Blog East …

… or maybe Blog Midwest would be more like it. I’m headed back to Chicago this afternoon and then all over what used to be called the Northwest (and beyond) with my dad. That’s the plan, anyway; though we’ll be on the lookout for Alan Keyes trying to throw himself in front of our car to make a point about the sanctity of life. If I can figure out mobile technology, it’s possible that road reports and Keyes sightings will be logged.

Still East

We’re in my brother’s neighborhood in Brooklyn — Brooklyn, New York (a sign on the expressway coming in from Queens says “Brooklyn, Believe the Hype”).

Spent yesterday and last night with friends in Hastings-on-Hudson, just north of New York City (not sure if that “on Hudson” is a modern invention or not). A beautiful stretch of country, with the Palisades on the New Jersey shore and a series of old rich-guy estates stretching from the upper Bronx far up the eastern side of the river. We visited one: Wave Hill, maintained by the New York City park’s department. Then went up the road a way to Tarrytown, where Washington Irving concocted his “Sleepy Hollow” tale. We went to a church and graveyard that figure in the story and saw the Irving family plot (crowded).

Tomorrow, back south, eventually to Washington and our flight back west and a lot of work waiting for us in California.

Road notes: July 9


Breakfast with McCrohons in Washington

Drive up to New Jersey by way of the Lewes-Cape May Ferry

Needed to reserve ferry spot and arrive an hour ahead of departure for “security reasons.”

Got to terminal about 55 minutes before our scheduled departure at 4:15 p.m. But they put us on the 3:30 p.m. ferry. What security? They did check my ID when we drove up to the gate, but that’s it..

Clear on the ferry. Lewes beaches stretching west along shore of Delaware Bay.

from D.C. Crowded.

As we approached Cape May, passengers spotted about 20 dolphins off port side (one said she saw a whale, too). Occasionally one leaped from the water. But mostly we saw them arching and diving.

Cape May: Wild place? Was always taken by image of Cape May warbler, which I have only seen in a book.

New Jersey’s Ocean Route, the scenic way up the shore: Nonstop strip of beachtown development. Prettier once you turn away from shore, north of Wildwood, and cross wide stretch of marshes toward the Garden State parkway. All the Jersey bashing aisde, the freeway in that north-south stretch is much more “scenic” than the shore.

Yankees-Devil Rays on the radio. Rays up 2-0. Charlie somebody, whose voice I recognize from ESPN, is doing the play-by-play. In 3rd or 4th inning, introduces “the Yankees injury report. Brought to you by the Cochrane team. If you get hurt, call Johnny Cochrane and his team of laywers.” Or something to that effect. Thereafter follows the injury report, which is an extended discussion on the intestinal parasites that had been infesting Jason Giambi and Kevin Brown. Johnny Cochrane. Intestinal arasites. Awesome.

Ended the day at Exit 105 off the Garden State Parkway, Tinton Falls. No falls visible, though.

They’re Off!

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Eamon and Sakura at the airport this morning, about an hour and a half before they took off for Tokyo. The clerk at the airline desk didn’t quite get it when Eamon said he didn’t have a return ticket: He’s going to Japan to stay (well, his initial spousal visa is good for a year and will be renewable for three years). Eamon and Sakura’s trip has been coming for such a long time that I think I took it kind of for granted and only thought briefly about how I’d feel when they were gone. But now that they are — it kind of hit me this evening when Kate said to Tom, “It’s just the three of us here now” — I miss them both

and feel like they’re very far away. But what a great adventure. And the next time we see each other, I hope, will be in


Blog Break

As Scrooge once said, sort of, “It was a hiatus, nothing more.” The only remotely Dickensian pause was occasioned by a trip from one coast to another to visit friends in George W. Bush’s adopted hometown (Max and Nancy and Sean McCrohon. I flew to New York and drove down with my brother, John).

The Hitchhiking Lie

A story in the Washington Post, about a group of latter-day hitchhikers meeting in bleak southeastern California, got me thinking: From January 1973 through December 1979, I hitchhiked all over the country. It’s hard to believe now. Everyone then thought the country was dangerous and had lost its innocence, compared to the Kerouac era; but it was a great adventure, in its way, and my brothers started thumbing everywhere, too. I finally quit, in large part because I found myself in one too many stupid, nearly desperate situations (and heard similar stories from my brothers). But today seems so much worse somehow — people seem more isolated from each other than ever, much less willing to trust strangers and maybe wisely so. I hardly ever see hitchhikers anymore, and I haven’t picked one up since 1985. So here’s a guy with a hitch-hiking site , sponsoring gatherings and sort of promoting the culture the way hoboing used to be promoted (and romanticized) as a lifestyle/transportation mode.