Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oct 2 - Moving West

Diane pulls the first beautiful driving shift in three or four days. Lucky her! We’ve made a big swinging loop over the last week from the Thousand Islands to visit dear friends and family. Our house visits have taken us to Charlton, NY, Clifton Park, NY (near Albany), Mamaroneck, NY (along Long Island Sound), Philadelphia, Chevy Chase (near Washington DC) and finally Olney, MD.

From one comfortable house to the next, tasting fruits of a wet and bountiful summer from backyard gardens, we’ve managed to schedule driving time so we don’t miss any meals. It seemed in each case like we washed up on a familiar shore when pulling into the driveways – time and distance evaporated and we stared into the eyes of our loved ones. We picked up right where we all left off with each family – gathered around the kitchen tables and told each other stories. Kids who had been teenagers when we saw them last were now in their 20’s and on about life’s important work. Infants last seen were now busy little boys tugging at hands and explaining their world to me.
Between our stops at these lush and intriguing inflection points in the road, we passed through samesville, homogeneousville, sprawlsville, and the space in between over and over with occasional vistas over the bridges that have replaced our waterways connecting communities. We crossed the Mohawk, the Hudson, the countless tributaries draining to the Chesapeake, the Potomac, and more. We viewed the Manhattan skyline from the George Washington Bridge.

Leaving the Washington DC area, we passed out of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and turned southwest, pushed south by the Appalachian mountain chain the big interstates sweep southward and don’t turn west until Knoxville. The landscape is low and rolling – the rises in the road not big enough to afford us an overview of the area. The roadside scrubby forests seem young and cluttered compared to what we saw in Canada, and as we went south the color in the trees faded back to shades of green except for the occasional showy maple sticking above the canopy.

But now, west of Knoxville, TN on Interstate 40, the land has opened to large sweeping turns and taller hills. The billboards have disappeared along with the cranes, smokestacks, and larger commercial structures. Occasionally we see evidence of mining operations on the hillsides, and more than one confederate flag has been displayed by the side of the road. Color has returned to the woodland as it sits atop the limestone outcroppings along the side of the road.

We’ll follow route 40 west, stopping at and county state parks until we reach Colorado and the south rim of the Grand Canyon, where we hope to spend a few days hiking.

View over the 1,000 Islands as we head south over the bridge back to the States

Abandoned estate yard at the Long Island Sound shore near Mamoroneck, NY

Looking south and east to Long Island across the sound at its narrow end.

Hiking near Chevy Chase Maryland - this stream runs right into the Potomic

One little piece of the amazing percussive instrument collection at Nancy and Nada's house in Olney, MD.

Racoon tracks at the lakeshore.

Camping in Tennessee.

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