Travelog Part 7 – the journey back north

Next morning we were lickety-split for Pennsylvania. Richmond, VA to Washington D.C. We spun around D.C. like we were in a vortex, thinking we were in Baltimore. When we realized were had nearly circled D.C. on the outer loop (taking an hour to do it), we spun ourselves off, located our position on the map, and our relative position in the world by glimpsing bona fide mansions through the trees. We’d head as far north after refueling as we could. We made it all the way to Westminster. I was sure we would find some motel, the place was a very attractive, obvious tourist mecca for folks out of the big cities in the vicinity. We drove past Random House and had brief thoughts of storming the place demanding to have our book published. No motel. Back to town. We park on a street, find a phone book, find an entry for Day’s Inn, jot down address, back to car. I’m certain we can get directions from somebody at a café. Before we can locate a café, we come upon the Westminster Inn, a Bed and Breakfast.

I go in. I find out how to get to Day’s Inn and that the room is less than $100 and it has a jacuzzi. We take it. It’s time to splurge. We had a decent meal. I got instructions from the receptionist, whose mother attended school in this building when it was a high schoo, for the nearest laundromat. While I was doing laundry, Duane was doing our taxes. Fair distribution of labor. Both our labors done, we hopped into the jacuzzi and gave each other a good scrubbing. And relaxed. Oh, how well we relaxed. That was a very refreshing night. Up the next morning for our breakfast, which was only bakery items, yogurt, fruit, granola bars, juice—that sort of thing.

This welcome respite from the rigors of our travels thus far gave us enough energy to make it all the way from Westminster, MD to Bennington, VT, before dark. Enough time that we were able to walk uptown from our little motel, eat a nice evening meal in a brewpub and walk back to the room before dark was complete. Bennington is a great place. Very progressive.

But I shall back up for a moment to describe the Poconos in Pennsylvania. We stopped near Scranton to obtain lunch and Tums. Back on the road the landscape took on an eerie aspect. The trees all appeared to be dead, maybe they were sleeping. Miles and miles of desolation and off in the distance a huge factory. Here is where science fiction dystopia meets the casual travelor at a certain time of year. Do these trees come to life later in the spring? Is it beautiful then? I saw not a single living thing though I scanned the sky frequently looking for birds. So much territory and no birds. Man does not need the assistance of four horseman and the devil to accomplish apocalypse, we do quite well on our own, thank you. At home, I scan the internet looking for information on the mountains. Pennsylvania is proud to show us photographs of lovely lakes and trees. Ancient hemlocks, 400 to 600 years old, vacations spots. They do not show us the winter landscape or discuss coal mining, oil drilling, or wasteland.

Back to Vermont: Next day after our night in Bennington, we drove to Burlington and spent a little time there. We bought a money order at the Pharmacy to send in with our taxes. Then we went to the University to make copies, to bookstore there for envelopes and we dropped the taxes in the mail.

Burlington is also a great place. It has a great esplanade, no traffic allowed right in the middle of town. Restaurants and shops. And a pizza place that let me use the toilet even though they were not open and I wasn’t going to buy anything, anyway. Bless their beautiful hearts. I could add into this adventure all the bathroom emergencies, places I peed outdoors like behind a mound of leaves and branches near the cemetary in Bethania, but I don’t imagine it is really that entertaining.

This time we drove hard toward Montreal our next destination. Stops along the way were just necessary evils. Actually, that is a gross exaggeration.

We couldn’t resist driving through Lake Champlain by island hopping. The lake was still frozen, to our amazement. It was solidly beautiful. Took photos. We crossed the border into Canada at Rouses Point in New York. Didn’t have any problems. Got to Montreal in the late afternoon. Found our hotel without incident.