Monday, August 08, 2011

This Year's Travel

I am not going to do another "Only On The Map" series as I did last August, but it is that time, and I did look at another section of NH I was unfamiliar with. I believe I have lost the camera, which is a shame, as it is really Tracy's. I took pictures of Chesterfield town center, where the official buildings use stone I don't think is usual for NH. As the NH side of the Connecticut River often looks more like VT to me, I wonder if the is a geological break point once you get over past Mt. Pisgah. Sponge-headed Scienceman will know.

Somewhere around Westmoreland, I lost the camera. I can't figure out how, but it's just not there anymore.

But my journey and mapwork on Old Route 28 put me in good stead. On all the numbered highways today, I would suddenly recognise where the newer road had been cut through in the 1950's, just but the appearance of the forest and the straightness of the road. Checking the telephone lines and the side roads often immediately confirmed that I was on New Rte 10 or 12, with the older version off to the side. I checked the USGS topo maps when I got home just to make sure. It is interesting to be able to see something I did not used to notice.

I went up as far as Charlestown, then cut over to Unity and Goshen, coming back through Washington. With the exception of Westmoreland and parts of Walpole, these are pretty depressed towns. Climbing the ravine out of Hinsdale on Rte 63 I saw those dizzying driveways that suddenly shoot up at a slight angle and even steeper pitch. There are seldom expensive houses up those roads. It's not considered prime building land, and puts one in mind of Appalachia. As these communities were also often settled by Scots-Irish, that may not be suprising.

In poor areas, businesses show up in odd locations, because people are struggling to make a living. A barber pole will be out by the mailbox on a numbered root, the house well back on a long driveway; on a nearly uninhabited back way from one oddly-named village to another - Snumshire to Quaker City in this case - there will be a slightly skewed "Auto Repair" sign, and then another, with cars for sale; produce, or crafts, or cordwood we expect - violin lessons, not so much. Houses are oddly designed as well, as if the owner suddenly thought "I've got some extra wood - why not put another story on top of this?" Or a post-war A-frame that just kept acquiring additions on each side.

The strangest sight was a reflecting garden ball - odd enough in itself these days - what had angel wings attached to its base, looking like some alien robot from a 60's sci-fi film. Perhaps it was ironic.

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