Sunday, July 4, 2010

The road less traveled*

Seeing as how class does not meet on Friday, our schedule is conducive to a weekend get-away. Having never traveled north of Washington D.C, I intend to see as much of northeast America as I can during these 6 weeks. I imagine most of my adventures to be short, day jaunts via train to Boston or NYC or Martha's Vineyard, but this weekend I braved the world of the rental car and went to see my sister in a small town slightly west of the Catskills.

The majority of the drive--nearly 3 hours of the 4--is spent traversing through the mountains. Surrounded on both sides by peaceful, flowing water and crisp vistas, I should have found serenity and comfort in my mini-vacation. But no. Much to my chagrin, the speed limit through much of the pass is 55 mph, a number to which local drivers adhere to the point of frustration. Having traveled more times than imaginable through the Tennessee mountains, I know personally that it is safe to travel over 55 in such terrain, especially on an idyllically clear day. This notion did not seem to enter the minds of the other drivers on the road, however. In addition to the slow-going, radio signals seem incapable of penetrating the mountainous blockade, and seeing as how the rental was without satellite and I was without my car adapter for Pandora or my iPod, the three hours passed in near silence--not something I do well, I might add.

Needless to say, I arrived at my destination a little annoyed--no one's fault but my own--which was not the attitude I wanted during this rare visit with my sister. After a short nap, and dinner at Moe's, I regrouped and vowed to enjoy the remainder of the weekend without stress. (Seeing as how I did little more than enjoy traditional 4th holiday activities--BBQ, beer, and bands--I think I accomplished my goal.)

On the return back to my New Haven apartment today, I decided to beat the Catskills at their own game. I returned home in a much more leisurely state and as a result, I resent the speed limit and music-less automobile much less than I did on the first leg of the journey. I stopped in a little town called Fishs Eddy (that's the correct spelling) and captured the simplicity of the Catskills for my memory. (And for the blog.)
I programmed the speedometer to 60 mph. I tossed a penny out of the window as I crossed the Hudson River. (I'm not sure why I did this. Maybe in tribute to the toll-road?)
And instead of taking I-91 all the way into the city, I took smaller, more scenic highways 67 and 63. And even though the return trip took me nearly five hours, I still arrived in New Haven in plenty of time to join my favorite Chaucerians at East Rock for 4th of July fireworks.

I admire the actual pilgrims (not to be confused with Chaucer's fictional interpretations) of Medieval England--and even the expanse of Europe for that matter--who traveled under harsh conditions to pay homage to something in which they believed. I became more than a little cranky over radio and speed limits in my air-conditioned rental; goodness knows you wouldn't have wanted to share a trussell bed with me after a day of pilgrimage!

*Yes, this is a reference to Frost. Gotta love an American poet, especially on Independence Day.

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