Before I left, my state notified me that I required an emissions test. It is a drive-thru deal; but, as you can see here, lots of people were driving through:
I'm thinking that this poor guy gets a good lungful of exhaust every day:
Sadly, my poor, aging car -- which has to hang in until the student loans or paid off, or until we can start getting cost-of-living increases instead of pay cuts -- failed. With no time to visit the mechanic before I left, and with a deadline of September 29th to get the situation fixed and retested, I decided to hand the matter over to Scarlett and deal with the situation "tomorrow." Now you know that I have also been polluting up four states over the past week, as well.
Long trips on interstates start out exciting. "I'm going somewhere!" I think. The, I hop up and down, and jump in the car, eagerly pressing my face toward the windsheild. If I had a tail, I'd probably wag it. I'm as bad as a dog.
Dogs, however, can curl up and take a nap once the newness has worn off the journey. People must entertain themselves in other ways. Audio books are good for this, provided that they are, in fact, interesting books and that your audio equipment doesn't break down. Guess what happened to me? Alas, the cd player broke down so I could no longer listen to this hilarious Christopher Moore novel about King Lear's fool, and the book on cassette became ever more tedious with each tape. That meant I had to find amusement along the road side.
Here, for instance, I began to drool.
Mmmmm.....candy! Candy attractions, candy medical center, candy exit!
Hee! "Frack." "Frack-ville." (That's a Battlestar Galactica reference for those of you who are not versed in cable sci-fi, or who are not twelve.)
Speaking of t.v. series:
I also like the name of the other place. "Moosic."
Am I in Italy?
This has no significance.
Despite my Douglass research, I continue to associate most of central New York with the Five Nations in the mid-eighteenth century. The interstate runs roughly the same route and the Mohawk River, which first entered my consciousness through such novels as Drums Along the Mohawk and Deerslayer.
When I first entered graduate school, that was what I studied because I was fascinated with this encounter between cultures and I wanted to know more about the indigenous side. Much for the same reasons that I became attracted to African American history, I was attracted to this history because it seemed like a secret story, one that I was not supposed to know about, or care about, and certainly not study. I beleive that certain people who were allegedly in charge of my education did not think that this story was one to be studied, either -- but then, that itself is another story.
Alas, the turns of my life and education took me to the nineteenth century and the exploration of slavery and abolition. Still, whenever I drive through this area of the country, I don't think "Burned Over District." I think, "what was it like then? When the Five Nations controlled this area?"
Then, I see the names of the rest stops. The Mohawk Service Area:
The Indian Castle service area:
These sorts of things make me think of Peter Gabriel's song, San Jacinto. That song came to mind, too, when I was driving through southern Ohio and saw every other business named the "Shawnee" this or the "Tecumseh" that. Even going through Pennsylvania, there were "Indian" caves, and a billboard had a cartoon native character in its advertisement. At the same time, I hope that other travellers see these signs and think something like, "Indian Castle? What does that mean? Indians had castles?" Then, they will go look it up.
Of course, all things do lead back to Frederick Douglass with me. This area was also known, during the American Revolution, as part of an American genocidal western campaign against the Five Nations called "Sullivan's Expedition." Sullivan's troops massacred a Seneca village on the site that is now the village of Honeoye, where they set up a fort. Later, the American government used this land to pay off Revolutionary War soldiers. One of the benefactors of this payment was Captain Peter Pitts. His sons moved in in the 1780s, and white settlement from New England followed beginning in the 1790s. Peter Pitts had a son named Gideon, who also had a son named Gideon, who had a daughter named Helen. In 1884, Helen Pitts married Frederick Douglass.
Moving on, many hours later I entered Massachusetts. Only a few exits before the one to Mt. Holyoke, I saw this:
I hear you thinking, "What? Clouds? Am I missing something here?"
No, I missed it. You see, there is an air base there in western Massachusetts, and the runway ends at the interstate. There I was, driving along, minding my own business and singing "Just like the white wing dove..." at the top of my lungs when VROOM! A jet fighter flew right across my bow. It came up at a very low angle, directly in front of me. The sound felt like it went right through my body and my heart almost stopped. As I passed, another took off behind me.
Of course I grabbed my camera. Alas, despite the fact that both were in the frame when I snapped that picture and this one:
They moved faster than the shutter speed. It was, in the true sense of the word, awesome.
A short time later, after following Gretl the Garmin's ill-chosen route along the same path as I used to take when I had a class at Mt. Holyoke during my unfortunate professional detour, I arrived at my destination for the Little Berks.
Lovely, is it not? Seriously, when that one intrepid student does, in fact, build the time machine so he or she can go back in time and do all of the things that will get them a better grade at the end of the semester, I'm then going to take it for a test ride, go back to the early '80s, find my younger self, smack her, and say, "here's what you are going to do." Going to a women's college will be on that list.
Last, but not least, here is Gretl the Garmin:
She may now be mute, but she can still get me where I'm going.