We're moving south with the Canada geese, who honk loud and often as they churn across the sky. The autumn leaves have almost all fallen, covering the back roads with a brown carpet, but we can still spot an occasional scarlet or bright yellow tree.
Leaving Milford and trying to avoid cities and freeways is a challenge. We failed to find a plain vanilla bridge across the Housatonic, and once across we became enmeshed in the Bridgeport Projects, next to the closed GE Plant (we've seen lots of DRUG-FREE SCHOOL ZONES, but only in Bridgeport have we seen a GUN-FREE SCHOOL ZONE. We can only hope...) Eventually we got into the Southwestern Connecticut millionaires' homes, nestled deep in the woods on twisty, bumpy roads. Then we headed west across northern Westchester County, at a slightly decreased level of posh, and caught the Bear Mountain Bridge across the Hudson.
There we found the Seven Lakes Drive, which was a delightful road that took us through state parks and past a man quietly painting at a roadside easel, to a car parked with fishing poles propped up against a railing (we knew that they didn't really want to catch fish!) to Greenwood Lake, on the border with New Jersey. We never found really open country, but it was as rural as things get in that part of the world.
There are few motels in northwestern New Jersey, so we took the advice of the gas station attendant in Newton, recommending the "better" motel on the road to Andover. Farm near Lindberg estate
"All of these rooms have antique furniture," the motel owner boasted. This meant he saved on furnishings by going to a second-hand store. The odor of dog was somewhat overcome by air freshener, and the plumbing sang, but at least the bed was comfortable!
The next day we connected with another of Elsa's newly found second cousins, Bruce. We managed to beat the Friday lunch crowd at a fine Chinese restaurant. Then it was more back roads as we wound our way generally south-southwest towards Jenkintown, PA. We made so many turns intentionally, and so many more unintentionally, that we basically navigated by compass.
It was particularly thrilling (and galling) to be forced to cross Highway 22 with neither an overpass nor underpass. Instead we had to join the westbound flow of violently speeding cars, move three lanes left, negotiate a u-turn, merge into the violently speeding eastbound flow, move three lanes right, finally exiting - all this to cross the street. New Jersey should be ashamed of this traffic situation. The thrill was enhanced by the (literally) dozens of aggressively discourteous drivers on this stretch of highway.
In contrast, at one point we found ourselves passing Highfields, the home of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindberg. We wouldn't have known, except for the historical sign at roadside, because the property is a large wooded area. We did take a picture of the neighboring farm, because it was the only farm we saw all day. Flags are flying
When we reached the Delaware River, suddenly Things Were Happening. The streets of Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA were jammed with people enjoying the Indian summer and shopping for antiques and gifts, with Fridy night dinner and theater in the offing in fashionable Bucks County.
Saturday in Jenkintown we lunched with friends Jon and Barbara and then we were on the road again.
We see the flags flying everywhere, large and small, from farm houses and town houses and car dealers and highway overpasses. They represent a near unanimity of purpose and support; coupled with the Hallowe'en decorations they have made colorful displays for us tourists. Americans like to decorate; but the flags alone will not stop terrorism. We wonder how our people will deal with the continuing social, psychological, and economic stresses of this likely-to-be-quite-long and frustrating conflict. We think we're up for it, but then we're not on the front line.