Road Trip Reflections

It was an exciting weekend for lil’ ol’ Alice here, who officially drove a motor vehicle for the first time in three years!!! The thrill of firing up the engine of Ariel’s dad’s Honda to drive out of this godforsaken city was beyond titillating. Getting back behind the wheel is really is just like riding a bike. Now if only someone would teach me to drive stick…

I drove up to Williamstown, Massachusetts with my friend Ariel to visit our friend, Isabelle, who designs costumes for Summer Stock Theater. The drive up was supposed to be three and a half hours, but it took about an hour and a half to make it from the Village to the upper Bronx. It was a schlep and a half, I’ll put it that way, but well worth it – once you’re outside of New York City, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

Until this trip I never really thought about New York and Massachusetts being border states because we’ve always driven up the east side through Connecticut (see rant below). But Williamstown is actually a straight shot east of Albany and about ten minutes below the Vermont border. Upstate New York, until this weekend actually, has always creeped me out. There are an overwhelming amount of abandoned factories and textile mills from its days of industrial glory, and I suppose it doesn’t help that I’ve only ever been up during the wintertime for hockey tournaments (I was the stat-girl in high school and the boys played tournaments up in barren places like Utica). In 8th grade earth science we were given this map below of the rock formations of the great state of New York, so I’ve essentially imagined everything north of Westchester as one giant grey (gray?) sheetrock:

Bedrock Geology Map B Well, I was wrong. Upstate New York is oh-so picturesque! Lots of lush green mountains, pine trees, evergreens, rolling hills and farms, cows and horses, silos (crossword puzzle word) and bushels of hay. We did a lot of driving and oddly drove from Massachusetts through New York State to get back to Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts. It was a fantastic road trip up and down winding interstates or small routes, deer X-ing signs, roadkill, and funny-but-serious signs on the road such as “EGGS” and “Attention: Severely Disabled Child” which I’m sure serves a purpose but is kind of embarrassing for whatever poor child that is.


Post-trip thoughts:

  • Surprising how bad radio reception can be in this day and age! Let’s get with the program, people.
  • People are still clueless about pulling into the middle at an intersection. Hello?!?!?
  • Certain songs were just meant to be listened to while traversing America by car. Click here for my playlist. I also bought the Pulp Fiction soundtrack at Goodwill for 2 bucks  which had an eclectic mix of songs for when we needed a break from the radio. My favorite song on the soundtrack is “If Love Is A Red Dress (Then Hang Me In Rags)” by Maria McKee.

  • People need to give up ragging on New Jersey – it’s a beautiful state with lovely countryside, beautiful beaches, and quaint towns. Connecticut is, in fact, the worst state in the union. Have you ever driven past the corporate, glass-boxed mishaps that Connecticut passes off as cities? It makes me feel empty and void just to pass through Springfield on the highway. The entire state seems perpetually gloomy from start to finish, and while it’s a tiny state when you’re driving through it it never seems to end.
  • American banks have combusted because bankers are bro-y preps from colleges like Williams where the boat shoe-clad alumni show up to literally douse each other in beer and pass out on the bar. Although it was cool to meet an only slightly douchey alum who was an assistant to Seth MacFarlane, and who literally had Cherry Chevapravatdumrong on speed dial.
  • Everyone is a sh*tty driver, no matter what state your from or what kind of car you drive, so let’s all just stop making gross generalizations about “New Yorkers” or “people from New Jersey” or “Southerners” and agree that everyone is bad and has no idea what they’re doing. Except for me, “I am the messiah of the DMV”…


  • Maroon 5 is still relevant in 2013?
  • “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk is entirely overrated. Let’s all pretend to stop liking this song and change the friggin’ station. Unfortunately that station will probably be playing “Get Lucky” too. Maybe you’ll get lucky and come in at the end of the song.
  • Didn’t realize that country music was played over the Mason-Dixon line. Upstaters and even Massholes and Vermontians listen to contemporary country. I think I listened to more country music on this trip than I have…ever, en fait. My new guilty pleasure? A terrifyingly catchy burst of Americana and Georgia fuzz: Cruise. Here’s why:

She was sippin’ on Southern and singin’ Marshall Tucker We were falling in love in the sweet heart of summer She hopped right up into the cab of my truck and said, “Fire it up, let’s go get this thing stuck.

American flag? Check. Silverado? Check. Gas station? Daisy Dukes? Strip poker? My soul sold to the devil? Yup.

Ariel wisely quoted Blake Shelton as saying, “Country music is all about telling a story”. I guess that’s what seems silly about country, the songs are so literal and we are used  to reading in between the lines a bit more. Cruise is definitely a crossover country-pop hit, not much story-telling going on here but lots of twang, and that’s why Nelly decided to do a remix. Come to think of it, Nelly seems to be pretty into country music for a rapper (he did school us all in Country Grammar), putting out Over and Over Again with Tim McGraw, and not in the way that LL Cool J and Brad Paisley are into each other’s genres. But really though, what’s with country singers always singing about rolling windows down and how hot it is when girls take it upon themselves to turn on the radio? Any opportunity to stick their hands out the window of their new Chevy and they are all about it!

  • It can hurt your arm and neck to fiddle with the radio station every 5 minutes. There are too many commercials.
  • Whenever I go to New England I have to get McDonalds and buy homemade ice cream in a cone. It’s nostalgia city.
  • The sound of cicadas can be quite therapeutic if in the right quantity and volume.

So yea, back in the city and just itching those pesky mosquito bites. Can’t believe tomorrow is August 1st.

About alicestockwellegan

Language and culture enthusiast from New York living in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in America., Just for Fun, Musings, New York, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Road Trip Reflections

  1. Pingback: Oh, The Places I’ve Been! | Language and other musings

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