On October 9, 2016, this little camper van FINALLY got on the road for a six month road trip! Last minute adds…LED lighting strips inside the van (WOW! are they bright!), a new muffler and tailpipe, and then all new tires. The engine sounds good, the interior is comfy and just how I wanted it (thanks to son, Sean, who worked many hours on the cabinets, floor, electrical, wood trim, etc.), and a sad goodbye to the New York family but excited to go see the Virginia family!
Leaving Albany, New York area, I so enjoyed driving Route 88 through the Leatherstocking Region (south central NY) … especially with the beautiful autumn foliage! This area includes Cooperstown – a favorite place – I lived there for a couple of years and it is a wonderful area with wonderful people. (Kim, I waved hi in your direction as I passed through!) For those not familiar with the area, I love the Baseball Hall of Fame and the old Doubleday Field located in Cooperstown. This is also where James Fenimore Cooper lived and wrote Last of the Mohicans, Pathfinder, and other amazing Leatherstocking Tales, novels whose locales are in the Cooperstown area. Everyone should visit this region and enjoy the places Natty Bumpo traveled!
Switching to Route 81 out of Binghamton, I headed into the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania. When I first traveled through this area back in 1969-70, it was SO painful to see the strip mines left bare and ugly all around, I was mortified! Maybe some of you will remember Paradise, by John Prine, sung by Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, John Denver, and others…
“and daddy, won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County beside the Green River where Paradise lay? Well, I’m sorry, my son, but you’re too late in asking, Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away” –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmQfaQP_x38
The song was about the Western Kentucky coal mines, but I always pictured these stripped Pennsylvania hills when I heard the song. Now, several decades later, this region is back to beautiful forests on those same hills! How happy it made me to see all those trees…I was smiling all the way through Lackawanna County!
By the time I reached lower Pennsylvania, land of caverns and battlefields (Gettysburg, for one), I was ready to stop for the night. Love’s Truck Stop outside of Lebanon was a great boondocking site! One great part about traveling in a camper van is that I can park amongst the cars and not have to hear or smell diesel/generator fumes from the big RV rigs and trucks. Just put up my Reflectix window coverings, pulled the pillow and quilt out of the pillow shams on my full size bed, and nighty-night!
Refreshed after a great night’s sleep, I headed across the Mason-Dixon line into Maryland and then Virginia. Battlefield after battlefield, traveling this area always causes me to reflect on our country’s past and the many sacrifices made by previous generations! I can’t even acknowledge the current political debates in the face of such loss – neither Trump nor Clinton make me proud of America right now. With the millions of decent, hard-working Americans in this country, how on earth did we end up with these two as presidential candidates?!?!? Rhetorical question…I understand politics and elections and big money; just really sad to consider the results!
Well, on a happier note, I finally pulled off Route 81 at Lexington, VA and headed to the little town of Buena Vista where my oldest son lives with his family. Am enjoying a couple of weeks with my five amazing grandchildren here, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yesterday I walked through Lexington, and the Stonewall Jackson cemetery — I just love all the history here! The mountains all around us are just beautiful, and I encountered a deer just a block over from Jason’s house! So much to see and experience – like the Natural Bridge (a favorite spot!), Virginia Military Institute, Robert E. Lee grave (and that of his horse!), etc. History, nature, family…all a person could ask for in a vacation spot!
What book are you reading now?
From my bookshelf:
“These people live hard lives by ancient values, and they’re proud of that. They’ve developed a philosophy to deal with drought and death. When we arrive from the outside and insist that they learn to read – books that, as it turns out, are mostly about very different places and concerns – we confuse them. Possibly even undermine them. I think Miss Sweeney will tell you that their young are as sharp as any. And their elders may be wiser. Compared with them, after all, we of the settled, literate society have a kind of inflexibility. So your project raises questions. Do they want to be part of what you call the ‘larger world’? And who should be teaching whom?”
–The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton, 2007
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