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Boston – Farmington Hills: The Road Trip

In the end of April 2016, we moved from Boston (MA) to Farmington Hills (MI) for work reasons. I wanted to take my potted flowers with me, so flying was not a suitable option, and that's when a crazy idea came to mind: what if we drive? The distance between the cities is around 840 miles (we could only go through US), so covering it in two days seemed reasonable.

We had broken the route down into 7 parts (3 on the first day and 4 on the second), added some buffer (although not a lot) and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, when packing our things into the moving container, we faced a problem: two large pieces of furniture – the wardrobe and the dresser – did not fit, so we had to find ways to get rid of them. This took several hours away from our packing time, and as a result, we were not rested enough on the morning of departure (especially Roman). Eventually, we were lucky to get a huge car that fit the dresser (yay!), but we left Boston two hours later than we had planned.

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The huge car (Toyota Sienna)

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The last cup of coffee in Boston (Simpli Bar & Bites)

Our planned intermediate stops were cafes and gas stations.

First leg: Boston MA – Albany NY (173 miles)

Planned time: 10AM - ~1PM

Actual time: 12PM – 3:10PM

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Biker parade (?) when leaving Boston

Second leg: Albany NY – Syracuse NY (120 miles)

Planned time: ~2PM - ~5PM

Actual time: 4:39PM – 7:35PM

This part we decided to cover by smaller roads so that the drive is less monotonous and more scenic.

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When we got to Syracuse area, Roman was already very sleepy and tired from the sun shining into his face, so we decided it's safer and wiser to spend the night there and deal with the lost time the next day. So we canceled our motel in Buffalo and headed to a Hilton in East Syracuse.

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A Red Robin special burger with buns made of ramen – tasty but quite messy

The second day was much more productive.

Third leg: Syracuse NY – Buffalo NY (146 miles)

Planned time: ~6PM previous day - ~9PM previous day

Actual time: 10:15AM – 12:50PM

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Fourth leg: Buffalo NY – Erie PA (105 miles)

Planned time: ~10AM - ~1PM

Actual time: 1:40PM – 4:35PM

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Turns out there are a lot of vineyards in New York and Pennsylvania

When we arrived in Erie, we had to decide whether we are going to stop in a hotel once more or make an effort and arrive in Farmington Hills the same day. Roman was in an optimistic mood, so we decided to make the last stop at a toll road service plaza instead of a cafe to save time. Our original plan included stops in Cleveland and Toledo instead, so there was no planned time for this modified leg.

Fifth leg: Erie PA – Amherst OH (132 miles)

Actual time: 6PM – 8:14PM

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Sixth leg: Amherst OH – Farmington Hills MI (146 miles)

Actual time: 8:55PM – 11:25PM

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Total distance: 822 miles

Total time driving: 10 hours 20 minutes

Our original planned arrival time was ~9PM, so we did pretty well in general, there was very little traffic even with all the road work. We did learn several things though:

  1. Buffer for stops should be bigger, especially if they are not counter-serve cafes.
  2. Not getting enough sleep and being dressed too warmly has a big impact on the driver's endurance.
  3. Stops every 2-3 hours make the trip far more pleasant than with longer intervals.
  4. Not all the gas stations that are on a map actually exist :-)
  5. Fuel in Massachusetts is cheaper than in other states that we passed. Or was cheaper, anyway.

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