Saturday, October 6, 2012

On The Road: Portland to Washington

4 October 2012

The highway stretches ahead of us. The rain patters on the wind screen. We've found a country easy listening radio station, which is bleating out the best in country-western. It's actually kinda fantastic.

We drive over a river, it is as wide as it is still. Like an endless looking-glass, a deep charcoal grey as it reflects the light grey sky above it.

It's quite exciting not knowing where we're going to end up this evening. We've got New Canaan in our sights - Husband taking inspiration from 'Ice Storm' the 1997 movie shot in the town. Apparently the town of New Canaan is one of the wealthiest communities in the nation. According to Wikipedia it was ranked 8th on the list of the top-earning towns in United States in 2011.

We cross state lines - Maine into New Hampshire, and a short time later New Hampshire into Massachusetts. For a part of the journey we're on the same route that we took north, then we swing inland, looping around Boston. 
Thank gosh for Daphne - our gps - who makes all of this so much easier. No maps, no confusion, no arguments about which way to go. Because Daphne is always right.

We drive into Connecticut.

We stop for lunch. Each gas station is packed with fast food chains - all the usual suspects. Luckily the one we stop at has a Fresh City, and we order two salads.

With Fall in the air, and the trees all turning, it seems Halloween fever has completely taken hold. There's pumpkin decorations everywhere you look, and all the stores - even the pharmacies have a row of Halloween-themed treats and costumes. I can't wait. Halloween has to be one of my favourite holidays of the year, and I'm beyond excited to be experiencing it in America this year.

New Canaan was beautiful. And packed with some of the most amazing houses I've ever seen. Husband and I did some house spotting. We decided it wasn't quite the right fit for our evening's accommodation though. Truthfully, after endless restaurant lunches and dinners, all we want is a hotel room, a pizza delivery and a bottle of wine.
We get back in the car, and continue to drive, listening to Glenn Miller - old people's music - but swinging. Such good road trip music actually.

We drive into New York state. The sky darkens. The clouds lower. Something big is coming our way.

And then it does. A torrential downpour like I've never seen before. Husband slows the car, we're inching along, following the lights on the car in front of us - it's all we can see. The roads turn into rivers in a matter of minutes. We're wading through it all.
After the rain, the sky finally begins to clear - we see blue for the first time in what feels like days. The blue soon turns to pink, the sun is setting. We get the tiniest of glimpses before it's back to the grey. The weather continues to be completely befitting of the landscape.
Husband has found another possible hotel for us - this one is called Bear Mountain Inn. It has mixed reviews, but we decide to take the risk. Just the drive up to it - through the mist, across the bridge, and to the stone lodge makes me excited.
And you know what? We found a winner. 

Leaving it up to fate worked out exceedingly well. Our room is huge, with two bathrooms and a lounge. It is the exact ideal of a mountain lodge. We get out the wine from our cooler bag, order pizzas and jump straight into our pjs. I never want to leave.
5 October 2012
Up early. The sun has finally come out. The hill out our window is bathed in sunlight.

Breakfast is cereal and custard rolls. And then a walk around the Bear Mountain lake.

Husband said he felt like we were Janet and Brad in Rocky Horror during the rain storm yesterday. I chuckle and chuckle. Mostly because there were times when I did feel like we could have died during that rain storm, and even more so because we didn't.

The sun shines brightly the whole day through, and we drive and drive and drive. There's no where on the map today that we want to stop, so we're just pushing on to our next destination. There's crazy truckers, and even crazier motorcyclists, and speed limits which no one else seems to even vaguely obey, but that we're too scared not to obey, just in case the coppers decide to kick us out of their big country.

The landscape changes. We're no longer flanked by endless trees, but now the land opens up on either side of the highway, revealing farms, endless farms. The land rolls with plantations, silos and barns. The sun hits it all at the perfect angle. Once again. It's beyond picturesque.

Daphne (yes, the gps) takes us all the way through Pennsylvania. We're headed for Maryland - Keedysville to be exact - and for another evening with family friends. This place is one helluva sleepy town.

Keedysville is completely farm town. Wood panelled house flank the street, not a fence in sight. Farms stretch out in the distance.
We arrive at the house and are welcomed by the hosts, who soon take us for a short walk down by the river. It's wonderful to hear some of the history of the area - and to find out about the Battle of Antigua, known as the bloodiest battle in all of America's history, with more than 20 000 soldiers wounded and killed. We drive through the exact fields where the battle took place. It's quite chilling.

We catch up on old stories, and head back to the house. A delicious chicken coq au vin for dinner, with fresh veggies and roasted potatoes - you can't beat a home cooked meal when on the road! We lap it up. The best part is spending the next few hours, around the table, chatting about back home, about life, about love and about where to from here.

Bed time finally comes, and I collapse, exhausted. Husband and I have gone through a bottle and a half of wine! My eyes drag shut.

6 October 2012

Time to hit the road. Quick shower and breakfast, and we're off to Washington.

Miles Covered: 683 (1099km)
Time Taken: 51h 30min

[Map from Google Maps]

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