Dan A Klarmann on 10/09/98 12:26 PM
Subject: Dateline: Indianapolis
Hello, all. This is the first of a series of "postcards" from Karen's and my '98 trip up east.
If anyone would like to not receive these, please let me know.
The week leading up to our departure was the usual frantic wrapping up of everything we expected to do, plus handling the always surprising, yet inevitable, last minute emergencies. We had to have all of our FolkFire work done a week before press time. Believe me, time was pressing.
I also received a call from the Taproots School of the Arts on Wednesday asking me to clear out my jewelry studio by the end of the week. I had taught a silversmithing class there since '92, but they had failed to find students for me for the last couple of years.
I didn't much mind being asked to take my tools home, where they would be more convenient for me. However, it added several hours of work to my already filled before-leaving-town schedule. It also required the help of my brother and his truck (Thanks, Pete) to take down a complete teaching studio and move it a few miles to my garage and basement (neither of which are ready to receive the influx of tables, anvils, hammers, metals, chemicals, grinders, torches, and polishing equipment).
Okay, we got everything set up for the house sitter, and packed, and were on the road on Friday a mere 2 1/2 hours behind our original scheduled ETD.
I don't mind traveling. The period spent preparing for travel is when I most try Karen's broad patience. I am a nervous travel-prepper. Once I'm on the road, que sera, sera.
So we arrived at our friends Mark and Deb's house in Indy in time for a moderately late supper. We walked to a coffeehouse called the International Truck Stop. Excellent Moroccan food. The trip is off to a good start.
But, today is (was) Saturday. We took it easy. Some games some food. A scenic walk along the canal constructed in this town to move freight around just before it was superseded by the superior technology of the iron horse. Finally, we checked out of Mark and Deb's and into a run-down HoJo by the interstate, where Karen's father was having a surprise birthday party banquet. Well, it started out to be an elaborate surprise, but the secret leaked like presidential testimony to the grand jury.
We still had 4 generations represented from several states. The vegetables were overcooked, the rice crunchy, and the chicken was actually excellent. Karen got to sit between her favorite nephew and niece ,and emerged wearing only small samples of the various elements of the meal. It was a friendly hubbub; a successful gathering.
On Sunday, we'll start with brunch with KJ's family; go by her father's new apartment, and then get back on the road for a short while to head over to Margaret Ann's in Springfield, OH. "On the road again . . ."
Dan A Klarmann on 10/12/98 12:26 PM
I sit in the middle of a corn field. The sun smiling down from a clear, blue sky, onto the roof over my head in the large kitchen of Margaret Ann's new house. Let's face it laptop computers are not really outdoor implements. Karen is in the hot tub in the solarium at the rear of this place. To get here, we simply make a left from the interstate to the old federal highway in Springfield, Ohio, then pass East Possum Road a mile down and hang a left into the barely paved road on which a right turn would lead us to the local airstrip, pass the cows and goats (an actual, useful landmark), cross over the tiny bridge, and find the white mailbox. All sides of the yard, and across the road, stand the tall, dry corn stalks of autumn. It's quiet, here.
Yesterday was spent in family hubub, with the 3 and 6 year olds communicating in their usual boisterous manner. The interstate rumble a few dozen yards from our HoJo window was fairly effectively drowned out on the previous night by the rushing whine of the room's nicotine-coated air conditioning unit. The 1 1/2 hour wait to be served breakfast at the Denny's to which we walked with the kids across the pedestrian unfriendly intersection, was quite tedious. I was ready for some quiet.
I decided to join KJ in the hot tub, and then lie out in the sun to enjoy the privacy and cool breeze. Out here, a single car can be heard from nearly a mile away. Unless a breeze is rustling the corn too loudly. Either way, a passing vehicle is a rare occurrence. Today, the plan is to drive to Cincinnati for dinner and dancing, and then return for a brief nights rest.
From: A neighbor, friend, regular reader, and heavy smoker
Nicotine coated air conditioning unit, indeed!
