chapter lx

Posts Tagged ‘mountains

St. John, New Brunswick, mile 4990. Hah, here I am finally in Canada, cleared Customs and Immigration and here I am in a Holiday Inn! Left Maine mid-morning after a nice breakfast at that sweet Village Inn. The border is about 2 hours from there, a winding two-lane road through mountains, but first I stopped once more to find boots in Calais – did find some, not beautiful but practical, although they are short but fine for now. Next winter I will look for tall warm boots, but for now I don’t anticipate trekking through knee-high snow. Also a stop at duty-free; hard to decide but finally got a bottle of Kahlua. No room in the van for a two-four and I was afraid if I went for a bottle of Jack, we’d get too friendly. By mistake though I was across the border before I had done that shopping, so turned around, and had to go through the whole ID, how long have you been gone, where are you going to US Customs just to go back and do my shopping. Anyway, it took about 1-1/2 hours to clear into Canada. First, was what am I bringing? I can hardly remember what I have brought – it’s been almost a month since I saw any of it. Outside of the usual, clothes, household, personal memorabilia there is not much else. He did want the serial numbers from the camera and laptop. The problem was the car. I don’t have the actual title – it arrived in the mail at Mary’s yesterday – my mail is being forwarded to her. There is no way she could have faxed it today while I was there – she wouldn’t be home from work until 10 this evening here. So my man was very clever at working the papers, and somehow issued everything I will need to register the car in Nova Scotia, I hope. So, I am officially a resident again, and feel so happy. It was after three (I lost another hour today, Atlantic time) and I decided St. John is far enough. I thought I would take the ferry over tomorrow, but it would be $120 and I’m sure it won’t cost that in gas, and an easy five hour drive.

The drive from Calais/St. Stephen was clear, glorious blue sky, watch for deer, little traffic and lots of dirty snow, pines, lakes and rivers. Coming in to St. John was confusing and finding a place for the night even more confusing. I have been out in the country so long. But I did stop for a coffee and donut at Tim Horton’s, and asked where is a motel nearby.

The biggest problem now is my Mazda 3 back in Berkeley. Someone wants to buy it, phoned Sunday, we made a deal and she needed to take it to her lender today for the lender to inspect. Well, she phoned as I was leaving the border to say that she took it from the Buggy Bank and it started smoking white smoke out the rear and seemed to have some trouble accelerating. What can I do, 5000 miles away? I told her to take it back to Buggy Bank, and spoke to Jerry there. He is going to take it to Oakland Mazda tomorrow, and see what is going on. I can’t imagine. That car never gave me one minute of problem and is still under warranty. I just want to sell it, now! I don’t want to keep making payments, don’t want to keep insuring it. I feel like I’m so far away, and don’t know what to do. Wait and see what’s going on with it I guess. Aaaaarrrghh.

Roadside snow

Roadside snow

Northern Maine

Northern Maine

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Near Hartford, Conneticutt. 4425 miles. A good day, sunny and clear but getting colder. Came up the east side of Pennsylvania across the Alleghenies, east through the bottom of New York and the Hudson River Valley, and into Conneticutt. Pulled out the warmer coat and I guess leather shoes will be ok now. No allergies since Atlanta – it is not spring here yet. Probably not above 40 today, and looks like more of the same. We’ll see how Bella likes cold weather. This is another one of those cheap motels with spotty internet – frustrating so I’m going to sign off now. More tomorrow

Hudson River Valley

Hudson River Valley

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Greenbelt, Maryland, mile 4040. Holy cow, eighteen days and 4000 miles. I feel so lucky on so many counts; that I have time to do this, that I have so little, and so little to worry about, that I have so many friends and family, that this is a beautiful world, that life is good. I am filled with contentment and gratitude and look forward to what’s coming next.

It was a beautiful day, rain finally stopped and although it is chilly and was overcast most the day, it was a wonderful drive. I avoided the Interstate practically all the way – a little to Durham, and then coming into the DC area – at rush hour! I have done most of this without a map – some places I knew how to get there, and some times it is just asking locals how they get from here to there. This morning I asked the desk clerk about US 29 or US 501 and he suggested 501 but didn’t know much about it in Virginia, so when I got to Virginia, asked how they would get to DC and several people in the little store had suggestions, so I found 29 again, and both roads were easy, no traffic, very few TRUCKS and pleasant to drive. That whole area – North Carolina, Virginia is rolling and winding, the bottom of the Smokies. One of my favorite places in the states. I also love Kentucky but probably won’t see Kentucky this trip. Finally drove out of the allergy zone yesterday, as not much is blooming here yet, but as I came around a curve in Virginia this afternoon, there on a hillside in front of me was a whole pink tree, standing against the grey hill and surrounded by all the other stark naked trees. It was breathtaking. I am sorry that I never got a photo of a redbud.

Tomorrow is the day I dress up Bella. I stopped at a custom car shop today that does decals on cars – it occurred to me that a decal might be what I’m looking for, but it would take a couple days. This was by the side of a road, gravel drive and inside two people huddled around a small woodstove and a stock car with decals all over it. All day I’ve been thinking of how to do it myself, and picturing what I want besides “Bella” on the hood. I will post when it’s finished. Last night when I went to dinner, there was a twin parked in the lot, except the other one was a little less battered. I asked the men at the next table if it was theirs, as they were the only other people in the restaurant besides a large noisy family but they had already left. It wasn’t, and then I realized that it probably is not the kind of van they would be driving – hunters, fishermen, they probably have a Ford pickup or some gallumping SUV.

The mountains in the East are so different from the mountains in the West. They are lower, softer, not so jagged and treed. There was the most incredible huge red sunset tonight. I am at Joan’s and they have the largest magnolia in the front yard that I have ever seen. Too bad I won’t be here when it blooms. I will stay here through the weekend – time to do laundry, see some of the Capitol and enjoy being with more loved ones.

