1 Subaru, 3 days, 8 states

I am momentarily back in Chicago; during the long trip I alleviated road ennui with my camera.  But I took no photos of the places I spent the nights nor the friends I stayed with; the immediacy and pleasantness of their company, conversation and the comfort  they offered prevailed; even benign media intrusion simply seemed out of place.  Tana, Ann (and Zoe), Steve and Kathy (and Mandikat), and Tom: thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, final PBI day:

Listening to Katie MacGregor during the show & tell.  Some of the work from my class is on the table in the foreground (the auction is on the two long tables).  Some people from my class did not show their work; they went to see some of Maine (and humpback whales!) instead.  Who could blame them?

Since I have no money, I ducked out of the auction after awhile myself, and went to a different beach.  There I wandered, breathed that incomparable sea air, played with the Atlantic one last time, and watched fog glide into Machias Bay a few miles away, while where I was stayed sunny.  Then I went back for the banquet…

…and got my lobstah.  Sooo delicious! And then the music and noise started, and I slipped away again.

The last hurrah: the dorm hallway at 2 am.

Thursday, July 22:

Well, where else would I stop for breakfast, except a major downeast tourist institution?  The wild blueberry scones were lovely.  I wanted to buy a pie, but was afraid of my road appetite.  I bought home-made wild blueberry truffles for Tana and Ann and the Smiths, but they melted.  I put them in the freezer when I got home, and Paul and I are now eating strange misshapen puddles – and they are still delectable.

Frenchman’s Bay in Acadia.

Huge, swift-currented tidal river, that boasts a waterfall that changes direction with the tides, further away than I could drive to. Especially because I wanted to stop at the LL Bean outlet I had spotted on the way to Machias.  I now have a very cool summer rain jacket coated in teflon – half-price.

Where I sat for nearly 40 minutes on Rte 1, waiting till the oncoming traffic had to sit and wait for us.

Pretty much the rest of Maine, interstate view.  What I wanted to shoot for you and couldn’t: BEWARE!  Moose Crossing signs; huge – huge! – nests built on top of major power poles, and the impressive dark angry clouds all stacked up on the coast to the east.

Interesting New Hampshire marketing strategy: tax-free liquor and lottery tickets combined with an interstate rest-stop.  I guess if people are buying to drink on the road, they’ll be in Massachusetts or Maine before the alcohol takes effect. Canny.

Massachusetts traffic seemed to uphold that premise.  Sorry, Mass – you are beautiful, but you have some of THE most annoying traffic I’ve EVER encountered – not just near Boston, but across the entire… freakin’… state.  I lost two hours sitting in stopped traffic (sigh). To say nothing of people barreling down the shoulder in Porsches, jabbering away on cell phones.

Ahhhhhh, the serenity of driving New York’s Taconic Parkway after all that, stopping for the hazy early evening view of the Hudson Valley and beyond to Catskills.  12 hours on the road…

Friday, July 23:

A good long early-morning, slightly drizzly walk in the woods with Tana and Zoe to get the kinks out, too-short talks with Meghan and Chris, and then off again. It was raining hard before I got to Ellenville.  Near Loch Sheldrake (possibly my favourite Catskill place-name) I missed a turn.  The GPS took me on a 7-mile loop back to rte 52.  It was fascinating…a town where all the signs were in Hebrew, old wooden camps next to fancy gated communities, and a huge, ostentatious, self-proclaimed ashram, with collonades, fountains, and an enclosed walkway bridge over the road. (I always though ashrams were spare, meditative environments? This looked like a Vegas resort.) But it was raining too hard to shoot anything, and then, on route 17, the Catskills put on a spectacular Smoky Mountain -type show:

OK, OK, I pulled over:

One of these (above or below) is mid-New York, and one is a brief dip into western Pennsylvania, I can’t remember which…

Entering my favourite part of western New York.  But then:

WHAM! A massive, violent storm tore through.  I had to put on the flashers and pull over, couldn’t see a thing except that before the white-out of solid water, the trees were bent double in the wind.  (There is another car in front of me with its flashers on here – and you can’t even see it!) As I sat there, the car was buffeted back and forth, rocked wildly, while I tried to remember if they have tornadoes in western New York.  It lasted all of 10 minutes, and then just as suddenly, stopped completely – and I was sitting right across from the Seneca casino:

When I see it, it  means I only have about 2 1/2 hours to go to Cleveland.

On I-90 in eastern Pennsylvania.  Lake Erie is on my right, and its winds are blowing a solid curved line o’ bad weather into New York.

“Cleveland, city of light, city of magic”.  It was 93 degrees and sweltering.  But later that night, the same kind of storm blew through, followed by a gentler one, and cleared the air for a lovely night’s sleep. 10 hours on the road…

Saturday, July 24:

Up for a lovely breakfast of home-made tabbouleh, fresh berries and cherries, and Rosendale apple cider doughnuts with cowboy coffee and always-great conversation with the Smiths, a stop at the Morgan on Aimee’s one day off to talk over the upcoming class with Tom, a little adjustment to Listen, which was having a few a more issues than I’d like in the massive humidity Cleveland’s been experiencing. But I was quite pleased with how the 99 copies of (S)Edition have weathered it all.  And then, the final leg:

Ohio, up until the Lake Erie islands or so.

Just about all of western Ohio and the entire state of Indiana look like this, with some crop variation, a few cities, and the nice broad Maumee river near Toledo, Ohio – until you get to the stinky industrialization of Gary, Indiana, belching flames and fumes into the sky, which means I’m almost home.

Well, come on – baby don’tcha wanna go?

Back to that same old place,

Sweet Home Chicago.  Which always welcomes me with heinous traffic. 7.5 hours on the road (might have been 6.5, but Chicago had a point to make).

Sunday, July 25:

Nothing. No-thing. Paul is grilling us dinner tonight, and all is right in Lupe’s world: the pack is home. For three whole days…