Dear Dan & Karen,
It sounds like you are having a
great time ( other than the above mentioned item ). Although, the laboring
sounds of the unit could be the result of having to deal with all of Dan's
HOT AIR! So far I haven't received any distress calls, so I suppose
everything is all right at your house. Have fun.
Your "Nicotine coated friend",
Dan A Klarmann on 10/13/98 09:09 AM
Subject: Ohio eateries
A note about eating on the road:
The best bet is to visit people with eclectic tastes in food at each stop. For Sunday dinner in Springfield, we ate at Strange Brews, a coffee house which one has to be a local to locate. It is a vegan (orthodox vegetarian) restaurant for political rather than health reasons. The only animal exploitation they condone is insects and microbes. No dairy, eggs, or (shudder) flesh. However, unlike the health-based vegans, they do serve high fat and chemical laced foods. One example is that they use non-dairy creamer as a milk substitute instead of soy or rice based milk-like products. The greatest irony is that this vegan bastion is housed in the town's former meat packing plant. One can look behind the coffee bar and peer down through the grating to the basement where the old instruments of carnage still lurk.
We drove 1 1/2 hours to Cincinnati for dinner and dancing. Our favorite Cinci Indian restaurant failed to disappoint, as usual. They use a 1-6 scale of heat, unlike the usual hot-med-mild of most places. However, this more precise scale doesn't lead to a higher degree of accuracy any more than does a digital thermostat. We ordered two 3's and a 4 but the 3's were 2 and 4, and the 4 tasted more like a 5. The vindaloo did suggest mango lassi as an antidote ("good stuff, Maynard"). Of course, the 3 here was hotter than I could convince the Pompano Beach Indian place to give me with a request of "Hottest, Very Hot".
We then attended the local contra dance. It was a hot crowd on a fast floor. ie: Fun.
Then we stopped at Graeter's for a dose of black-raspberry-chocolate-chunk ice cream as they were tryng to close. Sorry, StL folks, logistics forefend our dry-icing a shipment home at this time. Finally, the long drive back to the cornfield.
Dan A Klarmann on 10/14/98 07:57 AM
Subject: Not just about food
I've received the comment that, so far, my trip reports have been just about food and Jacuzzi's.
Tuesday was a road day. 9 hours on the road. We pulled out of the cornfield at 11, and headed east on 70. As we crossed Ohio, I noticed that the Autumnal artist has begun spattering fall colors on the landscape. Occasional rainbow maples have red tops fading to yellow waistlines, and keeping green skirts. We crossed all 13 miles of West Virginia, which begins the climb into the Alleghenies. The color brightened. Far ahead the sky became dark grey, shading the distant mountains rising like the humped backs of whales breaching from the mottled autumnal sea to the fore. Near the road stood piles of coal. In between the black and the grey rose the rose and umber and amber hills in the sun. Golden specks glowed between red and green and orange neighbors. Rusting red barn roofs faded into the foliage.
We are heading toward the Berkshires and possibly Vermont for the color, but this vista may be hard to beat.
Random notes: A big billboard touting 50,000 hubcaps. A hand lettered sign: "Tons of Pumpkins, this exit". Starbucks cappuccino from a turnpike service stop kept us alert late in the afternoon.
An unscheduled break in driving as we were stopped just before the Tuscarorra tunnel while they cleaned up a spilled load of wheel rims therein. Karen found this out after we'd waited for about 15 minutes. She just got out of the car, trotted forward along the line wearing her green checked knit shirt and black tights, and climbed up the side of a tractor rig to chat with the trucker. I wish I'd gotten a picture of that. It's fun having an extroverted spouse.
We crossed the divide between Mississippi and Atlantic watersheds, which is practically the same as saying from the flat American geological plate to the upended end of the Atlantic plate. Also, the colors disappeared. Most trees on the eastern side of the divide are still green.