Hills in Virginia

Hills in Virginia

Big Spring, Texas. Put some miles down today, but now I am ever tired. I think we are about 1800 miles. The first 200 – 250 miles out of Deming, through El Paso and beyond were so incredibly windy I stayed on the Interstate. The US route went up through the Guadalupe range, twisty mountain pass. It was hard enough driving, I chose not to make it harder. Blowing dust, tumbleweeds, low visibility besides the relentless wind. Amazing. And who knew there are mountains in Texas? Rough, angular mountains. Texas is big! We all know that. Once the mountains were behind me, it is nothing but straight and flat. Then the oil pumps start. They look like those silly birds that perch on the side of a glass and bob up and down sipping water.

I pushed Bella up to 70 and we’re ok there. The speed limit is 80! I was passing a truck – another truck was behind me but way back, I had time to get past, when all of a sudden all I could see in my rear view was transport, back and side. It must have been going 90 or 100. I just goosed Bella and got out of the way, and thought for sure I would see that truck pulled over somewhere down the road, but not.

Over that long stretch, flat and straight it was easier to drive and time to think. Put on blues, then jazz, then Bach. I am feeling that all this is so right. I am not looking back with any regret or sadness – I feel like I am moving forward embraced with such affection, and no apprehension about what lies ahead. it just feels good and right.

Texas sure feels like another place – not San Francisco. I am just south of Lamesa; some of us know Lamesa. Tomorrow it looks like an easy jump to US 180 all the way across, into Louisiana. Time change tomorrow – I just had one today, into central time so actually am jumping ahead two hours, although I guess it doesn’t matter much. Man, it got dark quickly here though. About six o’clock, it was like the curtain was drawn.
Nice to hear from all who have commented. I don’t think I’m going to get any photos up tonight – another one of those connections that comes and goes. Surprise – Texas rest areas are wireless. Maybe one of those tomorrow. More then.

The Guadalpes

The Guadalpes

More Guadalupes

More Guadalupes

Me and Sally

Me and Sally

It took a long time to finally get on-line tonight. But here I am. Left Arizona today, after visiting so many people I enjoyed being with. Sally and her friend Elaine and I went to the San Xavier Mission before I left this afternoon. It was very beautiful, and a good start to a good driving day. Went through desert and more mountains – the Dragoons, which were rounded brown rock. Long flat stretches, and very windy. There seemed no way but the interstate to get across, and now I am in Deming, New Mexico. Tomorrow will pick up US 180 and hopefully a little more interesting. Found a lovely room at the Grand Hotel, and had a delicious Mexican dinner. Looks like a good breakfast in the morning, and a good stretch into Texas. I think it will take two days to cross Texas. I’m going to try uploading some of the photos now. Let’s hope I can keep this connection long enough.

Mission San Xavier

Mission San Xavier

Kateri Tekawitha

Kateri Tekawitha

In the garden at San Xavier

In the garden at San Xavier

The Dragoons

The Dragoons

This is going to be short – not a very good connection here. Spent yesterday in Phoenix, up and down from Sedona, beautiful green mountains. It was good to have a visit with Linda and spend some time with her. Left this morning for Green Valley to visit Sally. I am moving out of familiar territory now, southern Arizona, which has a whole different feel than central Arizona. It was 80 degrees in Phoenix, and warm today on the drive down. There are huge dark mountains to the south, and more vegetation. Passed many tall saguaro and flowering bushes. We went for a nice long walk – good to stretch my legs and move. Tomorrow morning Yoga and then hit the road heading for New Mexico and Texas. I will post photos of the mountains and flora tomorrow. It is good to be here.

Day two got lost because I never did find an internet connection. This is going to be trickier than I thought. It was a wonderful day, though. I left Bakersfield about 6 am to get to Las Vegas in time for the NASCAR race there. Crossed the Tehachapi pass with a little effort – Bella is a trooper and made it with only a little hesitation. i had forgotten what a climb it is to Las Vegas – elevation 4000′. I love the windmills at Tehachapi, and the desert. I always thought I would live in the desert someday, but I guess there have been other deserts. The race was a good one, beautiful day and wonderful to be there with family at the beginning of this transition.

Today was also a wonderful day to be driving. Took 95 out of Las Vegas, across the Mohave, all brown ringed with brown mountains in the distance, flat and low growing plants – mesquite, sage, who knows what else. Brown, gray, subtle greens, the occasional bird. It was 80 in Needles and a clear blue sky all the way. Took 40 and began climbing again, from 4000′ to 7500′ in Flagstaff. The mountains were no longer brown and distant, but green and I was in them. It is one of my favourite routes, 40 from Needles to Flagstaff. The trees begin getting taller, not just short shrubs, first the junipers and by the time you’re really high, many many pines. There was snow by the side of the road, and by dusk I was heading down the hill to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona.

Driving down 95 made me reconsider which roads to take. Interstates can be so boring, I think I will stick to US routes. I’m not going very fast anyway; Bella seems to find a groove around 62 and seems happy there. Everything passed me today, except one baffed out old Ford pick-up with a camper on the back – struggling up a long incline. I am just as happy puttering along, too. And on the US routes, I’m more likely to pass through towns and see more than on those long interstate corridors.

Another problem that needs working out is all the things that need to be recharged; camera, phone, computer. I took the camera out today and the battery needed recharging. Can be done in the car, but the phone was on the charger. Hmmm. Everything gets plugged in at night? I am sorry that I missed a lot of photos today – who knows when I’ll be back this way?

The Race

The Race

The Infield

The Infield

The mountains ringing Las Vegas

The mountains ringing Las Vegas