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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, April 7, 2017

Home At Last!

Howdy Trekkers! We have been home almost a week now but have been busy and not so busy most of the time. I'll start where we left off, which as you may recall was the lovely room at the Comfort Inn in Batavia, New York, where we waited out the anticipated snowfall in Eastern New York and New England. Jim Cantore, a former denizen of White River Junction, Vt and now one of the major reporters on the weather channel assured us that snow was falling and that Amsterdam, NY already had four inches on the evening of the 31st with more to come before fading away to the northeast mid day on the 1st. The first dawned gray and cloudy in Batavia with drizzle and no snow at all, so by 10 am we were making our way eastward on the NYS Thruway. Once more we followed the Mohawk River and Erie Canal past Rochester, Syracuse, Utica etc never encountering any snow falling --just rain--but noticing ever larger patches of snow and icy rock faces as we moved along. Having grown up in New York and travelled this road more times than I have fingers and toes, I didn't take very many pictures. I do enjoy the Federalist houses that are so typical of this and the Hudson River Valley--they show the historical age of this part of the country. They are unique though I've often wondered why those early settlers thought that flat roofs in this land of snowy winters were very practical. I would imagine leaky roofs were not uncommon in them. I noticed others, later??, had a small hump like a top-knot in the middle of the roof--an attempt to direct the water and melting snow to the level of least resistance--Downward to the ground--perhaps? My mind does wander when I'm looking out the window. As children, Barbara and I were encouraged to look out the window and observe the things we were passing. Both of us still do that and have been known to travel for hours without speaking--just observing--with an occasional outburst when something of particular interest has caught our eye--the funny part is that we often simultaneously notice and comment. This leads to laughter, sometimes off the path exploration and discussion. It is one of the things that makes our travels together so unique and fun. Bill is not as observant but he also is curious and we explore and discuss and have the same sort of fun. I'm really lucky I have the two of them to travel with. The rain, as you can see, ranged from drizzle to downpour with heavy ponderous clouds throughout. It amazes me to see the flocks of geese high in the sky on days like this--although I suppose the ground is pretty soggy so might as well fly as not--going to get wet in any case. They are pairing up, too and we saw pairs in sodden fields or right up on the edge of the road, where the land was somewhat drier--the water having once more sought its own level--downhill. Eventually, we arrived in Amsterdam, where there was fresh snow, though not as much as Mr Cantore had mentioned--perhaps it fell in another part of town or the rain had already melted much of it. By this time, I'd spoken to my sister several times on the phone--she was keeping us informed of the forecast for Killington. My friend, Joyce, had also been keeping us informed of Vt weather since she lives just over the ridge from us. And I'd asked my FB friends about travel on Killington---which marks me as a non-Vermonter--since old time Vermonters call it by its true name--Mendon Mtn for a town whose name is rarely mentioned anymore--having been overshadowed by the tourist skier who frequents Killington Ski Resort. LOL It is where I learned to downhill ski all those centuries ago and don't ever remember anyone mentioning Mendon, though you drive right through it--don't blink--to get to the slopes! At any rate, with all these people, who unlike Cantore, were right at the sight of the action, keeping us up to date, we decided not to stop at Barb's but to continue straight home. For the first time, in all our trips, I really was anxious to get to our house and see the boys. Usually, I like stopping at Barb's for a week to decompress before facing the lasting winter in Vermont, but this year I really wanted to get back. Maybe because we were gone a bit longer than usual? As we passed through Amsterdam I took some pictures of things other than the old mills that I usually photograph--there are some lovely old buildings in that industrial town. Between it and Ballston Spa there is lots of farmland and the fields were completely covered with snow--I could not fool myself any longer--Spring has not sprung here--no matter what the calendar says. We got onto the Northway and saw that winter has not been kind--the big Moreau exit sign was split right in half. It is in the town of Moreau that my parents had our house built and where I lived for the last two years of high school. This whole capital area was where I lived through college and grad school and first taught--all before I moved to Vermont in my late 20's. Really seems more like home than Vermont despite the years--funny, that. Again, having photographed the area so much through the years I didn't take any more pix til we were approaching Rutland on route 4. The clouds were so thick and the mountain fog rolling down the slopes so heavily that Killington was invisible until we found ourselves at the foot. As we passed Pico we saw that skiers were on one of the slopes, enjoying some sloppy spring sluicing. Then we were up over the peak and descending on the Eastern slope--obviously there was lots of snow on this side. The evergreens looked like Christmas trees so covered with blown snow that the rain had not yet been able to dislodge. I must admit they looked beautiful. Running along the Ompie it was neat to see the snow hanging on laden limbs waiting to fall on an unsuspecting driver headed toward the mountain. In the main stream bed the rocks had caps of snow that showed just how much had fallen overnight. The snowbanks of newly plowed roads and the driveways and walks newly shoveled by people who, I'm sure, were muttering curses on the joke Madam Nature decided to pull on this Fool's Day--all of these gave us clues to what we would find in Post Mills. On we drove through Bridgewater--yes, the cop was out, parked right up the road from Long Trail, which was packed. I'm not sure why being parked outside a bar isn't entrapment! Around the bends in the river and into Woodstock we came. How is it that I never noticed what appears to be a train depot in Woodstock?? Onto I 91 and the first pictures of the village of Post Mills--the flats, Sunshine Corner, The old mill site, Baker's with the Grange next door--the window from which the tenant asked our Missouri friends what they were doing there--gruffly, I might add--one of the differences of people here in comparison to people in the Midwest, west and southwest, Jane! The library, past 244, our house across the way, our road and Grumpy Attila and Jovial Shadow, after walking up the driveway--unplowed and unpassable! 388.8 miles--tired, cold and wearing sneakers in four inches of snow! But home at last. Called Betsy and Barb to let them know that we had landed safely 4:07 pm in 37 degree weather. I know that Bill had a hamburger for dinner but I have no recollection of what I ate. Mostly I just opened packages that had come while I was gone--a new book If We Were Villains, another paperback. put food away, played with the cats and watched TV, I guess. The house was in great shape which was nice. I went through what mail was here and threw a bunch of catalogues away. Other than that, just glad to be back! KandB

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