We arrived at the house of Tom at 8ish, in the dark. The road directions take us past Amish/Dutch tourist signs, but end in the deep country. The geese welcomed us. Well, they failed to scare us off. Tom berated me for saying in an earlier email that he had floor space for us. He had a perfectly lovely guest room with a beamed ceiling. The house is made of adzed oak logs joined by tennons and pegs. This was from back in the days when a nail cost almost as much as a tankard of ale. A spinning wheel stands next to the Nordic Trak. Not one of those newfangled foot-pedaled wheels, either. Tom's parents were there, as well. We all chatted and shared exotic homemade wines while Tom "the kitchen god" produced extraordinary pizza. Okay, so I mentioned food. Dare I mention the Jacuzzi? It's in an enormous, elaborate, homemade gazebo connected to the house by a long boardwalk. The siding was made from a backyard catalpa tree. The tub is inset, and trap doors can close over it, and a large, round table can then be lowered from halfway up to the cupola by winch. Very impressive. Perhaps slightly insane. This is my kind of country house!
Dinner was riotous with laughter. This stop was certainly worth the days rough ride.
Time for the farmer's market. Gotta go.
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/15/98 10:59 AM
Subject: Nutley, phase One
We departed Pennsylvania in such a liesurely manner that one may suspect that we are on a vacation. I had time to have fun with my writing before we went to market. The market was big. Karen spent all her time with fresh veggies and Amish goodies. I spent my time in the flea market miles. This place was big. It seemed that the "Dutch" girls in their white bonnets never made eye contact with us "Englanders," though.
After the market, we gathered our gear, had lunch with Tom's parents, Lud and June, and went to Wm Phillips Antique tools in a nearby town on our way out (at Lud's insistence).
Karen rested in the car as I feasted my eyes and hands on all manners of hand tools from the last couple of centuries. He had a hand plane for every shape of wood molding I could imagine. He had a bin full of ornate carpenters squares. He had tools, obviously made by apprentices, with significant measuring errors carved into the steel. Some of his collection is on loan to museums, such as the Smithsonian. From the 3 buildings I visited, I'd not hesitate to appraise his collection in 7 digit dollars. Wm, himself, is an elderly round expatriate "Englander" from New Jersey who "went Dutch" decades ago. Quite a visit.
Then we experienced the friendly (ha) turnpike traffic up to Nutley. It won't be on your map. Try exit 151 from the Garden State and you're close. We arrived as Ken got home from work. Hung out. Went out for "nearby" good Japanese food. Apparently "near" in the New York area means less than an hour. It was good. Home, and rested. KJ in the tub, Ken and I in front of his DVD (Ken likes to have the latest gadgets).
We'll be back here in a few days. On to Massachusetts!
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/16/98 09:48 AM
Subject: Driving to North Adams
The hills are alive with the colors of Autumn. We avoided the morning rush traffic by leaving Nutley at noon. We ignored the instructions I got from the AAA web site. We couldn't use the printed Trip-Tik we had, either. We pored over the map before starting, and decided to follow what were marked as more scenic routes rather than the fastest way. AAA said the fastest way would take about 4 1/2 hours, which usually means about 4 for us. We took the toll Tappan-Zee bridge to New York and the Merritt Parkway (15) to the Ethan Allen highway (7).
Karen began to "oo" and "ahh" at the leaves as soon as we cleared New York. The overpasses on the Merritt are all camoflaged to resemble stone arch bridges, and the guard rails are wooden. The colorful trees arched over these roads all the along the way. It was a long and beautiful drive. An excellent introduction to New England.
We approached Stockbridge, MA with the thought of a brief stop at the famous restaurant "just a half a mile from the railrod tracks," but the tourist traffic was daunting, and one had to stop and explore since it wasn't listed in AAA, and we were running late. So we blew through town as fast as the dense tourist traffic allowed.
This is peak tourist season up here in the Berkshires. Leaves losing their green have a strange appeal to some. "Ooh, ahh, eee!" It really is spectacular.
This is probably what my parents had in mind when, every fall, they packed us little kids in the back of the car to "go for a drive" in the Ozarks. Of course, from our positions we could only see sky through the unopenable side windows. To the front there was the backs of seats and heads, and a small slice of sky, as well. No wonder kids get bored and fight.
