I am officially on my way to my residency at the Grand Canyon. I left the Hudson Valley very early in the morning on Sunday, amidst the remnants of the Wild Ride still blowing through the trees. Talk about a dark and stormy night! Okay, a dark and stormy early dawn. No matter, I left on time heading west towards Ohio.
I've made this drive many times, I grew up in northeastern Ohio, and my family is still there. But I have not been back for too many years. Up and over the Poconos section of the Appalachians, the forest lining the highway is loaded with Rhododendron maximum and a scattering of Kalmia. The road cuts, especially just east of Loch Haven in PA, are dramatic and the views are lovely. I did pass a number of dead porcupines by the roadside and later wished I had followed my instincts and stopped to pull some quills, ah well, perhaps on the way back. I stopped for lunch in Lewisburg and strolled around an antiques mall I remembered, but the small family restaurant I remembered was gone. I picked up a few small, old, wooden boxes for more pieces for the "Portals" series.
I spent my first night on the road at my younger brother's home after having had a nice supper of Thai food with my whole family minus 1. Missed you, Chelsea! I even met one of my nieces for the first time, she is 9 years old. The food was entirely secondary, however, my real sustenance came from being with my family again after such a long absence.
I hit the road again at a reasonable hour this morning and kept going west. The landscape across PA was typically rolling and forested. As I drove west, suddenly the landscape opened out and flattened, corn fields replaced oaks and rhodies. The first drive was a somewhat grueling 10 hrs, today's drive was a more leisurely 6 hours. I am in a decent motel in Joliet, Illinois. May spend some of my evening starting work on a new Portal. I'll let you know.