Thursday, September 29, 2011

america the beautiful

On a whim, we lightly packed the Lexus and let her take us on a journey to the East coast.  The plan was to have no plans and just drive to clear our heads and soothe our souls.  This is uncharacteristic of us but my inner voice told me we needed to do this, so we did.  We didn't know where we would go or how long, but let the spirit move us.  On Friday we checked in at our local AAA to get a few triptik maps to give us an idea of how to hit the roads but we soon discovered the best tool to travel is the AAA traveltik on the iphone.   Everything you need is literally at your fingertips and it gives your current location, gas, food and hotels in the area, how many miles and hours until the next destination, and it even has a little co-pilot.  And it's a free app, to boot!  We drove in sunny silence through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio without any music or noise to clutter our thoughts.  We talked and talked some more, and as Wayne says "kicked the same old can around" quite a bit to give us some direction in this thing called life.  After 8 hours, something strange happened.  We fell upon Buffalo, New York and impulsively drove to Niagara Falls where we were filled with awe at the wonder of this natural beauty.  
This was the only moment we felt a little pressure to get somewhere as we hoped to arrive before the sun set ~ and we did!  Back in the day, Niagara Falls was the place to take a honeymoon.  This trip was taking on a healing form already.  Nature does that.
Wayne made this trip 27 years ago for business so we revisited his routes a little at first and decided to settle in Rochester to rest our weary bones.  It took 3 hotels before we secured a room as the town was filled to capacity due to a hockey tournament.  Lesson learned ~ it helps to pre-plan overnight lodging. 
I dubbed this my giving tree as we parked the car and I sat under her in the early morning, receiving loads of inspiration and some answers to my questions, embracing the healing being provided.  We did not plan this, but it just so happened we began travelling each day at 8:15am and took stretch breaks every 3 hours.  These were just natural occurrences so it struck us as strange that it worked out that way.  We were in awe at how remarkably beautiful upstate New York appeared to be.  For some reason I associate this state just as the Big Apple but the landscape where we drove proved otherwise.
Driving on I-90 gave us a taste of the lay of the land as we only wanted to keep driving and explore in detail the sites that tickled our fancy later in life.  We scoped and scoured and took notes where to revisit another time.  The Adirondaks area is on our list.  New York is a very long state to drive through and this is where we popped in some music and played Allman Brothers listening to Whipping Post (no comment) Dreams, Blue Sky, Melissa and many more.  It brought us back to our relationship roots and filled us with warm fuzzies until we arrived at our second magnificant landmark of Boston. As we arrived at this historic coastal city, we decided to stay at the Harborside Inn as we favor boutique hotels ~ perfect. 
This gave us an opportunity to stretch out and grab some seafood at No Name restaurant built in 1917. We hopped on a trolley where the guide gave us a glimpse of the downtown sites and after dinner we strolled throughout Boston.  The first settlers arrived in the 1600s so this town is filled with our country's historical roots; we fell upon a cemetary with headstones carrying these dates.  We browsed the area while enjoying a pistachio ice cream cone and watching a movie being filmed.  We hung out at the Faneuil (fannel) Hall Marketplace and when dusk fell upon us, decided to retire for the evening.  Thanks to cable television, I watched the new show Curiosity and was intrigued with the history of what happened to the mesmerizing island of Atlantis.  Worth watching.  The next thing I knew, a new day fell upon us. 
We tried to take a photo of a beautifully designed building where we parked our car, but security prohibited us from doing so and when we inquired as to the reason we were just told  "not allowed" and wouldn't devulge who was in the building, so we assume it was a secret governmental or important business.  No picture taking allowed outside the whole block either!  Kinda cool.  At 8:15 we headed up north on I-95 to visit Portland, Maine as Danny's friends own a jazz bar called Gingko Blue so we decided to check it out.  Were we in for a pleasant surprise.  The sun was shining brightly on this 80 degree day as we arrived to find Portland filled with wonderful energies.  We almost felt like we were in Oz ~ it had that affect on us. 
After a bit of strolling we settled at Portland Lobster Co. and ate the best fish ~ cod and salmon ~ with the tastiest onion rings and Shipyard Thumper beer.  It got even better when a trio entertained us and performed Babylon by David Gray ~ to perfection.   It captured our hearts so much so that we are determined to revisit this city in detail in the near future.  In retrospect, we both agreed we should have lingered longer but now we have a plan for another day.