We arrived in North Adams at 6, and spent less than 1/2 hour more getting revised directions to Di's house after we missed a turn in our original itinerary. The house numbers are hard to see at night, but the labels of construction dates and names are quite clear. This is a true small, New England town, recently shot thru the heart by a nearby shopping mall. It looks like it will recover.
We are also in maple syrup country, about 3 miles from Vermont. We may buy a Massachusetts sugarer's product rather than insist on generic Vermont from some unspecified combine a tweak farther north.
We're planning to attend the Greenfield contradance tonight, a mere hour east on the winding roads. Tomorrow head toward Boston and Concord.
Subject: Re: Driving to North Adams (Hey Dan, answer this letter!!)
Instead of the famous "Restaurant" you two should have tried to find the old church where Alice & Ray used to live. Arlo now has his office there. Who knows, you may have run into him there. From my own experience, and from what others have told me, you might have gotten a personal tour. Anyway, it sounds like you are having fun. See you soon.
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/17/98 08:40 AM
Subject: Slight change of itinerary, add Vermont and New Hampshire
After a liesurely day in North Adams, KJ and I and our hosts Paul and Di travelled the winding Mohawk Trail Eastward to Greenfield. Specifically, to a structure known as "The Grange" for a contradance. This is the home venue of "Wild Asparagus," one of the hottest contra bands. They appear on first Fridays, of which days this day wasn't. The band was quite hot, though. The dancing was much fun. Once Karen and I started breaking the renowned boundary at this venue between outsider and dancer, we were told that we must attend the 12 hour dance on Saturday in New Hampshire. We also collected the intelligence that the Concord dance which we had planned to attend since the outset, may not be happening.
The notable variation in our itinerary is the choice between this dance and Boston. Guess what us addicts have chosen? Bag Boston, of course. The drive into Vermont and New Hampshire followed by a major dance, and then trying to find someone with whom to crash, looks like fun. We'll still shoot for Nutley Sunday nite, and into Soho on manic Monday morning.
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/18/98 08:40 AM
After a fairly leisurely exit from North Adams preceded by a waffle breakfast, we drove through the scenic byways of Vermont and New Hampshire. We stopped at a flea market in Vermont which was definitely not there for the tourist trade. We arrived in the little burg of Petersborough, NH at about 3. The dancing was good. The music was good. By 7, our feet had had enough. We had an offer to stay over from the girlfriend of an expatriate St Louisian (by the name of Hillary) who now lives up here. The catch was that they weren't leaving until the dancing was done at midnight, and were getting up early for a Quaker meeting.
We have been staying with others basically this whole trip, and it seemed time to avail ourselves of the luxury of a private room for two. We drove to the nearest interstate (about 45 minutes away) and made surprising time southward. At 10 pm we were ensconced in an affordable room in a Suisse Chalet just north of New Haven. We'll look at Long Island Sound and mosey scenically back to New Jersey.
A note about highways: After spending several days on the old roads, one gets used to that pace, and the interesting scenery. Last nights drive, at close to double the average speed of the previous days, along virtually featureless nighttime Interstate 91, seemed somehow decadent. Conspicuous consumption. Almost transportation without travel, but with duration.
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/19/98 08:24 AM
Subject: Nutley again
A leisurely Sunday began with Brie and fruit at the summit of East Rock overlooking New Haven. After a bask on a warm rock, we drove down to a meadow and lay about a bit. Then we drove toward the city, stopping for lunch at Beardsley Zoological Gardens in Stratford. A cute zoo, about 1/10 the scale of St Louis'. We spent $15 between entrance and snacks. It was a beutiful day for the zoo. Yes, we had Simon and Garfunkle's "At the Zoo" cranked on the CD as we approached it.
We next stopped at the rocky cove beach of Sherwood Island State Park.
Our next stop was at Karen's client Sue's house. They had just finished with a major Halloween blowout party for innumerable 8 year old boys. They put as much energy into their annual Halloween extravaganza as Christians do into xmas parties. The decorations and residual goodies were impressive.
