Friday 17th August 2001, Boston MA

Whatever we had been hoping to do today, the first thing was to take the wretched Garmin GPS back to ‘Majestic Gallery’. After a lot of toing and froing, another unit was produced from the warehouse. We opened the box and a slip of paper fell out. “Limited 90-day Guarantee – This reconditioned unit is guaranteed against parts and labour for a period of 90 days …” Oddly enough, that slip of paper had been missing from the box of the original unit. After some argument, the shop owner reluctantly agreed to refund John’s money.

John’s glasses had been bent at some point the previous day, so we next went to find a competent optician to straighten them. The first shop we found had definitely not fallen under the ‘competent’ category. Having established that we were tourists, a hideous, witch-like, assistant with orange makeup and straggly black hair, had grabbed the specs and, with a violent twist of the frame, announced that there was nothing she (or her weasel-like colleague) could do with them.

However, fortune now smiled on us, as we discovered a branch of Lenscrafters, hidden away under some scaffolding on 5th Avenue. There was little they could do with the bent specs, but they did at least try. Just as we were leaving the store, we asked if it was possible to make up a pair of new sunglasses, using John’s existing specs for the prescription. No problem. Within an hour, John had a handsome new pair of prescription RayBans.

It was now time to leave New York, so we headed back to the hotel to collect the bike. It was Friday afternoon, and we were determined to miss the inevitable rush hour. We decided against the Jefferson ferry, choosing instead to follow I-95 the whole way back to Boston.

What a mistake. The traffic was grid-locked all the way up FDR Drive. The traffic was grid-locked all the way out through the Bronx. The traffic moved at snail’s pace (intermittently) on I-95. It was 5pm before we were clear of the City. In desperation, we left the Interstate a few miles outside Providence, RI, and found our way on to the coastal route.

As it got dark, we decided to stop for dinner. We found a brilliant fish market/restaurant and gorged ourselves on fresh seafood. It was gone midnight when we eventually arrived back in Brighton. Henry was asleep in front of the television.