It’s been quite a day. After more than a week of crossing the country on interstate highways, today we took two-lanes through southern Vermont and western Massachusetts.
We left Oneonta NY in fog. As the day warmed and we drove east, the fog gradually cleared, showing more and more of the hills and farms and woods. The southern tier of New York, from Erie PA to Albany NY is beautiful country. We were lucky with the weather and lucky enough to see some of the early change of the colors of the woods.
Near Schenectady we had to get on the New York Thruway. It was a bit like sitting on your front porch for a couple of hours, idly watching the world go by, when suddenly you are thrown into the middle of a street fight — fast, heavy traffic jockeying for position all about us. We were thankful we could get off after 10 miles.
The Tesla superchargers are sited at all sorts of places. Tesla tries to find a cooperating business near major highways with food, 24-hour restrooms, and wifi, but it doesn’t always work out that way. In Woodburn OR the charger is at an Elmer’s next to an outlet mall. In Independence MO it is at a Bass Pro Shop. In Painted Post NY it is at a Dunkin’ Donuts with a Denny’s across the street. A number of them are behind motels. The car tells us where they are, but what is nearby is potluck. In Albany, the charger is at a mall in front of an LL Bean store. Oops. We spent a happy half hour or so shopping while the car charged. I don’t know that I’ve ever been in an LL Bean store other than the one in Freeport ME, years ago. We had fun and left each carrying a bag of new goodies.
Then it was east to Troy NY. I have a masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute but had never been on the campus. (I did my studying at satellite campuses in Hartford and Groton CT.) We were passing through Troy and it was a beautiful day and we had time, so we stopped to walk around the campus. It is on a hill overlooking the Hudson Valley, bigger than I had imagined. We heard lots of languages being spoken by the students and saw many young people that weren’t of European extraction. How wonderful. I got a good education from RPI and they have a high, well-deserved reputation.
From Troy we climbed up into the hills of Vermont. Lunch in Bennington. Walking back along Main Street to the car after lunch, Andrea stopped in a book store to buy postcards. Instead of waiting for her on the street, I wandered in, too. I have a love/hate relationship with bookstores. I love to browse but too often can’t leave the store without buying something. While waiting for Andrea, I picked up a book of poems and read a couple. I’m not big on poetry. Often I don’t get it — I don’t always find them accessible. But this collection grabbed me, and I bought a copy. I’ve read a few more of the poems now, and I recommend the collection to you: “Resistance, Rebellion, Life.”
We continued east over the Green Mountains, then turned south into Massachusetts. The trees in southern Vermont are well on their way to donning their fall colors — not peak color by any means, but beautiful nonetheless. In Massachusetts, being south and at lower elevation, the trees were still quite green. It was interesting to see what a difference a few miles made.
We were going to meet a friend at a coffee shop at 185 Main Street in Northampton. We put the address into the GPS and followed the directions. We ended up at 185 Main Street in Leeds, a village in the town of Northampton. We headed toward where we thought the main part of Northampton was and put in the address again. This time we were directed to 185 Main Street in Florence, another village in the town of Northampton. We called our friend and asked for the name of the restaurant. When we put that into the GPS, it pointed us to 185 Main Street, Northampton. So Northampton has at least three 185 Main Streets in different places. The post office and delivery services must hire all local people because anyone else would get lost.
We finally got there and had a delightful, intense visit with our friend Thúy and her partner Peter. We all just talked away the whole time. It was wonderful to see her again and to meet Peter. We’re so glad we were able to connect (and to finally find the right 185 Main Street).
After our visit, we walked around the beautiful Smith campus. Then, at our friends’ recommendation, we went to supper at Coco’s, in Easthampton. (There’s also a Southampton and Westhampton, but as far as I know there is no Hampton. This is New England, after all.) Coco’s was fabulous, with food the like of which I have never tasted but wonderful. Thanks Thúy and Peter!
We didn’t get to the motel until after 7 — much later than is our habit. It was quite a day. Then we did laundry.