While it was necessary to get to Mystery Hill, and enjoyable to get on the road in a car after travelling around in pretty much every other way in the last month (plane, boat, train, metro, etc.) the car quickly became a nuisance when I was getting back into the Boston area.
Short of hitchhiking (which to date I have never tried) or simply hiking from town to town, the somewhat disappointing truth about the U.S. and most (though hardly all) places I’ve been is that the independence that a car allows is sometimes necessary to get to those worthwhile places you might not otherwise. Without a car, or an extremely rugged resourcefulness, many places in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan would have been off-limits. And without one, I never would have made it to the remote area of New Salem where America’s Stonehenge was, or to the small towns I looped through (including on built on a waterfall) on my way to Salem, MA.
Heading back from Salem to Boston, both development and traffic became heavier, though it was not until the suburb of Revere showed up over my dashboard that the annoyances and complexities of urban driving made themselves clear.
Revere (a suburb with enough character that I might have seriously considered looking for an apartment in were I to live in the area) had a series of one-ways which I had to loop around several times before I could find the single local entrance to the local toll highway back into the city. Of course, getting back into Boston was when the real problems occurred.
I had the car for the duration of the night, which meant I had to figure out a place to park it. My first dilemma in this: street parking in Boston is not like most places I’ve been to (granted I’ve never had to try and park a car overnight in a major city before). Here; most of the cars parked on the street are assigned a parking permit by the city for their specific district or Neighborhood (Back Bay, West End, etc.)
And on top of all that, I found out that there was a Red Sox game going on a couple blocks away, taking up all additional local parking. After failing to find anywhere I could park in the area of the hostel, I began widening my search to surrounding areas. I vaguely retraced my route out of the city, this time looping through the West End to see what was there.
Eventually, I made it to a familiar area in Charlestown with the supermarket/strip mall, stopping at an ATM for some cash incase I needed more for overnight parking, I was considering just leaving the car in the free parking there for the night and taking the subway back to the hostel.
While it probably would have worked out fine, I decided against it. It was late and there were still cars in the large parking lot. Most streets were not marked with the same neighborhood parking posts as in the city. However, I was in a rental car and didn’t know the exact laws.
So I took the car back into the HI Boston area. A private lot next to a nearby church finally had an attendant, so I pulled in and asked what I could do. He said that most of his lot was filled with Red Sox parking and would be emptying after the game (in about 2 hours).
With the spoken promise that I’d have an overnight parking spot near the hostel for $15 I now had 2 hours to pass with a car.
I ended up parking it at a meter on a nearby street (not someplace I could’ve stayed overnight) and simply walked the area for a while. I ended up hanging out a a vegan bar for a little while. The bartender and I had a pretty in depth discussion about IPAs and why Boston’s Harpoon Brewery just doesn’t measure up. Has to be the wateriest IPA I have ever tasted, yet is marketed all over New England and New York.
Finally when the time came around to park the car, I had to back it into a sloped, narrow spot. After accomplishing this, I gladly just walked back to the hostel.