Sunday, July 22, 2012

Butterfly tells me: Time to travel

Butterfly comes to tell me. . . travel time.

Saturday, July 21: Horrible news all over the radio again today. Syria: War.  Aurora, Colorado: movie maniac. The US: Drought.  The Mississippi: 50 feet lower than last year at this time.  BUT I finally got myself organized enough to leave Cape Cod on my big Summer ride to Montana. You have to concentrate when you drive, no more distracting visions of horror. By staying longer on Cape Cod,  I got to see some relatives I wouldn’t have seen if I’d left when I thought I would. 
The California Paine's (some of 'em)

So it all worked out well. I had a few great natural signals that it was time to go.  I red tailed hawk flew over my car two days before I left. He flew in front of me, flying lower and lower, until he was practically hood surfing and I had to toot at him so he’d fly up again.  And then, this butterfly showed up in my backyard and flew circles around me. So I figured it was time. . .time to travel in spite of the butterflies in my stomach. Here is manifestation of my butterflies, not so bad!
What’s exciting along the way, you ask?   I’m taking the same route to Chicago that I took last year, and I really put some miles on today, making it to Rochester, NY.   It really was a beautiful day to leave Cape Cod, and lots of people were doing it, so I got off route 6 at Exit 3 so I wouldn’t have to wait at the Sagamore Bridge with the Saturday morning exodus.  Vacation homes on the Cape traditionally rent from Saturday to Saturday, so lots of cars going both ways on a Saturday.  Went through the beautiful little town of Sandwich, and passed the entrance to the Miles Standish State Forest.  And then, drove under the Sagamore Bridge and along the Canal to cross on the Bourne Bridge.  Beautiful weather. . . the back-up on the other side of the Bourne Bridge coming onto the Cape Was four miles long of traffic moving at about 5 mph. At least it wasn’t as hot as last weekend.  
Going Under the Sagamore Bridge

Last look at Cape Cod Canal from Cape side

So, out 495 (right around exit 18 I get a kick out of seeing a sign over a little creek, “Charles River.”  Yes, every river has to start somewhere.  Check it out next time you are near Medway.)  And then, at Exit 19, the first sign for the Blackstone Valley National Corridor.  This is a historic string of industrial age mill towns that grew along the Blackstone River from Worcester to Providence, RI.   I learn this once I hit Route 90, the Massachusetts Pike, and see the signs again and listen to the little radio spot. “A Tapestry of industrial development in the late 1700’s,” so says the little interpretive talk on 1140 AM radio.  More here:
Funny to me is that a main interpretive center for this Industrial Revolution in New England is hosted by the Audubon Society, go figure, at 414 Massasoit Road, Worcester.  We are crawling through the Worcester area today, and also the Springfield areas. 
  I pass over a river just before the Springfield exit. We crawl at 20 mph for many miles.  Just a lot of traffic, no construction underway. Finally, we roll. . . out past Springfield exits.
I go past the exit to Old Sturbridge Village (Route 84 to New York City) and remember when my kids were young and interested in how people used to live in the early 1800’s. Those were the days. . .
Soon I pass a sign that I try to read, but a truck has blocked my view for too long.  “1700+ feet altitude, the highest point on the Massachusetts Turnpike.” Near Becket? I know the Appalachian Trail crosses somewhere near here, but I don’t spot it.,_Massachusetts
And then a sign, “The Berkshires” just before Lee. And the hills are beautiful, the trees green, the valleys green, no real sign of drought here that the untrained eye can see.  One of the big things I am going to be looking at this trip is the country wide drought. They just upped the numbers for the drought today.  It’s worse this week than last week, with a higher percentage of area in a drought condition.  So I’m looking for corn, looking at the corn, and I start to see it in New York.  Along with other structures. 
rusting bridges on Route 90

Mohawk Valley

Dry grass!

Right away in the Mohawk Valley, I see fields of low corn.  It’s not up to my knees. It does not look like corn should look at this time of year. The hills are beautiful and green, the trees look green, but the crops, not so good.
Weird triple bridges near Albany exit.  I go by Utica, which is also the exit for the St. Lawrence Seaway.  I want to go up there some day.  And soon I am in Syracuse, the corn, up to my knees. One corn field actually has a dried up brown center, as if late fall had struck early.  Golf courses look weird, brownish grass around the small plush greens that surround the holes. No one out of them, even though the weather is very friendly today.  They must not like the crunchy grass. 
Yellowing fields

The Seneca River has water. It seems normal.  Corn in the area is waist high, so it’s doing fair. At exit 41, Montezuma, I see healthy corn! But then another brown-out in the field. And then I just drive drive drive, because Yoko and I are getting tired, and get to the dated area of Rochester called Henrietta.  I plop myself in the hotel, and then go out to take a look at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which is only about five miles away.
Deserted RIT campus, but hey, it's Saturday. And July. 

 I look for the solar panels and windmills that sprout up all over Massachusetts. I figure, if we’re going to do something about global warming so we can continue to actually survive on the planet, then the technical institutes should be showing the way, like the Massachusetts Maritime Academy does, back at my Cape Cod Canal.
I see no wind turbines or solar arrays.   I look all over at least half of the huge and well groomed campus.  I give up and go back to the Red Roof Inn, being tired.  Maybe the high tech windmills and solar fields are on the other side of the campus.  I hope so. 
Tomorrow the temperature is going to go up into the triple digets in 18 states, including the ones I’m heading for.  If I could I’d take some time and go into Rochester to visit the home of Susan B. Anthony. Pictures galore here:
 I’ll do that another day. . I have to keep my doggie cool. She’s a good travel companion; she keeps me focused on getting there. And looking for drive-through eateries, so I don’t have to leave her in the car, because I can’t leave her in the car.  It’s too damned hot.
Yoko the Queen of High Maintenance (besides myself)

1 comment:

Ann said...

Have a safe drive the rest of the way--I love reading blogs! You passed close to where I live in NW CT!