Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Driving Through the Shenandoah Valley

We spent Memorial Day Weekend basically in the car, on the way to and from a wedding around Knoxville, TN. David is a big driver, so in accompanying him on all of these trips up and down the east coast, I havd decided I will start a new series called "Driving the American Landscape." On its soundtrack are: a lot of Genesis and Phil Collins, Millie Vanilie, Oh What A Night, Boy George, and You Give Love A Bad Name. The soundtrack will always finish with a fiddle and a woman who sounds like Sally Dworsky on A Prarie Home Companion, followed by classical in the morning to detox us from the prior afternoon's hypnotic Top 40.

One of my favorite parts about road trips is seeing the random pieces of farm left behind before the Dairy Queen settled in, like this little bridge here:
shenandoah bridge
Then came the Dairy Queen, as explained in Fast Food Nation, which allowed new immigrants to plop down in the middle of a field to sell ice-cream and gas.
shenandoah dairy queen
The first quarter of our journey: the great Shenandoah Valley. We usually drive through it in the dark. It has now become our Mecca. We stop at Antietam, drive through Lexington to see Stonewall's house and tomb, and will next drive to and walk over the Natural Bridge, and maybe go inside of some Endless Canyons. (like this ring? it's blown glass from this etsy.com shop)
shenandoah map
One of many Shenandoah fields.
shenandoah field
Pat Garrett's sheepskin shop was very exciting the first time we visited it. What was not so thrilling was the sneezing I did after being covered by all of the dust from the sitting wool and leather slippers and jackets. I did buy a $19.95 bag of 3 foot high wool scraps, just because.
shenandoah pat garrett's wool
Sometimes we get these flat tire notices. We don't know what to do with them.
shenandoah flat tire
The mysteries of rolls of hay. Theses are covered in white plastic.
shenandoah hay
Do dogs get car sick? Not sure.
shenandoah gerdy sick
He could be singing You Give Love a Bad Name. We will next go to Outback in NJ and repeat.
shenandoah david
Here comes a storm. Those are always so exciting.
shenandoah storm
Storm breaking.
shenandoah storm
This picture made me dizzy, so I wanted to see if it made you dizzy.
shenandoah dizzy
A JB Hunt truck. A staple of the highway and had to be included.
shenandoah jb hunt
Gerrrrdy.
shenandoah gerdy window
Perkins. Another staple of the highway, right after Cracker Barrell, but before Shoney's. If you're lucky, you'll get a Friendly's.
shenandoah perkins
Here is where my camera died. Right in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, and I forgot my charger. No more pictures, but they were the prettiest ones.
shenandoah map2


In the car,many questions were asked:

  • What is the red eye shape in the Dairy Queen logo?
  • Why do the farmers leave the rolled bails of hay in the middle of the fields, and do they roll them as they cut the hay, and if so, how do they do such a clean job?
  • What do the farmers do with the bails of hay when it rains? How do the rolls of hay dry out when they get rained on if they are balled up?
  • Why does David know that trucker's tiers are plated with steel to make them harder? And how does he know that when you poor concrete for a sidewalk that it is reinforced with metal stuff underneath? Is this IBK - Inherent Boy Knowledge?
  • Should you talk about where to buy vacation homes and debate places to live outside of New York if you are not yet engaged?
  • How often do Adult video and book stores update their inventory? And does the trucker who delivers it watch it before or after he drops it off?
  • What are the starting words to M.C. Hammer's Hammer Time song?
  • Why are the bright red wildflowers planted on one side of the slanted median on I-81 and not on the other sides or on both sides at once?
  • If I set my business up to be conducted from anywhere, why wouldn't I want to do it from Columubs, OH?
  • How do the 200 foot tall cluster of lights on the highway stay up?
  • Why isn't there gas at rest areas?
  • How do cowboy farmers herd cattle in from the fields these days? By truck? By horse? By trails of really good grain? Do they Pavlov it?
  • How do these farmers make money from 20 cows? And does the corn really send the kids to college? Or is it subsidies? So if I'm paying for a fraction of that corn to grow, can I come over and run through it?
  • What is a "blue tour" and do we want to take it when I-81 is stopped, not just moving slowly? If we do, we will stop seeing rolls of hay and start to see antique shops and places like Haag's Bar and Food. And we will actually see big, tan, shirtless men wrestle in front of a group of people on a porch while two teens toss a frisbee in a town called Hamburg, PA.
  • If we moooved into the country, would we get bored? I think we would pick lots of purple wildflowers and skip around and have fun.


Observations were made:
On Laptops:

Laptops for writers are like guitars for musicians, in that they can be taken anywhere by shoulder strap and tucked away until pulled out. As a piano-lesson-player, I couldn't take the piano with me anywhere, which made the whole thing difficult when I just wanted to play randomly to release stress or something. I've just realized, as I sit in the car with my little 12" battery powered PowerBook G4, I can type and move my fingers like I'm hitting flats and white keys, and I can be anywhere any time with a cute bag or shoulder strap like any hard core guitar player. Portability at last.

On Eating Outside at Another Dairy Queen:
Eating Subway at Dairy Queen's outdoor patio with the metal benches, tables and umbrellas cemented into the ground, surrounded by bird poop and pools of six o'clock sunshine, just before the kids finish peanut butter parfes and go home to have baths and get into pajamas and watch a Disney movie on TV before going to bed in fresh sheets.

Then saw a husband with a slender tattoo of the Playboy bunny on his black-t-shirt sleeveless arm, accompanied by his mother and his Plane Jane wife in kulots as they all walked to his little Honda SUV.

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2 comments:

Mlle Smith said...

That dog is soooo cute! Is he a certain breed? We're hoping to get a little pup in January. :0)

My only criteria is lots of fur, little dander, and floppy ears. Olivier wants the dog to be large. :0l

Mista said...

This is Gerdy, and she is the best dog in the world! She is a german shepherd/chow mix. Mix a shepherd with anything, and you'll get a good dog. I personally don't think she has a lot of dander, because chows don't seem like swimmers with all of that fur. She doesn't really like to swim. And I think the oily dander helps a dog like a retriever. Labs and golden retrievers have the dander. I should know. I'm allergic to them. If you get a chow mix, the mix will most likely mellow the chow's tendency to be snarly. The chow made Gerdy independent, and the shepherd made her very caring. But, you will need to vacuum a lot. But she's as soft and gentle as a lamb. :)