The Road Well Travelled - Pt. 1 - The View From Here.
It always takes a bit of mental preparation to make this trip. There is this transition that needs to be made that the road affords the time to make. Flying is more brash. One minute I'm in my familiar element, then an hour later, BOOM! I'm slammed down into a maelstrom of humanity, all hell bent on getting to where they need to be faster than me. Driving allows me to adjust, to cope, and to be put into the right frame of mind.
Who thought that the simple act of going home would ever be so complex?
I hit the road on I-390 south towards Corning at 9:30 in the AM, stopping first by Tim Horton's to pick up a bite to eat and a large coffee. (Tim Horton's is a Canadian doughnut/sandwich outlet, like Dunkin', only better, imho.) Large coffee is needed for this first part of the journey. I always marvel at the beauty of this part of the state. No large mountains, like in the Adirondacks, but the rolling hills and farmland are quite stunning.
Suddenly, off to my left about 1/4 to 1/2 of the way to Corning, this comes over the horizon, and I am struck by how it stands out from the tranquility that surrounds it: A wind farm! I heard about this on the news, but didn't realize how close to the highway it was. I am not sure what to think about this. it is great that there is an alternate energy source being built there, but, there is also something disturbing about having these man-made monstrosities defiling what I view as a very beautiful landscape. Is this trade-off worth it? I suppose when they come on-line, which they are not currently, we'll find out.
Transitioning onto I-86 (NY 17), I breezed through Corning, home of the Corning Museum of Glass, a requisite trip for anyone within a hundred miles of it. Binghamton is my goal, where I can gas up, get some more coffee and continue on. I make it there about noon, and call my friend Sherri, who I grew up with. She lives in Pine Bush, about 90 min. further east in the Catskills. We're going to meet for lunch, and she is a prospective topic for an article, as she is a three-time thyroid cancer survivor. We meet at a nearby diner, with her 11 year-old daughter in tow. She is okay about talking in front of her about her experience, and we also catch up on things, and the doings of some mutual friends. She is quite the fighter. She is also damned lucky, as the type of thyroid cancer she had was the treatable variety.
With my car fueled up and now my body, I start the final leg home. I'm tuning the radio to the two all news, AM stations for NYC and the region. Old habit. Traffic is an all consuming passion with New Yorkers, and with good reason, as it sucks most days. So far, so good, as there are no reports of anything that is in my path. Of course, that could all change in a NY minute.
I make it down to my mother's at about 5 PM, and then starts the great parking spot hunt. Remember the one "Seinfeld" episode dedicated to discussion of parking? Well, that is about as accurate as it gets. Parking in NYC is an art form, a game, and a battle to the death all at once. after about 15 minutes of circling the block in a game of musical cars, I get lucky, and dive into a spot that another person was eying. You snooze, you lose buddy. Better luck next time. It is a little bit of a walk to the building, but it is mine all mine. I drag my suitcase and laptop into the elevator to the 24th floor, and knock on my mom's apartment door. I am greeted with a loving smile, and a typical NYC salutation: