Thursday, September 8, 2011

My New England Vacation - Part 1

I invited my sister-in-law, my husband's favorite sister (yes, she's his only sister but still his favorite) to accompany me to the fair state of Massachusetts, my birthplace, a nice place to visit, but a place I have no wish to live because it's expensive, crowded, over taxed, and I plain like Michigan better! I left northern MI on Monday, the 29th of August and reached SIL's place by 4 pm. We left the next morning in my car at 8 am and were in Ohio by 9am. Beautiful day, sunshine, fluffy white clouds, temperatures in the high 70s, low 80s.  Ohio went by swiftly, more swiftly than I remember but that's probably because I usually take this trip alone with my dogs and dogs are neither witty nor talkative.

After we got into New York, had rather sad looking  and pricey pita sandwich rolls at a rest area, passed Buffalo and got onto the Thruway we noticed signs stating that US90 was closed between Syracuse and Albany and everyone must exit at 34 A. I thought it odd that there would be that much construction going on to close the entire thruway for such a stretch so as we approached we listened to traffic radio and discovered it was due to flooding from Hurricane Irene. She wasn't that powerful a storm wind-wise but apparently was so full of water there were major floods inland and the Thruway was not immune. However, the detour we were expected to take, US81 south to Binghampton, NY  (67 miles) then US87 north to Albany (104 miles) was insane. It would be a 4 hour detour, adding more than 2 hours to the trip that normally takes less than 2. Instead after a little debate and map wrangling we took route 20 which parallels 90 about 10-20 miles to the south. That turned out to be a lovely road and took us through many nice little towns and past lovely scenery. It was also much more enjoyable than the proposed freeway detour. Yes it was slower and in the end the detour did add 2.5 hours to the estimated 12.5  hour trip, but it was shorter and less stressful than the one the highway department recommended.

When we got to the end of the detour and were about to get on 87 just before it joined back up with 90 we saw lots of flood damage. Trailer homes off their foundations, round hay bales scattered and piled up at the edges of the road, one had a wicker chair tossed on top. Trees and brush flattened for many feet beyond still raging rivers, evidence of mud scraped away from the road surface. It even smelled muddy. Very sad.

In the end we got to my GF's house at 11 pm on the nose. She was already asleep since she had to work the next day. We crawled into bed and spent the next day relaxing and hitting a discount store for various sundries until the drive that night to Cape Cod.

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