing this blog post, he is already about halfway there!

Getting back on track, it finally started to clear up once I drove east of the Cuyahoga Valley south of Cleveland. From that point forward with the exception of a couple moments later in the trip I ran into very pleasant weather. Before I knew it, I was getting off the turnpike and continuing my way east on I-80. Once I entered Pennsylvania, I still had a long way to go until New Jersey. The drive felt like forever. Thankfully, I again had the satellite radio and the scenery is very beautiful especially once you get about 100 miles east of the Ohio/Pennsylvania border. I almost considered stopping to get lunch near Clearfield, PA where I had to fill up my gas tank, but I knew I was going to be eating a late dinner that night, so I waited until I drove east to Bloomsburg, PA (exit marker 232) where there was a Panera Bread. I went inside and ordered a Mediterranean flatbread sandwich with a small bowl of chicken noodle soup with an apple. It was quite tasty! The flatbreads at Panera are really good!

After a great lunch, I got back in the car for about an hour or so as I was going to make a quick stop over in Mt. Pocono, PA which is not far from the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. The main thing I wanted to see in Mt. Pocono is the Knob Overlook which is a beautiful overlook which looks out to some of the mountains nearby with some ski runs as well as the Delaware Water Gap where the Delaware River carves through the mountains of the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. Once I got to Mt. Pocono, I took a quick walk along the street with the town hall. Technically, it would be a borough hall as towns/villages in Pennsylvania are called “boroughs” (not to be confused with the five boroughs of New York City). Although there was not too much to see right there, it was a great opportunity to stretch my legs as well as record a quick “Let’s Visit” video. Afterward, I finally made it to the Knob Overlook where I got a spectacular view of everything including the Delaware Water Gap!

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I got back in the car, and I got back on I-80. I eventually got over to the Delaware River, and I crossed into New Jersey. Thankfully the toll for the bridge was for westbound traffic only, so I did not have to pay anything. As soon as I crossed into the state border, I was greeted with beautiful mountain cliffs. It almost gave me flashbacks of some of the canyons in Colorado although the canyons in Colorado are much larger. As I got closer to the huge metropolitan area of New York and Newark, I-80 began to get wider and the traffic got busier. Fortunately as I was arriving in the evening, I was going the opposite direction of rush hour traffic. I finally made it to where I was staying the first night of the road trip: Parsippany, NJ. Parsippany is a very beautiful suburb with a lot of businesses. As I was driving over to my hotel, I was seeing many workers walking about. A few minutes later, I finally made it to the hotel, the Hyatt House. After checking in, I was in a very nice hotel room which even had a miniature kitchen in it. The Hyatt House hotel chain specializes in extended stays although I was only staying for one night.

As it was still early in the evening, and I was not meeting up with my friend for dinner until 8:30 that evening, I drove about an hour east over to Overpeck County Park not far from Teaneck and Leonia, NJ. On my way there, I did run into very heavy traffic especially as I was driving over toward Paterson. What was cool was that at one spot, I was able to see the skyline of New York City. After braving the heavy traffic, I finally made it to Overpeck County Park. The park has not been around for many years, but I was quite pleased to see how beautiful it looked. With it only being several miles from New York City, it was very pleasant to walk around the park and film my “Let’s Visit” video there. At the park there were many soccer and baseball fields as well as an amphitheater, a boat launch, and also a 9/11 memorial. Dividing much of the park is the tranquil Overpeck Creek which is a tributary of the Hackensack River. The gentle breeze and the temperatures around 70 degrees made the environment feel very pleasant. From near the amphitheater, I could even see the Empire State Building and the new Freedom Tower in the horizon! Although I did not have time on this trip to check out New York City, I will definitely need to visit it sometime in the future!

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Around 7:30 PM, I had to leave the park as I needed to head back to Parsippany to meet up with my friend. My friend, Mike, is a coworker at the company I work at. Although most of the people at my job are in Michigan, my friend works out of his house in New Jersey. Fortunately, I was able to get back to the hotel in time. He arrived right on schedule at 8:30 PM. I got in his vehicle, and we drove around the area finding a restaurant he used to eat at a lot since he used to work in the Parsippany area. We drove over to the Tabor Road Tavern in nearby Morris Plains, NJ. I was able to enjoy a very delicious bison burger which was quite delicious. Outside of turkey burgers, I had not eaten a red meat burger in at least a couple years as I try to limit my red meat intake. During dinner, Mike and I talked about different things including his previous jobs he worked at before finding the place where I work. After dinner, he dropped me back off at the hotel. It was really great seeing Mike as I had not seen him since the previous October when he and I were on a business trip to Memphis with my boss. Now that I was back in the hotel room, I relaxed for the rest of the evening, and I fell asleep for the night.

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Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about Day 1 of my New England Road Trip from April 2016, and stay tuned for the next entry. I haven’t decided if I will cover all of Day 2 in one post or if I will split it into two parts as I know this entry was quite long. Thank you for reading, and this is Scott signing out!

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