We have made it to New York and are now ensconced in our hotel in Queens. Our body clocks seemed to have adjusted already and I have banished the inevitable sleep-deprivation migraine that usually accompanies the first day of a holiday. I passed the short flight from Manchester to Heathrow enjoying the morning sun over the low clouds in the southeast. After a spell of people-watching in Terminal 5, we were treated to an upgrade at the gate which was very welcome. The immigration queue at JFK was very long but it was only a short hop afterwards on the AirTrain to the car rental lot. They told us the car did not have a SatNav but we could rent one for £400 which we declined as I have got all the maps we need. I started peering at the NYC map trying to find our hotel and on getting into the car, discovered it had a SatNav after all. However, I do not rely on them completely and have just read the story of people who had died after slavishly following one in Nevada and ending up stranded on a track miles from anywhere. The husband set off to walk for help in the wrong direction and died. The wife was found barely alive in their car, a few weeks later. There was another similar story that the Elko police had dealt with. Needless to say I always have a map and compass whether driving or walking as it is very easy to get disorientated in unfamiliar territory.
One book that is accompanying me on this journey is Cecelia Otto’s ‘An American Songline: a musical journey along the Lincoln Highway’. She travelled the road in 2013 giving concerts of vaudeville-era music in towns in every state she passed through. She reports that in 1910, members of the Lincoln Highway Association wrote a new chorus to the tune ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ singing the praises of the new road, hence her first chapter is titled ‘It’s a long way to California’. Tomorrow we will be heading over to Manhattan where the road starts and then to New Jersey which is a navigation challenge given the various routes the road has taken over the years. It is much easier in Pennsylvania where our next stop is Philadelphia.