Going north

When we left Hampton Inn in Hagerstown, Maryland around 7:30 am after our complimentary breakfast of porridge, banana, strawberry yoghurt, plain bagel (with butter and peanut butter), cheese omelet, sausage patties, honey glazed donuts and coffee the morning sky had begun to awaken and heralded a clear and bright day for the 4-hour drive through the mountains to Cortland, New York.

Adirondack Mountains, by name Adirondacks, mountains in northeastern New York state, U.S. They extend southward from the St. Lawrence River valley and Lake Champlain to the Mohawk River valley. The mountains are only sparsely settled, and much of the area exists in a primitive natural state, protected by state law.

Although they are frequently included in the Appalachian Mountain system, the Adirondack Mountains are related geologically to the great plateau of the Canadian Shield. The Adirondacks were formed some one billion years ago and have been subjected to hundreds of millions of years of erosion and glaciation, notably the glaciations of the Pleistocene Epoch (about 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago). The Adirondacks region is circular in outline, domelike in appearance, and covers more than 9,100 square miles (23,600 square km).

Ours was an enviable task, nothing to consider but the posted speed limit and whether we’d have an afternoon nap. The leisure feature of the day was quickly put to the test as we encountered a major traffic jam on the highway which reduced our measured motoring from a comfortable journey to an almost static crawl. The delay was so prolonged and irreconcilable that even attempting to see miles ahead there was nothing but a parade of closely knit vehicles barely moving. Eventually we passed a group of fire trucks and police cruisers on a bridge on the opposite side of the highway surrounding what appeared from hurried examination to be a transport truck that had struck the median and Jack-knifed in the middle of the road blocking the passage of others. Meanwhile the traffic behind the misadventure was lined for miles and miles, so frozen in advance that people were getting out of their cars and walking about.  Our own congestion gradually gave way and we at last withdrew from the kerfuffle.

The remainder of our drive was a mixture of dodging past struggling trucks on mountain upgrades and getting out of the way of racing trucks on mountain descents. We also enjoyed the vista views from the mountain tops as we curled along and through the roller coaster slopes. Our adventure took us along Interstate 81 through Pennsylvania (adjacent President Joe Biden Expressway in Scranton) into the state of New York. Cortland is almost directly south of Syracuse and Alexandria Bay, approximately three hours from the Canadian border near Gananoque whence it is about two-thirds that time to Mississippi Mills.

We punctuated the jaunt by contacting the General Sales Manager of the Lincoln dealership in Ottawa to arrange the preliminaries to complete the purchase of the vehicle ordered months ago and which is now on the lot awaiting our return.  I have agreed to meet the Sales Consultant after Easter Monday to test drive the vehicle and to provide license information for the new plates. And the cheque.

Upon our arrival in Cortland we first went to the Mobile gas station nearby the hotel and filled the tank for tomorrow’s journey home.  We didn’t bother getting the car washed as we’re unfamiliar with the services available in the area (whether detailing or self-service or otherwise) and we were too drained for the moment to enquire. Instead we went to the hotel where we checked in, parked, took the luggage to the room then went downstairs for a gander about the joint including two cups of coffee and a chat with the friendly and helpful receptionist who confirmed a complimentary breakfast tomorrow morning.  Since we intend to dine this evening next door at Perkins restaurant, it will suit both our predictable morning appetite and scheduled enterprise to break the fast here before heading home.

Last evening we completed the on-line ArriveCAN App in anticipation of the border crossing.  We each detailed individual forms outlining vaccinations and quarantine identity. It was a taxing undertaking but one for which the government is to be congratulated. I doubt however that the bulk of old fogeys returning from their southern sojourns will have either the capacity or inclination to complete the on-line credentials but will instead defer to prolonged examination by the customs personnel at the border.