The first day began when we climbed into the truck at 8:30. We had planned to be out of town by 8, but things had held us up. Yet with a 28 hour drive, it didn’t really seem to matter if we left a half hour late. We were headed West, over the plains and towards Colorado. Being my first trip past New York, I had no idea what lay ahead. There was excitement and fear in equal parts. Yet I knew if I did not take that first step, I would never knew what lay out there.
Leaving Manchester, we headed South on the highway. We had to take Route 3 South, until we got to 495. Eventually that would lead us to the Mass Pike. The Pike would lead us West to New York, and would begin our long winding road West.
It was a bright day, without a single cloud in the sky. Stuffed in the backseat I gazed out the window watching everything pass me by. The road was familiar to me, and I knew where every sign lay and where the turnoffs were and such. Yet this morning the highway looked different. My excitement and anticipation made the mundane road new. My excitement had made the worn paths of my childhood intriguing.
It was a bright day, and the sun shown down warmly on everything. After a cool spring the weather had warmed up. The trees were budding, and the everything was coming alive. We rode down the highway. I sat there trying to visualize these places I had never been before. Without even realizing we had passed into Massachusetts. I wouldn’t see New Hampshire for two weeks. It quickly passed from my mind though, as I was more focused on my destination than what lay behind.
When most people think of Massachusetts, they think of Boston, or the Cape. Often the Western part of the state is forgotten. We had rolled off of Route 3 and were heading West on The Mass Pike. We rolled past Route 2 and into the quieter part of the state. The flat land around us begin to transform into rolling hill. The office parks and shopping malls were replaced by farms and turn of the century houses, their faded white clapboards bright in the sun. All around us the Berkshires began to rise up.
The Berkshires were something else. The rolling hills and farm were here and there in openings. Its the kind of place where you come to get away from it all. I had never been West of Springfield, and as we passed by the picturesque countryside I made a promise to myself that I would come back here. Near noon we passed Stockbridge. A big green sign announced Tanglewood, the concert venue renowned throughout New England.
The sleepy little part of New England quietly passed us by. As we passed into New York I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, humming the tune of Sweet Baby James.
(To my readers I apologize for the iphone pictures, often times along my trip it was much easier to grab my phone, so many of the pictures are not up to the usual quality that I exhibit on the blog. I ask that your forgive me.)