We finally arrived at Nutley at 7, shortly after Ken returned from his Folk Project Fall Festival weekend. We unwound, and watched the first half hour of "A Will of Their Own." Our bit was in the first 20 minutes. For those of you who missed it, we were able to recognize ourselves and our friends, but it was so quick, and we were in the background.
Next, to New York. You may or may not hear from me till we go to DC on Wednesday.
Subject: Dan &Karen's movie debut
Dear Dan & Karen,
I saw your debut Sunday night. I don't think (as you had said, Dan) that you guys were all that hard to see. You both seemed to be on camera a lot, and not nearly as far in the background as I thought you would be. Karen even got to do a bit of real acting, and seemed to me to be a sort of "featured extra" in the scene when the heroine faints at the barn dance. In short, I think you both did a splendid job of it!
P.S. "Can I have your autographs?" :)
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/21/98 12:19 PM
Subject: Nutley, Mark III
We got out of Manhattan intact, although late, as usual. I had a bit of an otolaryngological impairment (head cold) hit me there. Getting better (schnifb). We want to get to DC by dinner, and it's already 1:30. Will write up NY soon; lotsa cool stuff. Gota run.
From:Dan A Klarmann on 10/22/98 10:27 AM
Subject: Noo Yawk (Day 1)
This email consists of a relatively dry list of some of what we saw on the most populous of U.S. islands. I'd like to have written a more colorful account, but just the listing takes up room enough.
As with every phase of our trip, we run between 1 and 2 hours late. We had intended to head into the city at 9, and wound up catching the 9:59 bus a half block from Ken's apartment. I had my big back pack with the waist strap containing most of what we needed. Karen carried her own clothes in a second day pack. By now, you have probably surmised, I deceided to leave my laptop in New Jersey for security and the 10 lb weight savings to my feet.
We arrived at my cousin's (Roxana Lehman-Haupt, Roxy, or sometimes Rocks) art conservation/restoration studio in NoHo (just east of the East Village) at about 11. It's amazing how fast one can get into New York using public transit on off hours. I buzzed her studio from the front door, and announced: "Your country cousin and his entourage," when her voice crakled on the intercom. We visited her tiny studio and chatted for a while, and then she walked us past "the Bitter End" on the way to her SoHo apartment, where we parked our bags.
Ken, Karen, and I had lunch sitting in front of an Italian place on the corner. Very tasty, but too pricey, and portions too small. We had dimmed our hungers, but not appeased our appetites.
We then decided to walk all the way to the Staten Island Ferry, which is to say, southward along Broadway. I was amazed by the small storefront shops selling whatever most towns have supermarkets and malls for. Somehow, this old and crowded town has retained true neighborhoods and their economies.
Summary of sites: We were just wandering along, generally toward the World Trade Center which is visible above the canyons along which we ambled. In TriBeCa, Karen saw some alluring spanekopeta in a window, and we stopped for a second lunch course. I stepped inside to buy it. Inside the door stood a swarthy Greek gent with a moustache wielding a ladle over several tourines of soup. People ahead of me were quick to order and step over to the cash register. I have seen few Seinfeld episodes, but "The Soup Nazi" was one of them. This place may not actully have been the inspiration, but it was deja vue enough for me. I ordered soup (which comes with bread and fruit) and the spanekopeta. Ken came in and ordered a soup, too. We ate in CIty Hall Park, debating whether this place ("Soups On") was the inspiration for the TV episode. The soups were indeed excellent, hearty, and flavorful and only 1/6 of the price of our Italian appetizer lunch.
After this reinforcement, we explored the Woolworth building. This was the world's tallest for many years, and a magnificent example of neo-gothic architecture. I wished I'd known more about the personalities of turn-of-the century industrialists so I could recognize their caricatures among the gargoyles in the lobby. Beautiful overdone carved stone scrollwork everywhere. We visited Federal Hall, with the slight trenches worn in the floor where people used to queue up to pay their taxes since before the revolution, and the original gold reserve vault. We passed Wall Street with the jacketed buyers and sellers all looking exhausted by that time of day. We walked past a couple of the original churches (Trinity and St Paul). We admired many building whose names we didn't even try to determine. We finally got to the ferry, and rested mostly standing at the bow in the chill breeze, both outgoing into the sun and returning to the brightly lit skyline. The ferry is free, but well worth the ride. It used to be 25 cents, until the cost of collecting exceeded that pittance, when they decided to just absorb it.
