Because blindfolded driving (the drive) is so physically taxing, I decided to arrive in New York 2 days before the starting of the drive to give me a day to relax and mentally prepare before the start.
The drive from Raleigh to NYC was about 460 something miles about the same as the first day of the Drive from NYC to Cleveland so I would get a feel for the4 distance and time spent in the car.
If you check the pictures, the car I am using is my own personal car 2004 ACURA TL Jet-Black and decorated with advertising and various signs for the Drive.
Of course the entire purpose of the Drive is to raise money towards the cure for paralysis but raising awareness of how close we are to a cure and how many people are afflicted every year with spinal cord injuries is also a part of the goal. I had plenty of time to think about the Drive itself in the quiet of the car on the way to NYC.
The drive up from North Carolina through Virginia is scenic in not heavily traveled I left Raleigh at 9 a.m. along with Jana (my wife) and Jen one of my dancers. Since we were to perform in Cleveland the rest of the cast and crew is to meet us in Cleveland for the show at the International Brotherhood of Magicians Convention the evening of the 30th.
When the drive starts Jana and Jen will be relegated to the back seat, my wheelchair taking the front seat and the girls instructed only to help if I ask for assistance or they see an impending problem that endangers our safety. The girls will also be responsible for dealing with tolls and taking pictures for the web while I concentrate on the Drive.
We timed hitting DC in early afternoon so the potentially catastrophic traffic of the beltway would not be a problem. While we had an interview scheduled with local stations on the way up the days news about Iraq prevented the interviews from happening and we went straight on through to Manhattan.
Traffic had been fine on the approach but as we got close to the Lincoln tunnel traffic slowed to a crawl. Since this would be the way out in the morning it was clear we would have to add additional time to our expected travel in the morning.
The last 5 miles took well over an hour and we pulled into the Helmsley well after 5 PM in the evening. The 29th was spent exploring NYC shopping taking in some sights and meeting one of my previous Dancers Truly Cagier for dinner. We made an early evening of it anticipating the grind of the week to come.