Newton >> Mahwah >> Newton >> PA in three (rainy) days. Phew!!

(Opportunities to post are proving to be fewer than I had hoped.)

Having farewelled the family in Boston, with a promise that I will be back in time for grandson’s birthday, I set off down the Atlantic coast… destination, Mahwah NJ. The weather was cool and misty, and not really suitable to photography, though the enjoyable trip was filled with memorable sights. True to form, I spent quite some time in several towns and settlements, looking for the road to my next destination. I would have like to have taken the ferry from Plymouth across Cape Cod, and then drive back….. However, in Plymouth too, I was distracted from my route when I needed to make way for a fire engine which was in a great hurry down the narrow main street.

It was getting on dusk by the time I crossed over into Rhode Island and on to Newport. By the time I crossed the Pell bridge it was all lit up, there was a large container ship nearby, and the view was just fantastic. Called it a day by the time I got to Stonnington. Next day I left early to make it to Mahwah by mid-morning.

It was a *pea-soup* fog when I set out on the Friday morning. No point taking the coastal road; I headed straight down I-95. The phone rang when I was almost to I-287. It was daughter-in-law who informed me that I had left a vital box of my luggage in Newton.

This really made my day – NOT.

After a most enjoyable lunch with daughter and her two children, it was a speed-run back to Newton. (Almost 500 miles in one day was never on my schedule.)

On Saturday I planned to leave Newton early and head to northern PA. Not keen to once again get onto the MassPike, I headed out of Newton along US-9 and eventually picked up US-20. This is a great route through urban MA with its mixture of architecture and shopping.

(Why is it when you see something which would make a great picture that there is never anywhere to pull over and park?)

And then I was rewarded with one of those little gems which you only find in small town America… the Asparagus Festival at West Brookfield MA. It was almost 10am, and time for a walk and a stretch, so went and enjoyed the many stalls displaying their wares. Ever conscious of the luggage weight restrictions, I resisted buying – well that was until I got to the second (third, fourth) hand bookstall. Here I picked up a real treasure which weighs a ton!

By the time I got to Springfield I realised that if I did not get on the Interstate there was no way I would get to my destination for the day, and I reluctantly got back on the MassPike. Planned to take I-90 to I-88 and then to I-81.

The reward in this decision came with the wonderful scenery along I-88 as it passed through the Catskill Mnts area. This is only partially designated as a scenic route on maps. IMHO the full length of I-88 ought to be a scenic route… particularly the northen third. There were some spectacular views as the road passed over one mountain after another. Being a Saturday the traffic was light, and for the whole 115 miles I did not see one 18 wheeler on the south bound side. It really was a most enjoyable drive, despite several extremely heavy downpours.

America’s Wonderlands – The National Parks

This beautiful book, published in 1959 by National Geographic Society is a treasure chest of pictures of all America’s National Parks prior to their development. From looking at the pictures, most parks had only natural tracks, and certainly very little vehicular transport. All photos show the visiting parties on horseback. It is absolutely spectacular – a collector’s item.

What sealed it for me is that it still contains the original (undamaged) road map of the USA, showing all the roads as they were before the Eisenhower Interstate System. A rare find and a treasure to behold for $1.




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