Standing wave on the Tappan Zee Bridge before noon. While it's understandable that things would crawl with all the merging highways, there is no toll in the west/south direction and continued slowness on the bridge itself was impossible to fathom.
Until we reached the edge of the wave.
The speed limit on the bridge is 45mph. Everyone was going 5mph. Why? Because of the metal plates. Now lots and lots of bridges have metal plates. Everyone goes bouncing over them at speed and no one's car gets hurt in the process. The plates are designed for that. Or are they?
Everyone treated them as speed bumps, creating miles and miles of backup on busy highways by slowing down to 5mph to go over some metal plates.
How do I know this is what happened? Because as soon as we went over the metal plates, there was no traffic and everyone was flying at 65-70mph. No lie.
Standing waves are amazing things. They're a physics thing. The Dude knows all about them. They stay in place for hours. Sometimes they're in the sky as weather. But I'm mostly familiar with them on the ground because I'm not a Weatherdude. On heavily used roads, they're a nightmare. You know you have a standing wave effect when you get slowed down on a highway to a crawl and you can never figure out where the accident was, the traffic just speeds up again. The original accident was hours before but the effect lingers.
Aside from that, we were in smooth sailing most of the way, despite 'the dreaded wintry mix' (quote from The Dude) through most of Connecticut. It was all good through NY, NJ, PA until we hit the merge to I-81. 15 miles short of it, dead stop. No accident. Just merge. It was a parking lot around Harrisburg. Once we were south of Harrisburg on route 15, we were at speed again. But we think we were stalled in that zone for 2 hours.
Miss E misplaced the car charger for her dvd player which was a disaster, of sorts. The Dude and I ended up sacrificing the batteries on our computers and his blackberry to her majesty's amusement. I threatened death if she touched the screen of my new macbook with grubby paws. (Her dvd player's screen is all smeared most of the time.) That was the final sacrifice. She killed the charge in her battery and then played a form of brick-out on the Dude's blackberry for an hour (government issue). Eventually she was playing Bug Defender on The Dude's laptop. After reading magazines we picked up in Conn at a Borders, she ended up the trip with a movie on my computer. Now I have Bratz cooties on my laptop.
The entire trip was 12.5 hours, when it's normally under 10. Oh, the holidays!
PS: I have my K-cups back. Yum. Coffee at the speed of one cup in different roasts and strengths.