Chapter 105, 25 May 2008
Lower 48? CHECK!!!
Every now and then it just occurs. It sneaks up on you and it happens. Months upon months of work and humdrum life and in between 'getting things done' and 'making things go' the feeling begins to sweep upon you as the day draws unknowingly close. As it comes nearer you actually become aware of it and the feeling spreads as the impending hours shows itself on your schedule. The simple knowledge of the day breeds happiness that simply grows as the date finally arrives.
It arrived for me on Sunday the 25th of May, 2008. I was at a Grand-American Rolex race in Lime Rock Connecticut and staying just across the border in Millerton New York at the fabulous B&B Simmons Way. I worked on Friday and Saturday at the races and had Sunday off. The track at Lime Rock is a bit interesting in the fact that it is deep in the country and has a church close by and thus they do not run any race engines on Sunday.
I awoke Sunday a few minutes before my alarm and simply enjoyed the comfort of the incredible four poster bed. The sun was piercing thru the corners of the three big windows beckoning me to experience the hours that lay ahead. I gently eased out of bed and grabbed my laptop and slipped down the flight of stairs to the second level, mindful to step on the extreme sides to eliminate the creaking. Ditto for the staircase to the first floor and in moments I was snug on the well-padded couch with the F1 pre-race show just ending. By the time the race began I had Sebastian (the house dog) at my side and live timing and scoring up on the laptop. The sun rose a few degrees as I enjoyed the F1 race at Monaco and while the driver I was pulling for didn't win, the race was extremely enjoyable and great to watch. That, in itself, happens so rarely and was a great start. Halfway through the race the kitchen opens and I get served a very hot and very fresh breakfast in time for the second round of pit stops. This day was truly shaping up!
Above: My lap with breakfast, Sebastian and F1 live timing on the laptop. The SPEED broadcast is on the TV just out of the picture.
With breakfast and a shower out of the way I packed a few things, strapped on my hikers and headed out while the morning was still young. I stopped by the track and checked on the teams. Many weren't there, but some were checking setups and practicing pit stops. With nobody needing anything work related it was time to scamper out of the track as the calling of The Day was becoming so loud in my ears that focusing on anything else was becoming a chore.
I've been fortunate enough in my work and time off over the years to spend a good deal of time behind the wheel. I love traveling and driving, and my personal roadmap shows it. Coming into this weekend I've driven in 45 of the 'lower 48' and the three I was missing were Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Being in Connecticut, all those states were well within striking distance and with 14 hours left in the day (and unlimited miles on the rental car) it was time to, as my father so succinctly used to state: "do some distance".
I had it in the back of my mind to make this run for the last three for the weeks leading up to this trip, but try as I might I couldn't settle on a route. I looked at the maps many times and no route just felt right. I kept going back to them and even up until the night before I was unsure. Finally, while I was eating breakfast and staring at maps it just fell into my mind and I knew I had the route. I would go north to Vermont first and then head east through New Hampshire on to Maine and to the Atlantic. Then down back to Massachusetts and across that state heading back west to just barely into New York and back south to Millerton.
Above: These guys had bells on their shins and danced in rhythm with an accordion player. Interesting.
Above: Memorial day was the next day...I paid my respects.
Above and below: The Atlantic in Maine...even chilly in late May!
I won't bore you with details. I could go on for hours...about the hours of driving and the sights I saw, the trails I hiked and the Atlantic that I touched. I saw the beauty of those last three states courtesy of their backroads and their hiking trails. The weather for this day could only be described as amazing. Almost hot when the sun was out, but an abundance of clouds to give the countryside shadows that only emphasized their depth and vastness, and shade that made my open sunroof pleasurable. The traffic of the typical Sunday never bothered me and my speed was simply set by my wishes. My lanes were clear, the images spectacular and my soul rejuvenated.
Below: My room is the top three windows...third floor. Awesome place!