Then we sat for some coffee in Battery Park and a visit to Castle Clinton (a much earlier Clinton) which is now landlocked in Battery Park, but was originally an island harbor defense battery. We took the subway back to SoHo and rested for a few hours. I'd come down with a cold the day before, and in order to keep going, need frequent rest stops. As an inherently lazy individual, I find ways to rest without (usually) discommoding my travelling companions.
My other cousin, guitarist John L-H, joined us for dinner at 8:30. We walked around the corner to a nice French restaurant. Since it was Monday, we coud get in after only a short wait. Here the food was reasonably price (for French food,and especially for New York) and ample. In New York, 8-9 seems to be the normal dinner hour. Ken left with John to take the subway and bus home a bit after 11.
It's DC Day 1, now, and people are waiting for us. I'll send NYd2 later.
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/23/98 07:47 AM
Subject: Gnu Eork (Day2)
Karen and I had a good nights sleep in Roxy's little apartment. The proverbial "Lullaby of Broadway" actually seemed lulling. After we were up for a couple of hours, and had some hot tea, I could breathe somewhat through my nose. I regretted my leaving this laptop in New Jersey, since there was so much to write about. Anyway, Karen was so impressed by the soup, she persuaded me to go back there for an early lunch (my sore feet insisted on the subway, this time). We had soup on park benches within the terrorist barrier perimiter around City Hall. Then we rode an express subway up to Midtown, emerging inside the Chrysler Building. You all know the look of the stainless steel steeple of this 2nd tallest real building in NYC (I don't count those bland twin boxes as architecture). The lobby is rich with art deco stonework and inlaid wood paneling. Somewhere they had found a long vein of quartz running through red granite, and sliced it to panel the entire lobby. I want a rock like that (in a polite 8" to 18" size, rather than the many cubic yards of it used here).
We walked around, finding several notable buildings. We wandered into one, to the consternation of the security guard, which was some national bank (Dutch?). From the gold leafed bas-relief tradesmen on the elevator doors, I suspect that it was once a guild or union hall. We entered because Karen noted the vaulted white tile ceilings in the outer lobby. The inner lobby had a Cobalt blue tile ceiling with gold leaf stars; possibly astronomically correct. For our next trip, I'm getting an architectural guide book! We checked out Grand Central Station. I want one of their chandeliers, except that they are bigger than my Victorian Dining room is tall.
We took a break at St Paul's while they were giving noon communion. Quite a catherdral. But I couldn't help remembering the inlaid mark on the floor inside St Peter's in Rome which indicated where the back door of St Paul's would be if the back apses were lined up.
We finally made it to Central Park, munching honey roasted nuts as we passed the eager lines of hacks and their opulently decorated horses and rigs. We stopped for coffee just outside the zoo, and rested some more. Well, I rested while Karen found some more nuts. It seems that I can't hold them without them somehow disappearing from the bag ;-)
I then took a nap on a sunny hillside while Karen explored more of the park. After her vigorous walk around the lake and the castle and several other sites, she came back and waited for me to wake up at 4. We wandered along Lexington to find a subway, and returned to Roxy's apartment.
For dinner, Roxy and her bassist boyfriend Lou walked to dinner with us in the East VIllage at Cafe Fes, a Moroccan restaurant with full ethnic Moorish decor and table service. After dinner, we walked back along Bleeker street, which at 10 pm seemed to be just getting started.
We got up and were packed up by 9:30. With full packs, we subwayed to Times Square and did the obligatory tourist walk around the square before walking over to the Port Authority bus teminal. The square was full of various networks (MTV, ABC etc) using the site as a backdrop. The cheap Broadway tickets line looked long at 10 a.m. Hustle and bustle adn I'd had enough. The bus terminal was quiet. The trip to Ken's uneventful. We loaded up the car by 2, and drove to DC before dinner.
