Long-distance drives have been the norm since i was a kid, when my siblings moved to Maine and West Virginia. These days, though driving is more a chore than a joy to me, there's still an element of fun in trying to choose the most efficient route and beat the Camry's fuel efficiency specs.
When your focus is on driving as efficiently as possible, you start to discover who the bullying drivers are, and who's just not paying attention. It's as though most drivers think the speed limit is a minimum speed! Not to mention how few respond to the signs that warn of pending speed limit downgrades, or bother to reduce their speed on wet roads.
A navigation fail added an hour of high-stress, high traffic conditions to the travel time. Though the wooded and stream-lined mountains of New Hampshire made for a drive that was mostly pleasant, frustration combined with nicotine withdrawal made for an angry woodchuck. Thankfully there are spots like Loveren's Mills Road in Antrim, NH, where a little dirt parking area for some state fish & game lands offered a brief time-out before a rain-soaked descent into Brattleboro, Vermont.
Brattleboro Dawn Dance is an opportunity to mingle with some wonderful dancers from around New England. This year it was special because for the first time, i attended it with the person i've been sharing my life with mostly long-distance for eight years. Gary hadn't danced in about six years, so he was timid about getting out there on the floor, and despite taking dramamine, struggled with motion sickness, but he managed three contras and enjoyed the music.
I danced until both knees started complaining, then retired to the motel room for a nap. But i was up with the robins, back on the floor by five AM to dance up the dawn (sunrise / lights-out was at 5:17).
Since i didn't take any pictures at the dance, here's one taken in 2011. The dancer dipping me is caller Luke Donforth, who called up the dawn this year. Having done the same last Memorial Day, i have mad respect for Luke's craft. (As a new father, i can't help but wonder if he has an edge on being alert at odd hours. I jest, just more mad respect.)
It was good to have a day to decompress, a hot tub to ease strained knees, and a full night's sleep before the trip home. Also nice to spend some time walking around Brattleboro with Gary.
And then it was back to current normal. Happily, over the 574-mile round trip, the Camry got 45.9 mpg - well above the EPA estimate of 34 and average driver reports of 36.5!
May 29 was the ninth anniversary of my mother's passing, and i brought her memory along on the trip in the form of lilac blooms. Lilacs indoors weren't something she could enjoy - her airways would close up instantly - but they were nonetheless a reminder, as i drove by blooming bush after blooming bush.
Today, the newest generation of my family has entered the world. Blessings to my niece and her husband as they embark on parenting.