July 12th, 2003

Road Warrior Diaries


Lake Ariel, PA
It's the morning after the first leg of our journey. The drive has been largely uneventful, but after a full seven hours on the road, I was logey and a little quiet. Not grumpy so much as experiencing the feeling I often get after moving myself over large distances too quickly. I've never been entirely convinced that we should move much faster than our own legs can carry us. I love traveling, but the process of getting there trips on my inner Luddite.

Of note from the drive, in Connecticut, we passed a rig similar to ours (17' truck with a trailer) that had overturned on the highway. I remembered having seen it pass us at a stupid pace somewhere in Western MA, and commenting on his reckless ways. As we passed the wreck and the surrounding fire and rescue vehicles, Clay and I looked at each other and then agreed that we didn't need for that to be us.

Leading up to the crash, we were given sign that lawlessness had not yet fully taken hold of the Eastern US. Traffic had slowed to a crawl and an old lady in a big pickup decided that she was amongst the annointed who did not need to wait with the rest of us common folk. She came screaming down the breakdown lane, inspiring our ire and the taunting of our stuffed hedgehog. Before long we were all cheering because a police cruiser came in close pursuit.

I started thinking that highway driving doesn't lend itself to too many adventures or unique observations. There is such an incredible sameness to it all. I noticed this on my trip to Toronto as well... uniform roads, uniform service areas offering uniform services. As you stop, there is little to distinguish the place from any of the other places you've stopped a few hours before. Moving, there is at least the changing landscape to give you clue that you are moving, but it is transient. It passes by so quickly that it only leaves a vague impression on you. It starts seeming like a dream.

I was just startled by a vole that came running along the rock wall where I was sitting. Writing, I was still enough that it didn't notice me until it was a few inches from my foot. We both started and he ran off into the brush. Heh.

I was fortunate enough to sleep by a lake last night. It made me happy enough to not be bothered by the locals who decided to have a noisy party on a nearby islet. Over breakfast, I learned that the island was another place that had a "woman with a horrifically deformed child used to live there" legend attached to it. I was told a similar story growing up on Cobossee Lake in Maine. The big difference in the two stories is that in Maine, the story was told about an enormous island where no one ever went. The island here is about as big as my house and was filed with screaming teens last night. I kind of want to know where the legend originated and if there is any truth behind the story.

I got to read about a sumo controversy when I woke up. This was very cool.
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Road Warrior Diaries

Amusing myself in-meeting

State College, PA
Penn State University

Our second stage (~3 hours) was short and uneventful. We've started driving through mountains, which makes for more interesting drives for me. I just spent a lot of time musing over the shadows of clouds creeping along the ridges. I love the look of the small towns tucked away amongst the valleys. From above, they are simply beautiful. Perspective can do amazing things.

We've stopped at Clay's alma mater for a meeting of minds. The folks in this room are all attached to the Penn State International Dance Ensemble (mostly aliumns.) Outside, the impetus for the PSU reunion, the 2003 Arts Festival is well under way. Once we're done here, we'll be leaving here with Clay's friends to wander, likely to find more of his friends as we browse.

Heh. In keeping with the Road Warrior theme of this trip, I just met "Master Blaster." Cool.

[Later] Wandering through the Arts Festival proved interesting. I spent most of my time browsing ceramists and started thinking that ultimately, it's very easy to produce pottery, but it's something else entirely to produce pottery that moves outside of something "crafty." So many of the vendors offered pieces that were functional, competent, and utterly without personality. I think there were three of nineteen ceramists I thought of as "artists."

I'd like to be able to move into that realm.
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