Gotta go do more DC
From:Dan A Klarmann on 10/23/98 09:04 PM
Subject: Deesee and ooks who r.i.p.
Our arrival in DC was actually in Bowie, MD. Not pronounced like "take a bow-y" nor "bow-y and arrow", but rather like "boo-y." Our resident friends here, Larry and Brian, tell us to just accept this. OK.
As we approached this town, we saw a billboard for a roadside restaurant called "Rip's." In the Halloween spirit, we discussed the marketing genius of associating food with the letters R I P. Once we checked into the Comfort Inn, our friends took us for dinner to, you guessed it, Rip's. Aside from the sign out front proclaiming that they were "Now hiring ooks," they had their act together. Fast service and good food at very reasonable prices. After eating, we drove 45 minutes up to Baltimore with Larry for their Weds nite contradance. We got there in time for the last hour, so we danced hard. Home by midnight.
The next morning, we slept in, took long, hot baths in the Kohler tub, and I finally started writing up the NY bits. Then we drove to the guys house and noshed a lunch from a combination of our car food, Rip's leftovers and their fridge. They are in the process of moving, which is why we couldn't stay with them. All 4 of us rife with indecision, so we ended up going to DuPont Circle for a browse thru the boutiques. After one shop, we had chai at a tea house called Teaism. Excellent chai and ginger scones. The cool weather had finally arrived, so pauses for hot beverages felt really good. Karen (I found out later) was bored by these shops and with just walking in a light commercial district which paled so much in comparison to SoHo and Greenwich Village. I had a good time, though. I finally began collecting items for the car fish collection I'd been thinking about starting for a year. You know, Darwin, shark, Jesus, etc.
By 5ish, we were ready to head toward the museums, but they were closing. We were cold and tired, so we ducked into an art cimema and saw the new release of "A Touch of Evil." It may have been a sightseeing cop-out, but quite a powerful Orson Wells movie. Afterwards, we took the Metro one stop over to an ethnic restaurant area. Karen found the 3 story escalator ride from open night air down into the depths of the vaulted subway system quite impressive. The DuPont station has quite an approach! We ate homestyle Indian food. The vindaloo wasn't toned down for tourists, and none of the bread was leavened. I liked it. Anyway, back to the hotel by 10.
For our last full day in DC, we resolved to do the monuments and museums of The Mall. We met the guys and took the train from the New Carrollton endpoint Park'n'Ride to Capitol South, behind the Capitol Building. We walked around the meager botannical gardens, and then went up the long Capitol steps to look down the length of the Mall. We quickly walked through both National Gallery buildings, and dawdled out of the wind in the below-grade sculpture garden at the Hirschorn. We skipped Air and Space, and moseyed through the herb gardens by the Arts and Industries building. We enjoyed the street-level rooftop gardens behind the Smithsonian castle, and then left the Mall for a good hamburger at Ollie's Trolley at 12th and E. A quick stop at a Hard Rock, a glance at Ford's Theatre, and 3/4 of the way around the White House, because our first 1/4 was blocked by T-men. We noticed several sirened motorcades were heading in, and the front lawn of the White House was packed with media. We decided not to join the gawkers, since anything important (eg: war with Lichtenstein or such) we'd hear about later.
Tired and footsore, we walked all the way to DuPont for cappuchino and pastries. The guys went to a movie, and we subway'd back to the Mall and walked to the Washington and then all the way to the Jefferson Memorial as dusk enfolded the city. The Washington Monument already has scaffolding around the bottom hundred feet, which should cover it by month's end for a year of restoration. More walking, a long subway ride, and a drive back to Rip's for take out (because of an hour wait far a table at 8:30 p.m!) Finally, collapsing at the hotel.
Tomorrow, we drive the Blue Ridge Pkwy, and back to Richmond for the night. Sorry to burden you with the basic details and none of the color from NY and DC, but this may be my only journal of the trip. I'll probably write some more fun descriptions from these places later, if I have time.
