Summer trip, 2003
TO VIRGINIA AND BACK With Two Intrepid Travellers
Thursday, July 31, 2003
TRIP OVER, WHEN'S THE NEXT ONE?
Somehow made it back to Oak Park, battling the elements (wind & rain) on and off the interstate, which we abandoned for good, medium-back roads. But time ran out as bedtime approached, and though booked for a HoJo in Richfield OH, we rolled into a Super 8 in Grove City PA, home of a highly regarded college.
Let us not, however, praise the college but the Super 8, which at $50 or so the night offered big room with amenities including big bathroom and excellent shower. Coffee and bagels in the morning did us fine, and we were off for Chicago, now hitting I-80 without a qualm.
Our sang-froid was slightly misplaced, however. We got a horrendous flat near Middleburg OH and found the lugs impossible to move. The lady of the house called 911, and we soon had one of M'burg's finest tire-changers at our side. He did it for State Farm-reimbursable $55, and we were off to the nearest tire shop, which sold us a new tire for $65 or so -- installed, of course, with help of one of those whiz-bang pneumatic lug-twisters whose sound I love even when it's not my lug being twisted.
Then very good chicken sandwich and chocolate shake at next-door Wendy's (sorry, no shakes at W's: frosties; but it's a clear case of the rose smelling sweet no matter what you call it), and off we were. To plug another chain joint, a 4 p.m. or so coffee at the pleasantly disorganized Hardee's quite a bit down the road, tasted very good and goosed overall consciousness to a nice pitch.
Next thing we knew, or would care to recall, it was Calumet Skyway and Dan Ryan Expy time, about 6:15, rush hour receded, and ditto for Eisenhower, and thence to Oak Park, where commuters were apparently arriving from all over and near-clogging the traffic arteries.
Next morning, Tuesday, Bread Kitchen was up bright and early with me. I sat out front with back to rising sun and read, yes, the NY Times! Can this be the start of a habit?
// posted by Jim @ 9:09 AM
Saturday, July 26, 2003
Maryland, my Maryland is not too long but just right. Reading Byron's "Don Juan" (rhymes with pew-one not go on) helps the minutes fly by. What is there about this morally upstanding person that makes him swing with Byron in his delicious a-b-a-b rhymes with delicious twists at the end and their mocking tones, and B. being or having been a man of quite questionable habits though of heroic bent that led him to die trying to free Greece from the muslim Turks? (In that respect he anticipated our preoccupation with cruel muslims, not be confused with the good ones.)
From Md. to Virginia, of course, the weather being most salubrious and the living easy in the 10th-floor penthouse apt of a near and dear one. Asked ironically whether one's blood pressure truly falls while on vacation (by a young mother of three perfect boys), we joined in the laughter. And with relatives too! What a plug for family life!
The Va. part included the cemetery with its rows of white crosses but also the older monuments to an officer of the Italian navy (yes) who died in 1922 as I recall and several of the French army, also WW1 vets. What I must be looking up but not yet is when Arlington became official as our military cemetery. That's to come.
Back to Pennsylvania, which in its SE corner is quite traversible. Last night to a small-animal auction at the Green Dragon market near Ephreta, where amish men and boys in straw hats, some of them black fedoras, others in usual straw, and a wide assortment of other citizens watched the chickens, doves, furry critters, etc. went to the highest bidder. We sat in the bleachers and were careful not to scratch nose during bidding, lest we end up holding some hamsters at a price low but not low enough to justify the purchase.
Mennonites and Brethren and even some apparent Yuppies there, women wearing lace beanies tied under chin, not bonneted like out and out Amish. Not Yuppies, who had their own uniforms but did not flaunt their circumstance. Some of these Mennonites, Brethren, etc. apparently use the birth control method recommended by our family doc for many years, the late, great Gregory White MD, namely breast feeding. Yes, I know you call people using that method parents, but so what? Much sobriety and serenity and indeed relaxation seen among all such folks I have seen on this trip.
This Green Dragon market is Fridays only. There are at least three others in the general neighborhood, including Roots Market, near Manheim, to which vendors repair on their given days. We had root bear floats and (one of us) a hot dog at the round-stool winding counter where we might also have gotten a variety of hash house food. And all over the place, families with kids, stopping at dozens of various counters for food, flea market items, antiques, clothing, you name it. It closed down about nine-thirty, with families who run booths sitting in back of theirs sampling the ice cream or pina colada drink, for instance. Friday night out in the great American boonies.
// posted by Jim @ 10:48 AM