Friday, July 9, 2010
Alyssa's car needed some brake work done, and since Sylvia has a warrantee for said brake work, we spent a couple of hours on Comm Ave, including an ill-advised stop at Qdoba for lunch. To think, now our last meal in Boston was at Qdoba... Ew...
Finally, we got on the road again at 5:30pm and decided to take Route 2 as far as we could get, and pick a campground accordingly. Alyssa pored over the RV edition atlas (which has already paid off), picking out campgrounds while the scenery of Central Mass blew past us. Alyssa got a little nostalgic of having done the drive so many times to get to UMass, so we put on Alanis Morrisette to complete the picture. We made it as far as Charlemont, home of Berkshire East - where I had my first skiing accident - before settling in at Country Aire campground. We set up camp, and settled down for the evening. Still full from our burrito lunch, we passed on dinner.
The next morning, we woke early and made the decision to stay put for a second night, rather than take an incremental step closer to our next destination on Long Island. So we took a morning swim in the campground pool, then headed into Shelburne Falls, a town my parents had dragged Bree and I to as children, and walked around town. We crossed the Bridge of Flowers and Alyssa lamented the decline of the rural small town as we walked past shuttered storefronts and run-down buildings. Our planned swim in the Glacial Potholes was cancelled due to a locked gate and reported police presence. But we grabbed lunch at the West End Pub, and did some quick camping shopping before taking the advice of some locals and heading to Sunburn Beach.
At the intersection of the Cold and Deerfield Rivers, Sunburn Beach is one of those idyllic swimming holes you think only exist in Mark Twain books. After a short walk down a overgrown path, we stepped out onto a rock beach and stepped into the frigid waters of the appropriately named Cold River. I let the current carry me downstream and looked up at the steel and concrete bridge that rose up over the Deerfield. At the rivers' junction, the Deerfield's waters ran warm, and we sat for a while, watching kids jump from fifteen feet up into water that seemed far too shallow for their hijinks, but they survived each time. This was one of those times where we wished we had the camera, but the mental pictures will just have to suffice.
Back at camp, we cooled off in the pool again, then made a gourmet dinner over a propane stove and had a nightcap while listening to the stream as it passed by our site. We retired early, knowing Thursday would be a long day of driving.
The rural decline that Alyssa had lamented in Shelburne Falls was in full effect in Northwestern Connecticut. It seemed that every house we passed had a "for sale" sign in front, and some looked in less than sellable condition. It's sad to see the once prosperous mill towns struggling to survive on Walmart wages now. We made a couple of stops in Kent, a bit of a colonial oasis, including lunch at the Fife and Drum, where Dolph is still playing piano even though Peggy Lee told him he was nuts nearly 40 years ago. It makes sense if you go there...
Finally on Long Island, we made an ill-advised trip to Target via GPS directions for bathing suit shopping. I got to point out the Nassau Colisseum to Alyssa ("I saw Rush there in college"), but no Target was found. Finally, after an hour of driving, we found Target, but no bathing suits. And none at Kohl's or Old Navy either. Apparently, by July, every woman has her bathing suit... Except those who throw them in the trash at their campsite. But Alyssa finally hit paydirt at Marshall's, and a couple of blocks later, we pulled into the driveway of Chris and Caroline Lomot and family for dinner and a night's stay.
Today we head to New Brunswick for some college cuisine at Stuff Yer Face before meeting up with a man named Cabbage for a rafting expedition in the land of Dirty Dancing. Can't wait!