Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Road Trip 08

14 days, 6789 miles, 22 States, 0 speeding tickets! Phew!! It was a challenge keeping ahead of the changing speed limits though - especially in the construction zones, where it's apparently instant castration if you are caught speeding.
For those who don't know - we had decided to head East to Mike's hometown of Greene which is in upstate New York. In a rash moment whilst walking Fergus one morning we decided it would be fun to drive and take him with us. For once, my naiveity served me well and I was totally gung ho about the prospect of driving coast to coast and seeing the full range of scenery this mammouth country has to offer. I can honestly say that apart from one fleeting instant in South Dakota - which is like driving in a scene from Groundhog Day - long and flat, and more long and flat - and yet more long and flat - when I did question our sanity briefly - I did not regret our decision once. Fergus was not surprisingly, an angel. He valiantly responded to the 'load up' request every time - even though I'm sure he was muttering doggy obscenities under his breath - and made the most of every second of freedom he was afforded in Greene with his Uncle Jake - and Joe, Mike's Dad!
It was a trip of extremes; we experienced temperatures ranging from 28 degr in New York state and 32 in Utah, to 84 in Nashville (note to self - check weather forecast before dressing in the morning to avoid looking like a twerp in long sleeves and boots in 84 degree heat); we traveled through the flattest of flatness in Kansas (plus tumbleweed the size of a house and winds so strong they removed a chunk of our roof rails!), to the dramatic steep crags of the Rockies in Colorado, and on to the eerie pink canyons of Utah.
The highlights were Mount Rushmore - a monument so symbolically moving it touches even a non-Yank's heart, Nashville, Tennessee - a veritable pilgrimage site for a Country Music disciple like myself, and New York City. Oh my gosh - that place is like no other. We did everything it was possible to do in 12 hours - food, sights, Broadway show - and came away totally invigorated by it's energy, and mish mash of cultures, styles, and people.
By far and away the most beautiful, however, was Greene and its environs. It was very strange being surrounded by towns with English names; Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Newark and even stranger seeing small settlement towns which could so easily have been transplanted straight from the other side of the pond; Victorian looking houses, village greens, taverns and village shops. I had always hoped that I would experience Autumn in the north east as it is supposed to be a thing of legend. It is. Just in the 5 days we spent there the trees went through a multitude of colour changes - from pale greens and yellows to rich reds, ambers and golds. We spent several happy hours walking snowmobile trails and hunting grounds above Cincinnatus Lake and just marvelling at the views.
It was a wonderful experience, and made for some lifelong memories.