Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Traveling On The Taconic State Parkway...Or Am I???

A paved roadway seen from its right with a solid yellow line on the left, dashed white line in the middle and solild white at right goes into an area at the center of the image where branches from the tall trees on either side hang over and shade it from the sunlight coming in from the left  Occasionally I travel on the Taconic State Parkway, an interesting stretch of divided highway that starts at Mount Pleasant, NY, located outside of New York City.  It continues north for 104 miles where it intersects with Interstate 90.  Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had long envisioned a scenic road through the eastern Hudson Valley, was instrumental in making it a reality.  It is a very pleasant road to drive for several reasons; trucks aren't allowed on it, there are very few structures that can be seen, and it is very scenic.  Sometimes I will see a deer or two and even a herd of them.  It is also toll free.  However, you have to watch for traffic at the occasion crossroad, the speed limit is 55 mph, and there is no lighting at night.
Old London to Oxford mail coach, May 1890 (b/w photo)  Today, as I was driving, I imagined myself in a horse drawn coach in the 1800's going from London to Oxford.  A distance of about 60 miles.  It wasn't hard to imagine this because today was a gray February day, very reminiscent of days that I had spent in England.  All I had to do was erase the images of asphalt pavement and the occasional guard rails on the side of the road from my mind.  The rest of it was quite lovely; leaf barren trees on both sides with so many fingered branches reaching over the road.  The curb stone that edges the entire parkway is also a nice touch that adds to the fantasy.  Looking between the trees and out to the gray cloudy skies made me feel like I was taking in an English landscape with a patchwork of snow and ground that blanketed the roadside.
  The summer is glorious as well, with a green lawn for road shoulders and the trees with a full coat of leaves.  It goes without saying that the trees in autumn can explode with colors.
  Eventually, I had to come back to reality because I had come to the end of the parkway and it was necessary to merge into the traffic on Interstate 90.  
  I suspect that riding a horse drawn coach on a deeply rutted frozen dirt road wasn't as smooth a ride as an automobile on smooth pavement.  Maybe next time I will take off my tires and ride on the rims to add to the realism.

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