Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Almost Making The BoggsMobile A Convertible

I am not sure what happened to yesterday's post. It was ready to go up about 3:15 AM and I thought I hit the "Publish" button. I woke up Tuesday morning and started working on a few things and did not realize it had not posted until nearly noon. By the time I had a chance to turn on the computer, the post was up. What's up with that?

If you are an early morning reader and you missed yesterday's post you can read it HERE-Around The Globe.

Almost Making The BoggsMobile A Convertible

I mentioned yesterday that we had quite an experience getting the BoggsMobile to the church here in Valley Stream. Inquiring minds want to know what in the world I was talking about.

I had been warned by several bus people to be very, very careful bringing the bus any where near New York City and I thought took their warnings very seriously.

Evidently I needed to take them even more seriously!

I researched the clearance on all the major bridges and tunnels and I knew which ones to stay away from. I knew from experience to stay away from residential streets as well. I mapped out my route way ahead of time and I THOUGHT I had asked all the pertinent questions.

Sunday night in Connecticut, one of the men there had printed out a map for me to follow with the best route. It was exactly the route I had considered once I was in NYC proper with only a few minor changes while still in Connecticut. He was confident I could enter the city during the day between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM and be fine.

We left Connecticut Monday morning in time to do that and I was definitely thinking about following his advice. But Sunday night and as I drove Monday morning, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I should wait until after midnight, as I had planned earlier.

We stopped at the travel plaza in Connecticut for most of the day and left before midnight according to our original plan. We were only about one hour and fifteen minutes away and the drive was going perfectly all the way to the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Throgs Neck carries I-295 over the East River/Long Island sound and connects The Bronx with Queens. In this picture you can see the wide open road and the bridge in the distance.

We paid the $43 toll to cross the bridge and once we were on the south side we were only 14 minutes from the church. We had it made in the shade drinking lemonade on the down hill grade.

That is when our plan fell apart. We were supposed to enter the Cross Island Parkway at the end of the bridge but the signs were very plain. Cross Island Parkway - PASSENGER CARS ONLY

What? That parkway takes us within one mile of the church. It is the only way to get there without city streets. I had not closely looked at other routes because this one was simple and straightforward. 

But the signs were very clear. It was enough to scare me and keep me off the parkway even though I had no idea what else to do. 

I had read of the warnings to truckers to stay off highways in New York that are labeled PASSENGER CARS ONLY. My mind was flashing back to horror stories of low bridges and thousands of dollars in fines and towing.

(The pictures in my head)

The Cross Island Parkway may be the only way but I could not bring myself to get on it with all that going through my mind. How in the world did I miss that with all my research and preparation?

I-295 continued south a few miles and then ended in the choice of another forbidden parkway or city streets. We chose city streets. I was driving nice and slow and listening to my GPS scream at me, trying to direct me to the parkways and Kelly Jo was trying to understand the big picture on her phone while trying to direct me on the immediate turns.

It was a ride for the ages and we will not soon forget it. I refused to get on the parkways even though we had three or four more chances and I refused to turn down obvious residential streets because I knew that would be a good way to get stuck between rows of parked cars or under low trees.

At Kelly Jo's direction we kept winding around bigger streets slowing working our way south toward Valley Steam. We crossed the parkway one final time and we were tempted to get on it for one mile to our exit. The entrance was too narrow for us so we followed our evolving detour instead of the parkway. I will tell you in a few minutes what a great choice that was.

After about 50 minutes we made it to our very last turn. We had to turn on a small dead end street to enter the back parking lot of the church and we could not make it because of the parked cars. We both jumped out and unhooked the Green Machine from the BoggsMobile while blocking the intersection of two residential streets. Fortunately there are not too many folks out at 2:30 AM. Only two cars had to wait on us.

Then we had to get into the church parking lot itself. There was barely room between the parked cars to fit the bus through. You can see the dead end of the street on the right side of the picture below. And you can see the black car on the left side of the picture that is parked in they way.

Kelly Jo drove the bus from that point and I directed her in. Thankfully the curbs are low and we were able to put the front wheels on the side walk and miss the black car with the back of the bus. All of this at 2:30 with the neighbors sleeping. At least I hope they were still sleeping!

I am so thankful we did not try this during the day. We were on some of those streets in February in Bro. Hardyal's van and we would have been in a mess during the day on Monday in the bus. Although it was stressful and it took us a while, at least the streets were pretty clear when we went through.

After we were parked and breathing again, I found a website with the bridge heights on all the parkways in and around NYC. The Cross Island Parkway has bridges at 8', 9', 10' and 11' all along the way. That last mile I was tempted to turn down has a super low bridge within 100 yards of the on-ramp. If we would have squeezed though the on-ramp we would have been stuck!

We drove the Cross Island on the way home from church last night in the Green Machine and witnessed the low bridges for ourselves. One right lane clearance was 6'6". That is crazy! We were thanking God every mile for keeping us off that road and helping us wind our way around.

Hey! That is why you all pray for us, right?

Now, getting out may be another story. I wonder if any churches here need a Pastor with a bus that can not leave town?

Thanks for reading.


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