After picking up a few souvenirs for the boys we headed back down I-95 and while our souls were shining a bit brighter, just followed it to the southernmost tip in Rhode Island and headed back west which gave us an overview of Connecticut and Massachusetts.  We hoped to see the waters, to no avail.  Another day we will explore Nantucket, Cape Cod and make sure to see some whales and lighthouses in the bay area. 
The sun was setting in Rhode Island which is just a little itty bitty state but we made sure to get our lottery ticket before entering Connecticut.  We secured 22 tickets total ~ two for each state we passed through.  Big Daddy will be proud! 
Connecticut is lovely in its own way.  There is a quaint feeling of pureness as we travelled north.  This would be a state to take the sideroads to really get the feel of its offerings.  My cousin, Deena, and her family resided there for over 20 years so we can get tips from her.  After Massachusetts we entered Vermont as we followed the one and only side road of the trip ~ Route 9 ~ which would lead us to Bennington (I just pointed and picked this place to stay overnight.)  I would have stopped at Yankee Candle and loaded the trunk but unfortunately it was closed.  Nightfall arrived and driving the winding roads in the mountains reminded us of the scene in a Pee Wee Herman movie.  Initially, the area was not too welcoming and we almost kept going, but once we drove through the town we felt secure enough to stay overnight at the designated dwelling. 
The morning provided a gorgeous sunrise and delicious treats at the Main Street Cafe.  The storefronts boast these unusual artsy designs and we noticed moose are favorites in this area.   We stopped at St. Francis church and made our intentions.   
Continuing on route 9 brought fog and the beauty I envisioned the area would behold. 
The leaves are just beginning to change colors and I bet in a few weeks this area will be filled with color extravaganza as mother nature continues her annual autumnal ritual. 
  As we headed back home, again at 8:15 eastern time, we let I-90 guide us all the way in. The weather was absolutely perfect all four days providing sensational sunny 80 degree days all the way through, enabling us to enjoy the beauty to its fullest.  As we drove through Ohio the rains began and continued through pockets of Indiana, but alas, after 15 hours, we arrived back home, safe and sound, filled with so much stimulating scenery and the comfort of bonding with my best friend.  The thing about relationships is when one partner has their glass half empty, the other is usually half full and can help bring the balance, but when both partners have half empty glasses, we have to let nature take its course and provide the answers with healing anecdotes.  The messages received from the universe were keep the faith and united we stand (remember that old tune?  well, we heard it in Ohio!) 
We found it necessary to get back sooner than later as our beloved puppies refused to eat while we were away.   Our adventure lasted 4 days, covered 11 states, and the Lexus odometer packed on 2,410 miles. 90 ~ 95 ~ 9 were the roads that carried us.  This whirlwind journey cleared out the cobwebs tangling our minds and brought us the strength to endure come what may.  We will definitely encourage our sons to travel more often while they are young and discover all the beauty America has to offer.  There are 14 more states to see before we can claim having touched base through all 50 in our country.  Everyone should make this a lifetime goal.  I understand Sir Paul McCartney travelled Route 66 when he was 66 years old.  Cool.  Sometimes spur of the moment pursuits bring enormous moments that take your breath away.  Now that we took our virgin road trip in this manner, we are confident another trip out west will provide just as much pleasure.  I have the Sturgis and the Black Hills on my mind and Utah and New Mexico call me at times.  The only detriment about travelling this way is not being able to capture on film all the little signs that made us chuckle.  Our memories will have to hold the little treasures.  We did manage to take photos of the welcome signs in each state, but the one that made us smile the most was in a little New York town that posted the following "welcome to Hoosick, population: 12,407 happy people and a couple of grumpy ones." 

clear eyes...clear hearts xo