A little thematic music — and yes, you knew that was coming, didn’t you?
When last we left our hero (and his wife and his mother), he was packing up his car and heading out of town after enduring a steamy, humid week of vacation.
So where’d they all go, already?
Well, their itinerary wasn’t all that surprising. They went to the suburbs of Rochester, N.Y., to see their son and six-months-pregnant daughter-in-law.
From there they made a day trip to the American side of Niagara Falls, coming back in time to eat at a restaurant that may still be in business in the Rochester area.
And then they made the eight-and-a-half-hour trip home.
Pretty much the only thing of interest to me is the route they took to get home, which involved a bridge I haven’t heard of in a long, long time:
In my own life’s travels, I’ve come to associate trips across the Hudson with the Tappan Zee Bridge, with the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge the most frequent second option.
But there’s more than one way to cross the river, and it looks like my grandpa was keeping all his options open.
(An interesting fact from Wiki: The Tappan Zee Bridge was designed to have a 50-year lifespan. It is now 57 years old. Perhaps I will stay on Dean Friedman‘s side of the Hudson for a while.)
At any rate, the Bear Mountain Bridge opened in 1924, and carries U.S. Routes 6 and 202 between Rockland and Westchester counties. It is roughly 25 miles north of the Tappan Zee, and roughly 15 miles south of the Newburgh-Beacon.
Unless you live nearby, it appears to be more of a scenic route — a leaf-peeper’s bridge, compared to the much larger spans to its north and south.
I wonder if my grandpa took it because he wanted to see the sights, or because he wanted to familiarize himself with a backup route, or because there was something happening on the Tappan Zee he wanted to avoid. (Probably not the latter: He would have been hard put to know much about road conditions on a long interstate trip.)
As I said, I didn’t have any memory tracks regarding the Bear Mountain Bridge when I sat down to write this.
But thanks to YouTube, I can retrace my grandpa’s path from the comfort of my computer. And when I saw the footage, it looked ever so slightly familiar. I’ve definitely been there before, though I couldn’t tell you when.
Finally, I see on the calendar that my grandpa had additional vacation at least the first Monday and Tuesday of August, after being off the entire previous week.
His resume says he was let go from that job because business slowed down. I kinda wonder if his extended “vacation” was not, perhaps, a furlough, and a harbinger of things to come.
No matter. He enjoyed his work, and for today’s purposes, we will leave him employed.
Perhaps he is already looking forward to his return to work as he unpacks his bags, shakes off the proverbial road dust, and decides in his mind whether he’ll take the Bear Mountain Bridge when he goes to Rochester to meet his first grandchild.