Day 12 – Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road

Friday, September 3, 2010
Miles To Date: 

Today was the start of the second part of our trip – the (roughly) 5,000 mile road trip from Washington DC to Los Angeles.

We woke up early so we could get to Union Station in time for the pickup at 10am. Cindy came with us so I would have an American with me the first time I drove here. Picking up the car couldn’t have been easier, and Lauren managed to get her name down as well so she can drive it at any time (useful if there is an emergency). They originally gave us a compact Kia but when I complained about there being no boot (trunk) cover, they debated a bit and ended up giving us a free upgrade to a full size vehicle! …AND this was after telling us an upgrade would cost $10.99 a day! Really lucky there and we have a much more comfortable car as a result, as well as a few extra features. For anyone interested the car is a Chevrolet Malibu:

So after accepting the keys I was in a multi-storey car park with two terrified passengers. Luckily everything was fine and I soon became comfortable with the driving. Sitting on the other side of the car made being on the correct side of the road a lot easier to remember. Also the fact it was an automatic, so I didn’t have to think about a gear stick on the other side (automatics are ridiculously easy to drive it turns out).

With the car ready to go, we got straight on the road after dropping Cindy home. I quickly became accustomed to using the cruise control – its a real bonus on the roads here which are so strict with their 55 or 65mph speed limits. The drive took around 8 and a half hours with a couple of stops; one at 100 miles and 300 miles. It took us all the way up Maryland, then Pennsylvania, then upstate New York and finally into Ontario, Canada. The Pennsylvanian countryside where we spent most of the drive reminded me a lot of the lower Scottish Highlands (Perth to Inverness on the A9), so nothing that we haven’t seen before! Only thing worth mentioning is we stopped in a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere for lunch and everyone in there was a hillbilly – we left quickly!

Tonight we just checked into our motel in the city of Niagara Falls and went out for dinner. Turns out this is a bit of a party town so hopefully we can sleep - I think legalised cannabis up here may have something to do with it!

Photo of the day: Had to be us with the car. It has Florida license plates so we look like Floridian tourists!