A view of the Virginia Mountains (I think)
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/26/98 07:11 AM
Subject: 2 days in Virginia
A brief note to report that we are still here, but trying to get an early start:
We went to the Amish Market in Annapolis on Saturday morning. Larry explained that the reason the Amish girls and even other customers were staring at us was because, in this neck of the woods, a 3/4" buzz cut on young men was considered long hair. Larry's pony tail and my supra-labial handlebars were quite out of place.
DC to Richmond was mostly driving. We did stop at Quantico for the Marine Corps graveyard and the Air and Ground military museum (Karen was a Marine brat, in case any of you didn't know). We spent the night with the Kozloff's. I finally found out where it was that we had floor space. It was actually a well-padded carpet on which we slept well. The dog didn't even step on our sleeping bags until coaxed the next morning.
Sunday we visited SandC's new house, and then hit the Blue Ridge mountains. We spent most of the day perpendicular to our westward travels up on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Nat'l Park and on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of there. After a day of winding mountaintop driving, we stopped at dusk at a ridgetop diner which was trying to close. Karen persuaded them to serve us at the counter. We asked about the direct road to Raphine below, and the store manager said it was a good road, paved all the way, now. Then we drove straight downhill. I mean, on the map it's straight from crest at 2500' to valley in 5 miles. At the start of the road, there was a wiggle sign marked 20. It meant it! It was an exciting drive in the dark! We got to the hotel, where the desk clerk mentioned having actually ignited her brakes coming down that road, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone without a mountain goat or similar vehicle.
On to Louisville, and maybe home on Tuesday (or Wednesday depending on the vagaries of the plumbing in the country house in which we'd intended to stay there).
From:Dan A Klarmann on 10/27/98 05:24 PM
Subject: Louavul, Kaintucky
The orange sun has just disapeared behind the trees beyond the cows scattered by the opposite bank of the Little Indian River by which Clint's country cottage sits. The town nearest here is actually New Salisbury, Indiana. Practically, it is a far exurb of Louisville.
We spent Monday driving. We left the hotel in the shadow of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia shortly after nine, our earliest start yet, this trip. The stretch of I-64 from I-81 westward is quite scenic. We left I-64 for US 60 to 1) avoid a turnpike, 2) See some real towns and closer scenery, and 3) take the more direct route. Ths road, apparently the pre-interstate main route, is known as the Midland Heritage Trail. This 90 mile shortcut took 3 1/2 hours including short stops to visit the New River Gorge (with the largest steel arch bridge in the US), the Gauley Bridge, and Hawks Nest Park. Karen took notes from some signs: Possum Holler Pizza. Bleached Board Department of the Lumber Division of (we passed too fast to get the rest), which was acres of stacked tree trunks.
It was tiring driving on those older mountain roads. The weather was beautiful. Clouds above appeared in all sorts of odd patterns, such as a long row of brioche, or twinkies. Now, because I have a good understanding of science and the way things work, I see things with less mystery, in what is generally percieved to be an unpoetic manner. What I saw in the row of sky twinkies is a standing wave in the upper air, a loud musical note too low to hear made visible by the sparkling crystals in the sky.
We arrived in Louisville a bit early for their Monday night dance. The crowd was light, and with a large number of beginners. The all volunteer band was very good. I was worn out, and actually rested horizontal on a line of chairs for most of the second half.
This dance made up for our very unsatisfactory experience with the Richmond. VA dance.
Anyway, we spent today mostly asleep and sitting at the bank of the river listening to the leaves pattering all around us in Clint's front yard.
We'll be home (but not officially in residence, still on vacation) by Wednesday night.
Karen resting in Clint's Front Yard
From: Dan A Klarmann on 10/28/98 10:01 PM
Subject: Procrastinating departure
We sit at noon on Clint's porch listening to the gusting breeze rustling leaves like the sneezes of trees. The cool and gloomy weather seems perfect for the autumn day which is terminating our 3400 mile 18 day journey punctuated by 13 lodging stops and dancing in 6 states.
I sit and listen and stare at the leaves while Karen finishes an article in the latest Scientific American which we'll leave behind here.
Finally left at 2ish, arriving home in St Louis at 4:15.