Two weeks ago, my husband and I thought we were soooo funny as we slammed AAA for being an institution of the past. “Like, who needs a TripTik anymore, you know? I have this thing called Google. And a GPS. And a cell phone. And shall I go on?”
We were put squarely in our place last week when we desperately needed good maps for our trip to Manhattan & New Jersey. Since AAA wouldn’t sell me any maps, I put a plea out on Facebook, begging someone to help us. One friend cajoled me for wanting such an old-fashioned thing, but I’ve always loved maps and hate not having them. Hubby has teased me during many a car trip when I don’t listen to the GPS or when I question its motives. (Secretly I harbor a slight distrust of everything it says – for good reason.)
Before we left, a friend of mine did collect some AAA contraband for us – we met in the parking lot like two CIA informants exchanging valuable data. I later chowed some humble pie while reading the very knowledgeable AAA Tour Guide in the car, discovering such modern wonders as a ferry terminal, restaurant reviews, and detailed descriptions of how to spend a day in the city.
The nail in the coffin was when my GPS committed treason and tried to take me to Brooklyn instead of the Guggenheim in Manhattan. I gave the Manhattan map to my mom and said, “Get us there – you’re in charge of this now!” In fact, I used that daggone map so much I hardly ever put it away in my bag. Alright already. AAA, you saved our hind-ends, you non-dinosaur, you.
Continuing from yesterday’s post about the first part of our trip, on Friday we went back into the city for a second round. I debated internally for a while, wondering if I really wanted to front the cash to get back into Manhattan again, then decided we needed to live it up while we were there. After all, I had no idea when we’d ever make it back!
We relaxed a little that morning, having no timetable except to get back to Maryland sometime that evening. My mom, son and I took a leisurely breakfast in the hotel lobby – he watched Sponge Bob while Mom and I got on Facebook and drank coffee. We went for a swim in the hotel’s heated pool, then went back upstairs to get ready. My son practiced irritating everyone while running around the room in his undies, and in due time we were ready to go.
We decided to drive into the city that day since riding the ferry the day before had been a $72 round trip for the four adults. Parking garages in Manhattan are outrageous, but I felt like a bargain shopper when it came to only $38. I didn’t mind driving in the city either, as my mom was navigating with said AAA map and I had 3.5 years of D.C. commuting under my belt.
Consulting the AAA Tour Guide again, we decided to split up — Mom and Hubby took our son to the American Natural History Museum, while my sister and I drove to the east side of Central Park for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. These things were not like D.C. in that they were not free. Chaaa-ching.
I am not even a pseudo-fan of abstract art, but I love the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the Guggenheim. Being there just made me happy. You aren’t allowed to take pictures from anywhere but the first level, but I was glad to have at least a few to take home. I did enjoy the impressionism collection, and the portrait photography of Rineke Dijkstra was beautiful.
About the time that I was cruising the gift shop, I got a text from my husband saying our 5-year-old son was “losing his mind,” so the museum visits came to a speedy end. Thankfully, the Guggenheim was small enough that I had seen the entire collection.
My sister and I met up, walked past Central Park, and went back to the parking garage. There she is, that little cutie.
With a little help from the GPS and my mom’s navigating skills, we went back to New Jersey through the Lincoln Tunnel, and got right on the turnpike without incident. I was pleasantly surprised to see that New York’s 4:30 p.m. traffic was nowhere near as bad as D.C.’s. I had figured we would sit within two miles of the city for the next hour or so, but we hardly hit any back-ups at all.
And now, we wait for bloodwork to be done, results to come in, the doctor to call, and then to hear about treatment and costs. We are in a very hope-filled place — finally.
… And maybe, just maybe, I will consider a AAA membership.