SLOWLY DRIVING ACROSS NEW ENGLAND – GARRY ARMSTRONG

We can still remember the good old days when we were one of the kids in the back seat pinching and punching a sibling while whining: “Are we there yet?” How come our parents didn’t kill us before we grew up?

It’s a question that has taken on considerable depths of meaning with the passing decades

Those of you who wax poetic about the wonderfulness of slowly trundling down America’s scenic back roads should take a car trip across New England.

New England roads — the good roads, the paved roads, the roads with passing lanes — run north and south. Although no one can explain why — lack of money? no interest? not enough tourists? — so only small local roads go east-west. If, for example, you are traveling the 231 miles from Jackman, Maine to Danville, Vermont, you will experience some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery. Slowly.

These are classic roads. They have not changed and in many cases have not been repaved in your lifetime.

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No limited-access highway will sully your pure travel experience. You won’t be tempted to eat fast food from familiar chains. No driver will tailgate to make you or honk for you to speed up. The car ahead of you — what we sometimes refer to as our “pace car” — will be an aging pickup truck rattling down the mountain. One of the driver’s feet will be glued to the brake pedal while he or she engages in a lively conversation with his or her partner while the truck weaves left and right and an occasional fishtail.

You’d be hard put to figure if the vehicle has a steering problem, rowdy children, or the driver is doing it on purpose to make you crazy. Whatever the reason, you are not going to pass that pickup.

You won’t find fast-food chains on this route, but you won’t starve, either. There’s plenty of good food and gasoline to pump as you pass through the quaint New England towns. Classic towns with white clapboard churches and at least one or two pizza joints. Fresh baked goods for sale. Chilled pop in bottles and cans. Clean bathrooms.

TRUCK ON ROUTE 201 IN MAINE

It’s a breathtaking journey through the mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes. Magnificent and surreal. For the entire trip, directly in front you — on every road — will be a poky driver who will never exceed, or even approach, the speed limit. He or she would not consider letting his vehicle get within 10 miles of whatever that silly sign says is a safe, legal speed for traveling those roads.

Let’s not forget the neverending construction. It is one of New England’s seasons: winter, sort-of spring, and construction. Oddly, if you go back the next year, the construction will still be ongoing with little sign of progress. After four or five of the dozen hours of the drive, the urge to get your car up to ramming speed and push the slow drivers out of the way becomes obsessive.

Slow drivers lurk on side roads. Do they use spotter craft (drones?) so they know when we are coming? We try to pass, but they appear out of nowhere. They pull out and immediately slow to a crawl. If by some miracle, we briefly break free, another slow driver is poised for action at the next intersection.

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Supposedly Dwight D. Eisenhower built the interstate highway system in case of an emergency, so military vehicles could get where they needed to be.

Maybe there was a hidden reason. Ike came from farm country and had been traveling glorious back roads his entire life. The great general he was, he knew defeat when he saw it. Never could he or his military \ever defeat the slow drivers. And that is the real reason he built interstate highways across America, all of which currently need paving. But that’s another story.

Enjoy the beauty of New England. Just remember to enjoy it slowly. If you have a specific arrival time? Leave extra hours. Many extra hours. And remember to take a lot of deep breaths.

WHICH WAY? – Marilyn Armstrong

SonOfABeach’s Which Way Photographs

Which way to go on a bright, hot, murky summer’s day? I think we’re going to hit the grocery store, but not until late in the day. It is simply too hot and muggy to be outside right now.

Main Street

ON THE ROAD AGAIN – THE WHICH WAY CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Which Way Challenge: November 22, 2018


Haven’t been out on the road much, but I did manage to take a few shots when we were on our way back from Connecticut.  I knew I would need some road pictures. And here they are.

We got stuck in a couple of hours of non-moving traffic which always gives me time to take a few shots. Not great shots, but … a little something.

GARRY ARMSTRONG HITS THE ROAD – CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge

Somewhere in Uxbridge

The lonely motorcyclist

Just when Marilyn thought I’d given up photography, having not picked up a camera since the great storms of March, I surprised her and took the camera with me today. It was a good road day, too.

Watch your speed!

Passing the cop shop

Before the day was over, I was in and out of five separate valley towns.

I call him “The Lawn Whisperer”

Gardener at work

Starting in Uxbridge, I went through Mendon to Milford. From Milford back through Mendon and Uxbridge to Whitinsville and the Super Walmart. From there down into Douglas, then back up and finally, home.

But I got a lot done and in the end, that feels pretty good.

SLOW DRIVING AND DRIVING SLOW

Garry and I are old enough to remember the good old days. I’m the perfect age to have been one of the kids in the back seat pinching and punching a sibling while whining: “Are we there yet?” How come our parents didn’t kill us before we grew up?

