Every year I drive from Maine to upstate New York to visit my family. It is a trip I have done many times flying along interstates and turnpikes trying get to my parents’ house as quickly as I can.
This year I took a different route. My daughter and a friend are attending a camp at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire so I decided to drop them off and take a northern route to New York.
I settled into my journey realizing this would be the longest drive I have had in while where I am flying solo. I had a cooler with cold drinks and snacks next to me. I programmed my route into my GPS and hit the road. The GPS said the trip would be 4 hours and 20 minutes the road stretched out before me and I was ready.
With limited radio reception I didn’t have any stations to listen to, I found myself enjoying the silence. I tuned into the scenery around me and I am so glad I did. Route 4 meanders along the Ottauquechee River through the mountains and meadows of Vermont. Around every corner there was a new view to savor. I caught glimpses of covered bridges and beautiful farms that covered the landscape. I slowed down through the little Vermont towns with quaint Main Streets crammed with shops for the tourists. On the outskirts of these villages were dilapidated homes that reflect the challenges of eking out a livelihood in remote areas.
As I crossed over into New York I realized I was driving into an even more remote area. I glanced at my GPS hoping that I was on the right track not wanting to end up as a news story of a driver getting into trouble following their GPS off the end of the Earth. Having no cell service I needed to carry on and be confident that I was heading in the right direction.
The wilderness of the Adirondack Park is breathtaking for its beauty. The area was also a little unnerving… I drove for miles without seeing another vehicle. I drove by homes and businesses that were abandoned… at times my imagination wandered and I created stories in my mind of what could have happened to all of the people who seemed to have disappeared.
After three hours of driving and the view out my window consisting of dense forest, I was getting antsy. I pulled over to the side of the road at an abandoned bar on the alert for zombies or crazy mountain men who might come after me. I quickly connected my phone to my radio and cranked up some tunes to sing along with. I sang loud and proud as there were no teenagers in the car to roll their eyes and moan.
The last hour flew by and I arrived at my parents’ house tired but loving every minute of my solo journey.