Neptune has clambered ashore, shaking his soggy, natty dreads as he clears his eyes to look inland. Our windshield wipers struggle to keep up as we are pummeled with the spray. Driving south and west down the New England coast with salt marsh and harbors to our left, we pass through one small town then the next, each with their quaint saltbox colonial whitewashed wood shaked houses with black, or red, or green window shutters, held open with wrought iron twists. Creeks overflowing, and signs of recent flooding high on the bridge embankments on the larger rivers. The historical towns of Essex and Mystic, where tall wooden warships and nimble whaling boats were crafted from the native pines stays untouched by the clutter and clamor of fast food chains and franchised commercialism, while others have been overrun by Dairy Queens and A&W. The town names every few miles are proclaimed modestly upon entering on plain white placards with founding dates prior to 1750. The squat and firm churches with modest steeples anchor the town common, with crisply painted black wrought iron fences defining the perimeter. The large shading deciduous trees, already turning shades of yellow in anticipation of the true fall reach over the roadways in many places blocking out the sky so we feel we are driving through a green tunnel lined by dry laid stone walls, the blocks of which were meticulously cleared from the surrounding fields by stubby calloused hands two centuries ago. This is as close as it gets to ancient in this part of the country and we constantly remark on the differences here from the wide open spaces of the western states. In one day, we pass from New Hampshire, to Massachusetts, to Connecticut to New York. Remarkable. The key capital cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington relatively closely clustered along this small section of sea coast. Compared to LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle this part of the country feels like a thimble compared to a barrel in terms of proximity.
Today, the thermometer drops below 60 for the first time in 2 months, and we scramble for socks and shoes. Our calloused. tanned feet feel hot and cramped when stuffed into full shoes for a walk out in the cool rain. We shoo a full flock of geese off the road on our way to camp and feel bad as they waddle a few feet then settled again in the rain - apparently accustomed to campers in this area.
Rain continues to pound away, and our plans for a tour of the Mystic Seaport historical park are thwarted. We settle for a soggy, open, quiet campsite mid-afternoon at the edge of a marsh looking out at the Long Island sound beyond the whispy mist at Hammonasset Beach State Park near Madison Connecticut. Rain drums the skylight and we drift off to the percussion band our van has become in this dripping wailing storm.