It’s a question that has taken on considerable depths of meaning with the passing decades

Those of you who wax poetic about the wonderfulness of slowly trundling down America’s scenic back roads should take a car trip across New England.

New England roads — the good roads, the paved roads, the roads with passing lanes — run north and south. For reasons no one can explain (lack of money? no interest? not enough tourists?), only one or two lane local roads travel east and west. If (for example) you are traveling the 231 miles from Jackman, Maine to Danville, Vermont, you will experience some of the nation’s most beautiful scenery.

Very slowly.

These are classic roads. They have not changed and in many cases, also have not been repaved, since you were knee-high to a grasshopper.

72-Rt-16_Snow-Roads_026

No limited-access highway will sully your pure travel experience. You won’t be tempted to eat fast food from familiar chains. No driver will tailgate to make you speed up. The car ahead of you — what we refer to as our “pace car” — will likely be an aging pickup rattling down the mountain. One of the driver’s feet will be glued to the brake pedal while he or she engages in a lively conversation with his or her partner while the truck weaves left and right — with an occasional fishtail. You’d be hard put to figure if the vehicle has a steering problem, or the driver is doing it on purpose to make you crazy. Whatever the reason, you are not going to pass the pickup.

Although you won’t find fast food chains on this route, you won’t starve, either. There’s plenty of good food and gasoline you can pump as you pass through the quaint New England towns. Classic towns with white clapboard churches and at least one or two pizza parlors. Baked goods for sale. Chilled pop in bottles and cans. Clean bathrooms.

TRUCK ON ROUTE 201 IN MAINE

It’s a breathtaking journey through the mountains. Magnificent and surreal. For the entire trip, directly in front of your car will be a poky driver who will never exceed, or even approach, the speed limit. He or she would not consider letting his vehicle get within 10 miles of whatever that silly sign says is a safe, legal speed for traveling those roads.

There is always plenty of construction. Everywhere. Oddly, if you go back the next year, the construction will still be ongoing with little sign of progress. After four or five of the dozen hours of the drive, the urge to get your car up to ramming speed and push the slow drivers out of the way becomes an obsession.

Slow drivers lurk on side roads. Do they use spotter craft so they know when we are coming? We try to pass, but they appear out of nowhere. They pull out and immediately slow to a crawl. If, by some miracle we briefly break free, another slow driver is poised for action at the next intersection.

72-Traffic-Main-St-Uxbridge--120315_040

Supposedly Dwight D. Eisenhower built the interstate highway system in case of an emergency, so military vehicles could get where they needed to be. But I think there was another reason. Ike came from farm country and had been traveling these glorious back roads his entire life. He knew he could never defeat the slow drivers. So — he built bigger, faster roads all across America.

Just … not going east or west in New England.

RETURN OF CEE’S WHICH WAY CHALLENGE

Cee’s Which Way Challenge – July 27, 2016

Lots of road pictures in my world. For people who don’t travel much, we seem to be on the road all the time. Lots of little trips … vets, doctors, groceries, friends, the pharmacy … and back again.

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And everywhere … construction. From the day after the snow melts until the next time the snow falls, almost every road in the northeast is being repaired, upgraded, resurfaced. It never seems to end.

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Cee which way photo challenge

CARS, MOTORCYCLES & TRUCKS: CEE’S BLACK & WHITE CHALLENGE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: CARS, TRUCKS, OR MOTORCYCLES


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BW Antique car wheels

And finally -- our car. Now, just after a nice bath.

And finally — our car. Now, just after a nice bath.

Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge

JUNK YARD – CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 15

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week 15

These are the photos we take that don’t quite fit into a category. Usually, they are leftovers from illustrations. Or they may be pictures I have taken around the house because some object seem to want their picture taken. Ketchup bottles and salt shakers whisper to me.

72-Junkyard_30These are the first pictures I ever took  knowing I would use them for this challenge.  Now, they have a home in Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.

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The event? A trip to the junkyard. We needed tires for the yellow car. A rainy day. Lots of mud. Rusting cars and smashed cars. Pieces of cars. I couldn’t go into the yard. I was not wearing the right shoes. You can’t go into a junkyard without sturdy, closed shoes — and shouldn’t.

I got some interesting shots from the entrance, driveway, and shop area. Now, they have a home in Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenges.

WHEREVER THE ROADS GO

Image

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Roads

From the city to the country and back again, this is a nation of roads. Americans are wedded to their wheels, their trucks and cars. We can’t imagine a world without a road to get from here to there, wherever here is, wherever there may be. There absolutely must be a road … because we are defined by our roads.

No road? Impossible. That would be un-American.