We are at the end of the line, for a while. From home base in Tucson, the Mercedes has hauled the Airstream across desert, plain, and mountain to end up in Vermont. Except for our week at Alumapalooza and two days in Toronto, we never even unhitched. Now the Airstream is backed into its summer parking space underneath the cedar trees and the Mercedes is sitting next to it. I think I heard a sigh of relief from the car as it was finally released from its harness.
The trip through the Adirondacks is always nice. We’ve established a path that we follow from the NY State Thruway, northeast along Rt 8 and eventually to a crossing of Lake Champlain at Crown Point. I think we’ve towed the Airstream this way at least three times, and it has never failed to rain at least part of the trip, but regardless it is always a beautiful winding drive through the forests and tiny hamlets, and alongside fast-running scenic rivers. Along this route you pass over the Hudson River while it is still a moderately-sized flow, and through towns with curious names like Speculator. It takes hours to pass through the massive Adirondack Park, even if you aren’t tempted to stop at the village ice cream stands or park next to one of the many delightful clear-water lakes. Best to take your time and enjoy the scenery.
The new bridge over Lake Champlain is still under construction, so the states of New York and Vermont are still running a free ferry from Crown Point NY to West Addison VT. In the photo you can see the Airstream and the blue Miata taking the ride, with the bridge under construction in the background.
When we arrived it was 55 degrees and raining lightly, as it had been most of the day. As I write this, a thunderstorm is overhead. We’re running the furnace. This is June in Vermont — equal parts cold/damp, and hot/humid. You can never be sure what to expect, but we know that it’s likely we’ll arrive and need an extra blanket on the bed for a while. That’s definitely the case today.
Such a contrast from where I will be heading in only a few days. Tucson is expecting 104 degrees later this week, and typically the humidity runs in the single digit percentages. I can deal with that a lot better than the constant dampness that afflicts us in Vermont in June, so while the thought of 100+ degrees every day might horrify many people, I’m looking forward to it again.
I won’t miss the mosquitoes. The record rains have produced record mosquitoes. This morning at the Delta Lake State Park campground’s dump station I was doing my mosquito dance again. While trying to fill the water tank I was so thoroughly swarmed that I finally gave up until Eleanor could come over and run interference for me. Like a fighter group surrounding an aircraft carrier, she provided protection from aerial assault while I completed the mission. Many of the nuisances were mashed in mid-bite, and I wore the mark of squashed bug remains on my ankles for a while. A few mosquitoes slipped into our cars too, for a few final nips as we drove.
I still need to check the GPS for the final tally, but I believe our trip has covered something over 2,500 miles. We had no mishaps, no tire failures, no breakdowns (other than the Check Engine light on the Mazda, which turned out not to be serious) — really nothing to report in the way of drama. In fact, we made a few small improvements along the way, and with quick stops and friendly visits we managed to make a long driving slog into something pretty fun. It was a good trip, which makes me want to consider a slightly indirect route back home this September.
By the way, I want to show you this picture of Eleanor and me at Alumapalooza. It was taken by our official Alumapalooza photographer, Alison Turner. Alison is one of the most talented photographers I know, and a real joy to hang out with, too. Whenever I can, I use her photos in Airstream Life because she imparts such magic to her images. She has done a cover for the magazine and illustrated several articles. I’m sharing this photo because I think it shows how she can take a fairly ordinary request (“take a picture of us, please”) and turn it into something really special.
This photo means something to me because it was taken at the tail end of Alumapalooza, when we were tired, stressed out, and sweating in the humidity. By all rights we should have been cranky with each other (and in past years after an event we have been), but this year felt a little different. The photo captures how we really felt: happy to be together despite all the challenges. Life hasn’t gotten any less complicated, but perhaps we’ve gotten better at seeing what’s really important. I don’t know. For me at least, Alison captured all of that in one frame, and that’s why I like this picture.