September 28, 2009
Previously on Hat on Top, Coat Below, I left home and drove to Pennsylvania for a wedding, then made my way to New Hampshire in about three times the time it could have taken if I hadn’t stopped so often to take pictures.
Day 4, continued: New Hampshire
I went right by the driveway up to Mack Hill Farm on my first pass (neither the nav system in the car or Google Maps seemed to know just where it was), but eventually I got myself turned around and pulled up to Lisa’s house, where I was greeted by Internet-famous dogs Bjarki and Deeza as well as the turkeys. It had been ages since I’d seen Lisa and Frankâ€”JournalCon DC in 2004 maybe? can it really have been that long?â€”so it was great to be together in person again. I got a quick mini-tour and met the geese and ducks and chickens and cows and pigs and some of the sheep before we humans (and the dogs) headed off to see a couple of local cemeteries while there was still light in the sky. After we got back, Lisa made a wonderful lamb dinner with mushroom risotto (made with mushrooms that she and Frank had just picked in one of the cemeteries we’d visited) and green and yellow beans from her garden; there was homemade ice cream in two flavors for dessert, too. I was honored that Princess Kitty put in an appearance and even let me pet her.
Day 5: Staying put in NH
Frank had to head down to Massachusetts for work, so he was long gone by the time I arrived on the farm. I played with the dogs while Lisa finished up the morning chores–I’d missed milking, though I had heard a few of Ella Mae’s bellows from town. I got to meet the horses and the rest of the sheep when they got fed in their back paddock. Somewhere in there, Lisa fed me breakfast, too. We spent part of the morning at a nearby cemetery then after lunch went to pick up food for the pigs and visited a couple more cemeteries. I was very excited to see all those headstones from the early 1800s and even late 1700sâ€”so much history documented there. Then it was back to the farm for more critter fun, followed by the sushi dinner we’d picked up in town.
Day 6: NH to New York
I got one more morning on the farm before I had to head for home. I rousted myself out of bed in time to see Lisa milk Ella Mae and release the chickens for the day (they are cooped up in their coop overnight, which makes sense) then played with the pups and made the morning rounds with Lisa before breakfasting and taking my leave. On the way out of town (via a rather circuitous route, I admit), I re-visited a few of the local cemeteries to take yet more pictures, then meandered across Vermont snapping some of their cemeteries and scenery. Once I got to New York, I pretty much stuck to the interstate and just drove and drove and drove until I was almost out the other side, using The Next Exit book to help me decide to stop the night in Dunkirk, NY.
Day 7: NY to Michigan
As it turned out, there were three cemeteries within ten minutes of the hotel I ended up at (it was coincidence, I swear), so I had to go see those before I headed for home. One was right on Lake Erie, and I was admiring the view when the caretaker pulled up beside me on his mower to see if I needed any help. We ended up having a nice chat; he was the son of a caretaker and had been born in a house on the grounds of a cemetery in Chicagoland, not too far from where I grew up. After finishing up in Dunkirk, I hit the interstate again. I’d intended to stop in Ohio at a cemetery I’d seen on the way to Cedar Point one time, but either it was on a different part of the route than I’d thought or I just plain missed it. Oh well, maybe another time.
When I pulled into the garage at home, my long-term mpg was showing on the dash as 42.0 even; all that highway driving, some of it through hilly country, was not been great for my fuel economyâ€”when I’d started my long-term mpg was above 43. Ah well, we bought the car to drive it, and I sure did enjoy the trip. Between the music I’d loaded onto the car’s harddrive, my iPod, and the satellite radio, I was so entertained that I never even started any of the audio books I’d brought. This was the first road trip where I’ve had a navigation system; I didn’t always follow its advice, and I’ve still got things to learn about how to work it, but it was very nice to have it guide me through areas I’d never been before. One very strange thing about this trip: I bought no fabric and no yarn, even though I drove right by open shops selling these things. (Not that it was a fiber-free journey; Lisa sent me home with fleece, which means spinning is probably in my future at some point.)